Summer of 1957, I am four years old, my sister has just turned six. We are outside playing with other kids. (Yeah, back then you can play outside away from in front of the house without supervision) For whatever reason, sis says to me, “you’re stupid.” Taking it in, digesting it in my young mind, I quickly determine that it is not a compliment. I reply back to her, “no I’m not.”
She immediately comes back with, “yes you are.” In one of my earliest attempts at using the ‘best defense is an offense’ strategy, I turn the tables and start saying, “shut up, shut up, shut up.” Using the classic Jackson Boulevard greeting, she finally says, “go away, crybaby.” Continue reading “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking”
Most baby boomers, I would think, remember that during the 1950’s and 60’s cars had noticeable changes in body design from year to year. Americans took great pride in being able to tell the model number and year of an automobile just by looking at it.
I recall the time I ran home from school when I was eight years old and proudly told Ma that I saw a 1964 car. She said that I couldn’t have because it was only the fall of 1959. I tried to argue that my friend said it was a 1964 car. She said that he probably said it was a 1960 Ford car. (Alright, you had to be there.) Continue reading “Handle With Car(e)”
I’m no Charles Dickens, but I, too, have a Tale of Two Cities. My cities also have experienced the best of times as well as the worst of times. Now, if I can only get my stories serialized in a magazine like good old Charlie boy. Continue reading “Austin City Limits”
Recently a college age friend told me about a school project he was required to do and asked me to participate. Specifically, he wanted to interview me about what it was for a baby boomer to grow up on television while the medium itself was being created. I told him that television as we know it started in 1947 and that I was not old enough to appreciate being entertained by it until the late 1950’s, several years past the birth pangs. Nevertheless, I was willing to cooperate and be interviewed. Continue reading “Baby Boomer Television Memories without a VCR”
All baby boomers remember that when a stranger didn’t like how we were behaving, he or she would call us a “juvenile delinquent”. It also didn’t help a boy to dress in a weird way or to comb the hair back in a duck-tail. That was the ‘hoodie’ look of the 1950s and early 60s. Normal boys had crew cut hair styles. But, if you looked like a punk, you were a juvenile delinquent or greaser. Clothes make the man. Appearances count. Yada, yada, yada. Continue reading “Whatever Happened to Greasers?”
Are you old enough to remember watching first-run television programs in which the daddy came home from work every night wearing a suit and tie? Jim Anderson (Robert Young) of Father’s Knows Best, an insurance agent, always dressed up unless it was the weekend. He would rarely be seen in only his shirtsleeves but at least wearing a sweater. The same usually went for Mr. Cleaver (Hugh Beaumont) on Leave It To Beaver.There was also always the sartorially splendid Bentley Gregg, played by John Forsythe on Bachelor Father.
There was a time when parking was a simple chore. I can remember as far back as the late 1950’s living on Chicago’s West Side on Jackson Boulevard where there was not that much competition for curbside parking. Although we lived in a large apartment building complex there seemed to be more than adequate space on the street for my father to park his Plymouth. Very few, if any, of our neighbors had more than one car in the family. Continue reading “Parking Is Not For Cheapskates”
Diversity is a street between Belmont and Fullerton. More precisely it is smack dab in the middle (2800 north in Chicago navigational parlance) of several streets between Belmont (3200 north) and Fullerton (2400 n.) . And, as long as we are being truthful, it is Diversey and not Diversity. Tell that to all the El train conductors who used to announce the next stop along the way after the Fullerton stop to give those of us in the 1960’s a chance to switch to a B train. Of course, nowadays the human conductor has been replaced by an authoritarian robotic command. Regardless, herein lies the irony. Continue reading “Diversity is a street between Belmont and Fullerton”
I am not a middle child but the second of five. I don’t often take the middle ground unless it is to get someone else to compromise toward my way of thinking. I am middle aged, I guess, unless I live to 120, which is possible.
One thing I enjoyed being in the middle of was the streets I lived on as a kid. Between 1955 and ’59, home to me was Jackson Boulevard in the West Garfield Park Chicago neighborhood between Kostner on the right (or east) and Kilbourn, to the left or (west). Situated in the middle of the block gave me an opportunity to roam a little further every year with more confidence in each direction without adult supervision. The moment my feet touched the sidewalk of our block on a return trip from elsewhere I already felt as if I was on the stairs leading to our first floor apartment. The only time I crossed to the other side of the street- the north side- was with my parents when the car was parked there. I was too young to play with a ball on the sidewalk out front so there was not even a chance of me running out onto the roadway to grab an errant throw. Continue reading “Always in the Middle”
Baby boomers remember when kids used to go outside and play instead of sit in front of a computer or electronic games device. In the mid 1950’s, playing outside on Jackson Boulevard in Chicago’s West Garfield Park area meant either doing pretty much the same stuff that my year older sister did. This included hopscotch, hula hoop, jump rope and a great game for whiplash called “Red Rover”. This involved, if memory serves me right, having two rows of kids stand a few feet apart facing each other. The captain of one row instructs his or her line mate to shout out “Red Rover, Red Rover- let Tommy come over”. Then, it would be Tommy’s job to earnestly try to break through the human wall opposite him. Being the boy in this group and one of the younger ones- guess who was most often the sacrificial lamb? Continue reading “Child’s Play”