Skip to comments.Does Anyone Remember...
Posted on 03/03/2013 8:02:30 AM PST by Doc Savage
Waking up to the news these days can not only ruin your day, it can make you irritable, frustrated, and sad. That's when I like to spend a few moments remembering the things that made America such a great place to grow up when I was boy. Here are just a few golden memories:
1. How excited I was when I put on my new Cub Scout uniform for the very first time and my mom was so proud of me.
2. How my friends and I would spend the long hot summers fishing down at the North Side Park lagoon with bamboo poles, safety pins for hooks, and bread dough for bait. Caught some good sized Carp in those days!
3. The great feeling of putting on my Little League uniform, and fixing my socks just like the Big Leaguers, and getting ready to play the big game. The uniforms were wool and weighed about 100 pounds but I didn't care. I was walking two feet off the ground every time I took the field.
4. The excitement of opening my Christmas present and finding a Daisy BB gun. Wow! It was incredible.
5. The first time I was old enough to sit at my grandmother's Thanksgiving table with the grownups. I was so excited I could hardly eat!
6. My parents bought me an English Racer bike for Christmas and I put multi-colored streamers on the handle grips. Talk about flash!
7. First time my mother took me down to the Loop in Chicago on the streetcar and we went to see Santa Claus at Carson Pirie Scott. I want to tell you I was a little nervous and could only tell him what my younger brother wanted for Christmas. If you were never in a large department store at Christmas time you really missed something. It was beautiful!
8. Playing baseball every day in the summer at the Little League field. Everyone pretended they were a famous baseball player. I was always Ernie Banks. I used to dream about someday buying a Wilson A2000 glove. I used to rub neatsfoot oil into my old glove and go to bed each night pounding the pocket so I'd be able to make a great catch! I think I wore my knuckles out on that old glove.
9. I remember when they made me a crossing guard in 6th grade and I got leave class a few minutes early and get to my corner station wearing my white safety belt. Pretty neat.
10. I remember that late in August every year Dad would take us down to the Wheaton Sports Shop where all the gym teachers in town worked during the summer, and we'd get a new pair of gym shoes. I can't even describe how excited I was when Chuck Taylor introduced not only Low-Cuts, BUT WHITE!! I felt like a million dollars wearing them that first day in gym class.
Anyway, after spending a minutes down memory lane, I always feel better. Yet also a little sad. America has lost so much of it's wonderfulness. But I'm so glad I had a chance to experience it before it vanished.
Perhaps you'd like to reminisce with some of your favorite boyhood or girlhood memories. Have at it!
Thanks, Doc. These are fun to read.
There are so many good memories. In our little southern town of 300 people, 10 of us from age 18 down to 12, would ride bikes down a gravel road to Dale’s fish pond to go swimming. Some of the younger kids couldn’t swim but the parents didn’t worry about that because it was the older kids’ job to take care of the younger ones.
These same group of us guys went out into the woods one day to build a log cabin. We chopped down trees with AXES and HATCHETS and actually got the walls up to about 3 feet high. Later we used it as a fort when we played war with REAL BB guns. A year later in that same part of the woods I killed my first rabbit with a .410 shotgun.
We walked on the railroad track. Remember the scene in STAND BY ME? That happened to my cousin, my brother and me. It was a short bridge but the train snuck up on us. My grandparents, my parents and my brother are all buried in a cemetary about a quarter of a mile from that bridge.
I fell asleep many nights listening to WLS out of Chicago. I’d wake in the morning and the battery on my transistor radio would be dead. Eventually I’d sell enough “coke” bottles to buy a new battery.
Thanks for the walk down memory lane.
There are some things I don’t remember.
I don’t remember video games.
I don’t remember computers.
I don’t remember calculators.
And I don’t remember having hundreds of TV channels to watch. There were three channels and during the day all that was on were soap operas. No kid wanted to watch those so it made us get up out of bed every morning in the summer and go find fun things to do. If we couldn’t find something fun to do, we’d make it up. My cousin once said “Our exploits were only as limited as our imaginations”. Kids today don’t have imaginations.
I remember the excitement of a long distance phone call from someone because they cost so much.
I remember getting $10 at Christmas from my grandparents and thinking I could buy everything in the store and I always got something really neat.
I remember 1976 and the excitement and pride for our country during her bicentennial even with Nixon, Vietnam, and the gas problems in the background.
I remember student bus drivers and how much fun it was to get a drivers license for it.
I remember when going to fast food was a treat and getting a huge ice cream cone was the weekend challenge to eat.
I remember to incredible excitement and stunning display of watching missiles launch from Vandenberg AFB while sitting all day on the hilltop waiting for them knowing we would be going to the moon soon.
I remember sitting in that back row of the Family Battlewagon facing rearward and getting other cars to honk their horns.
I remember taking flights on 747s and L1011s and getting to go into the cockpit. I always thought those guys were some kind of astronaut to be able to know what all those switches and dials did.
I remember our first touch tone phone and thinking someday well all just touch what we want and get it, like ice cream cones and pizza.
I remember going to Straw Hat pizza on my birthday and getting to order whatever pizza I wanted, as though the place held some kind of magical ability to make anything.
I remember my first Huffy BMX bike. I thought it could jump anything well, it could, I couldnt.
When I was 14, and in Army JROTC, we took a field trip to Fort Sill to shoot 45s, M16s, and M60 Machine Guns.
I can’t even imagine the hysteria there would be now over a trip like that. lol
playing football on the courthouse lawn
Great job, Doc. The phrase “English Racer” really hit home with me, as that’s what my Dad bought me too. He also came home with the beloved Wilson A2000 one time. Does anyone recall going to Marshall Fields downtown and being in awe up in their gun department?
Thanks so much for getting me to thinking about my childhood.
I was so lucky to grow up in what would become one of the worst places in the country.
At the time, IT WAS ONE OF THE BEST PLACES IN THE WORLD!!!
I was a very lucky fellow to have all those experiences.
Remember Western Auto?
God! It was like Heaven for a kid.
Save your money and you could buy anything.
Bicycles,BB guns, Fishing poles, pocket knives, shotguns, rifles.
No problem. Your money was good there.
I still remember the proprietor, good ol Tom White.
“Sadder than that, all the baseball fields around here are now used for soccer games.”
I’ll never forget my Ted Williams glove and suicides(drinks)free after the game.
I grew up during the late 1960s and 1970s. It was a time when kids spent virtually all their time out-of-doors when they weren't at school or doing homework. For if you ventured into the house in those days, your mother would stick a broom in your hand and put you to work around the house - and none of us wanted any of that!
So we stayed outside constantly. Mothers would hand peanut butter sandwiches and glasses of Kool-Aid out the windows to us so we didn't have to track our dirt through their houses. On rainy days, we'd go to somebody's basement to watch wrestling or cartoons on TV but otherwise, we'd be out of doors.
We all had bicycles in those days and nobody wore helmets. If one of us had a dollar or two, we'd go to the corner store and get large bags of penny candy and we would gorge on licorice sticks, flying saucers, giant gumballs, Swedish fish, caramel creams and all kinds of other candies - almost pure sugar.
Kids had paper routes in those days and many of us (including myself) would spend an hour or so tossing papers up on front porches and go around the neighborhood once a week to collect the money to pay the newspaper man (keeping the rest for ourselves).
Mostly we'd sit around at picnic tables listening to Top 40 music on the portable "transistor" radio and play board games like Monopoly and Risk for hours on end. We would even break out a deck of playing cards now and then until somebody's mother came around to make us stop, lest we grow up and become "degenerate gamblers."
Stickball, touch football, basketball (with just a hoop and no net), and baseball when the bigger kids didn't kick us off the field. Boys and girls played together. So the girls would join us for stickball and dodgeball and occasionally us boys would play hopscotch and house with them with no fear of being called sissies because we were all in this childhood together.
When the streetlights started coming on, we would start hearing our fathers whistle for us (each father had a distinct whistle) and we'd gradually start heading home. Except in mid-summer on those hot humid nights when we had no school and we'd hang out on our doorsteps close to midnight (nobody had AC in those days) while we'd go looking for fireflies, listen to the crickets, light some firecrackers and bottlerockets, and our fathers would let us have a sip or two of their beers as we waited for it to cool off enough to go to our beds.
I remember when I was like 7 I used to ride my bike 4mi out along a semi truck route to my great Grandparents farm.
(no shoulder, no helmet, no worries)
I would get out there and “Shorty” My Great Grandad, would give me a dime to get him a plug of beechnut chewy tobacco.
I would ride 4 mi back to Browns drug store. but the tobacco on the counter along with the dime, get like 3c back, no questions asked and ride back out to the farm, where lunch would be waiting.
sometimes i think we kept them in business buying BB's alone... 8^)
Locally, we have Vinny Castilla Field. Made with money donated by the Colorado Rockies player. It’s a baseball diamond, but I doubt a baseball game was ever played there.
Same thing with the area schools.
I grew up in a baseball family, had a family member play for the Braves and the Reds. No, I won’t name him.
That’s great for your grandkids, I just hope they’re not playing on former baseball fields.
I wasn’t that great at baseball either.
Sitting on the side of stank canal using cane poles and kite string tied around bacon to catch crawdads.
Climbing all over barges hurricane Betsey washed up years earlier behind the levee of the Mississippi.
Swiping beers out of the parent’s coolers at Mardi Gras to put into coffee cans taped to cane poles to trade for doubloons from the guys on the floats.
Riding bikes with a pack of kids chasing the mosquito fogger truck like it was the pied piper.
Having a dog that walked me to the bus stop every morning and came back every afternoon to walk me home.
Leaving home at daybreak on Saturday morning and explore for miles before coming home for dinner.
Using kite string and pulleys rig a line between the houses so we could send messages back and forth when we were supposed to be in bed.
Becoming marksmen using slingshots made from coat hangers, masking tap and rubber bands.
Making homemade kites from dry cleaning plastic bags.
The fire and smoke of saltpeter and sugar.
I forgot about stick ball. We used to play massive games of kick the can and one called four square.
Fun times, wasn’t it. As kids we’d swim in rice canals and the “Bayou de View”. We called it “The Bi-Oh”. Not one kid ever drowned.
Here in Indiana, land isn’t much of a constraint. They just keep building on farm fields for expansion.
We seem to have all the different sports fields imaginable, school, playground, amateur, college, and pro.
I even helped fund (unwillingly via taxes) a $750 million stadium for the local football team.
Remember tying your own flies an making your own spinner lures?
And Oh yeah, I remember, making home made kites.
I swear we made one so big we used bailing twine to hold it down.
Well, that dang thing airlifted my little brother LOL!
Carried him like 25 feet LOL.
I remember committing my first felony.
“I remember committing my first felony”
I remember commiting my last. Just a few minutes ago when I drove past a middle school 1 mile from my house, with a loaded rifle in my trunk. I’ve always been “edgy” that way...
1st degree burglary. Kids being kids.
Ok. Here’s a good’en. I got “molested” at the age of 12 in 1973, by the most beautiful 14yo girl I’ve ever seen before or since. Don’t know how I’ve managed to make it all these years without therapy after that terrible ordeal. Would I have done anything differently today? Yea, I’d have asked her to marry me right there, on the spot. She lived near my Grandmothers house and her family moved away a couple of years later. I sometimes wonder what happened to her and where she is.
That, and riding my bike to school....
I, too recall the patty melts at Nixon's, which was so popular that the line of cars waiting for service would spill out onto Whittier Boulevard. In 1957, Nixon's became Whirly's, and we would continue to eat there regularly. Its location is now an abandoned car dealership that folded at the start of the current depression.
I also went to the Sundown Drive-in regularly, where I saw films such as Bell, Book & Candle, Huckleberry Finn and South Pacific. In addition to the Wardman, there was the Roxy on Philadelphia and the Whittier Theater, an old movie palace on Whittier Blvd. whose tower may have been the tallest structure in Whittier. Sam Cohen, the father of the enhanced radiation bomb, aka the "neutron bomb," often came over from his home in Boyle Heights to watch movies there when he was a kid.
The Roxy was demolished following a suspicious fire in 1971 and the Whittier Theater was razed in the 1990's, but the Wardman is still going.
Was justice done?
My Pop And his brothers used to swim in the creek in some eddy over by the railroad tracks.
One day a snake bit Uncle Bill.
He caught the snake and bit it back LOL
Good memories. I know the guy running the Neats oil facility in Philly.
Doe’s anyone remember:
Butter churns or Hog scrappers?
Well, I was killed if that’s what you mean.
I got better.
I kept buying eating those things with hope I'd get my favorite..........
I don't recall that I ever did.
I was born in 1932.....About 5 years ago my eldest son remarked that I should write down “those stories” so that he could tell them to his kids. I am now on my 4th book, self published and have only got up to 1951 when I started my military career which ended in 1975. I can hardly wait until the series is finished, I really want to see how it ends. I have watched this country reach for the stars and now I am watching it stumble blindly down down a lonely dirt road... God Help us all.
Just one of the troops.
Thank you for the link.
Where are the inspirational lyrics and melody in music today? Even the 80’s and 90’s had lyrics and memorable melodies. All I hear on the radio are no-talent teenagers, talking and tapping: squawking and rapping. It’s garbage.
One side benefit - my children discovered classical music.
That’s wonderful!! I’d like to read them, too! (You are slightly younger than my Mom, and my Dad passed away 10 years ago, so it’s too late for him to write.)
On the FReeper Canteen you will hear all genres of music except rap-crap. In addition, you will be able to make requests to the DJs in the Canteen.
Of course, you will have to search for the thread every Friday night. It is usually posted as close to 8 PM Friday night as possible.
The knock on the 50's was that people then were too smug in their own little worlds, and didn't really care about things like bigotry and poverty, but that little quote, repeated as the farewell at the end of each Saturday morning broadcast of No School Today: "You go to your church and I'll go to mine and we'll all walk along together" has always stuck in my mind as an indicator of how people were aware of inequalities and intolerance, and were about setting them right through quiet, persistent, and respectful efforts rather than the bombast, demands and thuggism we see so often now. Your books will probably serve for those in the future to help relive a golden age this country will likely never see again......
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