What were you afraid of as a child?
The dark was a biggie. By the time I hit high school I could navigate basically any room in our large house in the dark, and I credit this partially to my sisters perpetually turning out the lights on me and running away while I yelled.
Another biggie was whatever was under my bed. There was a terrible movie with Fred Savage where he got dragged away to another world by the monsters that lived under his bed and it scarred me, I swear. I have never sought out that movie but a part of me wants to just to see how cheesy and awful it probably is. Still not gonna.
What were your favorite books as a child? Do you ever reread any of them? If so, how do they hold up? Were there ever any that gave you nightmares, but you had to finish them anyway?
I'll also plug Edith Nesbit, I've just started buying her stuff for my nephew who I have deemed large and clever enough to enjoy them. Also they have dragons and pirates and relatively sensible female characters. Although it took me a long time to figure out one scene where one of the older children told a younger sibling not to drink rainwater even though she was thirsty because "there are Germans in the rainwater".
I went through Anne of Green Gables like a shot, I always was a little disappointed that L.M. Montgomery saw fit to kill off Anne's baby. But those also hold up well. She did several other books set in Canada and I have very fond memories of The Story Girl and Magic For Marigold. I have been accumulating these and they still hold up totally great.
I was always a junkie for folktales and mythology so I grew up on D'Aulaire's Greek Myths before graduating shortly to Bulfinch's Mythology and then Italo Calvino's Italian Folktales collection - my sister was in some lit class in college and I swiped it from her when she was home. This may have been slightly less than appropriate as I would have been about six and these were the old-school stories full of sex and mutilation. But it looks like I turned out ok... although it's still a bit jarring to see the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty when she doesn't wake up with twin children as beautiful as the sun and the moon, and the wicked stepmother never tries to boil her to death in a giant cauldron. I am still a sucker for a good folktale (I just found a book of Hungarian folktales and it's fun because it analyzes what I guess would be the equivalent of the etymology of the stories - there must be a better word for it than that, but it's basically things like "this is a combination of the standard #27 Golden Child and #41 The Faun" etc. etc. and I LOVE IT).
My mom also had her mother's Ten Ever'Lovin Blue-Eyed Years With Pogo, an anthology of Walt Kelly's stuff. I found it very early and liked it as cartoons before I realized it was supposed to be topical and political. I now have my own collection of Pogo books that is going strong...
Oh yeah, and the nightmare one? Return To Oz. Wheelers and electroshock therapy? No thank you very much. Weirdos.
As a child, how did you feel about other children? Were your friends mostly your age, mostly older, or mostly non-existent?
I tried to have imaginary friends but they usually got forgotten for those of a more geographic nature - there were kids my age in the neighborhood so they were default friends until about junior high. They were the ones I had to walk to school with or hang out with after school because somebody's mom was around or whatever the reason was, so it was pretty much enforced friendship. Or perhaps friendship due to parental convenience.
What was your favorite toy? Do you wish that you still had it? Do you still have it or have you bought another off eBay?
There is a very quiet corner in my closet with two stuffed toys, a duck and a rabbit (the rabbit is a puppet) and a small blanket. The blanket is yellow gingham on the back and the front is all patches that the kids in my mom's preschool class made with those stamps you make out of potatoes. These are sacred. And, cleverly enough, their respective names are Ducka, Bun-Bun and Starblankie. They came to college with me and they will always be around somewhere. That's just how it's gotta be.
P.S. Does anyone else remember From The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler? It always made me want to run away and live in a museum.