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!


Eerie said...

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

Paul Hornschemeier said...