When I was a kid and I wanted to escape, I rode my bike. My bike was as retro as they come and I felt like it could transport me anywhere. The body was black satin, the seat a "bread loaf" banana seat, and around the tires, molded blue plastic fenders that made it look like a motorcycle. On the front was a racing placard that read Thunder Road 42, and when I was on it, I felt like I could go anywhere or be anything I wanted to be. Many afternoons, I would ride my bike to the White Hen, our local convenience store where the owner Mr. Polich would ask me how my family was and would tell me not to loiter outside the storefront. Once, he hired me to stuff Sunday papers in the back room and gave me odd jobs when he couldn't come out from behind the counter. He always paid me in silver dollars, which I felt looked more like treasure than any bill he could give me.
Sometimes, I'd use his payment to buy a pack of Pixie sticks or those wax Cola bottles and sit in the back corner near the magazine rack and read comic books until the fresh ink would turn my fingers black and he would yell "Hey Bernholdt, this isn't a library!" Sometimes I wouldn't hear him because I'd be so lost in the world of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's creation, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It almost sounded too ridiculous to be true and that's what I loved about it. On rare occasions, when I had enough money, I'd buy that comic book and race home to read it over and over again.
Back when "Totally radical" and "Cowabunga" were common phrases, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who didn't know who Raphael, Donatello, Leonardo, and Michelangelo were. While at Target the other day, a woman at the checkout peered over at my items: Vintage TMNT shirts for the kids and me. "Oh are the Turtles back?" she asked me. "In my house, they never left" I responded.
When I started mowing neighbor's lawns for pocket money back in the day, I also started buying up all the TMNT toys. Once older, I put them away for that day when my own children and I could go back to those days together. It's the reason we squirrel our childhood things up into the attic for that "someday" in the future. Part of bringing back the things from our childhood also includes—not surprisingly—food.
You can't watch a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show without getting a craving for pizza. The two things are synonymous. To this day, I can't scarf down any pizza without thinking of the pizzeria fueled ninjas yelling “Turtle Power!” Every day after school, my brother and I would come home ravenous, but we weren’t allowed to use the oven. This is where Ellio’s Pizza came in; from frozen to toaster oven, it was an easy snack to prepare without violating mom’s “no oven” rule.
So, it’s only natural that nowadays when my kids and I watch episode after episode of the turtles eating pizza, we all start hankering for pizza ourselves. For me, this triggers memories of watching cartoons and eating pizza after school all those days. That's why creating a #Pizzastalgia night together with Ellio's Pizza is the perfect fit for our family – it’s the common denominator that brings us all together. What’s more, Ellio’s frozen pizza is easy to make, and all my kids love it. Those are qualities that are hard to come by in our household.
An Ellio's #Pizzastalgia TMNT night usually begins by playing with the old toys I bought as a youngster with money I made when I mowed lawns for the people in our neighborhood. Playing with the kids gives me ample time to warm up my toaster oven and cook the Ellio's Pizza. In just fifteen minutes, we’re all ready to chow down on some 'za and as a parent, I feel good that what I’m serving them is made with 100% real cheese with no artificial flavors. Then, I just pop in the retro cartoon series and hang with my dudes and dudettes. When it's time for bed and story time, it means taking out old issues of TMNT and reading a few of Eastman and Laird's storytelling before bed. My little ninjas are usually ready to crash in no time.
Do you have an idea for a #Pizzastalgia night with your kids? What would you bring back to share with them? What retro things from your childhood would you introduce to them? Share your photos of a #Pizzastalgia night with Ellio's Pizza and your family via social media. You can find Ellio’s on Facebook , Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr and for more information on their awesome pizza (including where you can find Ellio’s near you) check out the Ellio's website.
Don't forget to join us TONIGHT—Thursday, May 19th—at 8pm ET for the #Pizzastalgia Twitter party with Life of Dad and Ellio's Pizza. Cowabunga!