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When I Was a Kid... Page 3

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Bucket bags and big name buttons, American Bandstand from Philadelphia (was Arlene dancing with someone other than Kenny?), and going to the amusement park as a family ONCE a year (no season passes!). Two of my favorite memories are the spring scents that came into our classroom windows on the early afternoons when the janitor had just cut the grass outside, and REAL lunches at school (roast beef, mashed potatoes, green beans, and incredible soft rolls for $.75!) What I miss most, however, are the independent book stores and restaurants. This was a time when shopping COULD be an adventure...new things to see and sample...today we can get the exact same meal and see the exact same stores in any mall across the country. I miss the quiet and the pattern of our lives then...We do, however, still retain one priceless 60's delight here in my hometown: an original drugstore with the lunch counter. My children have been able to taste REAL lime-aids made from scratch, and hamburgers cooked on a grill that is older than they are! You just can't match the taste!!! - Marilyn

I remember having a key to adjust my roller skates and one would always come apart and I'd have to hop on one foot while skating on the other, but it didn't bother me in the least. Life was slow and peaceful, so was the neighborhood. - Shirley

Growing up in a small town of 2,500 people in North Dakota was very special. My preteen years came during the 50's. A typical summer day would start with baseball practice, followed by swimming at the local pool, then back to the baseball diamond for league games. On the way home we would stop at Beardsley's Drug Store, sit up to the soda fountain and order a nice cold Cherry Coke. When we were not at the baseball park or swimming pool we spent our time at the neighborhood vacant lot. We came home when the town whistle blue at 10:00 p.m., unless it was one of the many nights we slept under the stars. Those were great nights, we would lay on our backs peering at the bright star lit sky, eating carrots and crab apples that were raided from gardens. We would search the stars for a glimpse of Russia's Sputnik. Other memories I have of that time period is sneaking down the steps and listening to the radio shows such as "Fibber McGee And Molly" in the dark. I also remember when we got our first television set, oh how proud we were of that 21 inch Admiral... a telephone with party lines, and a operator on the other end calling out "number, please".... cars that looked different from year to year.... my older sister and brother dancing in the living room to "Rock Around the Clock" .... - Bruce

I remember not being able to sit down to the family's dinner table until ALL the chores had been done. That included the milking, feeding and watering of the farm's animals, setting the table and washing up my 4 younger siblings before supper time. "If you don't work, you can't eat!" was the motto in our house. But by the same token, if I did my chores and didn't "fudge" on the truth with my parents/grandparents, I was allowed to go to Friday night school events with no questions asked and transportation was provided. There was always an open ear whenever we were in the barn-----amazing how many of my unsurmountable life's tragedies were solved over a couple buckets of fresh milk and the realization that we had to spend this time together! - nh

As a teenage girl, you were cool if your clothes were the "Bobbie Brooks" brand. Yardley of London cosmetics were popular, especially Slicker Lipstick. Straight hair was in, and if you had curly hair you might use "Curl Free" to straighten it, or you might put Dippity Do on your hair and roll it in large plastic curlers. Graduating to stockings with a garter belt was a big deal in sixth grade. Before that, girls wore knee socks with dresses and skirts. When you got your ears pierced, you just had one hole in each ear. My dad called the first rock stars "long hairs." - Gloria

I grew up in the 50's in a small town in NW Ohio. A child's dream come true with two big factories. Spangler Candy Co. and the Ohio Art Co. (they made toys) Where they held "Open House" in the fall. Summers were fun days at the public pool, and when the Jubilee came to town on the town square. As children we didn't eat in restaurants, we ate at the drive-ins...where the car hop brought the food to the car..and don't forget the drive-in theater, with the swings to play on before the movie..and you could take your own food. After school your mom was home waiting for you with home-made cookies, and you walked home from school, mom didn't take you..but then it was safe for children to walk to and from school, and the schools were in the neighborhood, not across town. After supper you went out to play "hide and seek" and catching lightning bugs and putting in jars until the next morning, but I remember the boys making rings out of them..it never got dark until 10:00..yes, those were the days..not locking your doors at night..and knowing your neighbors, living in the same house until you were out of High School..having cousins, aunts and uncles, and Grandparents in the same town.. - Diana Hicks

I grew up on a private road on a private mountain in Idaho. I remember frost on the outhouse seat! Frost on the inside of my bedroom window! Sittin' on the wood stove early mornings to get warm while the others dressed for school. Eating Cheerios out of the box while listening to "THE LONE RANGER" on the radio. Walking to the bus stop 1 mile down 5 miles up. A dog who met the bus every night when we got off from school. It was always nearly dark in winter. A cougar's scream on a lonely road! My brother yelling,"It's only ME!" But he couldn't catch us in time. (I think it might be hard to run in that "substance!") FREEDOM! Rolling Stones getting, "Satisfaction!" The Everly Brothers "Wake up Little Susie" was originally banned. "Louie Louie" too. This was pretty risque stuff. Short skirts. Kennedys. The Twist at the inaugural Ball! (So young! So progressive!) Man on the moon! "One small Step.." Then "Next Stop Viet Nam!" We sent them our youth; Callow innocent youth. That they might fight for our freedom in a country most of us had never heard of. God! How I wish they had sent them back as Callow, and innocent as they took them. NO! It would only have hurt we who thought them heros more when they got no hero's welcome. - Laurel Johnsen

In college in the late 60's, we had curfews for the girls (we weren't called "women" then). If the guy brought you back to the dorm after curfew, you accumulated "late minutes." If he was a gentleman (and most of them were) he was supposed to send you one rose for every late minute the next day. Once you got 15 late minutes, you were grounded for the next weekend. Generally toward the end of the term, most girls tried to make their dates late so they could get roses! - jeepers I remember going to the movies with my younger sister. It cost nine cents if you were under 12, and we were. All the children in town went on Saturday afternoon. Our doors were never locked. Every afternoon, we played basesall with whatever we had. Sometimes the bat was a stick. We rode our bikes everywhere! Up and down the canal banks that were to us liks mountains! Imagine my shock, going back twenty five year later and finding that the mountains were just small inclines! We played tag and hide and go seek all over the neighborhood until dark. Then we were all called by name, from our porches, to come home. My best friend had a huge weeping willow tree that we played in. It was our "horse" or our "house" depending on the game we played. Imagine my shock to find it cut down when I returned for that visit! It felt like my heart was ripped out! Oh, the many, many memories of my years between five and twelve years old! - Betsy Jennings

Penny candy (mary jane's & b b bats), cherry colas, banana popsicles...YUM YUM....bigtime crushes on the boys who looked most like George Harrison or Paul McCartney.....YUM YUM....watchin' the Red Skelton show with Dad ...incense, peppermints......awwwwwwwww, those were the days:) - Vicki

In 1960 I was 8 years old and I too remember the "real" penny candy, playing with my metal dollhouse, little red spinning wheel, being a Girl Scout, taking baton lessons, going to Sunday school every week, having to be in when the street lights came on or we were in "big touble," going to the roller rink and blue jeans were allowed, most of the girls wore the short little skirts with the pom poms on each skate, playing outside in the summer and gone for hours with our Mom not worrying about us, as a teenager at 13 I was one of the biggest Beatles fans ever, I still have some of my Beatles stuff too, and took my Beatles poster off my wall when Paul McCatney got married, I thought it was cool to act like a hippie and living in the Washington, DC area I went to some of the anti-war demostrations. I remember going to the corner drugstore and getting the pink lemonade in the tall frosted glasses, vanilla cokes, where you could go to the movies and if the movies already started you just saw the beginning when it was over or you just stayed and saw it again. At 16 started going to rock concerts and saw Jimi Hendrix at the Washington Hilton for $3.00. I remember me asking my parents to tell us about the "olden days." - Dee Worrell

This web page has been great for me. I am a junior in high school and we are doing decade projects. I have the sixties. I have to make a scrapbook over the decade. This page has been great. I would like to say one thing we go to school and if we don't our teachers and parents know. Many students just don't care. Many get home before their parents so the message gets to the student first and the parents never find out. One of the quotes or whatever sounds like it is no one cares if you skip. People care. All my teachers care and want to help there students be successful. - Emily

Emily, you have the best decade of the century to work with. Make the most of it! - hmc

Like Emily, Im doing a report for English, and finding music interesting I chose 50's music.I thought I made a mistake in choice until I cam across this site and I appreciate it a lot! It makes being a freshman in high school, doing this report a lot easier. - Justina

Young people showed respect to anybody older than them - just because they were older, even if they were a bum. In return most older people showed a lot more respect to younger people. But, teachers were allowed to discipline kids more than today without fear of lawsuits. - JJL

When I was young, my mother would give us 50 cents to go to the Saturday matinee, which included TWO full length features, news reels, a serial feature (Rocketman was my favorite) and lots of cartoons. Your 50 cents would get you admitted (20 cents), a bag of popcorn (10 cents), a soda (10 cents) and two candy bars (5 cents each). Mom would drop us off at one o'clock and pick us up at about 5:30. Pretty inexpensive baby-sitting. - Mike Sloan

Delaware Punch...a grape flavored pop. Summers at the lake with my cousins. Sliding down the Cascades hill on my round snow sled. Going to Mass EVERY day, confession on Saturday's and Mass again on Sun. Five pieces of bubble gum for a penny. Watching Superman, Hopalong Cassidy, the Lone Ranger, Howdy Doody. Listening to Big John & Sparky on the radio. Having my Dad bring me mucklucks (a slipper/sock) every time he came home from a hunting trip. Having my Uncle Pat bring me a Creamsicle every time he came to visit & his calling me Sylvia even though that's not my name. My Mother calling me all her sisters names first when she was mad at me. And there were 7 sisters. Oh, to be 5 again & feel safe in the warmth of Daddy's arms. Great memories!!! - Cynthia

In my neighborhood, you not only had to answer to your parents but you had to answer to all of the other homeowners... If you were doing something that they felt your parents wouldn't want you to, they told them. Chances were that the neighbor would lecture you and your parents would spank or punish you. - skp

Staying out until the street lights came on; when 25 or 50 cents would buy an awful lot of candy; sleeping out in the backyard overnight; hopscotch; Sorry; PEZ; the ice cream man; those summertime pixie haircuts and not worrying about being abducted if you were out alone riding your bike or walking to school. I remember my brother's '55 Chevy with the cool shift-knob and taking rides on his Honda motorcycle during a warm summer evening. Didn't seem to be as much traffic back then. Saturday morning cartoons, Sunday school the next day and making sure I had a clean, ironed dress to wear to school on Monday. I still have a couple of friends from my early childhood, and I count myself lucky. I loved being a kid. Just about everyday was an adventure. Not because we had a lot of money and went places; but because I used my imagination and created a wonder land right in my own yard. My mom would take me on Sunday "drives" to go look at the Apricot and Peach orchards in bloom, or ride by the farms and look at the horses. We would have such great conversations during those drives. - Susan

Summers in New Orleans were the best. Air conditioners were rare, and only used when "real hot" (95 degrees and above). So in the heat of the day, after we cleaned the house, washed the clothes and hung them on the outside clothes line, dust mop the floors and wash the dishes, my mom would take all us kids and even some neighborhood kids (6 or 8 kids) and pile us all in her white 1963 pontiac Catalina (no seatbelts!) and drive us to Pontchtrain Lake and let us jump in an swim. We loved to swim and play in the lake and feel the fish swim by our legs. Mom sat under a tree and smoked L&M's cigarettes with a butane lighter. When she was down to a couple of cigarettes, it was time to go. Sometime we stopped and got Crystal Burgers or just go home and have a fish fry in the back yard (after we took the clothes off the line). Saturday Night At the Movies was the BEST! and my daddy loved to watch Perry Mason. Everybody was in bed by 10:30, because the tv station would "close down" after it played "the Star-Spangled Banner" and a priest said a prayer. Then next morning I would wake-up early and watch the "test-pattern" and wait till Miss Jenny and Romper Room came on tv. I wanted to turn the tv on early, because it too a long time to "warm up" and I didn't want to miss Miss Jenny. - Nancy

On a clear night, I could get WLS from Chicago in Kansas City, but we also had WHB and the "ChickenMan." Griffs drive-in before McDonalds, scrounging the vacant lots for pop bottles, Friday night football games and being a cheerleader before it got a sleazy reputation, Fleetwood Mac, BTO, Boston, dress codes in high school being enforced, skirts no more than 5 inches above the knees, boy's hair couldn't touch the collar, deciding whether or not to do something you shouldn't because if Dad found out you might as well move to another state. Our small town had one bowling alley and one theater (with one screen), so we had a lot of "field parties" where there was some drinking, but mostly hanging out, playing touch football, glow-in-the-dark frisbee, and having the car stereos cranked too loud. Knowing most all of the kids in the whole high school, and your parents did too. Still not locking the house or car in the late 70's, and still feeling good about walking around at night. Parents weren't driven to distraction because we only had four sports at the high school level, and softball and baseball in the summer. Nothing if you were younger than jr high, except in the summer. My parents raised five kids at a much slower pace than I do with the one I have left at home. - Leslie

Summertime.. when we played outside all day, coming in only for dinner. Stickball, Stoopball, Johnny on the Pony, Ringalevio. There was no such thing as "play dates," you just went out in the morning, stood outside your friends house & yelled their name until they came out. I remember making long chains out of gum wrappers & playing "Chinese Jump Rope" with rubber bands tied together. Push-up ice pops, Catholic school & going to mass every morning at 8 & then straight to class. I remember seeing lots of musical groups in Flushing Meadow Park in Queens, Janis Joplin, Hendrix, Blood Sweat & Tears. Seeing the Beatles at Forest Hills, And as scary as it may seem now, hithhiking every single weekend to Rockaway Beach. Listening to WMCA & waiting to hear my name to call in for my WMCA goodguy sweatshirt! - Katie

Piling into the family car in our jammies with our pillows and a big tub of popcorn heading off to the drive-in on Friday nights. The Beatles, Beach Boys and The Doors music brings back memories. Owning only one Barbie doll, her friend Midge, and sister Scooter. Troll dolls were a collectable item. Metal roller skates with a skate key, pogo sticks, and Slinkys. Our first color t.v. back in the early 70's was a big thing. Church every Sunday. Dinners every evening with the family. Slumber parties at least once a month. Sam Riddle on "93 KHJ" Los Angeles. Feeling very safe and content in the world. - Connie

I remember going to the "Y" on Wednesday nights for teen night and dancing the night away; imagine... a place for kids to hang out and not get in trouble. Cruising the streets looking for chicks, hanging out at Ben & Bobs and Eastside Park. Listening to Cousin Brucie on WABC am radio and running home to watch American Bandstand. Never thought I say this but the "Good Ole Days" are surely missed. Our kids need what we had, save streets and places to go and have fun that didn't cost a fortune!!!! - Philip

I grew up in a small town in Utah.. I can remember on the 4th of July, the firetruck came around the neighborhoods, picked up the kids, and took us to downtown where all the festivities took place. We had sack races, pie eating contests, cap guns, fireworks.. and lots and lots of food, just for starters.. - Gloria

I remember the moms and dads sitting in lawn chairs socializing while we kids played outside past dark. PF flyers could really make you jump higher... Going to the drive in theatre and playing at the playground before the movie started. Walking to and from school and having my mom always home to take care of us. We would go on Sunday afternoon drives to no particular place. When I got older we would sneak out at night and the only worry we would have was if we were caught by our parents. We could also explore through wooded lots without the thought that someone might abduct us. We said yes maam and yes sir. If a girl got pregnant she quietly left high school for awhile. If a guy became a dad during high school, he was not allowed to take any extracurricular activities, period. Boys got "licks" and no one had guns. If you broke the rules or the laws, you paid the price. No one was concerned about self-esteem. And everyone felt safe. I never knew a kid that could not read. If a kid got behind in school, he was held back. We didn't have video games. We used our imaginations when we played. And we played outside forever! - Connie Lawrence

I remember my Schwinn Stingray bike with the banana seat, sissy bar and slick back tire. At school on rainy days you stayed in the classroom at recess and played "Heads Up 7-Up." We could buy Matchbox cars for 27 cents and build underground forts in the field next to our house. Staying barefoot all summer, and even at night the sidewalk still felt warm. My grandparents drove a Packard Clipper. What a car! - Ron

I remember my mother giving my sister and me 30 cents a day for milk money and a hot lunch, penny candy, orangesickles and fudgcicles for 5-10 cents. We lived on a farm, and as soon as we got home from school, we put on our jeans and went to help our father in the tobacco field or barn. My mother was there when we came home from school. My sisters and I helped my mother with housework on the weekends. There was no talking back or calling our parents by their first name. We addressed our parents and elders with "yes sir," "no sir." Sundays were spent going to Sunday school, church and choir, fried chicken and all the trimmings, cleaning up the dishes, and then visiting our grandparents and relatives. We all went together as a family. The television was a black and white RCA Victor, and was placed in the dining room behind closed doors. We were only allowed to watch TV when my father decided that all the chores were done, and of course we watched what dad wanted to watch. Saturday nights we watched the "Lawrence Welk Show," "Gunsmoke," and "Have Gun Will Travel." On Sunday evenings we watched the "Ed Sullivan Show," and "Bonanza." There was no cursing in our family. My sisters and I were not allowed to date until after high school. I remember sitting on the back porch in the evenings, listening to the frogs and whipowhills. I also remember making butter for the elderly neighbor in a mason jar, each of us taking turns shaking the jar of fresh milk and cream to make the creamy butter. Those were the best times of my life! - Flo Brandstetter

I remember hoola hoops, hopscotch, cat eye marbles, swings made out of rope and board, make believe games and talent shows with my oldest sister singing "Oh What a Beautiful Morning," and my youngest sister, who was the tomboy, finding a rope in the barn and wanting to play "Cowboys and Indians," with me persisting saying I wanted to play "Baby House," and eventually giving in to getting tied to the tree. I also remember watching the "Beatles" on the Ed Sullivan show, we me screaming my lungs out, going to our cousins in the city and going to see "A Hard Days Night" twice in one day. Putting up photos of "The Herman's Hermits" on my bedroom wall, only to have them taken down by my mother. I remember holidays, especially Christmas as a joyous and wonderful season with family gatherings. Presents were simple, but we were always overjoyed! No computers or VCR's. - Flo

As a child, I wanted to be a "beat," and hang out at coffee houses, listening to folk music. My older sister would listen Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and Peter, Paul and Mary, and I learned to love the "folk scene" while I was a kid. I'll never forget, when I was a teen, the first time the Hog Farmers came to my hometown, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Their openness, freedom to be themselves, non-materialism, and bright colored clothing and bus really appealed to me. From that time on, I was a hippie! - Nancy Lopez

I remember traveling along Rte. 66 on vacation in the HOT summer in my parents' '56 Chevy with no air conditioning. I remember how great it was to stop at a gas station and put a nickel in a Coke machine to get an ice cold soda pop and how good that was on a HOT day. We would sometimes stop to get a chocolate dip ice cream cone. My sister and I would take turns reading the Burma Shave signs. We would also play a game of who could spot the most out of state license plates on other cars we would see. We also used to count the little whites crosses at bridges in AZ and NM. - Aileen

I remember getting our first television: the magazine "Hit Parade" that allowed my older sister and me to sing ALL the songs while holding a bottle of nail polish upside down as our "microphone;" double canasta and double solitaire; Friday night "fights" on TV with my Dad (sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon beer -- "What'll you have? Pabst Blue Ribbon!"); Swaps, Nashua and Native Dancer -- how I wanted to be a jockey (never mind that I was a girl and "nice girls" didn't do things like that); nickel donuts from the Helms Man on Wednesday afternoons; cleaning the kitchen and doing the dishes every night have dinner with my sister (sweep the floor, wipe the table and wash AND dry the dishes!); Mile High Ice Cream Cones; being outside from early morning until dark during the summer -- riding my bike, pretending the brick wall in my back yard was a horse; Hopalong Cassidy, Annie Oakley, Mickey Mouse Club, Zorro, My Friend Flicka, Lassie, Sky King, Fury and many others which Mom and Dad never concerned themselves about content; Sen Sen, white buck shoes, Mary Janes; new clothes were bought in September for the WHOLE school year; Diet Rite Cola; walking to Baskin and Robbins on summer afternoons for an ice cream cone with my friend Pam (it was only a 2 mile walk ... isn't that what legs and feet were/are for? Walking?); playing tennis in the street -- no courts were near enough to walk to; Buster Brown Shoes with "My Dog Tige" commercials ("Hi! My name's buster Brown! This is my dog Tige. We live in a shoe!"); Fairchild moccasins, hip hugger jeans and surfers; nineteen cents for a gallon of gasoline; public transportation to go ANYWHERE, even if it took 6 transfers and 3 hours (hmmmm ... what a novel idea!); Mr Quinn (my Algebra teacher) picking Curtis up by the shirt collar and throwing him out the classroom door during 5th period Algebra for disorderly conduct, again (it was a "bungalow" classroom!); teachers and parents ALWAYS had the last word -- and it was ALWAYS right! I know that my "boomer" memory has blocked out the "bad" things, but I can't help but believe our "bad" was merely not getting our way. It was a gentler time -- parents, whether we had both or one at home, kept us "safe." We respected our elders, and to this day I can't refer to any of my "boomer" friends' parents as anything but Mr. or Mrs. -- the first names get stuck in my head and never make it to my mouth. - Melissa (Missy)

In the mid-60's, stuffy old Yardley of London had the "grooviest," or in England, "most gear" line of cosmetics and fragrances. We didn't use the term "supermodel" back then, but Jean Shrimpton was one of the world's most famous and beautiful models, and that's who was Yardley's "face" in the ads for Slicker lipsticks and Oh! de London cologne. Every week I'd be glued to the prime time episodes of ... a hint, here ... "Here we come, walking down the street ... " Yup, Yardley's agency placed TV ads during "The Monkees," and I wanted every product advertised. (Except for "Black Label" men's cologne ... the commercial jingle was: "Some guys have it; some guys never will" --- Davey Jones was depicted as enchanting all the girls by wearing Yardley Black Label.) Despite my numerous pleas, mom wouldn't let me wear lipstick in seventh grade. This infuriated me, but the introductory shades of "Slicker" were pretty weird, anyway, except for the clear one; the basic Slicker. The other three colors in the lineup included: "Tan-Tan," the shade of which reminded me of a gleaming, freshly unwrapped, Reed's Root Beer Drop. Girls NEVER wore dark lipstick --- BIG no-no --- and if even a slightly too deep shade of rose was unacceptable among your peers, the sheen of Reed's Root Beer Drops on your lips would really have been considered dorky. "Sun Slicker" was a silver-touched shade of dijon mustard. There was "Surf," a frosty slate blue that would have have looked dazzling on a Smurfette. - Leslie Moll

Remember "Funny Face" drinks? The flavors were Jolly Olly Orange, Lefty Lemon, Loud Mouth Lime, Choo Choo Cherry, Rootin Tootin Raspberry. I remember my brother getting "Jimmy Jet," a battery-operated gizmo that had a screen and a steering wheel and it was a pretend-to-be-a-pilot thing. Since it was my brother's, we weren't allowed to touch it. He always got the neat toys (Mouse Trap, Crazy Clock). Anyway, it was great back then, but things are good in different ways now!! - Sue

Every boy in our neighborhood played baseball almost every day all summer. We took a vacant piece of property and cut small trees down and mowed the weeds to make a baseball field. There was a house in center field (if you hit it, it was and automatic out and everyone ran home) and a road in left field (if you hit it over the road it was a home run - about 250 feet away). Many times we spent about half of the time looking for the ball in the high grass. We always determined who would bat first by have a rep from one team tossing a bat to a member of the others. Then each would alternate putting their hand on top of the other until they were at the top of the bat. Once at the top of the bat the last person would call "eagle claws" and grip the knob of the bat like an eagle. Then the person from the other team out get one chance to kick the bat from the person with the eagle claws. If the did they were home team if not they were vistors. That was our conflict resolution. - joe alsup

I grew up in Locust Point Balto, MD home of the stars spangled banner (Fort McHenry). My two sisters and I went to a Catholic school--mass every day a 11.30. Sometimes Father Braman would take too long on the sermon... maybe to 12.15. Then he would say, "Children, take the rest of the day off." No parents at home; they were all at work, but it was alright in this tightknit community. We knew how to behave; and besides, all the older people in neighborhood were watching out for us. - Bob Jennings


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