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This contribution from John

Boy, where do I start??? I was born in '48', so my memories were as an elementary school student for the most part, but great memories they were! I grew up in the same little community my parents did between Ann Arbor and Detroit, MI. I went to the same one room school they did for a few years until they built a new one. We read "Dick and Jane" books which sucked, but somehow we learned to read. The old school building is still standing as a result of the township's effort at getting a government grant to refurbish it. I've taken my kids over there to see their grandfather's initials carved into the brick. We drove past there today and it triggered my kids (ages 12 and 13) asking me if I missed the "old days". As one of your respondents indicated, I think I also would give up some of today's conveniences (if you want to call them that) for to live that time again.

Anyway, when I was going to school there, my uncle lived with us and we both remember watching on TV the Detroit Lions defeat the Cleveland Browns 59-14 at Briggs Stadium for the NFL Championship in 1957 (the last time they won anything). He had to climb up on my grandmother's roof (we all lived with her) to turn the antenna towards Toledo because they didn't broadcast locally. What a contrast to today's Superbowl, eh?

Next door there was a farm. I still remember the old guy plowing the field behind a horse. Also in the 50's you'd still see signs around here that said: Tractors with Lugs Keep Off! Development had not yet encroached upon the area. Farms were still plentiful. Pheasant hunting was good. Traffic was reasonable.

We were not that well off, but neither was anyone else it seemed. People managed. My mother and grandmother washed clothes in a ringer washing machine and hung them on the clotheslines we had all over the yard. The house was heated with coal. I remember them bringing it and watching it slide down the chute into the basement. A milkman came around once a week it seemed. Occasionally we'd get chocolate milk or this orange drink as a special treat. My mom baked all the time, as did my grandmother. They had a garden and canned food to put in the cellar.

My great aunt would come out from Detroit every-so-often and we'd all go somewhere to pick berries. She drove a '55' Pontiac which ten years later I bought from her for $200 as my first car. I saved money from mowing lawns. The car had 29,000 miles on it in '65' when I got it. By the way, lawns had dandelions. No one sprayed with Weed n' Feed. If you didn't like weeds, you pulled them.

All those cars were big boxes. My folks bought a black Studebaker once. God, I thought that car was ugly! Wouldn't I like to have it now?! Once when I was getting off the bus and crossing the road, a guy driving a Henry J. ran the bus lights and almost hit me. I remember the Nash/Rambler, the Hudson, the Kaiser/Fraser, were cars we saw around here then that one only sees in museums or car shows now. What was that car Lois Lane drove? A Metropolitan or something? We'd see those around occasionally too.

When family came for holiday dinners, the kids weren't the center of attention. The adults talked, then played cards after cleaning up. Kids were left to entertain themselves.

We lived near an airport. Prop planes flew over all the time. TWA with their triple tail; Northwest with its red and blue tail. They had built the B-24 there during the war. I don't recall ever seeing one fly over, but they did park one along the road for display for a while. Later it was dismantled for scrap. Now, they can't find one to rennovate. There's only a few in existence I guess.

My family were all baseball fans. In the fall, I'd come home from school and the World Series would be on, sponsored by Gillette. I recall getting home just in time to see Don Larson complete his perfect game. I didn't understand the significance of it then, and the memory is somewhat vague, but I got hooked on baseball because of my dad, uncle, AND grandmother who used to hit me flyballs in the back acre.

I had a Davey Crockett coonskin cap. I watched the Lone Ranger on Saturday. Other westerns included Cheyenne, Bronco Lane, Sugarfoot, Wyatt Earp, Tales of Wells Fargo, Wagon Train, Kit Carson, Wild Bill Hickock, Tales of the Texas Rangers, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and Have Gun Will Travel. Superman, Gangbusters, Highway Patrol, Perry Mason, Milton Berle, Cid Ceasar, Amos n' Andy, the quiz show '21', You Bet Your Life (with Groucho), I Love Lucy, My Little Margie, Topper, The Millionaire, Dragnet, The Detectives, and a few others were favorites. Soupy Sales was on locally here in Detroit at lunchtime with a kid's program, but with a lot of hidden adult humor that went over our heads. When my grandmother first got the TV, there'd be a test pattern on it for a spell in the morning before anything came on.

Before we got a TV, I have memories of sitting around a radio and listening to "Sgt. Preston of the Yukon" at night and soap opera type shows in the daytime. This was the very early 50's, so I was really little then. But I remember a little of that.

My dad and a lot of other men always wore hats, like I saw in the "Untouchables". I'd also see men wear suspenders a lot. They wore rubbers to protect their shoes. Everyone smoked. My dad smoked cigars, but he was a newspaper guy and it seemed all those guys smoked cigars. Everyone else smoked cigarettes. Lucky Strikes was a brand I recall. Cigarette comercials were always on. Beer too. My dad and some of his contemporaries swore a lot too, but it didn't seem as bad as the language I hear from kids now.

Yeah, there are some memories I have that were not so great, but for the most part, I'd love to have those days back. Thanks for the opportunity to reflect.

John, January 2001

I remember!!!

Take a few minutes to look back, it really feels good. Have a great day! Close your eyes.....And go back in time....

Before the Internet or the MAC,
Before semi automatics and crack,
Before SEGA or Super Nintendo...Way back........

I'm talking about hide and seek at dusk.
The Good Humor man, Red light, green light.
The corner store.
Hopscotch, butterscotch, doubledutch, jacks, kickball, dodge ball.

Mother May I? Red Rover and Roly Poly, Hula Hoops, Running through the sprinkler.
The smell of the sun and licking salty lips....Wax lips and mustaches.
An ice cream cone on a warm summer night, Chocolate or vanilla or strawberry or maybe butter pecan.
A cherry coke from the fountain at the corner drug store.

Wait......Watching Saturday Morning cartoons...short commercials,
Fat Albert, Road Runner, He-Man, The Three Stooges, and Bugs,
Or staying up late for Gunsmoke, Or back further, listening to
Superman on the radio.
When around the corner seemed far away,
And going downtown seemed like going somewhere.

A million mosquito bites.
Sticky fingers.
Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians, Zorro.
Climbing trees, Building igloos out of snow banks...Walking to school, no matter what the weather.
Running till you were out of breath.
Laughing so hard that your stomach hurt.
Jumping on the bed. Pillow fights, Spinning around, getting dizzy and falling down was cause for giggles.
Being tired from playing....Remember that?

The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team.
War was a card game.
Water balloons were the ultimate weapon.
Baseball cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle.

I'm not finished just yet...

Eating Kool-aid powder.
Remember when...there were two types of sneakers for girls and boys Keds & PF Flyers) and the only time
you wore them at school, was for "gym."
It wasn't odd to have two or three "best" friends.
When nobody owned a purebred dog.
When a quarter was a decent allowance, and another quarter a miracle.

When milk went up one cent and everyone talked about it for weeks?
When you'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny.
When you got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, all for free, every time.
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 box.
When nearly everyone's mom was at home when the kids got there.
When it took five minutes for the TV to warm up, if you even had one.
When your Mom wore nylons that came in two pieces.

It was magic when dad would "remove" his thumb.
When it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents.
When girls neither dated nor kissed until late high school, if then.

When all of your male teachers wore neckties and female teachers had their hair done.
When any parent could discipline any kid, or feed him or use him to carry groceries, and nobody, not even the kid, thought a thing of it.
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.
Basically, we were in fear for our lives but it wasn't because of drive by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc.
Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! and some of us are still afraid of them!!!

Didn't that feel good.. just to go back and say, Yeah, I remember that!

Remember when............Decisions were made by going "eeny-meeny-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."

The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was cooties.
It was unbelievable that dodge ball wasn't an Olympic event.
Having a weapon in school, meant being caught with a slingshot.
Nobody was prettier than Mom.
Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better.

Taking drugs meant orange-flavored chewable aspirin.
Ice cream was considered a basic food group.
Getting a foot of snow was a dream come true.
Abilities were discovered because of a "double-dog-dare."
Older siblings were the worst tormentors, but also the fierce protectors.
If you can remember most or all of these, then you have LIVED!!!!

Pass this on to anyone who may need a break from their "grown up" life...


Feb 2001

Hey there,

Stumbled across your site and am having fun looking around it...

Although born in 1965, it was too late for the things I like.

Here in the UK cars were not as fancy as in the States, but we did manufacture cars that were mostly for export. At the first chance I got I bout a 1954 Triumph TR" (Picture Enclosed, maybe you could include it on the site?) Most of these were built in Left hand drive it would seam and exported out o the USA and other places throughout the world.

Anyway, that's it, enjoy the pic of this "little English car", and I'll continue to enjoy stumbling around your site in typical English "What's a computer?" style......

Clive (Essex, UK)


March 2001

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