I have on my desk, a toy replica of Speed Racer’s Mark 5. I bought it a the Dollar Store for a buck.
It has been on my desk now for many years and occasionally someone might ask me about it. A few people recognize it and some ask if I liked the movie. I’ve never seen the movie.
Back in the day, sometime around 1971- 72, I watched the cartoon version of Speed Racer immediately after school. Daily, I had to see what would befall Speed, Trixie, and Pops, and of course Racer X. Afterwards, I hit the neighborhood to find my friend Bobby and we would re-enact the races with our Hot Wheels added with passionate discussions of the episode just watched.
That was a long time ago. But Speed Racer, which I doubt I could stomach today, was exciting to me. It was fun. It was shared with a friend.
Bobby disappeared one day. Word was that his father had come and kidnapped him and his sister. All assumed they were taken back to Mexico. I never saw or heard from or about Bobby again. My family soon moved to another neighborhood and I don’t remember Speed Racer being quite the same again.
I barely remember his face exactly. I recall his blue jeans, dirty white t-shirt, and crew cut black hair. I think of Bobby still and hope everything went well for him in his life. I wonder if we would have remained friends. With the amount of moving my family did, I doubt it. I’ve retained near zero school-time friends. But maybe one from kindergarten may have been different, the bonds a little tighter. Who knows?
The toy Mark 5 reminds me of Bobby. Of being a little 5 year old kid. Excited over something that really means nothing. Enjoying life before real school started. Before responsibilities. Before anything. Just joy of living and playing.
The Mark 5 takes me there when I let it. I hope somewhere out there, Bobby also remembers the Mark 5 and finds that same nugget of childhood joy in the folds of his memories.
I hope he now knows the identity of Racer X too.