Friday, May 18, 2007

Digging Up The Mole in The Library


Between the weightless last day and the anxious first, there was a strange place called summer. My sisters and I fell into it for three months each year, supine in its fields until the calendar sped up and the air cooled.

I can’t honestly say that I recall things from that place very clearly. I couldn’t tell you exactly what I read, though I remember a few of the books quite fondly. I can’t remember what games I played in particular, though I can easily say that where it was called for, I supplied substandard rations of coordination. One of the few things I can remember with perfect clarity, though, was the little mole in the library.

The little mole was coal black with an infantile giggle and he, along with his friends – a mouse, a hedgehog, and a swallow among them – occupied a kaleidoscopic world in the basement level of our local library. I loved the little mole. I was depressed when other filmstrips were shown, or at best I tolerated them. On the regrettable occasion of a magician being provided in lieu of even a non-mole filmstrip, I only barely restrained myself from storming out. Without the little mole, I might as well feign an aptitude for sports! It was that dire, this little lump’s hold on me.

Those summer places are far away on the map now. I couldn’t have been more than eight year old when I saw the mole and his friends on the white screen; watching, seated “Indian style” on stiff carpet, neck craned and eyes wide, my mouth slightly parted among a clump of budding Ohioans. And I had forgotten, in any meaningful sense, all about that animated piece of coal I had loved so much. I was busy poking my head into growing up. I went to college, I moved to the big city. I met a girl.

The girl was from Germany. She moved back to Germany.

So I went to Germany.

The town in which she – Juliane – lived is by no means large: we walked its main drags dozens of times in my visits. We walked by the shops of those streets, necessarily, just as many times, so I don’t know if the surprise was waiting there the whole time. But on one of those walks, I turned at the right time, looked in a window, and saw an old friend, puny and plush.

“It’s the mole!” Everything came back to me in a rush.

“You know the little mole?” Juliane asked, “But I think he’s Czech… How do you know him?”

The oddity of this – that a Czech cartoon would have been obtained by a southern Ohio public library servicing a town of a few thousand people – glanced off me, and we went into the store. I bought him right away. I was in a frenzy of reclamation. I was ready to buy anything they had with the little mole, but that was all there was to be had.

After this reunion, I searched, as often as my scattered mind would allow me, for the little mole cartoons, but with no positive results. I procured a couple books, a bit of history – confirming Juliane’s suspicions that our giggling friend was indeed Czech, and informing that what I had taken, years ago, to be the nonsensical sounds between giggles was actually rudimentary Czech – but none of the actual cartoons.

Until Juliane wrote to me and sent me the link I’ve posted here:


My favorite that I’ve seen thus far is the three part “Little Mole in the City.” It’s heart-wrenchingly smart. It’s easily one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time.



The graphic at the top of this post is from “Little Mole Finds a Green Star.”

And “Little Mole and The Swallow” is too adorable to not watch.

Snoop around and watch the others. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

The cartoons are just as beautiful as I remember, and seeing them now I can appreciate the influence they’ve had on me and on the little people I push around the paper world on a daily basis. Thanks to the person who put those up for the world to see. And thanks to Juliane.

But no thanks to the magician!

2 comments:

Eerie said...

if someone wanted to pay me for my blog entries, i wouldnt be opposed

Paul Hornschemeier said...

Huh?