You Never Forget Your First Love

March 26, 2011

You Never Forget Your First Love by VacaDude

Last Sunday the 20th of March marked my 1 year anniversary of the first time I brought up the Owl Box on my computer. What a year it has been!

I am sure that of the generic memories I could conjure, most will have already been covered by others. So I will say that for my own part Molly and McGee awoke something in me that had been hibernating–my sense of silly. Then in the course of meeting the other MODs, I experienced an explosion of ideas and a stretching of my creative and artistic muscles (hopefully offsetting the various corporeal muscle groups that did NOT get much of a workout in this past year). Through a desire to entertain and inspire, I began to try new things and new artistic mediums. I began to get that feeling that anything was once again possible. The ideas were without limit. (The credit cards, alas, are definitely limited–as my recent forays onto eBay have so recently proven).

And for me it still continues–last night I broadcast my 75th episode of the VacaChat! So we are still having fun, still pushing the boundaries, and still partaking of all the glorious sights and sounds of owl box watching.

And yet, for all the new fuzzy faces to get to know and watch grow, I have to say that Molly and her family will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s like they say–you never forget your first love!

And so to Carlos, Donna, Austin, Eric, Chris, Barlycorn, the moderators, and everybody else who was and continues to be a part of this experience, I wish to thank you all from the bottom of my silly, silly soul!



VacaDude (John Atkinson)

73 Responses to “You Never Forget Your First Love”

  1. CBTyler Says:

    And thank you John!

  2. Cindy Says:

    You are the best John . . .Loved your work from the beginning.

    Thanks to you for all the laughs with your art work . . .keep on keepin on :0)

    I must now vlappity vlap outta here. Take good care of Vinky.


  3. Betty Says:

    Thank you John….it is so true you never forget your first love…..I was going thru radiation treatment for breast cancer…watching Molly&Mc Gee…and of course your cartoons make me have peace….I enjoy every min….thank you and god bless….Betty

  4. VSue Says:

    Thank you so much VacaDude AKA John…or is it the other way around? Well, you certainly have added joy to the day with your creativity and fun and I just love the chat when I can actually get time to peek in! Thank you for VacaChat so much!

    And thank you to owlryone; fellow MODz, Moderators, fellow chattererz and lurkers too; and thank you again Carlos, Donna, Austin, and well…everyone! (((BIG hugs to y’owl))

    And lots of <3 hearts too

  5. Couleedam (Nora) Says:

    John, your talent greatly added to the Molly and McGee experience. We all laughed, cried, and grew together!! Your illustrations and stories have become a part of our corporate memory. You have so much talent, “VacaDude” I salute you!!
    Hugz from couleedam

  6. VSue Says:

    Oh! Just one more thing…of course first loves never ever will I forget the precious Molly and McGee and all of their lovely family of owlets too; I shall talk about them forever as I truly feel they are a part of my family; as I feel y’owl are too!

  7. Caboval Says:

    Oh Vacadude!!!I totally understand!!! I would have never in a million years think I would fall so in love with this wonderful family!!! And just think of all of the new friends we have made along the way!!! You are such an inspriration to all of us and I cant thank you enough for taking us in when the cameras shut down, we were like empty souls wandering around wondering how did we get here? Thank you Vacadude we love you!!! Caboval

  8. GeniaKnitz Says:

    As with most of your cartoons, I’m sitting here watching the latest torn between laughter and tears.
    Never, never, never will I forget Molly and McGee – and the Magic Clutch 1.
    Thank you, John.
    You added so much to the experience.

  9. Twoclubs Jane Says:

    Dude! Your creativity was Owblocked til Carlos started broadcasting? Wow. What would we sillies have done without you? You continue to amaze me every time I go to Vacachat. You think of things I never ever imagined. And you gave us a comfort zone to play in with no walls or ceilings as we withdrew from The Owl Box. Oh but the Owl Box Rocks. Thanks for all you have added to our M & M experience.

  10. CAROL HODGES Says:

    This past year was truly amazing. I first knew of Molly and McGee when I saw it in the N.Cnty.Times.
    From then on, I was hooked. Turning on the computer first thing in A.M. and watching all day,
    afraid I’d miss something, anything. Then I got my Verizon bill. Whoa, I had to modify my habit.
    I can’t Thank all involved enough. Meeting some of you at the Picnic rounded out the experience. I was definitely a lurker as I am not a whiz on the computer, but, reading everyones comments each night, I became a MOD. The artwork is terrific and Carlos’ photography superb. The “Book” is my Treasure and looking forward to

    • Hey Vacadude,
      I want to let you know how much you mean to me. You have brought much joy into my life with all your silliness and knowledge. I want to thank you for all you have done in keeping all of us Molly and McGee lovers together, in touch and entertained during Carlos and Donna’s travels . I love everything you do and love your little furry puppet friends, Zorro, Rocky and of course Kyle the carrot. They always put a huge smile on my face. I feel like I have always know you and want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your thoughtfulness in keeping all of us together as one big happy Molly family. John, I just want to say that along with Molly, McGee, Carlos, Donna,Austin, Erik Blehm, and Chris Adams You too will always have a special place in my soul. See you on VacaChat!
      Sending love from Colorado,

    • Carol, sorry, my post ended up as a reply to your post but, was meant as a post to vacadudes. My goof up!
      I do want to say that reading your post brings back memories as to how I too bacame a MOD.
      We sure do love our Molly family don’t we?

  11. Martha (calliopekid) Says:

    To: THE DUDE
    Someone called you that in one of the chat sessions and I thought it fit you perfectly. Ha!
    I love your creativity and you willingness to share with all of us mods. You are just like a little kid in so many ways which I think is so refreshing. We must stay in touch with our inner child and you have captured it so well. I have your cartoon of Jodi entering heaven framed and hanging in my bedroom. It gives me so much comfort.
    Thank you so much for keeping us together. I really really appreciate YOU!

    Martha (calliopekid)

  12. Mary Jozwiak Says:

    Awww! Thanks John! It has been really fun getting to know you and watching your chats all this time. Can’t believe it has only been a year! i feel like I’ve known you much longer than that. So glad to have met you online and hope you will continue to have your Vacachats. Maybe we will meet outside of cyberspace some day… Your friend, Mary

  13. Rosemary Says:

    Ahhh VacaDude…

    Thank you so much… You added so much to this
    wonderful year we had with Molly and her family.

  14. birdlovers4ever Says:

    What another great cartoon John! How do you do it> You capture the moments of the Molly & McGee experience perfectly every time. Remember the chocolate Easter rabbit cartoon? And the one of the owlets in heaven… precious all!

  15. Vee Miller Says:

    John, we’re ever so grateful for you capturing the essence of Molly, McGee and the kiddos and putting it down in cartoon form. It was part of the fun and silliness a lot of us needed in our lives. We all laughed and cried together. Plus, how can we thank you for VacaChat? We love you VacaDude and now we have VOD (VacaDude Obsessive Disorder).

    All smiling together,

    Vee Miller

  16. sue Says:

    Vaca Dude you are without a doubt one of the most creative people I have ever encountered!!! I never get tired of your creations!! Thanks for everything you have brought to the Molly and McGee experience!!!

  17. birdlovers4ever Says:

    PS~ so glad you got your “silly” back and then cared enough to share it with us all.

  18. Ginny Howard Says:

    You were always my favorite Vaca…… or was my favorite Zorro? Or was it Johnny and the Horkers’ lead singer? Oh I know, it was the cartoonist of “Laughing Outside the Owlbox”, hmmmmmm maybe it could be the host of Vacachat!

  19. AnnSavage Says:

    I love the new illustration! Thanks for adding so much to our owl box viewing pleasure!

  20. Carol Says:

    And we thank you for your silly, silly soul.

  21. PegRod Says:

    The Light of The Owl Box Love and Laughter has made the world a better place.

    March 26th, the Anniversary of John VacaDude Atkinson’s first cartoon being published on Molly’s Blog by Carlos Royal!

    • debbie Says:

      kudos to you, pegrod, for your “spot on link posting”!!
      you have made both molly and mcgee day and this entry even better by providing us with all these wee links. :D
      you are like the illustrator to a book!! fabulous!

      thank you!


      • PegRod Says:

        Awww – debbie – thank you for that – I can’t help myself and there are some people who don’t know how to find links.

  22. JL and family Says:

    Well, John you were FiRST MoLLy & McGeE CARToON, Mr. KaRRoT, ZoRRo and ALL the other ∵☆* L♥VES *☆∴ !!!

    WeLL done!

    {{{{{{{{ J♥HN }}}}}}}}

  23. Hey Vacadude,
    I want to let you know how much you mean to me. You have brought much joy into my life with all your silliness and knowledge. I want to thank you for all you have done in keeping all of us Molly and McGee lovers together, in touch and entertained during Carlos and Donna’s travels . I love everything you do and love your little furry puppet friends, Zorro, Rocky and of course Kyle the carrot. They always put a huge smile on my face. I feel like I have always know you and want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your thoughtfulness in keeping all of us together as one big happy Molly family. John, I just want to say that along with Molly, McGee, Carlos, Donna,Austin, Erik Blehm, and Chris Adams You too will always have a special place in my soul. See you on VacaChat!
    Sending love from Colorado,

  24. Lee, Carlsbad Says:

    Your note couldn’t be put into better words..the love shines through, as it does with your gift of expression that you have put on paper and have shared with the Molly and McGee world!!!

    Ever grateful are our hearts…Dear VacaDude ~

  25. Gail Loveless Says:

    Well said John. I miss the fun we all had.

  26. Lynne Townsend Says:

    John-aka Vacadude

    Thanks so much for all you do for all of us!! Love your site that you keep for us and like you, Molly and McGee awoke something in me and I am oh so grateful. Love, love your work!!,


  27. debbie Says:

    adore the “first love” art, vacadude. :) brilliant.
    kudos all around…for everything you do.
    thank you…*hugs*


  28. Laurie Bishop Says:

    Okay. You made me cry. :,( Not in a bad way–just sentimental. You are right about first loves. Maybe you can say that they teach you to love?

    All the best, John. And what everyone else said–I second it.


  29. Teri Trickey Says:

    Hi Vacadude,
    You are so right. You never forget your first love, and Molly and McGee’s first family were so special to me. I was so sad to say goodbye and happy to see the second clutch. But I never felt the closeness to the second group that I felt for the first. They were so special and maybe it was the timing. I feel a little left out not to follow this third group, but to every place there is a time and I’m grateful to Carlos, Donna, Austin, and of course all the MODS and you for stretching artistically and making us laugh, even when sad things happened. Keep doing what you do best and I’m glad you were there to share with the rest of us!

  30. OUBobcat (barb) Says:

    Vacadude: Such a talent and a very nice man. I first met Molly on March 17…and so appreciate the view of nature that I had not imagined. Wonderful friends and great information have come from all of this. I feel that I am a better person for this past year. Terrific cartoon!!!

  31. Mary Says:

    You are a special, talented and warm human being. You have put light into many dark days. Molly and McGee forever! Thanks Carlos, Donna, Austin, Eric and Chris. But, our VacaDude gave it an extra dimension of sweetness and heart. Thank you for VacaChat and all the energy and care you put into it. Still would love to see the Mod’s Journal in print…(hint)

  32. SactoSylvia Says:

    John – You’re so incredibly funny and talented. Your contributions to the owl box are a big part of what drew us together as a community, and the new offerings that you share with us so generously are helping keep the community going.

    I just wanted you to know that — thank you!

  33. MoonDrops Says:

    Hey Duuude!
    I so appreciate your sense of silly and so grateful it was awakened in you! When days are bleak, I can always count on you to be a ray of sunshine! What a great teacher and wonderful babysitter you are! I learned so much history of San Fran, your family, thoroughly enjoyed the trip via Google Earth to places I can only dream of visiting, the puppets and least, but certainly not last…every stroke of your talented hand and creative mind. How can I ever thank you for making “withdrawal” easier by filling it with so much love and fun. God bless The Dude!

    Best wishes always!

    • MoonDrops Says:

      No, no, no…*blushing with embarrassment*…dang brain cramps…should be “and last, but certainly not least”… Sorry John and everyone.

  34. Sally L Dausch Says:

    I am so thankful for my bff who shared Molly/McGee and all that came with the owl box. It reestablished by faith in man-kind that indeed there is a whole world of wonderful, caring and inteligent as well as gifted folks out there. John brought his talents of drawing, his sense of silly and a wonderfully rich knowledge base of all things to the forefront and shared them with all of us who had been smitten by these wonderful creatures of nature, the barn owl. I laughed, cried, worried and wondered at all things owl. A large thank you is do to all of you Carlos, Donna, Austin,Eric, Chris, Barly, BugGirl, all the fellow Mods and the MODS that kept us all in line, but most of all to John who brought us all a large dose of silly that I personally had left in my childhood, Thank you John from the bottom of my heart, we love you for all that you are and all that you have done and continue to do.


  35. Liela M. Maielua Says:

    Love the cartoon, how special thank you so much. I have to agree there are no other quite like M&M.

  36. Maxine Says:

    Hi John,

    We are all glad that you found your “sense of silly” again. Humor and laughter are very healing. It is a gift to make others laugh. Thanks for the latest cartoon, “you never forget your first love…” I’ve been waiting for another cartoon. When you have a spare moment, would you be able to do another draw-a-long? It’s fun to watch and relaxing.

    Peace be with you.


  37. Julie Says:

    I have to stop reading all of these posts. I am so teary eyed from reading-I am in need of shamwows big time!

    Love the cartoon Vaca-it made me smile. How beautiful M & M and all their babies were. It is true- You Never Forget Your First Love. Thank you M and M! and thank you Vaca for your awesome work!

  38. Amy Hoover Says:

    THAT was the nicest thing I’ve read in a very long time!!! don’t ever lose that sense of silly again!!! and..thank you for SHARING it!

  39. pelicangirl Says:

    You are athe best Vacadude! You are one talented hero!

    Thanks for the memories!!!!!!

  40. !!Diane Ruiz Says:

    John (our beloved Vacadude) you said it well. A little over a year ago today my granddaughter, Kara, fell in love with an owl named Molly. The rest is history. The memories are awesome. You brought out a little bit of silly in all of us. Thanks for the smiles and all the laughs and for giving us a super special look into the owl box!! Granamammy.

  41. Jes63 Says:

    You not only entertain and teach us but you are a very good writer.
    Your blog expresses it all.
    Thank you.

  42. Kim in San Diego Says:

    Oh Vaca…I totally agree with you!! I have tried to watch the other owls, but just can’t seem to get as involved. You & all the folks you mentioned made the M&M addiction so special. I will never forget my experiences with the most famous owls in the world. It was fun, & I’m glad I was a part of it.

  43. TOPPSY Says:

    pthhhhhhh, gotcha all beat–I live about 11 miles from this talented owl-lover! Anyhow John, we have to meet at Texas Road House so I can buy you some of those delicious ribs and shoot the breeze about M & M.
    Sure is nice to see alot of the chatters names I miss so much. Hope everyone comes away from this experience–smiling–sharing info about birds–and big cheers for the OWLBOX memories!

  44. DZRTJUL Says:


  45. Janet Wilcox Says:

    You said it all VacaDude. You are a special person and the Molly & family characters and wit is beautiful and all to funny to behold. Thank you for sharing. The Owl Box has been an experience and learning that I take with me and learn more. Thank you Royals. Blessings, Janet (JanKW)

  46. Pat Canada aka pcanada Says:


    I can’t thank you enough for keeping us together during the dark times that we did not have Molly and Mcgee to watch and did not know how we were going to stay in touch with each other. It was such a wonderful thoughtful thing for you to do to give us all a place to go together.

    Molly and Mcgee are definately my first love, still have my bumper sticker that says “I’d Rather Be Watching Molly.” They changed my life and you were part of it..

    You are a very funny, talented and most of all an awesome human being!

  47. Ruth Says:

    Thank you John!

  48. Nancy Greene Says:

    Right back atcha, VacaDude! You also helped to make it a memorable experience for all of us with MOD. Luv ya!

    Nancy (statOR)

  49. Linda /artgirl4388 Says:

    TY Vacadude – your work brings joy and pathos – you really know how to capture the moment. We look forward to more.

  50. debbie Says:

    the owl pumpkin carving is still one of my favorite “vaca episodes”.


  51. Michaele C. Says:

    Vacadude, loved the “First Love” cartoon, that
    says it all. What an experience and you playing
    a huge role and continue to do so through your
    own episodes. Still lurking but lovingly so.
    Thanks everyone.

  52. Lisa Sharp Says:

    I love it! Molly and McGee and the first clutch are certainly a memory not soon forgotten! I have to remember to check Vacachat…something I’ve gotten out of the habit of. I miss my Molly friends.

  53. Ricki Says:

    Your “2010 – The Year of the Owls” is just perfect……..I’m so glad I ordered it as it really sums up the whole M & M experience.
    I love your “Story Time w/ Zorro – thanks to Dot Rot and your wonderful sense of humor.

  54. Another Mary Says:

    Someone wrote in the chat room tonight, “VacaDude makes my heart and soul smile.” Wow. So Perfectly said! A few rare times in life if we are supremely fortunate, we might be blessed to cross paths with an individual who naturally makes our lives richer, deeper, warmer, and far more joyous than it might otherwise have been. We never forget that person… They inspire us, teach us, comfort us, and bring us much needed laughter, making us better people along the way. That’s VacaDude and he does it with unprecedented modesty and a hugely giving heart. In the quiet hours of early morning when I’m mentally compiling my list of all I have to be grateful for, OwlBox friends and loved ones, near and far, feathered and otherwise, VacaDude immediately comes to mind. I suspect there are many, MANY more Mods who feel the same. Thank-You, John Atkinson, for sharing your talent and your heart with us.

  55. Sally in Aus Says:

    Congratulations John on a lovely tribute to M and M as well as 75 wonderful fun packed hours of FUN and Educational Vacachat.Carlos wove us all together and set us off on a journey which took us to places of wonderment and excitement!Now continuing to ride the wave we journey into unknown lands exploring what life (and Vacadude) has to offer and encouraging each other along the way.I love being part of the Molly community .Although I am miles away in Aus. the warmth and companionship sweeps me along with a laugh and the fun of “The Owl” community.Thank you John are like an Opal…a real gem!

    • PegRod Says:

      Sally in Australia – VacaFans really enjoy all the lovable things you send to VacaDude that he has made part of his show – the cheese vest and the Steampunk outfits that Zorro wears are simply marvelous! All the stuffed animals and puppets, etc. – Thank you from all of us (((hugz))).

      • Sally in Aus Says:

        Thanks so much PegRod…just wish I was closer so I could wrap my wings around you all for a group huuuuuuuggggg!

  56. Tresbien Says:

    Congratulations on your 75th broadcast of VacaChat, and many thanks for all the smiles and laughter you’ve given us during that time. The moment I saw the cartoon with Verminos and Mousie-Tung Take Out, it was clear we had someone special and so very talented in our midst. I still smile and think of that whenever I see an ad for that other company!

    Often I’m modding during your broadcasts but try to catch them in the archives. Your creativity and playfulness are infectious. A few weeks ago I stopped in at the start of Story Time and saw how much fun everyone was having. I know the participants must have been thinking gee wasn’t that fun and I was part of it! Thanks for continuing to keep the spirit of The Owl Box alive. Best to you always.

  57. Lisa A. Burns Says:

    Oh John this is just Wonderful !!!
    Thank you so very much!!!
    Big Hugz !!!!

  58. donna Says:

    John you are a big part of what makes the owl box so special, Thank You! Molly & McGee, and all their little ones will always be special to me. Thank you again for all that you do!

  59. Astrid Says:

    This is so True, There always will be Molly & McGee and the 1st Clutch on my mind, no matter how many other wonderful new events appear.
    This was so special to me and gave me a glimpse of the wonderful Owl world.
    Thanks again.

  60. muttsfan Says:

    So true Vacadude, as much as I enjoy Syd and the other critters on Ustream, there remains something so special about Molly. It is such a pleasure to chat with other soul-mates, and they all fill my days with laughter. Thanks to you, Donna and Carlos, and all the mods, without who none of this would have been such a special experience.

  61. Vacadude..I wish I could get your DVD!!! However. It will be quite awhile before I get “PayPal ” set up. Any other way we could work it out? I just love ‘your’stuff!!!!!I’m sure some SPO folks would vouch for me. Perhaps I could send you a cashiers check, then you could send me the DVD.?????Wish I could make this private. I know what you do for one can come back to haunt you. Sparrow In Indy

  62. PegRod Says:

    Thank you for all the fabulous recordings! Here is the Ustream VacaChat archive index, for future use. You can sort them by “most recent” “least recent” “most views”, etc.

    “Kyle the Carrot” happens to be first! VacaDude may have celebrated his 75th broadcast, but there are 125 videos so far. “We’re rootin’ for you!”.

    Thank you for the love and laughter and joy and all the wonderful community in VacaWorld!

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