Archive for the ‘childhood’ Tag

09/17/2021 The Good Old Days   4 comments

Way back . . .

  • I’m talking about hide and seek at dusk, sitting on the porch. Hot bread and butter, eating a super-duper sandwich (Dagwood), Red light, Green light, 123.
  • Chocolate milk, lunch tickets, any candy in a brown paper bag. Hopscotch, butterscotch, Double-Dutch, jacks, kickball and dodgeball. Mother, May I? Hula Hoops, sunflower seeds, jawbreakers, blow pops, Mary Janes, and running through the sprinklers. The smell of the sun and licking salty lips.

Wait . . .

  • Watching lightning bugs in a jar, playing slingshot and Red Rover. When around the corner seemed far away, and going downtown seemed like going somewhere.
  • Bedtime, climbing trees. 1 million mosquito bites and sticky fingers. Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians, sitting on the curb, jumping down the steps, jumping on the bed, and pillow fights.
  • Being tickled to death, running until you are out of breath. Laughing so hard that your stomach hurt. Being tired from playing . . . Remember that?

I’m not finished yet . . .

  • What about the girl that had the big bubbly handwriting? Licking the beater when your mother made cake. When there were two types of sneakers for boys and girls (Keds and PF Flyers), and the only time you wore them at school was for “gym”.
  • When nobody owned a purebred dog. When the quarter was a decent allowance, and another quarter a huge bonus. When you’d reach into a muddy gutter for a penny. When girls neither dated or kissed until late high school, if then. When your mom wore nylons that came in two pieces.
  • When you got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, for free. And you didn’t pay for air, and you got trading stamps to boot! When laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the boxes.
  • When any parent could discipline any kid, or feed him or use him to carry groceries, and nobody, not even the kid, thought anything of it. When it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents.

Not done yet . . .

  • When all of your male teachers wore neckties and female teachers had their hair done, every day. When they threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed… And did! When being sent to the principal’s office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited a misbehaving student at home. Having a weapon in school, meant being caught with a slingshot. When nearly everyone’s Mom was at home when the kids got there.
  • Basically, we were in fear for our lives but it wasn’t because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Disapproval of our parents and grandparents was a much bigger threat!
  • Decisions were made by going “eeny-meanie-miney-mo”. Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, “do over!” Race issue meant arguing about who ran the fastest. Money issues were handled by whoever was the banker in Monopoly.
  • Catching fireflies could happily occupy an entire evening. It wasn’t odd to have two or three “best friends”. Being old, referred to anyone over 20. The net on a tennis court was the perfect height to play volleyball and rules didn’t matter. It was unbelievable that dodgeball wasn’t an Olympic event.
  • The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was cooties. It was magic when Dad would remove his thumb. Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better.

And nobody was prettier than Mom.


(And please, no wise cracks about the photo.)

12-10-2013 Osama Bin Santa   Leave a comment

A few years ago I posted this story more as therapy for myself than anything else.  I suffer from a nagging case of Santa PTSB that recurs every December.  I want it to be known that I was fighting terrorism as a six year old before it became fashionable.  Each time I repost this story it helps me with my Santa issues like nothing else can.  That big fat and jolly SOB is known in our house as Osama Bin Santa and the only difference between him and other terrorists is that Santa loves victimizing young kids.  With that in mind here’s my scary and terrifying Christmas story.

As a young child my parents made every attempt to make Christmas memorable for my sister and me.  My sister was very young and I was just turning 6 years old. I still firmly believed all the stories about Santa’s elves and all the other good stuff. In the back of my young mind there was a seed of skepticism secretly growing. I was beginning to have serious doubts about Santa and my parents as well. A lot of what I was being told by my trusted family members wasn’t what I was hearing on the street (school yard). My friends had almost convinced me that the whole Santa thing was just BS and that the adults were actually the real gift givers.  It think it was at that early age that my trust issues with authority figures first began.

My parents began to suspect I was wavering and their propaganda was now falling on deaf ears. In a conspiracy involving my mother, her sister, my grandparents, and my Dad it was decided that drastic action was immediately necessary to convince me that Santa was the real deal. I’d been acting out a lot and being a little disrespectful to my elders so it was time for Santa to step in and straighten me out once and for all.

It was the week before Christmas and we were visiting my grandparents. I was being a huge pain in the ass as usual like a lot of six-year-olds can be at that time of the year. It was just after dark and I was walking through the house down a narrow hallway towards the kitchen. It was dark outside and as I passed the window I glanced over and almost had a six-year-old heart attack. There was Santa looking back at me and smiling a frightening smile. My blood turned cold and I got the hell out of there screaming all the way upstairs to hide under the bed.  My parents let me know in no uncertain terms that Santa was out looking for those children who were being good and keeping an eye on those that weren’t.  I was on the latter list, of course.

For the next few days I was a complete angel but after dark I was still nervous about looking out the windows. Santa the terrorist had accomplished his mission. I saw him again on two or three other occasions over the next two Christmases, once at our house, and again in the coal cellar at my grandparents home. Unfortunately I’d already consulted with my knowledgeable friends at the playground and I was officially a nonbeliever by then. I went along with the charade for as long as possible since my parents  were giving the gifts.  They finally had a meeting and decided I was just playing them for extra toys and my game was over.

Many years later while I was digging through an old trunk in my aunt’s bedroom I discovered where Santa had been hiding for all these many years. His retirement consisted of being tucked under a pile of sheets and pillowcases in that old trunk. My aunt laughed until she cried when I confronted her.  We relived a very special and scary Christmas memory and enjoyed the moment very much.

What I never told her or my parents was the lingering collateral damage from their actions. To this day during the Christmas season I’m careful in dark rooms and hallways and try never to look out the windows, NEVER. In the malls and stores where Santa is holding court I stay the hell away. That guy still scares the bejesus out of me. Terrorism is no joke.

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