Cartoons: Markers of My Life

by guest blogger, Julie Arduini

One of my favorite memories is hearing my dad laugh at cartoons. He always got a kick out of Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry. Together we’d watch Scooby Doo, the original, not the annoying episodes with Scrappy. We’d wait for the iconic line, “If it weren’t for you meddling kids I would have gotten away with it!” My dad’s been gone for over ten years and I hold those memories close. We really laughed a lot together over those television shows.

51dxXZR3ucL._AA160_As a young adult, there were two Disney movies that were my escape. I was trying to find my place, no longer a little girl but a little insecure trying to define myself as a woman. Watching Ariel in The Little Mermaid and Belle in Beauty and Beast continue to take me back to my college days when I see them on TV. I watched these movies until the tape warped and still linger when I see they are playing on television. Prince Eric seemed so “dreamy” and with my writer’s imagination, I could relate to Ariel and her pondering what life must be like on dry land. Belle captured my heart because she loved books as much as I did. She didn’t put up with shenanigans, not from Gaston, not from the Beast. Both movies were full of romance, something I yearned for in those transitioning years.

Now that I’m a parent, we still talk about cartoons, even though the kids are older. One of my favorite times with our son was when we visited the Children’s Museum in Rochester, NY and enjoyed the Arthur exhibit. Although he watched the show based on Marc Brown books, I was probably the one most entertained. I loved that little glasses wearing aardvark. As the oldest sibling, I could relate to Arthur having a DW in his life. Our son is a lot like Arthur. The librarian’s name was Page Turner, if I remember right. I can still sing “Having Fun Isn’t Hard when You Have Your Library Card.” Like the Disney movies from my college years, we wore out the VHS tape from Arthur’s Christmas movie. I can still see our then two year old collapsing into laughter when the bossy Muffy demands to know why Francine wasn’t at her Christmas party.

51WK33Wg9dL._PI_PJStripe-Prime-Only-500px,TopLeft,0,0_AA160_As a mom I observed cartoons that I wished I could have muted or obliterated altogether. By then I knew writing was somehow part of my life but unsure how to start. To see that the creator of Teletubbies or Spongebob were making millions while I tried to find anyone interested in my work was aggravating. My husband and I felt Bob the Builder was a kiddie soap opera as we waited for the day when Bob would ask Wendy to be his girlfriend. We cringed whenever Kipper came on, or Max and Ruby. They were happy memories for the kids, but drove us parents crazy.

Even last night we were talking about a series of cartoons that bonded us even closer as a family. We had young children during the VeggieTale season of “Where is My Hairbrush” and “Song of the Cebu.” Even my then teenaged step children couldn’t control the laughter over Cebu when they would visit. I learned as much about the Bible from those videos than I did reading back then. I’ve caught my husband watching the old ones off Netflix purely for the nostalgia.

For many these shows might seem like mindless animation, but for me, they represent markers in my life. Fun times with my dad. College memories. Times as a parent. Cartoons I loved. Shows we didn’t enjoy at all. Ones we still talk about. A lot of these shows are mentioned in baby books—my own and our children’s.

Writers Prompt: How about you? Do you think of cartoons this way? What ones do you remember, and why?

melodylodgekoct132_editedJulie Arduini is an author with a passion to encourage readers to find freedom through surrender. Her first Adirondack contemporary romance, Entrusted, gives readers hope to surrender fear. A Walk Through the Valley will soon be available as an infertility devotional with 5 other authors. She blogs every other Wednesday at Christians Read and is the contributing fiction editor for the new digital magazine, Imaginate. She also collaborates with fellow authors at Write Integrity Press on novellas like The Love Boat Bachelor and its sequel. To learn more about her writing and love of chocolate, visit She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children.

Entrusted FRONT Cover_editedJenna Anderson, sassy city-girl from Youngstown, Ohio, plows–literally–into Adirondack village, Speculator Falls, with a busted GPS. She gets a warning from the sheriff but has ideas for the senior center to prove she belongs in town as their director. Town councilman Ben Regan is as broken as the flower box Jenna demolished. He’s grieving and wants to shut down the center before there’s too much change and heartbreak. They work on community projects and build a slow relationship, but the council needs to vote on the senior center’s future. Can Jenna show Ben both her and the center are worth trusting?

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