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When I Was a Kid... Page 4

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I will always remember sitting on the front porch of their "flat" with my grandfather on hot summer nights in South St. Louis listening to the cicadas and waiting for the paperboy to push his wooden cart up the street yelling "Morning Globe Paper!" with the next morning's edition. Taking nickels to the confectionary on the corner for a bag of penny candy. Drawing hopscotch outlines on the sidewalk that lasted forever. Calling Davey Lee's Pharmacy and ordering two Cokes which the delivery boy would bring on his bike. Knowing, without being told, that each Sunday after Mass our entire family would pile into the car to spend the day at our grandparent's house. Watching The Lone Ranger, the Cisco Kid, Roy Rogers & Dale Evans, and Gene Autry on TV every Saturday. I can still see my grandfather sitting in the kitchen with the lights out in the summer ("it made the room cooler") listening to Harry Carey do the play-by-play for the Cardinals games....Stan the Man was the favorite! Watching dad set off fireworks in the back yard every July 4th. Trips to the St. Louis Zoo, Highlands amusement park, renting a rowboat for a ride on the lake in Forest Park, and riding the ponies at the "pony stand." None of this cost a fortune, but the memories are worth millions to me! - Judy

Saved my .25 allowance each week for a month. Then I'd have enough to go to the 5 & 10 cent store and buy a Trixie Belden book. I collected all 15 or 16 that way, devouring each one in a single sitting. Walking over a mile to school alone along a busy highway when I was eight without fear. Learning how to "tease" my hair from the girl across the street. Riding the bus (anywhere!) for 25 cents!! Going "downtown" shopping with my mom. We dressed up, complete with hats and gloves. We'd get off the bus in front of Rich's department store. We'd shop all over & wind up in little Five Points (Before the park or Underground Atlanta exsisted). Reading MAD magazine and watching "Laugh In" and "The Monkees" on TV. One year I got my very own 15" black and white TV for Christmas. I couldn't believe my parents had spent so much money on me! It was a luxury that not many of my friends had! - S.M.

When I think of school, I think of having to get in line before going anywhere...fire drills...milk money...cubby holes...smocks (one of my dad's old white shirts, with my name written inside the collar)...recess (prison ball, soft ball, hop scotch...7-Up, etc.)...show and tell...rest period (the teacher would turn out the lights in the room while we put our heads down on the desk - no talking allowed!)...#2 pencils...Tritex glue...desks where the tops lifted up...going shopping for school clothes and shoes with Mom...my sister Cheryl graduating in 1966 and laughing at me because I had 6 more years of school (how can that memory be 34 years ago!!?)...going home for lunch...going to my friends house for lunch ...walking home from school on a crisp October afternoon with the leaves crunching under my feet...the Halloween parades followed by a Halloween party with Hawaiian punch in paper cups and chocolate Halloween cupcakes with "do-dads" on them (plastic Halloween decorations on a toothpick inserted in the cupcakes)...my classmates, and wondering if we'd have the same teacher at the start of each new school year - and being disappointed if we didn't...So many memories... Sandra Bateman, Ridgewood, NJ

In Ambler, Pennsylvania, where I grew up, during the summer all the local merchants were supplied with free Saturday matinee tickets. One of these tickets would get you in to a 25 Looney Tune cartoon marathon followed by a western or science fiction feature. From the time school let out in June until we went back in September, our "uniform" consisted of undershirts, shorts or bathing trunks and shoes were optional, (in fact, they were non-existent). We would spend the warm summer days sunning ourselves in the back yard, occasionally running through the stream of the garden hose my mother would aim in our direction to cool us off. Our nights were usually taken up by playing hide and seek or truth, dare or consequences on the steps in front of our house and on Friday or Saturday nights, going to dollar-a-carload night at the 309 Drive-in and stopping for ice cream on the way home. Boy...those were the days. We didn't go on any fancy, expensive vacations...but, then again, we didn't have to. - Joe Ball

Such wonderful memories of us at play, neighborhood baseball games, walks in woods, camping out in the back yard, telling "scary stories" after dark, the smell of burning leaves in the fall, never having to worry about anything but being home in time for dinner. I remember the once a year showing of "The Wizard of Oz" was a special treat. Mom would make popcorn and we'd pretend we were at the movies. And we watched it all in black and white. I remember watching Ed Sullivan when the Beatles were first on. My dad complaining "I don't like that yeah, yeah, yeah." Chum Gum (2 sticks for a penny), Adam's Sour Gum, CHOCOLATE Turkish Taffy, fireballs (and BOY were they hot), lik-m-aid, Shake a Pudding, The King and Odie, Hoppity Hooper, My Casper with a string you pulled to make him talk.... - Mary

I remember playing red rover, hide and seek and "chase" in the front yard with my cousins. Everyone still lived in town and families weren't so scattered. I knew who ALL my first and second cousins were. These days, my kids are amazed at who they are related to! I remember driving a million miles around the A&W drive-in. Racing to the Dairy Queen for lunch, even though we only had 35 minutes, Elvis Presley movies every Saturday afternoon, learning to dance in my aunt's apartment with all my friends. We started in the living room down the hall into the bedroom and back up the hall again! She was so cool! No one else offered to teach us to dance. All those late night talks at my best friend's house. Staying up all night. To this day we are still best friends and talk for hours on the phone. Our husbands just don't get it!! - Donna

I remember listening on my little transistor radio at night in bed when I should have been sleeping for my favorite songs to come on KHJ or KRLA..."do you belive in magic" by the Lovin' Spoonful or "light my fire" by the Doors.. I remember being taken by my mom with my friends to rock concerts ususally sponsord by the local radio stations, dropping us off and returning to get us hours later...and the concerts featured bands like the Beach Boys, the Byrds, and Simon and Garfunkel.. and it only cost $2.50... once a week haircuts, eating out was special because we ate at home 90% of the time, there were no pizza places you had to go to an italian restorante to get pizza... - mike smith

I remember how fun it was for us to lie on the floor under the Christmas tree and look up through the branches at all the lights and ornaments when we were there for the holidays. Our grandfather, Poppy, would be there along with us since we had never thought of doing it, before, and he was the one who showed us how fun this was. I still do it to this day! Also, I remember my sister and I always laughing with our Grandma and aunts and Judy and I playing our aunt's record player. Our favorites were "Ain't It a Shame" by Fats Domino, "Young at Heart" by Frank Sinatra, "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White" and "Marie." On hot summer nights, Grandma would let us sleep out on their screened porch off the kitchen. Waking up at dawn and watching the sun rise was a thrill for me. The best memories I have of these visits are of Grandma and our aunts, Carol and Elaine, having to tell us bedtime stories every night. They were completely made up and there was hardly ever an ending since we would all be laughing so hard. My grandparents would always buy me a "Storybook" doll on every visit we made to St. Louis, so these were visits I looked forward to. I also remember visiting my grandparents on my Dad's side, too. Grandma would make the best sugar cookies in the world! Both sets of grandparents had TV sets, which was a real treat, since we were still listening to radio and didn't get a set until 1955. Times were simple, then and you felt safe. I really miss this growing-up time and will always remember it! - Sally

I spent most of the 60's in Germany....my dad was in the Army....life was so different....our bond between our friends was so strong.....we were close...we had to be....I remember our Saturdays at the teen club....and our Sunday afternoons at the movie theater on Reese Kaserne....25 cents got us a movie.....I remember standing at the beginning of the movie for the Pledge...I remember saying the Pledge in school.....but the thing that will stand in my mind most was the day President Kennedy died....it was nighttime over there and we were at the teen club..... the soldiers came in with their combat gear on....we knew something was wrong.....we were told about the President and taken to buses....we did not know if we were going home...or to the airplanes....we knew what alerts were...and we knew living so close to East Germany and Russia..what might be in store......we went home...but our fathers were already on alert and gone.....I remember going to my bedroom and crying......it was a sad time.... Being in a foreign country though during the 60's was a great experience though...because we did not have the racial tensions that were felt back here...we didn't even know of them....we didn't watch TV....or listen to the radio....our records were our life....haha...we got to see the Beatles, Liverpool 5....etc...before those in US did..... Yes the 60s was an experience...and one I will not forget... - Marilyn DUNCAN Simcoe

I remember the day when my teacher gathered us all on the sidewalk in front of the school and instructed us to look up into the sky. When we saw a speck of something come into view, she said that that was astronaut John Glenn. I didn't understand at the time that I was witnessing an historical event but I was grateful that she did that years later when I came to understand who John Glenn was and what he'd done. I remember that day out in front of Guerin Dare preschool in Melbourne, Florida when I was 3 years old. - Mary

I remember hot summer days in Texas. The ice cream man would come down the street in a pristine white truck that had a dozen separate freezer compartments, each having it own thick walled stainless steel door that made a "thud" when they were closed. When he stopped for us he would have to get out. We would ask for something and he would walk all around the truck and open the appropriate doors to retrieve our ice cream. A far cry from the ragtag vans you see today. I also remember playing games of "rollerbat"in the street with all the kids in the neighborhood and having to yell "Car!!" about every 5-10 minutes. I drive down the same street today and never have to wait on kids to clear the street. The kids are there, they just dont come together like we did. - T. Sweely

We used to stay out late in the summer and all the kids in the neighborhood would play hide and seek, doorbell ditch, and tag. We would camp out in the backyard. Catching minnows and crawdads at the creek could keep us busy for hours. I remember the innocence and the fun. Watching "Here Come The Brides" and being in love with Bobby Sherman. Davy Jones from the Monkees and then later David Cassidy and Donny Osmond. Truly, once I called the local radio station and asked for Donny Osmond after "Go Away Little Girl" had just finished playing. I thought he must be there because the song had just played... A song or a scent will instantly cascade me back to the times. - Kelly

Looking back is fun, we don't get to do that much here at the "home" but when I do I can remember things like fender skirts, whip antennas and duel exhausts; a twenty foot tv antenna that brought in (1) one station and it only came on at 6 pm for about four hours. I remember my grandfather's car with the starter up over the gas pedal and a heater that glowed orange when you turned it on. Seems like just yesterday in some ways and in others it was a thousand years ago. But most of all when I think of those wonderful days, "I remember mama" - John T

Being a kid in Australia in the 60's meant going to the football with my friends and dad, fishing in the Barwon River, hot sticky days at the beach with the sand burning your toes before you jumped into the waves (dodging the "surfies" on their boards), watching black and white TV that only aired from 8am to 10 pm and finished with The Epilogue every night, record players playing the latest hits - J O'K and The Easybeats and Thorpie were Oz icons, and The Monkees and The Beatles were the overseas heroes. Meat pies were a shilling each (ten cents!) and it was a major expedition to head along the coast to Lorne or Apollo Bay. We had swimming lessons at Eastern Beach in Geelong and were thrilled when the first decimal coins were available on Feb 14, 1966. Life was quieter, there was no information revolution and in many ways we were blissfully ignorant of the events happening around the world....some news took days to reach our newspapers or TV screens. - John Mack

During the 60s I remember walking around town to pick up Coke bottles and sell them back to the grocery store. I used this money to go roller skating on the weekends. I remember not having to lock your doors at night and you and all your belongings were safe. I remember walking to school, church and other places even after I was a teenager. I remember working at the Dairy Queen for 50 cents an hour! There are so many great memories for me. I loved being a teenager in the 60s!! Jody Butts Montgomery, Al - Jody Butts

Those really were the days...I remember Patty Playpal, Chatty Cathy, Slinky. Taking my Silly Putty out of the egg and pressing it on the Sunday Comics..Dondi..Little Orphan Annie. Ringaleevio. Strapping on my roller skates, and making sure the string with the skate key was around my neck. Making skelly shooters by melting crayons in a soda cap then putting them in the freezer. Monkey bars, chalk in a sock, jump rope, Spalding ball, Lionel trains, Blooper. Prized possessions...my transistor radio listening to the Good Guys on WMCA, and my case of 45's with the little plastic disk inserts to play them on my phonograph... - Joan

I remember hula hoops, yoo yoos and beach parties at Euclid Beach on Cleveland's northeast side. Was a great time to grow up. I went cruisin in my 55 Merc. Gas was about .25 a gallon. could cruise all night for a couple of bucks. The car hops at Manners Big Boy were soooo nice. My, how things have changed. - Bill Trent

Ah... Euclid Beach was so terrific! You did not need the latest high-tech games and rides. It was simple, pure fun. (The movie and the book on the demise of Euclid Beach is available.) - hmc

We settled in a very small town where everyone knew everyone. My Mom used to charge groceries at the only grocery store in town and pay the bill once or twice a month. I remember fizzies, the colored, flavored tablet that you put in a glass of water. It fizzied and made a fruit flavored drink. I remember my very first real love. I was 14 and he was 15 and always told my that my green eyes were blue. I remember one of my grandmothers seeing me kiss a boy when I was 14 or 15. She told me that when my grandfather was courting her, he just held her hand and she knew that he loved her. I remember going to the only drive-in in the whole county (about 6 miles from my town) every Friday, Saturday, and some Sunday nights even if the same thing was on. I got in free because my dad was a policeman and the owner of the drive-in let their families in free. There was bleachers right in front of the big screen. When the weather was warm, teens as well as kids hit the bleachers. Somtimes you might meet a new guy this way. My high school was 7-12 grade all in one building. 1-6 grade was in another building on the other side of town. Railroad tracks went right in the middle of the town. I remember buying Cherry Humps candy at the only drugstore on the way to high school. I remember going to the only cafe after school and getting a doughnut, coke and peanuts to put in my coke. I was in love with Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits. My bedroom walls were covered with pix of him and the hermits. I really wanted to marry Herman. (Just saw him live in concert in January). I remember my dad, who was Chief of Police in our town, stopping me for speeding and giving me a ticket. I told him I could not pay the ticket and my car payment both on my salary. I remember my Mother being my best friend. I remember I still sat in her lap when I was 16 and older. My Mom was the greatest. When I was learning to drive, my dad tried to teach me to parallel park between a grabage can and the police car. He used to tell me what ever I did do not hit the police car. - Jody Butts - Montgomery, Al

In the summer all the kids would play hide and go seek or hospital tag or T.V. tag. You had to call out a T.V. show or sickness before you were tagged, "it." I remember chasing the ice cream truck to get a popsicle on hot summer afternoons. What fun. - Shelley

I was in the 12th grade when I decided to skip school for the first time. Four of my friends and I left school at noon and drove to the next town to shop. One girl and I got scared and wanted to go back to school. The girl driving drove us back. Just as I thought I was home free, the principal looked up from his desk through the glass door to his office and motioned for me to come there. I went home and a little while later a Volkswagon came down our driveway. I went to the door and begged the principal not to tell my parents, but it didn't help. I finally called Mom to the door. When he told her what I had done, Mom just opened the door and called my Dad. I had my car taken away from me and I was grounded from anything other than school and church for 6 weeks. Jody Butts; Montgomery, Al

Spring in North Carolina. It was wonderful. I remember the fire-flies. In the darkness of the country they lit up the night. Mayonnaise jars were the best thing to catch and put them in. I was allowed to take them to my room when I went to bed. They were quite the sight to a ten-year old. But it was cruel to have so many in one jar, so I dedcided to let them be free in the darkness of my bedroom. It was not fun trying to collect them all the next morning. The 'lighting' of the bedroom was a one-time thing. Maria (Bratti) Madsen -- Pittsboro, N.C.

Grass ceased being only something that you mowed. "Drive by" was what you did to see if your girlfriend's parents were home. Memory was something only people had or created. Acid and rain were mutually exclusive. "Bite" was spelled with an "i" and described what you did to that relatively new product, the Big Mac. You didn't have to worry about what colors you wore, or what gestures you made, unless you were giving someone the time-honored "bird." You could fill your car and see a movie and eat and still have change from a $10.00 bill. Parents and teachers were respected and obeyed. - Bob Pinkerton

I remember walking to the Van Aken Shopping Center after school and having a soda fountain coke and french fries at Woolworths. On weekends we would hang out a a local Manners Big-Boy Drive in. Boy do I miss those Big Boys... My mother remembers the time I was using their Fleetwood Cadillac to drag race with a few friends that had 57 chevys and GTO's and Chevy Nova's when I dropped my Dad's transmission in his car. I also remember going to see the Beatles at the Cleveland Indian BallPark and seeing Iron Butterfly when the drummer tore off his shirt for his drum solo, and all of us girls went NUTS. I sure miss those days and all the wonderful friends I had. - Mab Emsheimer OConnor

I remember having to know the "secret shrinkage formula" for Levi jeans (pre-shrunk?, puleeze!). You had to somehow stand up in them when they were 18 inches longer than your legs, and you could lean them up against the wall to try on more. Also they lasted long enough to get a natural hole in the knees (now for some reason they wear out in the butt before they ever get a chance to develope a hole in the knee. hmmmm!). - Scott

Hight Sunday nights.. Wild Kingdom, Walt Disney, and Bonanza. Charlie chip potatoe chips that came in the can. Ginger ale. Our parents playing cards in the kitchen. Every Sunday night. - Carol

Summer was for playing--after the chores were finished in the morning. All the neighbor kids usually gathered at one backyard for the day--unless we were lucky enough to have one of the Moms take us to the county pool for the day. We played lots of games and some we made up. "Rotten Eggs," "Statue," "Mother May I," relay races (ex. get your shoes & put them on before everyone else), softball, dodgeball, jumprope. But the best was in the evening to dark when my neighbor's Dad would sometimes play hide-n-seek with us using their yard and mine. And my neighbor's dog would give away Michael's hiding place because he wanted to play. - S. Lewis

I remember waiting for the school bus after a heavy snowfall, for up to 2 hours. Cancellations and snow days were unheard of. Fireworks on the 4th of July after the movie at the drive-in. Planning 2 weeks in advance what your Halloween costume would be and people actully trying to guess who you were because everyone knew everyone else, and you could eat the treats before you got home. - Bren

I remember in Franklin Square, NY going to football games, hanging out at the local pizza parlor "The Centurion," playing handball with my friends, (who I am still in contact with) for hours on the wall at the local Ford dealership across from my house. Walking up to the local candy store for egg creams and treats. Skateboarding on the old skinny banana-shaped skateboards at the local park. Riding bikes with my friends down to the local train station to watch the trains go by and put a penny on the track so the train would flatten it. The biggest joy however was going to Lake George in the summer for vacation and staying at the Painted Pony Ranch and getting to ride horses for a week, also going on the steamboat the Minnie-Ha-Ha on the lake, and attractions such as Gaslight Village, Frontier Town, and Storybook Village. I can remember dancing lessons during the week, hanging out at the roller rink with my friends. Back then there weren't any shootings in schools, the worst we would do to a teacher would be to wrap their pointer stick up in a roll-down map, or put a thumb tack on their chair, and that was considered bad. Once thing I miss most especially for my children and grandchildren, is being able to feel safe. - Donna Portuese Johnson


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