I love Bigfoot. The mere mention of his name transports me back to the late seventies. My brother and I are hanging with some kids from the neighborhood in some finished basement. It doesn’t matter whose finished basement; they were all pretty much the same, with the exception of the Ralph’s. You see, for the first ten years of my life, I lived in a neighborhood that embodied all things glorious about being middle class in the seventies. It was a seventies oasis in a desert of well-built 1950’s homes. All the houses were either ranches or raised ranches, cheaply built with what appeared to be a cardboard like material which eventually began to fall apart with the years. During the winter we all used kerosene heaters, since the “modern” electric heat wasn’t efficient enough to heat drafty matchbox houses. And the piece de resistance of so many of these homes (my brother and I were two of the unfortunates that were deprived)…the basement rec room. The design aesthetic was the same in all. Each was finished with faux wood paneling, cheap indoor/outdoor carpeting, an old plaid couch with some sort of velvet like leopard, zebra or dolphin throw blanket to cover the holes in its arms. And yes, in case you were wondering, people did decorate their walls with velvet Elvis. And if painting on velvet a la Bob Ross wasn’t your thing, you would hang up some poorly rendered painting of Hawaii or Puerto Rico or Bora Bora. Now, the Ralph’s basement was another story entirely. Theirs was equipped with a pool table, aquarium which ran the length of an entire wall AND their parent’s bedroom which included a waterbed with a mirrored frame. Anyway, I digress, but I just felt so compelled to convey the setting.
So back to Bigfoot. It was in these basements where many a serious Bigfoot conversation took place. Was he real? Could we catch him? Was there any possibility that he lived in one of our backyards? The beauty of bigfoot was that he wasn’t really THAT scary. I mean, he could be and he was depending on the day or the weather or our mood. He also had the potential of being the motherlode of pets or friends. No one knew. Was he a man-eater? Was he shy? Was he mischievous? Who cared? We’d take Bigfoot anyway we could get him. We just liked him. He was exciting and mysterious and cool. The thing about Bigfoot was that he wasn’t super creepy or diabolical. He wasn’t Rosemary’s baby, but he could, like some of the neighborhood kids, be the giant lovechild of two potsmoking, LSD tripping hippies (although I was too young to even imagine that at the time).
Bigfoot mania was not just a U.S. phenomenon. Apparently, we used to export the worst possible shows television had to offer, and Italy was happy to accept. One such show was Bigfoot and Wildboy. Neither myself nor my brother can recall this show, but my husband, who grew up in Rome, remembers it well. Here’s the plot. A young boy is lost in the dense forest of the American Northwest. Bigfoot finds the young boy, raises him and when the boy grows up, they become the dynamic crime fighting team of Bigfoot and Wildboy. The best part you ask? Well they filmed it in the wooded Hollywood hills and you can actually see the Hollywood sign in the background. Better than that, no one can track down Bigfoot and Wildboy…although they roam the Hollywood Hills. Pure Awesomeness!
Now that my husband and I have grown into monumentally immature adults, you can imagine how thrilled we are with the whole “search for Bigfoot” industry. Once in a while we’ll watch “Hunt for Bigfoot” and be delighted and stupefied by the fact that they ALWAYS search for bigfoot at night. Also the hunters always seem utterly oblivious to the fact that they are in the forest, and that is why they hear noises, that perhaps the sound they keep hearing is acorns falling from trees and not Bigfoot throwing rocks at them. It’s just good stuff, and the people on the show just seem like good eggs. Nothing malicious, nothing scary, just like bigfoot himself.
What’s even cooler than Bigfoot shows? Well, the fact that now my son is into Bigfoot. And over the past couple of days, there’s been some great Bigfoot material. Twice in one week we received BIG Bigfoot news. First, the Sasquatch Genome Project (yes, you read that correctly) claims that they have DNA evidence to support the existence of Bigfoot, which is mind-blowing, considering that after all these years there has been not a single shred of physical Bigfoot evidence, not a bone, not a hair, nothing. Then, a Pennsylvania hiker claims to have spotted two Bigfoots AND he has the pictures to prove it! Eureka!
So all this Bigfoot talk got Jack, Giorgio and I talking. Of course, having a chef in the family, we had to talk about what Bigfoot eats. Now that completely depends upon what exactly Bigfoot is (too bad we don’t have the Sasquatch Genome DNA evidence handy). I always pictured him to be more of a man-bear, which, of course, would make him a carnivore. My husband, however, made the compelling argument that he is more of a man-monkey, and, after pondering the evidence, I have to agree. That said, it is not only plausible but likely, that Bigfoot, given that he is more monkey than man, is not only a vegetarian but a vegan. So that means if Bigfoot found his way into our backyard, assuming that he does not play too rough, our kids and dog could be relatively safe. But that is neither here nor there.
Anyway, once we sent Giorgio off to work, Jack and I continued with our Bigfoot inquiries. In fact, I was able to get my son to do some internet research, which is a miracle in and of itself, given his distaste for anything “academic.” We read Bigfoot articles, looked at Bigfoot pictures, videos…basically we OD’d on Bigfoot. And it was so much fun.
My childhood was not perfect, but it was pretty great. I grew up in an age when the word playdate didn’t exist. We freely roamed our neighborhood, finding ourselves in our neighbor’s subterranean dens, and our parents didn’t worry. They should have, but they didn’t. It was just a different time when the only thing children feared was that there was the slightest possibility that a giant man/monkey/bear could be lurking in their backyard. Our children can no longer roam their neighborhoods freely. They know the horrible reality that things much more sinister than human like animals roam close to home. We tell them. We teach them. We must. But let’s enjoy those silly moments when we can lose ourselves in stories about innocuous creatures like Bigfoot. And let’s hope they don’t really exist. But until we know for sure, let’s bring our dogs in at night, especially if we live in Pennsylvania, the American Northwest or, of course, if we live anywhere near the Hollywood Hills.