Wednesday, February 01, 2017


When you reach a ripe old age, where the young men hold the door open for you and the young girls smile, you know you have been around the block a few times already. Age has a wonderfully exact way of putting you in your place.

I really don't mind getting old, it allows me time to remember my youth. When I visit one remembrance it takes me to another. Chronologically, it is not the path to remembrance in an orderly fashion, just a trigger.

Popping in my head: Growing up on the streets of Brooklyn, and how I hated to wear shorts because I thought they made me look like a sissy took me to wax Coke bottles with sugar water in them, and don't forget the candy cigarettes! I recall going into Sam's on the corner of Hull Street and Stone Avenue to buy candy dots on a piece of paper, the penny candy bears, and the licorice fedoras that came in red and black.

You could go to a local food store and get a soda from a dispenser that needed only your coins, with an accommodating bottle opener to get you started immediately. Hop over to the coffee shop and sit for an ice cream soda and there on the table was a jukebox to play your favorite songs for a nickel or quarter depending on how old you were at the time.

When we moved from Brooklyn out to Long Island, the newest thing was the red wooden milk box that you opened every morning and took out the glass bottles of milk, replacing them with empty used bottles the milkman took away.

Not everyone had a telephone in their home, so when we finally got one, with a word prefix such as Olive 5-1234, it was a wonder to behold, except when you picked up the receiver and could overhear a conversation between two women who never stopped chatting on the party line! Some party that was!

Getting thrown out of the house on a Saturday afternoon was not uncommon, as we were given a dime and sent to the movies. If we got a quarter, we were good for some candy too. You sat for a newsreel you didn't really care about, a cartoon and the picture itself made you happy. After the movies on a summer's night, you took out your skates and with a skate key locked them onto your feet, skating around the block, almost every day.

Weeknights right before dinner was devoted to Howdy Doodie and Gabby Hayes and the Video Rangers, holding your attention until you could smell the cooking, making you hungry.

As we grew, other icons became apparent with S&H green stamps, or Raleigh Coupons that Dad saved from behind the cigarette pack, where you could order items in the mail by redeeming them.

Do you want your picture taken? Then be prepared to be blinded by the flash bulbs that stayed in your pupils long after the camera was put away. Needed a little music in your life? Out you went to get the latest 45 rpm to listen again to a favorite song you heard on the Allen Freed show on the radio. Of course, the need for a coke or soda was in order, so you reached into your little box freezer that sat in the refrigerator, (mine was a Westinghouse) and pulled out the ice cube tray, cold metal to the touch that required pushing back the cold metal lever that released the tray and ice cubes.

Then you reached the age of high school, where you wore if you were a boy: button-down shirts, penny loafers and tan paints with, your girlfriends wore ponytails, wide skirts with puppies or some cutesy animal and white socks, rolled down to the ankle. You sat in a classroom where the teacher handed out a sheet of freshly mimeographed paper that had a smell you loved. (Yes, you did, don't lie.)

Date night was usually an adventure, off to the drive-in you went with just your girl and maybe two or three unseen friends in either the trunk or under a blanket.

If you remember all these things above, you probably have pre-paid for your own funeral, take more meds than the pharmacy sells each day, and doctor comparisons are the topic of the day.


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