So one of my fondest childhood memories is of the summer of 1971 -- a few weeks before my Aunt Mavis took us to see The Time Machine. My boyfriend Bill, my brother, and I went to the Denkmann Elementary School Carnival, and I won a whole box of Disney comics that somebody donated-- Donald Duck, Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, Uncle Scrooge -- over 20 in all.
I could do without the Donald Ducks, with Donald being forced to sit on a chair at the Bon Ton while Daisy tried on hats, and the Walt Disney's Comics and Stories were uneven, but each of the Uncle Scrooges was a gem.
In each issue Uncle Scrooge traveled to a far-flung corner of the world with Donald and his grand-nephews (Huey, Dewey, and Louie) to manage his various business enterprises or acquire more wealth.
They are captured by the Harpies while searching for the Golden Fleece.
They rocket to a solid gold moon created by a Venusian explorer.
They find the Mines of King Solomon.
They visit the kingdom of Tralla-La in Tibet.
Treasure Island, King Solomon's Mines, Coral Island, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and the books in the Green Library!
It was a male-only world, with no damsels in distress to be rescued and no girls waiting back home at the adventure's end. Uncle Scrooge is elderly, his life nearly over, and he has never expressed the slightest interest in a woman.
But my memory has another layer:
I did not read the comics alone.
Bill invited me to stay over at his house so he could "help me" read, squeezed into his small bed in the room down the hall from his big brother Mike.
When I was ready to sleep, I lay against his chest, and he put his arm around me.
I had slept over with Bill many times before, and I would sleep over again, but that was the only time we slept in each other's arms.
The story of Bill continues here, when I find him kissing Dan at the Longview Park Pool.