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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Sunday, 20 August 2006

On reading Tarzan

I think it was a rerun episode of the hit British telly series Hustle that brought it all back.

The hour long con-artist story dealt with the auction of an orginal comic illustration that commanded the value of a good several thousands pounds. And with it, scenes where this illustration was faked by a few smart crooks, to dupe even the cleverest art collector.

All I could see at the time were drawings, colours and the prospect of tasting once more, the faint foggy scent of a lost comic book hero.

Then later, on reading an ancient Tarzan adventure, my childhood came flooding back.

Me a little girl, running out dutifully every Sunday morning, to pick up the weekend funnies. My father would let me drool over all my favourite comics first.

I would demonstrate pleasure by laughing as loudly as I could at every cartoon and tripping and falling over a few chairs. Even my bored rocking horse would not be spared. Eventually, my parents would order me to keep the noise down.

"No need to tell the whole world you like Tarzan," my father would lecture. "Even people in Switzerland can hear you, " my mother then added for good measure.

Every plot was intriguing, every action smashing, and every balloon conversation, pure genius.

I still remember those warm evenings with pretty hall lights, when I was just four.

My mother would give me a bath and then proceed to dry my damp skin and hair with a towel while my eyes stayed glued to a weekly Batman episode on the telly. Batman was my favourite hero. He was in my book, the most handsome, majestic being ever. Of course, I didn't mind Robin hanging around. I understood that he was Batman's best friend.

I was thrilled once when Batman summoned Superman for help in an emergency. That terrific episode revealed camaraderie and unity in friendship.

Later, my mother would mop the wet floor. She understood and respected my infactuations with grace.

Today, though I wish that my parts of my childhood could have been changed, I acknowledge that her kindness in many ways, resulted in wonderful years.

On Sundays, my father would always take us to the sea, the zoo or a museum. The drive, picnics and sight-seeing commanded an air of festivity about it.

Now in later years, on once more reading Tarzan, I am flung back into those sudden hall lights, still pretty in the shadows with their dusky glow.

Perhaps if the wind forgot to whisk me back and if I stayed quiet enough, then God help me, I would never again be found.

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