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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 31, 2014

The adventures of Zui, the Yellow-Caped Time Traveler

By Steph Tahtinen | Jan 13, 2012

My sister gave me one of my favorite presents this year — a good laugh and a walk down memory lane as my family sat down to watch the 1996 cinematic masterpiece Zui, the Yellow-Caped Time Traveler.

Never heard of it? Well, I should hope not. It was a play written, produced and starring my sister, 12; myself, 9; and our babysitter, 15. Due to the embarrassingly hilarious quality of it, we’ve worked hard to keep the number of showings limited. It’s not exactly something we show to every Tom, Dick and Harry. Professional it is not, but for one summer it was our life.

There I was, nine years old, running around my babysitter’s yard in a black spandex body suit and a gigantic yellow cape. (It should be noted that the only reason I was a “yellow-caped” time traveler was because my black spandex body suit had a rip in an unfortunate location).

The premise of the story was rather simple. I played a 14-year-old girl named Zui who was from the year 4444. My friends had traveled back in time, leaving me clues as a sort of scavenger hunt. As I followed their clues, I meet and befriend two girls in each time period, played by my sister and my babysitter.

I don’t remember much about writing or filming the movie. All I really remember was riding my exercise bike time machine, which isn’t surprising as about 75 percent of the film is me on the bike, lip singing along with the songs that were playing over the transitional scenes (i.e. “Meet the Flintstones” for when I journeyed to caveman times).

And for some reason in each time machine scene, I felt the need to break the fourth wall and take my hands off the moving handlebars, wave at the camera and yell, “Hi!”

Unfortunately, when I did this, I lost control of the moving handlebars and ended up whacking myself in the shoulder. Every time. As my family and I watched Christmas afternoon, we were making a game out of it — watch Steph get hit with the handlebar!

Watching the movie, there were some things that triggered my memory. But I half wondered if I remember these moments from watching the video, rather than from seeing them first hand. I remember seeing these moments more than I remember doing them.

It’s strange to think that something that seemed so important at the time is only a small blip on the radar of my life. Fifteen years down the road, it’s nothing but a vague memory.

In a way, that can be comforting. The other day I was talking with a couple of friends about the trials and tribulations of being a teenage girl. How there were some memories we wish we could erase. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized how important those memories are.

It’s those moments that make you who you are today. All the horrible, heartbreaking, embarrassing, sad, angry, happy or beautiful moments in your life shape the person you become. Remembered or not, your experiences are a part of who you are.

And as I sit here today, watching my nine-year-old self run around in that ridiculous outfit, I know that a part of me will always be Zui, the Yellow-Caped Time Traveler.

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