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When I Was a Kid... Page 7

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I didn't get a car when I was 16, either. Nor did I get to drive the family car. I lived with my mother, and we didn't have a car. However, I'd had a job, and I had an aunt with a neighbor who had a car he was willing to sell for a junkyard price: $15. My uncle went with me to look at it. The 12-year-old 1948 Plymouth needed automatic turn signals to pass inspection and the new law requiring them. A little gasoline poured in the carburetor, and it started right up! Uncle Joe thought it was a good deal. $15 for the car, $15 for a strap-on turn signal, $15 for 3 used tires, $15 for a battery. $60 and it passed inspection and I was on the road! The first car in the family since Dad had left. I joined AAA to partially satisfy Mom since I didn't get insurance for a couple years... - SWH of PA

As an elementary school student, I remember Clutch Cargo, Ding-Dong School, Winky Dink and Davy Crockett as my favorite tv shows. We walked home for lunch every day. We'd take our baseball gloves back to school and play in the school yard until the bell rang. I remember the smell of oil-cloths that we used to cover our desks during Art period. I remember the deli at the corner of our street sold not only candy, pop, etc but we'd buy 2 or 3 ice cream cones to take back home. Rich would put waxed paper over the ice cream to slow down the melting process. I remember WIXY 1260 and Mad Daddy spinning the favorite tunes. Sundays - no store was open - it was a family day and we visited aunts, uncles and grandparents on Sundays. We played baseball in Garfield Park from morning till dinner - when our dads would yell our name or he'd give his particular whistle - then you'd better get home asap. After dinner we'd "call for" our friends from outside of their house and either get back to the game or play a game of wall-ball. I remember going to Manners Big-Boy and the car hops. It was THE cruising spot for all the hot rods. - Guy Papa

The thing that stands out most in my mind, as a kid, was the Little Rock Central High School crisis. I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. I was there when the national guard was called to the school. I was still in elementary school, but my sisters took me to school with them. From the way it has been protrayed, it seemed all the people were screaming and rioting. But actually, it was a smaller group of the same people that were causing the major problems. When you asked most kids about it, they told you they had no problem with the whole scene. - Cas

I remember running for the Crystal Beach Boat in Buffalo, NY to go to the Crystal Beach amusement park and beach in Canada. Going home at night we watched kids in the water by the huge boat ramp yelling "Got any pennies, nickels, or dimes" and then diving after the coins people threw in as they were waiting on the dock for the boat to return to take them home. - JC

Watching Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Green Jeans and Tom Terrific. Hula hoops, P.F. Flyers, Red Ball Jets, saddle oxfords, super balls, Silly Putty, Archie and Jughead, collecting milk caps, dime (not dollar) stores, pink poodles, 100 yard petticoats, pony tails with scarves, bobby pins, Toni home perms, Mighty Mouse, Weekly Readers, rock and roll shoes, skating skirts, skates with keys that you wore on a shoelace around your neck, all etched in my memory. Vincent Price movies where we hid our eyes behind popcorn boxes. Elvis being banned and my Mom telling me not to look at the lifesize cut-out poster of him in a gold suit out front of the 'picture' shows; I always peeked. Admission prices for the movies were thirty-five cents for kids (or if you had guts enough to continue to say you were 11 to the ticket girl) and seventy-five cents if you were over 11 or didn't have the ooomph to claim to be under. - Cas

Building bicycle ramps out in the street, all the neighborhood kids trying to be like Evil Knevel. and me, crashing, cracking my chin- getting stitches. oh memories - andy estrada

Ahhh...stress was something that happened when something BIG happened, like a death in the family. It wasn't an every day occurence. There wasn't the noise pollution we have now. Nowadays there are electronic beeps and buzzes everywhere. I miss the old, heavy telephones with a real bell. I remember unscrewing the cap of the listening end and removing the little speaker as a practical joke to my cousin. There was some number you could dial to make your own phone ring. They would go to answer the phone, and there would be nobody there. It was hilarious to sit there and watch someone go "hello? hello?" Remember calling for the time? Always a woman's voice...the..time..is..four..thirty..eight. Wow! That was so amazing! I remember running home after school to catch "Dark Shadows." We were all addicted to watching Barnabus Collins. We thought that was the scariest thing ever. When there was a space mission, the school would put a television set on the stage in the auditorium and the whole school would sit and watch the take-off. What a treat! We would keep up with it every day, and talk about it for weeks. Summers lasted forever. I remember riding my purple glitter stingray bike with the banana seat and the white wicker basket on the front. We'd head down to the drugstore to get the latest issue of Tiger Beat magazine. There was always an argument about who was the cutest- David, Donny, or Bobby. We'd buy that and the magazine that had the lyrics to all the top 40 songs. That and a big sweetart, a nickel bag of Lay's barbeque potato chips, a Delaware punch, and we'd be set for a while! Scooter skirts were very popular. We girls thought we were really getting away with something, it looked like a skirt, but it was really shorts! We had never worn pants to school, so there was something deliciously decadant about it. I still remember the wonderful feeling of freedom of movement without worrying about it "snowing down south." About that time, "Clackers" became very popular. When you went to school, there was the sound of dozens of them clacking away. WHAT were they thinking? Unfortunately, after several busted lips and chipped teeth, they were banned. I still have my originals, and they are heavy-duty. Nowadays they would be used as weapons, I guess. How times have changed. It was wonderful growing up then! - Pam

i wish i was a babyboomer. One that was a kid in the 50's. A teenager in the 60's, and an adult in the 70's. For me i had an average childhood. Growing up in the 90's. Watching television, playing sport on weekends at my primary school, sleeping at my cousins house, climbing on my tool shed on new years day watching fireworks, having barbeques and partys for christmas and new years. Even though i grew up 40 decades to soon for my liking i still had a nice childhood, better than being a teenager. One good thing about my chilhood was i had this tapeplayer/microphone and i used to listen to the 'jackson 5 - i'll be there'(it was my favourite song). One bad thing was that when i went rollerblading, i tried to not go near any teenagers, to me they were the scariest people. I dont like being a teenager in the 2000's. All the kids smoke and take drugs to be cool, the girls dress tarty, and all the guys worry about is the way girls look. the scariest thing is that the drugs are stronger, i should know i had a pretty bad time copying with the effects of too much chemically produced marijuana, and i know a lot of people who did too. I would rather have no TV and living like you babyboomers did, then live in my age. Hmmm but could i live without the internet......Yes i could. To go back in time i would give my electronic stuff(mobiles, internet, stereos) up. - ~*_AnGeL_*~ - Australia

I remember root beer flavored Kool-Aid, Spoolies and when American Bandstand aired on Wednesday afternoons. We played baseball at recess and teachers didn't hover over the games. If we got hurt, we washed the wound and kept playing. Dream sicles were made from orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream. Dr. Pepper made a great apple soda called "Pommac" - it lasted about a year! - Alexis Freeman

How wonderful to read all these memories. I grew up in Scotland. Yes what you say is true about the 1950s. How safe everything was. I rememeber with my dad once a month going to Magazine shop to collect my 'Polly Pigtails' magazine. And now, I cannot find a copy of the Polly Pigtails magazine anywhere in UK. - Dorothy Kelly

I remember when the Beatles came to us the first time... it was fantastic! I saw these moptops and fell in love with them. John was my favourite and I bought every record. This sound, these good looking, charming young boys were my sunshine at that time! I was sixteen, when I bought the lp Rubber Soul...today it is still my favourite album, because of the song "Michelle." it always made me feel like they wrote it about me... - Michelle

I would give anything to have one day back in time, probably 9 or 10 years old. Back when my parents were living and I was experiencing the joys of just being young. Our family didn't have much on a monetary scale, but we weren't poor. We did have a lot going for it in other ways, though. When I was that age, I took it all for granted. You really don't know what you've got til it's gone. But I would want to know on this one-day trip back that I was only a "visitor," so that it would be as special as it deserved to be. When love was expressed, I would really cherish it. Like most parents, mine said and did these things all along...and their sacrifices so that I could have the new bicycle I wanted, or the prom dress, etc. I'm ashamed to say that I had come to expect these things. They knew that I loved them, but I wished I had told them more often. How could I not love them...They were honest, hard working people, very patient and caring. I would also like to go back in time and tell them once more that I truely appreciate what they did. I thank God for the parents I had, and I just know that I'm not the only one who's had these wishes. - Ann

I grew up in the 60's and I remember... riding my bike to and from school with all of the neighborhood friends on a wooded trail, coming home from school and knowing that my mom would be there and would have a lucious snack waiting for us, summer nights catching lightening bugs, playing bicycle chase until dark, playing "Spin the Statue," lying down in the cool clover and watching the clouds drift by, slumber parties, block parties, tea parties, watching my parents and their friends visiting outside enjoying the cool of the evening, taking midday bubble baths to cool down before napping, reading comic books, playing board games with my sister, watching favorite tv shows like Bonanza, Davy Crockett, Roy Rogers, Rawhide, The Loretta Young Show, and Dr.Kildare, and Saturday morning cartoons....Ah, those were the days... - glenda

We were so lucky. I feel sorry for kids today. They don't have a chance. But back then we didn't understand how wonderful it was. Wax flutes, licorice "Nibs", and "Turkey Leg" candy bars in the $.14 matinee double feature with cartoons and a "serial" thrown in, Schwinn bicycles with a horn button on the "gas" tank, cars with no keys because we left the ignition "turned to the right," doors unlocked with only a sceen door, summer night breeze blowing the curtains around, vacation bible school, Maggie and Jiggs and the Katzenjammer Kids and L'il Abner, no cuss words or nudity in movies, Little Orphan Annie on radio and later Howdy Doody, Roy Rogers and Death Valley Days on TV, making sling shots, your first BB gun, Grandparents visits, paper routes, your first love that never really dies, and the feeling of certainty what tomorrow would bring. I've already been to Heaven and didn't recognize it. - Dick Edwards

I remember living on a military post and feeling safe enough to play hide and seek with my brothers on long summer evenings. My Dad was in Vietnam, so my Mom had all four kids by herself. She never missed one school event! We went on vacation every summer, and barbequed and made homemade ice cream on the hand-cranked ice cream freezer from Sears. We had a 1964 Rambler station wagon. My aunt lived with us; she was a teenager, so we listened to alot of music. Motown was the best! I miss those days. We always could bring kids home for dinner, my Mom fed everyone. - Marie Lewis

In 1956 I was a ten year old Illinois farm boy. My parents took my eight year old brother, my five year old sister and me to see my grandparents in Los Angeles. We took the Santa Fe El Capitan, and sat in coach, no sleeping cars. It was magical, I had no chores for two weeks, and got treats I didn't normally get. I remember hanging around the train club car drinking ginger ale for 25 cents (quite a price). When we got there, we went to the new Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Farmer's Market where I had my first taste of pizza, Bob's Big Boy in Pasadena, where I had my first double decker burger, and other attractions. When there wasn't a day trip, I was allowed to roam Los Angeles by foot and bus every day...on my own. I'd get on a bus, ride to the end of the line, then ask the driver which bus to take next. Then I'd walk some more until I found my way back. Can you imagine letting a ten year old do that in LA today? - John

I am from Columbus, Ohio and remember the noon dances, girls in skirts wearing Capezio T-Strap shoes in different colors to match their outfit. Anyone else out there remember them?? - Bonnie Rowland

I remember going to Teen Town on Friday night at the Highland Park shelter house and listening to one of the local band's and the latest hit's and "Golden Oldies" playing on the radio in 66-67, riding my Sting Ray bike down to the drug store with Mike, Jim, Steve and Bucky for a 25 cent soda. Playing baseball all day, pitching pennies on the school porch, my grandma's banana cream pies mmmmmmmm!!! - Russ

You could go anywhere in your neighborhood, even out in the country, and parents knew where you were basically and never had to worry. You played sports, or rode bikes, or a motorcycle out in a field or pasture after school. You played outside until it was pitch black, then you could catch fireflys and put them in a jar. You swam in little creeks or a small pond and maybe twice a month you went into town and could swim in a pool. Everyone went to town on Saturday, which was the time you got groceries and did your shopping. It was a family outting. You had dinner together, everynight, at the dining table. Sundays you normally had a big Sunday dinner, all together. You listened to Wolfman Jack on the radio, you could call in requests, for all those lovers out there, and every Friday night there was a show on late called Dimension 16, which showed movies like Swamp Thing, Creature From Black Lagoon, Werewolves, etc... for all of us horror movie lovers. Back then you only had two or three stations, if you were lucky, and if there was a presidential announcement/show... everyone watched it because it took up all the channels on television. Ha! (I hated that one.) You could still win albums off the radio and Rick Dees or someone always announced your music on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. We cut our old blue jeans and made a blue jean purse, actually two or three if you wanted, from old jeans and everyone still had the bead doorways. :-) Just about everyone learned how to roller skate and that was the thing on the weekend, or bowling. Everyone roller skated and the best times I can remember were in the summer, when the outdoor rinks would come to town. Outdoor roller rinks sort of reminded you of a now-day pop-up tent campers, except it was a huge rink where the sides lifted up, so the breezes could blow through to keep the skaters cool. Ha. Great fun! We could still buy 5 cent cokes in a bottle, and the penny candy was wonderful, like licorice and chocolates. I used to love either red or brown licorice. You could walk a few blocks to the corner neighborhood store to get your mom some bread or milk and never have to worry about anything. When living in the country you had your neighborhood country store, which sold groceries, dry goods, etc... you could buy not only groceries and some lunchmeat, which they cut for you, but you could buy overalls, saddle oxfords, thread, embroidery and sewing thread, needles, etc.... a little bit of everything. Those truly were the great days! No one stayed inside to watch TV, to play video games or lay around. There was ALWAYS something to do and if there wasn't... you made up games and stuff to do. - Susie Q

Cherry Cokes and crackers at the drugstore fountain. Gathering soda bottles for money. Going swimming and roller skating, getting some hamburgers that were 4/5 for $1.00, at a town drive-in, and they were great. That was a big treat for us. We got groceries and did our shopping on Saturdays and then we would go at least once a month, maybe two, and get a hamburger at the drive-in. We had picnics and slumber parties and couldn't wait until the last day of school! No one stayed inside, everyone went out to play, normally until dark, at which time we would have a few weenie roasts here and there. And kids worked in the garden when needed and you had chores to do, but mainly, kids were just that, kids. I never, ever wish to plant or dig potatoes again! - Susie

When I was a teenager (from 1963 to 1969), I remember being able to stay outside late at night in the summertime, sitting on the porch, sipping cherry coke. Also using empty frozen orange juice cans as rollers for my long hair, and also, ironing my hair and my friend's hair, to make it straight. Listening to the Top 40 on the transistor radio. Even now, whenever I hear a Beach Boys song, I think of summer. - Cheryl

Catching lightning bugs in a jar on a summer evening. Climbing the neighbor's apple tree. Neighborhoods without fences so the "backyard" included more than just your own. Knowing all your neighbors and seeing them everyday. Listening for that "special" whistle your mom had to call you home. Being able to walk to the ice skating pond, the public pool, the snow sled runs, and all around the town without worrying about being abducted or worse. A time when the most you had to fear was bringing home a failing grade on a test or a broken bicycle. We rode bicycles without a helment and roller skates without elbow pads. You stood up when an adult entered the classroom. You dressed up to go on airplanes, to a restaurant, or to church. Nothing was open on Sunday so it was truly a day of rest. It was a time when you respected your parents and would do nothing to shame them or the family. It was a wonderul time to be a kid. - Margaret Vaughan

When I was growing up in the 50's-60's in New Jersey, everybody went "down the shore" for their summer vacation for a week or two. Going to Florida, Mexico or one of the islands was unheard of! - Nancy C.

I grew up in South Carolina and can remember life before air conditioning. We had a big box fan that we put in a window at one end of the house, facing out, to pull cool air through the house. During the hottest part of the day, we had nap time until we were about ten years old. There was no air conditioning at school. We had quiet reading time after lunch. There was no air conditioning in cars, but some nights we would get in the car and drive around in the country with the windows down because it was still so hot in the house. Better motels advertised air conditioned rooms. I can remember when some stores started getting air conditioning, they would have "air conditioned" painted on the windows or doors. Kool cigarettes distributed a sign that showed a penquin gesturing to the inside and a message that said "It's KOOL inside!" - Beth Howle

There was no power ANYTHING in our cars. Windows cranked, locks push buttoned, you had to practically stand on the brakes, if you wanted to go, your foot stayed on the gas pedal, and you really had to put some muscle into it to turn. Steering wheels were a bit bigger to make up for this. Actually, everything on the car was bigger, because gas was cheap, and there were no compact cars. The inside of a car was really roomy. Three adults could sit in the front or back without rubbing elbows. This was especially a good thing in the summer since the car was not air conditioned. The only small cars were those little foreign cars, as in the song:
"Oh I wish I was a little foreign car,
I wish I was a little foreign car,
I would speedy speedy speedy,
Over everybody's feetie,
Oh I wish I was little foreign car!"
Roads were different, too. There were no Interstate highways, but you could go 70 mph on the secondary roads. Today, there are reflective lines painted on the side of the roads, even in rural areas, but when I was a kid, there were no lines, so the driver really had to look at the road. Today, there are raised reflectors marling the center of the road, so you can see where you are even in a moderately heavy rain. When I was a kid, there were only those broken white lines, which were not particularly reflective, much less raised. I can remember my parents turning off the radio, and telling us kids to be quiet so they could concentrate on their driving at night or when it was raining. - Beth Howle

I remember this kid named Mark in 5th grade Catholic school. Every day he'd come to school with his long bangs constantly falling in his face. Sister Carmel kept threatening to cut them off if he didn't. One day she walked over and just started cutting them off. She used to throw black board erasers at you if you fell asleep at your desk. If you didn't wear your tie to school, you had to *rent one* for 25 cents. Could you imagine the lawsuits now? - Paul S.

I too remember the Helms Bakery truck, Davie Jones Locker at POP, the red skate boards with steel wheels, thongs, Slip-n-Slide, Lincoln Logs, GI Joe, Busch Gardens, Creepy-Crawlies, Brylcream, Apple Krate Stingrays with gearshift, sonic booms, Revell models and Testors glue in So. Cal. Sheriff John announcing my birthday on B&W TV, Billy Barty's Big Show, Rat Fink, Perry Mason, Hot Wheels, Payton Place, and landing on the moon. Santa Monica beach every week at camp - digging in the sand for crabs and getting tangled in the seaweed. My friend Jimmy's mom giving us 16 cents each to lazily walk the six blocks at age 7 to the local Vons for a bottle of Coke while exploring and colleting return bottles along the way. We'd make the trip and the Coke last for hours it seems, hanging out around the store in our bare feet, perusing the toys at T.G & Y. If I had an extra nickel I could get a Charleston Chew. We worried about bullies yelling "lick it up" at us for drawing on the sidewalk with chalk, but that was the extent as far as perceived danger. Moving to Chicago at age 9 to experience real trees, burning leaves in the fall, building tree forts and go-carts, endless games of pick-up baseball and Pickle in the summer with driveway hockey, skitching, snow forts and snow days in the winter. The pace of daily summer life regulated by the voice of Jack Brickhouse announcing a Cubs game, and later Harry Carey. Larry Lujack on WLS, Bozo, Ray Rayner with Garfield Goose on school mornings and the Flintstones when we got home. I remember weekly going to the store with my dad after he removed all the tubes from our old dishwasher sized TV, to test all the tubes to find the bad one. Life was so simple then. - Jon K.

In the fall was a special time when everyone was allowed to burn their leaves at the curb or at the side of the road. The smell of burning leaves seemed to permiate the whole town during those times. - Leon Wassenaar

WACKY PLACKS? LOL well here i am on this site and i've read most of the first page and even though i'm not in good old USA (i am from the land downunder! lol) i gotta comment on Terry Peters memories about those WACKY PLACKS. LOL Yeh Peter, we had them here too in Sydney Australia back when i was just a kid, i'm 56 now (born 1948) and i often still quote many of those funny insulting lines as a matter of habit (or part of my warped sense of humour lol) Good to know that others remember these funny cards and i'm wondering where can we find them again in 2004? Cheers and best wishes from HILARY in SYDNEY. - HILARY WARD

I remember when loaves of bread were sealed at each end with a sticky (one side) square patch of paper,about 3"by 3", at christmastime the paper had christmas scenes,often santa claus. - mike

I remember getting a crew cut every summer. Playing punch ball, king/queen. 3 steps to Germany. and johnny on the pony all day long. And at 4:55PM Mom would call us for dinner. And we better be home by 5pm. I grew up in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. It was the best. Mike Amico

My memories of the 60's include my sister playing The 4 Seasons and The Supremes records. Reading Lois Lane, Casper and Archie comics. Watching The Beverly Hillbillies and Gilligan's Island on tv. Buying comic books for a dime, a candy bar for a nickel and a soft drink for a dime. don't forget a penny for tax. Having a soda occasionally was a real treat. Playing Mother May I and 1,2, redlight or hide and seek until dark. Catching fireflies during the summer blackouts and putting them into jars. Doing the twist at a church function. My sister screaming about the Beatles when they first appeared on Ed Sullivan. I sure do miss those days!!! - Rhett Barrington

I remember the town hobo and the cracked baseball bats he gave me which I taped up. He'd always ask; "How are the bats?" I remember him harmlesly sleeping in my uncle's car when they visited us, and having to call the police to ask him to leave. I don't remember him ever becoming violent or abusive. People, even hobos, had a natural sense of law abiding and God fearing in them in the 50's. - Bob Podlaski

I remember going to the barbar shop on a Sat. morning... waiting in line to get a haircut for 25 cents... then the barber would give me a Bazooka Bubble Gum. Also on Saturday mornings, getting up early to watch TV... watching the test pattern until the first show came on at 7 am, of course after the TV station played the National Anthem. My favorite shows were Fury, Sky King, Mighty Mouse, & Farmer Alfalfa cartoons. Going to the movies where you could get in for 25 cents and a bag of popcorn was 10 cents... and stay all day and watch the same movie over and over. - Terry


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