Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Growing Up on Xerxes

If you have ever watched the show Wonder Years it pretty much sums up what it‘s like to grow up in the 60s. Moms were more involved with “coffee clutches” rather than a job outside the home. Day care was basically non-existent and every afternoon you could hear the sound of mothers calling the kids in for not only dinner but lunch as well. There were no locks on doors, seatbelts, car seats or bike helmets. No bacitracin back then, only that terrible red stuff called Mecuricome (which had mercury in it!) that moms would splash on your knee when you skinned it. Every summer they tarred the alley behind my house and we all would go out their to autograph it with our thumb print. Outside of TV I never was in the house. I still don't enjoy TV that much. I'd rather be moving. Two of my favorite games as a kid were "Moonlight, Starlight, Hope to See the Ghost Tonight" which was a game we played in the dark of night where one person ran thru the neighborhood while we all tried to get back to someone's designated front step (the safe spot) before they were tagged (there were 14 children on my block including across the alley. It was great!) The other favorite was "Annie, Annie, Over" which consisted of someone throwing a red rubber ball over the house and then everyone running to the other side while the person hiding the ball under their shirt would tag someone. You didn't know who had caught it so you avoided being tagged by the group that had the ball thrown to them. Hard to explain but hopefully the game is played in heaven where I plan to play it again, It was THAT great.
Anyway, I was going thru some old snapshots (that’s what we called them back then) and thought I’d share a few choice ones.
The first one is of me in front of the house we bought, a little Cape-Cod job that my dad bought back in 1951 for $25,000. It was a block from Southdale which was just built. This one's from 1952. Don't know why the indian head-dress. I was a tom-boy from day one, I guess.
My folks bought us a dog shortly after moving in. His name was Smokey. He was never spayed so he would always run at night and then get caught by the dog catcher. My folks told the dog catcher they were tired of paying to get him back and to find a home for him. I never knew about it until the pound called and told me to let my folks know that they found a farm family to give him to. Maybe that's why I'm so sensitive around the care of dogs. He was a great dog and I miss him even today.
We had a cat too. She had 7 toes on eacxh front foot - a "mouser". My dad hated her because she would hide behind the furniture and then jump out and nail my dad in the ankles. For some reason she loved my brother though.
This was my little family out in front of the house.
Then there is the one when I'm leaving for Girl Scout camp with my sleeping bag and gigantic box suitcase. I remember the hat. It had feet on it and it said "don't tread on me" (my kind of humor, I guess).
My childhood consisted of numerous birthday parties just about every year complete with party hats, decorations and lunch with friends. Same as today except they were always held at the house and nothing elaborate. No Chuckie Cheese or McDonalds. Pin the Tail on the Donkey was definitely part of the fun.
I took dancking lessons for 9 years. This pic is of my brother and I (he only took for one year). I was 3 at the time and this was my first recital. I forced my mom to let me quit in 7th grade. Sometimes I regret that I did. Especially when I see the Nutcracker on TV.
Besides dancing I was in an accordian band (yes, they had those back then). Funny to think that my daughter Karen has two accordians.
The last two show the sign of the times. One is when my dad put me on top of his 53' Buick (kind of looks like "Doc" from the movie Cars) and the other one is me with my Betty Crocker Bake Set. No plastic back then! I'm wearing a Mickey Mouse Club sweatshirt. Besides some cartoons, Sky King and Rin Tin Tin life wasn't complete without seeing that show every afternoon. Btw, the table I'm sitting at is in my basement. I sort laundry on it. Life goes on, I guess.
We moved out of the neighborhood in 1964. To this day I don't know why. I don't even remember it happening but I will always cherish my growing up years on Xerxes.

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