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Growing Up In The 60's
Running Playing Free
Things have really changed since I was a child and I do remember so much of it. Growing up in Chicago on the west side during the sixties and seventies was a wonderful experience. I can remember the television programs, the corner grocery store, riding our bikes and just enjoying our freedom. Our frame house was old and rickety; the wooden screen door with its strong spring would slam shut as you ran through it. My grandmother and uncle lived upstairs from us in one of the flats my Dad rented out, it was nice to have my Grandmother and Uncle Phil living there, they loved us so much.I can remember grandma making me toast with cinnamon on it and my Uncle's desk with his jet plane and his model cars.I was sure glad he didn't have to go to Vietnam during that time. I can vagely remember my Grandfather, sitting on the porch eating a bowl of chili and giving me oyster crackers to eat. I can still smell the warm summer air in my neighborhood after a rain and returning home soaking wet from riding our bikes through the water puddles. There was a little grocery store on Chicago Ave owned by a wonderful Italian couple, Tony and Carmel. I remember my mother sending me to their store with a little change purse, with a list and money for what she needed that day, I could not have been more than 6 or 7 years old. Tony would call me Roberto with that Italian accent and let me watch him slice the salami that my mother ordered. He would always give me a chunk to eat. The note my mother wrote must have told Tony to let me pick out some penny candy because I always got a couple of pieces.
Back then you did not have to worry much about bad guys; most of them were in jail. I used to walk about 6 blocks to school in the morning with my sister and my little brother. No one ever bothered us. I can remember getting on the electric bus for a dime and riding it down Chicago Ave. to Austinand then to Lake St, where there was a small park with a waist high swimming pool that we called the mud hole. Did I say electric bus? Yes, it had two arms on the top of the bus that would slide along the overhead cables, every once in a while an arm would slip off the cable and the driver would get out and reattach it. We played baseball in the alley behind my house; we had a field marked off with chalk for the bases and home plate. My God how simple things were, no Internet, no cable, no satellite, just channels 2,5,7,9, 11 and 32 on the UHF. One of my favorite shows was Bozo's Circus at lunch time and Garfield Goose at four, around dinner time.You could watch Creature Features on Friday night until one in the morning until all the stations would go off the air.They would play the National Anthem and by two in the morning that was it for TV.
My Dad would not let us stay up past eight in the evening during school days, it was lights out. I remember every year The Wizard of Oz would premiere on television, what a highlight in my childhood. My Dad would make popcorn on the stove, shaking the pot around until all the corn had popped, what great popcorn. We did not have a microwave back then and now it seems to me that food tastes better when prepared conventionally. There were no fast food restaurants, just Dad’s burgers on the grill, funny, I make burgers the way he did.
All in all I loved my childhood. As we baby boomers age we begin to realize that we are now becoming the grandma's and grandpas. I hope my grandchildren love me as much as I loved my grandma and my nieces and nephews love me as much as I loved my Uncle Phil. I hope that I helped my children have memories like I have had. My heart feels more Love as I age and it never runs out of Love to give. What a wonderful life!
Copyright 2009 Robert Micheal Green