Yesterday, Kathryn protested that she should not be expected to know how Paul McCartney was dressed on the cover of “Abbey Road” because she was too young. I shot back that her youth was no excuse, that she might as well claim she couldn’t picture Alberto Korda’s photo of Che Guevara because she was not a communist.
Once she followed the link I provided, of course, she responded, “Oh, that one.” The exchange sparked a fun sub-thread on iconic images of the 20th Century.
Well, this morning, I experienced the feeling of being too old for a shared cultural experience. As the news spread that Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are, had died, Twitter was filled with references to how important he was to the childhoods of the writers — such as this one from actor/director Jon Favreau.
I immediately felt a disconnect. I wasn’t familiar with who he was until I was an adult. Actually, he may not have fully registered on me until Richland County Public Library had some sort of special Sendak celebration several years back.
To me, his most famous work was one of those books in the stacks of books from which we read to our children, and then grandchildren. But not one that had made a big impression on me, like my favorites (Socks for Supper by Jack Kent, The King’s Stilts by Dr. Seuss, and especially Bread and Jam for Francis, by Russell and Lillian Hoban). And while I get the impression that he had greater literary cachet than the authors of “The Berenstain Bears,” I was more affected by the passing of Jan Berenstain.
How about you young folks out there? How did Sendak affect you?