When kids were kids
Remembering how on sunny days we would fill up the little red wagon with a jumbo red and white Igloo Jug full of lemonade, a brown bag full of a dozen PB&J's, a dozen Apples, and a big bag of Cherry Licorice Whips.
7:00 o'clock in the morning and we were meeting the rest of the neighborhood gang at 7:30, at the park for an all day marathon of baseball. The only rule for the day was to be home before dark. Like dinner wasn't even important for us.
Rainy days it was the same routine except for half the sandwiches, half the apples, and only half the neighborhood gang. We were the fishermen. Always out for the kill with dreams of a full bucket of fish, and stories about how the big one got away.
Looking back on it, I realize now that my Mom was one PB&J making machine.
My flexible flyer runner sled in the winter. On our own private self constructed, groomed, repaired, and dangerous as all heck bobsled run. It went through 3 yards, and down 2 blocks alongside the roads edge. We calculated a full 1200ft. of curvy slicked up ice suicide. It didn't matter if it was 20 degrees below 0 windchill. We stayed out all day and all night, except for lunch and dinner. Apparently Mom felt that those meals were very important during the winter.
We climbed trees, built forts in trees, between trees, and underground. We chased girls with hands full of jumbo frogs that we scared them with. Sneaking our 1st kisses behind trees, in our forts, at the park, and behind the sheds.
My Schwinn Fastback banana seat bicycle with the chopper handles and a fat slick rear tire. Playing cards fastened to the front wheel fork with clothes pins to give our rides that extra menacing sound. That bike my life-line to the rest of the world.
Having to wait in line to use the phone while other brothers and sisters had their 30 minutes to catch up, and make plans with their friends. Hoping that my turn was not cut short by bedtime coming around.
Saturday Night Creature Features with Vincent Price, leaving us so scared we were afraid to close our eyes when it came time to going to sleep. The Hand, The Fly, Lon Chaney movies messing with our heads.
Bike rides to the local general store for our candy supplies. Giant Jaw Breakers, Giant Pixie Stix, Slo-Pokes, Wax Soda Bottles, Candy Buttons on Paper Tape, Milk Duds, Malted Milk Balls, Charms Lollipops and Blow Pops seemed to always top the list. Me being the strange kid who loved to get these little packs of cinnamon flavored toothpicks to chew on while on the ball field.
Collecting Baseball Cards, Beer Cans, and stories about how we made our greatest latest finds. Trading wasn't a big thing for us, it was all about the collecting and bragging rights over what was found.
Television shows like Lassie, Lone Ranger, Cisco Kid, Flash Gordon, Andy Griffith, Combat, Batman, Get Smart, Gilligan's Island, F Troop, Green Acres & McHales Navy. While in Chicagoland we had local favorites Ray Rayner with Cuddly Duddly and Chalveston the Duck. Frazier Thomas playing his jaw harp with Garfield Goose. Family Classics (also hosted by Frazier Thomas) that showed classic movies like Black Beauty, Old Yeller, Brians Song, Sink the Bismark, and all the John Wayne movies that were out at the time. Classic Cartoons like Bugs Bunny, Foghorn Leghorn, Daffy Duck, Road Runner, Dudley Doorite, and Speed Racer.
Marathon Monopoly sessions, Rummy 500 with 3 decks of cards played by my brother and I while tented under our blankets at night with our flashlight. Playing Chess like we were Eddie Fischer and Boris Spassky, with our lives depending on victory. Checkers was for kids.
McDonald's, where my father would feed an army of neighborhood kids burgers, fries, and chocolate milk shakes for under $10.00.
Little league baseball the stage for us to be the local rock stars of our day. Uniforms so clean to start each game. Covered in sandy dirt to end it. Winning the game meant ice cream treats for the winners. While the losers walked to the parking lots with their parents while looking back at us with envy as we lined up for our reward. Not everybody got the rewards just for participating back then. Our rewards meant something.
Never resisting chores because we knew that Dad always treated us to a day of fishing on the boat, instead of off the shore the day after those chores were done. Fishing, fishing, fishing. Baseball, baseball, baseball. Creative playtime invented around every corner, at our every living moment.
Why did we do all these crazy things back then ?
Answer: No Nintendo