Thursday, August 5, 2010


Last night when we called to say Good Night to all our group at the beach, they’d had their dinner and all the kiddles were bathed and hair washed, sweet faces clean and glowing after a long sandy day in the sun and water. I could hear the theme song of “Dragon Tales” in the background, for a little wind-down before bedtime.

The show is about a magical world of round poufy benign dragons---all sweet creatures of kindness and charm (one pink one has two heads, a boy dragon and a girl dragon, both smiling). The little show always reminds me of the one of my childhood---does ANYONE remember Mary Jane and Sniffles?
Mary Jane is a little girl, and Sniffles is a mouse who lived in her room, but who also inhabited a wonderful place of exciting adventures, all always safe and safely concluded. Plus, Sniffles had a better wardrobe than Mickey and Donald combined.

And, in a precursor of the little modern-day Dragon Tales chant of “I wish—I wish with all my heart, to fly with dragons in a world apart,” as they’re magically whisked into DragonLand, my long-ago friend Mary Jane would close her eyes and say,

Sometimes she'd cross her fingers, and other times, she'd sprinkle a sparkly little cloud of magic dust over her blonde hair; perhaps the dust led to the greater, more magical adventures, or longer journeys---I never found out. And I cannot tell you how MANY times I tried that little incantation, just hoping for just once to experience that magical transformation.

And so she’d shrink like Alice, and they’d fly or transport off on lovely little innocent happenings amongst small creatures and magical kingdoms with mushroom warriors and candy landscapes and delightful new friends.

There was also a comic-book series, and I bought every one that came out; despite Mary Jane's occasionally also morphing from a childish little kneesock charmer into an uncanny pint-size version of Brenda Starr---disconcerting to a fan of both---I still headed to the drugstore with my dime for that month's adventure.

These small, innocent little beings and their adventures were a great part of many childhoods. They're fondly remembered by many, I'm sure---a lovely memory of a gentler time and an easier stage of life, these wonderful fantasies. That "Make me a child again, just for tonight" would come in handy in many, many of the dire or difficult circumstances of adulthood. And I'm sure, for a lot of children, they provided a momentary escape into another world---one of kindness and loving beings and the hope of a bright day to cling to.
Didn’t we all need transporting at some time or another during those days? And didn’t being mouse-sized seem tempting? Hiding in a shoe, creeping along unnoticed, invisible at the unfurl of a cloak, magically transporting from one wonderful place to another---what child would resist those?

And if you’d had a choice---Transport, Shrinking, or Invisibility, which would you have chosen?


Kouign Aman said...

I get a different instant reference to "Mary Jane and Sniffles". And that reference sends my mind to the lyrics of "Go Ask Alice" (Jefferson Airplane): "One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small...."
I like your reference better. It sounds like a delightful read, and a set of delightful memories.

Jeanne said...

Good morning dear Rachel. I have a few minutes, or longer to sit and really enjoy your posts that are so entertaining to me. Your comments are always so welcome and I look forward to hearing from you always. Thank you for your sweet comment yesterday. I often wonder if there is a boring side of me because when I read your text I am always pulled into your stories completely.

I admit to remembering your subject today but I didn't read it much. Being older than you, I was probably knee deep in small children. Smile. I think shrinking sounds good to me. Especially these 10 lbs. I have gained over the winter. They are not in the mind of shrinking. HA!

I love your Truman story. I think he is a lovely memory from past history today. How sad for all of us. However, we recently met a 'Chuck' that pretty much fits Truman's mechanical ability. Let's hope so.

I am only imagining why you would erase your post from a few days ago. We 'can' get up on the wrong side of the bed once in a while you know. It happens to the best of us. BIG smile.

Today I am starting out great. No one is awake and I am drinking my coffee all by myself. Renewing energy to enjoy my daughter and my hubby's sister and her dh. I can't forget her two, sometimes aggressive pups. In one week all will be back to normal. With all the crazy happenings we have had this summer, I need a quiet time. However, you know I thrive on chaos. Good thing!!!

Enjoy your day dear friend.
Hugs, Jeanne

Tonja said...

I have never heard of this series. But, it sounds delightful! Do you still have some of the comic books? If so, I know they are a treasure.

I think I would choose to be invisible. Oh, my, what you could find out by being able to listen to anything you want. I have thought that would be a great thing since I was a child.

Kouign Aman said...

The 6-yr old says she cant decide between transport and invisibility. I'm torn between transport and shrinking. I figure that, small enough, I would essentially be invisible. We had a fun conversation about it. thanks for prompting it.

Maggie Norman said...

Definitely transport---to Burgundy tonight for some fine cheese.

Kim Shook said...

I don't remember Mary Jane, but I LOVED Miss Brenda! I wanted her life and her gorgeous red hair. I think that I would choose transport, too. I'd go all over the world and come see you! The Narnia Chronicles cured me of wanting to be invisible after Lucy's experience with it. And shrinking (unless it's to a size 8) is too scary sounding for my timid soul!

Quilt Mom said...

I remember my Mom telling us Mary Jane & Sniffle stories, she'd make them up as she went along.
These stories were a fond memory from her childhood, she was born in 1937.

Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Some of my happiest times were when the Polly Pigtails Magazine would come out because they always had a Mary Jane & Sniffles story, talk about a happy childhood memory this is one of my fondest ones. The Old Grey Mare

Anonymous said...

This is so fun...I have gone into Comic Book Stores and asked about Mary Jane and Sniffels and no one ever heard of them. I was born in 1936 and loved being carried away into the small world with Mary Jane. This was a joyful read. Thank you.

Kathleen M. said...

I was born in 1945 & loved Mary Jane & Sniffles in newspaper cartoon strips & comic books. I read where the rhyme I remember of "Magic words.." was used starting in 1949. I was an early reader so I probably read them most at ages 4-6. I am so glad there is someone besides me who still remembers. I don't remember the animated stuff. Kathleen M.

Anonymous said...

Mary Jane and Sniffles are forgotten characters and as the years went by, it slipped slowly and eventually disappeared from the comic world.

Jim said...

I loved Mary Jane and Sniffles when I was a little boy in the 50s and early 60s I remember the cartoon better than the comics

Anonymous said...

Born the same year, but I remember encountering them as two or three page filler in other comic books. In these the stories were not animated, only text. But I found them quite charming.

Claire Narbonne said...

I loved this little girl, her mouse, and their wonderful adventures! I did not see the animation version, but her adventures on paper has me mesmerised!


Joan said...

I guess I never outgrew Mary Jane and Sniffles
Today, I received my new placemats with street scenes of Paris. Sitting there looking at those mats I thought of the magic duo and wished it were possible to leap into leap into the picture as they sometimes did. That sent me to the internet to see if anyone else still remenberedthem. Glad to find your post.

Claire Narbonne said...

I discovered Mary Jane and Sniffles in Elliot Lake, Ontario, while on a family trip. I was totally enchanted! I would love to find an anthology of those comics to share with my grandchildren.

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Gloria Gauvin said...

Found this site in my search for the comic book characters that I loved so much in my childhood I was an only child and spent many hours reading I never thought I would find this material again Thanks to the Internet and thank you for printing this

Gloria Gauvin said...

Found this site in my search for the comic book characters that I loved so much in my childhood I was an only child and spent many hours reading I never thought I would find this material again Thanks to the Internet and thank you for printing this

MaryJane said...

My sister was eight when I was born. She convinced our mother to name me after her favorite comic book character! :) My main problem with the name began when I started school, and of course all the nuns wanted to call me just Mary. :( Since then I took out the space and I've often used MJ. It can be demoralising to be called only half your name for years. :'(