It looks like this Coronavirus Pandemic cloud is still looming low over our heads. I had vowed not to continue my freelance writing of its pro and cons. However, does this cloud image, and its professional and not-so-professional viewpoints parallel the proverbial ostrich syndrome?
Well, my attitude hasn’t really changed that much. I still hold to the old adage of “This too will pass.” Like many of our populace, I don’t know when this storm will let up, and its aftereffects subside. I guess that’s one of those “GOK”, God only knows, questions.
Enough prologue chatting. It's time now to lighten up a bit with a little down-to-earth humor.
“Dad, are you, all right? “No. I’m half left and half right.”
So, are you all right, amidst all the doom and gloom floating around these days? I pray that you are. Now, please allow a little nostalgic look back to the good old days of yesterday. Won’t you come along and join me? Perhaps we may connect and leave the doom and gloom thoughts behind. Simply, a little musing of fiction and reality. Here it is, “The Big Tickle.”
“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Cor 13:11)
Why do all the severe storms come at night? This last one was a real dilly. I was slap in the middle of it all. I couldn’t help wondering if the storm would ever end. The roar of thunder was in the room, shaking my bed. The lightning was dancing a big jig through my window and around my bed. Is this one here to stay? I pray eventually the sun will peek through the deep, dark clouds, and the sky will clear, and the storm carried elsewhere.
For now, I’ll simply wrap my pillow around my head, pull my blanket up over my head, and dream away. Alexa, play the Fifties radio. Alexa, turn up the volume, and drown out this awful storm. I was out like a light, and found myself pulling back into my memory bank again. You see, I’ve been doing a lot of this dreaming lately, so this was no drag for me.
Can you come along with me? I trust you will. If not, simply ask your papaw all about those fabulous good old Fifties. He’ll be more than glad for the opportunity to brag a bit. I surely trust this blog won’t be a “dry rag.” Turn up the volume as you read, and you will find it to be from a real live “cool cat.”
Like my not-so-cool, highly educated parents often said, “It was all copacetic.” But I always said, “It was all a big tickle.”
I suddenly found myself back in my old neighborhood. Elm Street hadn't changed very much. Those big, leaning elm trees still shaded the old, cracked sidewalk, with a blossoming apple tree now and then. I see the street crew hasn’t finished placing the new parking meters yet.
As I strolled down the street, I saw the scenery hadn't changed much, as well. The downtown department store still had the small black and white TV console in the window. We spent many a Saturday afternoon gathered there watching the baseball games.
There was that new '55 Chevy still gracing the same garage. It was the one vehicle that held the distinction of finally beating the Ford in the Saturday night neighborhood drag race. What a thrill that was!
The ice truck was delivering ice to the neighbors' ice boxes. When it parked, we would all sneak up on the back and grab the left-over ice chips. Once, on a dare, I slipped up to Grandma's back porch and turned her ice truck delivery dial from 50 to 200 pounds. You know, she never said a word, just cleaned up the mess. She was a true saint.
Well, our old schoolhouse is still standing. I wonder if the cloakroom is still intact, where I hid to keep from getting the school shots. I wonder too, if my old desk is there, where I hid my big black horn-rim glasses. I didn’t want to be called Four Eyes,” you know.
You see, that daily four-mile walk to school wasn’t all that bad, even in the snow and ice. What an accomplishment it was when I graduated from walking to my new Western Flyer bike! Fastening those cards with clothes pins on the spokes really did make for a good motor. I was off to the races in a big way.
If I didn’t get to school early, I wouldn’t be finding an empty slot in the bike rack to park my bike. Now days, the bikes have been replaced with slick motor vehicles. The highlight of my school day was when Dad let me drive the family car to school. I would run out between classes to make sure nothing had happened to our prized family car.
There it was, the popular Hangout drive in with its invitational blinking marquee, advertising today’s specials. Those short-skirted car-hopes still whizzing around wearing those new skates Santa brought them. Why are all my class mates sitting around on the hoods of their cars, listing to the loud music? Why are they not in school? Where’s the principle, in all this may lay?
The old home place looked as good as ever, including the big motorized TV antenna fixed to the roof. And the big dining room window fan for summer comfort seemed to cool the food before we got a chance to eat. I also remember falling on that hot floor furnace grate.
The old clothesline is full of wet clothes, so it must be Monday morning. My old hot rod scooter, the one with the upside-down soap bucket to resemble a motor scooter is still parked by the garage, waiting to take off again down the sidewalk.
I really enjoyed having my own personal crystal radio. What a thrill sitting by the radio and hearing those old superheroes such as The Lone Ranger, The Shadow, and Superman capture the bad guys and solve crimes.
I recall most of my young playmates by either their given name or their famous nicknames. Back then we all had them. These nicknames seemed destined to be with us forever. There was Skinny, the class mastermind who was as round as he was tall, and Freckles, with no explanation needed. I’ll never forget Shortcake, the tallest young lady in school. No, I won’t reveal mine. You’ll just have to guess.
You probably won’t remember Phil, the class clown, always ready to defend his title. Phil: “What’s the teacher’s favorite nation?” His answer, “Explanation.” These, not the least bit corny, quips were always followed up by his raucous laughter, as we exited his latest classroom gig. What ever happened to ole Phil?
Well, if isn't Pastor Phil, You're out kind of early, preacher." "Yes, my son, just getting my morning walk in. This is my routine now, hopefully to regain my health. By the way, we've been missing you in church lately. The choir is just not the same, without your deep bass voice," he smiled as he spoke.
Being taken by surprised, I replied with my usual boyish grin, but that didn't satisfy Pastor Phil.
"See that old park bench over there? The one on which your Mom used to rock you to sleep as a small baby? Why don't we sit a spell and talk a bit?" he suggested.
"Sure pastor, why not?" I answered, all the time thinking how I may politely get out of this situation.
Giving me a great big smile, he pulled a New Testament from his pocket and began reading. "I hope you don't mind, my child, but since you have missed out on my recent sermons, I thought I'd give you the five-minute crash course," he said with a smile.
"Not at all Pastor Phil, go for it!" I replied.
My church friend and I just happened to take our habitual Sunday afternoon walk to the downtown drugstore, before evening church, to get a ten-cent fountain drink while flirting with the soda fountain girl. Downtown seemed so far away.
We spent many unforgettable summer afternoons playing hide-and-seek, just before Mom would call us in for supper at dusk. Oh yes, we always said “thank you” and “please” to our grown-ups. You see, grown-ups seemed so glamorous those days.
If we boys didn’t feel like playing hide-and-seek with those cute little girls, there was always the big elm tree to climb, or plenty of ten-cent comic books to read, or catching lightning bugs in a jar. Waiting for that eternal TV test pattern to go away in time for the Saturday morning cartoons was a bummer.
Even TV was religious back then, with the morning devotional and the nightly sign off of the national anthem and departing prayer. My old army vet Grand-dad would always stand at attention.
We played marbles in the dirt. All that was needed was a big circle drawn in the dirt and adding the marbles. I must admit, my big steely was the champ, knocking them all out of the circle.
I enjoyed getting up before breakfast, and sneaking down to see the new year car models being unloaded for the show room. That new 1955 Chev. V-8 now on display, just happened to be in the new arrivals. Wow, what a day!
We learned all those new hip-hop colloquial phrases such as do-whop, rock and roll, wig chop, Daddy-O, made in the shade, my pad, a greaser, cruising for a bruising, burn rubber, cheap shot, a drag and the list could go on and on into eternity.
One thing for sure, I really needed to be on my best behavior when relatives came calling, so Dad would be sure to give me that dime allowance. No more pulling the cousins' pigtails or sneaking around pinching ankles or buckling knees.
You see, I could buy many penny candies with this allowance treasure. I could even save up and send off for that special secret decoder ring, with five cereal box tops.
I took in the thirty-nine cent Saturday movie double features, and went out between the cowboy shows and rode down the sidewalk on my trusty broomstick horse, taking care of all those gun-slinging hombres, using my always-loaded six-shooters, with my imaginary faithful side-kick by my side. My only way to get to the movies was Dad giving me the needed movie change after my promise to take my usual Saturday night bath.
Enough said, I admit I kind of went overboard here. But if you forgot the now, just for a moment, it was well worth it. Amen!
Wow, is that the sun shining through my bedroom window? I believe so. Up and at it again, dream over.
There you have it. I trust this blog is not too tedious for you. I could go on and on. I’m full of it, full of my happy Fifties memories that is. So, I’ll not turn the record over, waiting for a more opportune moment.
As you may see from this look back, I’ve climbed a few rugged mountains, crossed my share of rickety bridges, swung on a few make-a- wish stars, attempted to follow a few fairy tale dreams. All of none avail. One thing for sure, these fifties memories will last forever.
Did you happen to notice that I repeatedly used the term “You see” in this blog? The reason for that is I wanted to make sure that you in fact would see what I remember in relating my many memories through this blog. If these simple reminders bring a smile to your face whenever they’re heard or told, it means you were lucky to have such good times. It also means your kind of old!
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