“Now” is the “another time” stated several years ago for an anecdote

I came across something I’d posted in my comics blog back in 2017:

“My earliest conscious recollection of Guy [Gardner] is one of the Eclipso Annuals back in 1992 (Adventures of Superman Annual #4, I believe–as I learned after the fact, the ‘transition’ for the character back from his prestige-format limited series where he GOT the gold ring to begin with). And his #1 issue–the first of this very series–was one of several issues I got at a Waldenbooks while out with a friend and his mom, using money my dad gave me (though I got 6 or so comics and had some change left, I recall his being a bit surprised he didn’t get MORE change…but that’s a story for another time).”

Well, over 4 ½ years later, I suppose that ‘another time” is now.

That Waldenbooks I’d referenced in talking about Guy Gardner #11 is the same one that yielded my first four comics that Mom bought me. For me, for MY comics collection…it is THE source, the starting point for my entire collection. Just a fancy spinner-rack in a bookstore in a mall.

Anyway, whenever this was—Summer 1992—I was going to the mall (and Waldenbooks) with a friend and his mom. Dad gave me $10 to have some “spending money” and I was able to get several comics that day. If I’m recalling correctly now, it was that Guy issue (#1) as well as several Superman issues—parts of “The Blaze/Satanus War.” According to my earlier-posted memory of getting 6 or so comics, that would’ve been 6 $1.25 issues…or $7.50. (a paltry sum nowadays in 2022, that would not even get you 2 issues of anything not-Spawn). Of course, as a kid, having $10 at my disposal and being able to get numerous comics…it was a Pretty Big Deal.

And the more I think on it, the more I’m pretty sure Dad would have simply told me that he “expected some change back,” which essentially (to me at the time) meant I was not allowed to spend the ENTIRE $10. As Dad did not specify an amount otherwise, if I really DID get those 6 comics, then yeah…$7.50 + tax, and Dad “got some change back.”

I’m not sure how much is actual memory now—whether jarred loose by actually thinking in-depth about this particular situation for the first time in a number of years, or my mind constructing something from semi-partial-half-remembered stuff, I can’t attest to 100%. But I think I vaguely recall “picking up on” Dad’s annoyance at the time…but other than having expressed surprise at not getting more change back, he didn’t really say/do anything on it. BUT it definitely stood as a good long-term lesson for me in communication on such things: to keep “transparent” on stuff involving his money like that, as well as general awareness of how something might be interpreted by others.

But looking back on that now, it’s also a reminder of his general generosity, and the way he was always glad to do stuff for me, even if “just” giving me a bit of cash to be able to get something while out with a friend.

The situation/”incident” also OBVIOUSLY left its mark on me in THAT I remember so much about the particular, individual purchase and that those issues stand out to me a bit to this day for a number of factors.

Just one day, his son’s going to the mall with a friend, so hey, here, let’s make sure the kid’s got a couple dollars to get something token while out. I’m pretty confident that had I brought this up to Dad 3 ½ months ago, he wouldn’t even have any recollection of it himself. (then again, maybe he would, or would remember some other time that I’m not and remember/know that this TYPE of thing had once unfolded?). Point being, I highly doubt this was anything at ALL remarkable or stand-out or singly-memorable to HIM. Yet, here I am nearly 30 years later writing a number of words about the time and feeling like I’m recalling even more detail the more I think back on it, if only in “feelings” of nostalgia and wishing he was here TO ask about his memory of this.

I think it also helped jog my memory that I’m beginning to read some Eclipso: The Darkness Within comics from 1992, and another early-for-me comic has an ad for that Blaze/Satanus War story.

Even as I write all this, though, I’m reminded yet again of how vastly DIFFERENT stuff is for me now; having lost Dad “only” almost 12 weeks ago. That even contemplating any scene with someone losing a close relative from a comic has a whole different impact on me and meaning now than it ever did as some “concept,” now that I know first-hand what it is to lose my Dad.

But because of stuff WITH him, FROM him, INVOLVING him…I do get to have all sorts of tangible objects as (in cases like this) pleasant, fond reminders of him and the impact he’s had and will continue to hold in my life…

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