Remembering the early 60's as a child (2 Viewers)

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walrus1957

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Sep 24, 2008
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40 miles west of Omaha
Didn’t do much for the 4th of July, no fireworks, parties or drinking. Just stayed home and watched TV, did catch the Nations’ Capitol Fireworks on PBS. Must be getting old! Gee just how old are we getting, hmm, have to think a bit on that, let’s see what do I remember from my past?

I started thinking how things were in the early 60’s living in a small town in the Midwest, when most of the city streets were either gravel or brick. The street lamps were the big clear incandescent bulbs at that time and if you stepped ten feet away from the corner you were in total darkness. A time when you could roam the streets after dark as a child without fear of being abducted or something worse.

I was very young when President Kennedy was assassinated but still remember watching the news coverage on our old black and white Zennith set. A TV that you had to put a fan behind to keep the tubes cool, and you turned off during commercials if you wanted to watch the rest of Gunsmoke without the annoyance of vertical roll.

Yes those were the days when summer nights consisted of chirping crickets and lying on top the sheets in front of a fan placed in the window to keep cool because there was no AC. Late August also brought the call of cicadas at sunset, another familiar sound around here.

Every child looked forward to the 4th of July just as much as Christmas and of course Santa Claus. I remember push mowing the neighbor’s lawns for a quarter, or pulling the little red wagon down many of back alleys collecting pop bottles for deposit that you cashed in on at the neighborhood grocer. There seemed to be a Mom and Pop Grocery at every street corner, a small one room building with wood floors. Between the mowing and collecting bottles that kept me busy for two to three weeks prior to the fourth, saving up enough cash to buy a large bag of fireworks.

And wow the fireworks back then were really cool; Red Rats (basically a bottle rocket without the stick) just lay on the ground-light the fuse and they go everywhere- except the direction you pointed them in, and yes with loud report. The inch and half Black Cats and Zebras, you know the ones that were half a stick of dynamite before all the restrictions by the mid 60’s when the powder was reduced to nothing.

Anyway it got me thinking about all the good times I had back then, when life was simple and pleasing, before the world got in a big hurry and complex. I started remembering old games I use to play, rhymes and sayings and candy one ate as a child. Did a lot of street football and baseball at the schoolyard ball diamond, but played a lot of really weird games as well.

I had to google some of the games and sayings, because they made no sense to me now or forgot how some of them were played. I thought some of you might get a kick out of these games and rhymes, so below is a short list of things from the early 60’s, Wonder if any are still practiced today?

Nana nana boo boo
A phrase used to tease or taunt someone. Typically used when being pursued in a chasing game. Often followed by "stick your head in doo doo".
"Nana nana boo boo, stick your head in doo doo, you can't catch me!"


Annie Annie Over
It is played over a lower building that you can throw a ball over and be able to run all the way around it. You call out Annie-Annie Over and throw the ball over the building to the kids on the other side. If they catch the ball they can sneak around the building and throw the ball at you or catch you and tag you. You have to keep an eye open for them coming and beat them to the other side of the building. If you make it then that is your side but if you are tagged then you are on their side. There can be an even number of kids on each side to start with. When there are three-four kids on a side they can split up and some go each way and then you don't know who has the ball. If the ball is not caught then they can wait a moment to try and fool you and then holler out Annie-Annie Over and throw the ball back. If the ball doesn't go over the building, the throwers can yell 'Pigtail!', and then try to throw it again. The ball must be caught in order to run around the building after you. When the last kid on a team is tagged then that team wins.
Red Rover
In this game, the kids form two opposing lines and attempt to "break through" the opposing team's line.
At first, two teams are chosen of equal size, and they form two lines, facing each other and holding hands.
One side starts by picking a person on the opposing team and saying "Red Rover, Red Rover, send <Jason> right over"
Jason then lets go of his teammates and begins a headlong rush for the other line. His goal is to break through the line by overpowering the kid's hold on each other.
If Jason breaks through, he chooses one person for the opposing team to join his team, and they both go back and join in their line.
If he fails to break through, Jason becomes part of the other team.
Each team alternates calling people over until one team has all the people and is declared the winner.
Note that since all the players are on the winning team at the end, there really are no losers in this game.
Midnight Ghost
Designate one house's yard or another area in the neighborhood for the playing field. You will need a home base on which everyone can stand or all touch at the same time such as a large tree, front stoop, or back patio. 3
Choose one person to be the "ghost". You can do this any way you like: picking a number, asking for a volunteer, rock, paper, scissors, etc. 4
Have everyone but the ghost stand at the home base while the ghost runs off to hide somewhere outside. 5
Chant slowly as a group, "One o'clock... two o'clock... three o'clock..." and so on, up to twelve o'clock. Then shout, "Midnight! I hope I don't see the ghost tonight!" Alternatively, "Starlight, star bright, I hope to see a ghost tonight!" In another alternative, if using a tree or a basketball pole, have everyone keep one hand on it while chanting with their eyes closed and slowly walk around the tree or pole until they get to twelve o'clock, when they shout "The ghost is out tonight!". 6
Leave the home base and search for the ghost in the yard. The ghost's job is to jump out, surprise, and tag a player. When anyone encounters the ghost they should yell, "Ghost in the graveyard!" and try to run away. When the ghost catches someone, they become a ghost too. Anyone who is able to run back to home base is safe. Alternately, when the ghost catches someone, the new person becomes the only ghost. This makes is less scary for young ones, who don't like to venture very far away from the home base. 7
Have all the people who were caught go and hide with (or close to) the original ghost. The people on the home base start again with the chant, "One o'clock... two o'clock..." 8
Continue the game like this until everyone is caught. The last person caught becomes the ghost for the next round.
Mother May I
One game I remember is Mother May I. One person (it could be Mom) stands facing away from a line of kids. She then chooses a child (at random, or in order), and announces a direction. These follow a pattern, such as, "Brian, you may take' x' giant/regular/baby steps forward/backward." The child responds with "Mother may I?" Mom then states "Yes" or "No", depending on her whim, and the child complies. If the child forgets to ask "Mother may I?" he/she goes back to the starting line. First one to touch Mother wins.

Kick the can
This is an exciting combination of hide and seek, and tag. One person closes their eyes and counts to some high number, while everyone else hides. Then, the person who counted (who has incidentally been guarding "the can") has to run around the neighborhood and find everybody. The tricky part is that once a person is found, they have a race, where the person who has just been found has to try to kick the can over before the counter tags them. When that game gets boring, there seems to always be those kids who will hide in a dumb, easy to discover place, with the intent of sprinting for the can if they're caught... it's a good game for building paranoia into your character. :)
Teeter Totter Rhyme
As a child (many years ago) I recited the rhyme: "Teeter-totter, bread and butter / Wash your face in dirty water."
This is what we said: Teeter-totter, bread and water / Johnny shall find a new master / he shall get but a penny a day / 'Cause he can't work any faster."
I hope you can make sense of this, because even now, at least 50 years after I last teeter-tottered, no one ever explained it to me, then or later.
It makes no sense at all, unless it's a grim relic of the days before child-labor laws. For "master" to rhyme with "totter," you'd have to give it that Boris Karloff inflection: mawhstah. And that makes it sound rather creepy. Read the whole thing in a Karloff accent, and it sounds like some grisly prelude to Johnny's demise. You know what happens to bad little boys who cawn't wuhk any fawhster? They are taken to ... the la-BORE-a-toray.
It was yelled right before you jumped off, leaving the person on the other end to fall to the ground. The point was to see if they would sustain serious injury. Oh, the good old days!
Yes, the good old days. When the big, popular kids would trick the small, pudgy, prematurely bespectacled kid into riding the teeter-totter, hoist him up in the air, and then hold down the other end with a concrete block, ordering said small kid to stay up there until they say he can come down, lest he face dire consequences. The bell would ring, the kids would go back inside and the small kid would stay on the end of the teeter-totter. The day wore on. Dusk fell. The night was cold, and small creatures with bright glinting eyes darted around the empty field. Finally, he fell asleep -- only to fall off the teeter-totter. The impact woke him, of course, and what did he see upon opening his eyes? The sad faces of the bullies, shaking their heads. We didn't say you could come down yet, they said.
LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE
The phrase got popular from an old song by the Castaways -

"Liar, liar, pants on fire
Your nose is longer than a telephone wire"

and I've also heard it as "Liar, liar, pants on fire
Hanging from a telephone wire"

but it traces back to an 1810 poem by William Blake:

"Deceiver, dissembler
Your trousers are alight
From what pole or gallows
Shall they dangle in the night?"
Simon says is a children's game for three or more players where one player takes the role of 'Simon' and issues instructions, (usually physical actions such as 'jump in the air' or 'stick out your tongue') to the other players, which should only be followed if prefaced with the phrase 'Simon says', for example 'Simon says jump in the air'. Players are eliminated from the game by either following instructions that are not immediately preceded by the trigger phrase or by failing to follow an instruction which does include 'Simon says'. It is the ability to distinguish between valid and invalid commands, rather than physical ability, that usually matters in the game, and in most cases, the action only needs to be attempted, rather than completed accurately.
The object for the player acting as 'Simon' is to get all the other players 'out' as quickly as possible, and the winner of the game is usually the last player who has successfully followed all of the given commands.
The game is well embedded in popular culture, with numerous references in films, music and literature.
Engine engine number nine

Rhyme used to pick a player in the game to be it!
Engine Engine Number Nine,
Going down the Chicago Line.
If the train goes off the track,
Do you want your money back?
Answer is spelled out by counting individuals or their feet.
For some reason, we always did an add-on ending for every 'selection' chant:
And you are it with a dirty-double dishrag in your mouth.
"Eeny, meeny, miny, moe", which can be spelled a number of ways, is a children's counting rhyme, used to select a person to be "it" for games (such as tag) and similar purposes such as counting out a child that has to be stood down from a group of children as part of a playground game. It is one of a large group of similar 'Counting-out rhymes' where the child pointed-to by the chanter on the last syllable is 'counted out'. The rhyme has existed in various forms since well before 1820, and is common in many languages including German forms, with similar-sounding nonsense syllables.
Since many similar counting rhymes existed earlier, it is difficult to ascertain this rhyme's exact origin.
Fatty fatty 2 by 4 couldn’t get through the kitchen door, fatty fatty 2 by 8 can’t get through the garden gate.
Crack the Whip is a simple outdoor children's game that involves physical coordination, and is usually played in small groups, either on grass or ice. One player, chosen as the "head" of the whip, runs (or skates) around in random directions, with subsequent players holding on to the hand of the previous player. The entire "tail" of the whip moves in those directions, but with much more force toward the end of the tail. The longer the tail, the more the forces act on the last player, and the tighter they have to hold on.
As the game progresses, and more players fall off, some of those who were previously located near the end of the tail and have fallen off can "move up" and be in a more secure position by grabbing onto the tail as it is moving, provided they can get back on before some of the others do. There is no objective to this game other than the enjoyment of the experience.
Spin The Bottle Party kissing game. You had several people sit in a circle with a pop bottle at the center, then spin the bottle twice. After the bottle came to rest each time the persons it pointed at would have to make out.
Hopscotch
To play hopscotch, a course is first laid out on the ground. Depending on the available surface, the course is either scratched out in dirt, or drawn with chalk on pavement. Designs vary, but the course is usually composed of a series of linear squares interspersed with blocks of two lateral squares. Traditionally the course ends with a "safe" or "home" base in which the player may turn before completing the reverse trip. The home base may be a square, a rectangle, or a semicircle. The squares are then numbered in the sequence in which they are to be hopped.
Playing the game

The first player tosses the marker (typically a stone, coin or bean bag) into the first square. The marker must land completely within the designated square and without touching a line or bouncing out. The player then hops through the course, skipping the square with the marker in it. Single squares must be hopped on one foot. For the first single square, either foot may be used. Side by side squares are straddled, with the left foot landing in the left square, and the right foot landing in the right square. Optional squares marked "Safe", "Home", or "Rest" are neutral squares, and may be hopped through in any manner without penalty. After hopping into the "Safe", "Home", or "Rest" the player must then turn around and return through the course (square 9, then squares 7 & 8, next square 6 and so forth) on one or two legs depending on the square until he or she reaches the square with their marker. They then must retrieve their marker and continue the course as stated without touching a line or stepping into a square with another player's marker.
Upon successfully completing the sequence, the player continues the turn by tossing the marker into square number two, and repeating the pattern.
If while hopping through the court in either direction the player steps on a line, misses a square, or loses balance, the turn ends. Players begin their turns where they last left off. The first player to complete one course for every numbered square on the court wins the game.
Although the marker is most often picked up during the game, historically, in the boy's game, the marker was kicked sequentially back through the course on the return trip and then kicked out.
Marbles
Most children understand the game of marbles the first time it is explained. To determine who shall play first each child lags with his or her shooter marble.
To start a game of Ringer the children lag from a line, drawn tangent to the ring, to a parallel line across the ring, which would be 10 feet away. The child whose shooter comes nearest the line has the first shot. Players must lag before each game. Practice lagging, as the first shot may mean the winning of the game before your opponent gets a shot. In lagging, a child may toss his or her shooter to the other line, or he or she may knuckle down and shoot it.
The child who won the lag, prepares to knuckle down. His knuckle has not quite reached the ground, which is necessary before shooting. He can take any position about the ring he chooses. There are13 marbles in the center of the ring arranged in an X at the start of the game.
If the shooter knocks the marble from the ring on his first shot and his shooter stays in the ring. He picks up the marble. As he has knocked one from the ring, he is entitled to another try. Players are not permitted to walk inside the ring unless their shooter comes to a stop inside the ring. Penalty is assessed fine of one marble.
Continuing play. He "knuckles down" inside the ring where his shooter stopped on the last shot. This gives him the advantage of being nearer to the big group of marbles in the center of the ring for his next shot. Expert marble shots try to hit a marble, knock it out of ring and make their shooter "stick" in the spot.
Another example of play, this time the shooter hit a marble, but did not knock it from the ring. At the same time his shooter, too, stays inside the ring. He can not pick up the marble, neither is he allowed to pick up his shooter. He must leave the shooter there until the other child has played.
The game usually continues until all marbles have been picked from the ring.

I spy is a guessing game usually played in families with young children, partly to assist in both observation and in alphabet familiarity. I spy is often played as a car game.
One person starts by choosing an object (a cow, for example) and says "I spy with my little eye, something beginning with C" or simply "I spy something beginning with C." The other players look around and suggest things it might be: "Crow" (no), "Car" (no), "Cloud" (no), "Cow" - yes. The person who guesses correctly often gets to choose the next object.

When played in a car, the group playing may need to decide beforehand what to do about items that are no longer visible (the field with the cows is a mile back - usually permitted but the person choosing the object has to say "I can't see it any more" and "I can see it now"). Sometimes items within the car are excluded.
Hangman

The word to guess is represented by a row of dashes, giving the number of letters and category of the word. If the guessing player suggests a letter which occurs in the word, the other player writes it in all its correct positions. If the suggested letter does not occur in the word, the other player draws one element of the hangman diagram as a tally mark. The game is over when:
  • The guessing player completes the word, or guesses the whole word correctly
  • The other player completes the diagram:
This diagram is, in fact, designed to look like a hanging man. Although debates have arisen about the questionable taste of this picture, it is still in use today. A common alternative for teachers is to draw an apple tree with ten apples, erasing or crossing out the apples as the guesses are used up.
The exact nature of the diagram differs; some players draw the gallows before play and draw parts of the man's body (traditionally the head, then the torso, then the arms & legs one by one). Some players begin with no diagram at all, and drawing the individual elements of the gallows as part of the game, effectively giving the guessing players more chances. The amount of detail on the man can also vary, affecting the number of chances. Many players include a face on the head, either all at once or one feature at a time.
Some modifications to game play, such as "buying a vowel" or refraining from using the letters R, S, T, L, N, and E result from the U.S. television game show Wheel of Fortune, created by Merv Griffin. Another alternative is to give the definition of the word. This can be used to facilitate the learning of a foreign language.
Edible things you enjoyed as a child-
Little wax coke bottles with liquid inside--also chewable.
Bazooka Joe bubble gum with the comic wrapped around it. The Topps Company developed its Bazooka Bubble Gum product in Brooklyn, New York after the end of World War II. It was named after the humorous musical instrument which entertainer Bob Burns had fashioned from two gas pipes and a funnel in the 1930s. (This contraption also gave its name to the armor-piercing weapon developed during the War.)
Pixy Stix is a powdered candy packaged in a wrapper that resembles a drinking straw.
Pixy Stix used to be made by Sunline which started in 1952 in St. Louis, Missouri. Originally it was a drink mix in the late 1930s, sold as Frutola, but J. Fish Smith found that kids were eating the sweet & sour powder right from the package. He shifted the name to Fruzola and added a spoon. Later it was repackaged with a dipping candy stick as Lik-M-Aid and also sold in little straws called Pixy Stix. It wasn’t until parents complained about the grainy, sticky powder that Sunline came up with a compressed tablet form, the SweeTart in 1963.[1]
Sunline was sold to Rowntree Mackintosh of the UK, which was then bought by Nestle. Nestle maintained the Sunline brand for a while and only recently has rolled the SweeTarts, Pixy Stix, and Lik-M-Aid into the Wonka brand, which already had a strong line of sugar candy, such as Tart 'n' Tinys, Nerds and Runts.
The candy is usually poured from the wrapper into the mouth which is made out of plastic and very hard to open. The ingredients in Pixy Stix are as follows: Dextrose, Citric Acid, less than 2% artificial and natural flavors. Pixy Stix come in two different sizes large and small. Pixy Stix is a registered trademark of Societe des Produits Nestle S.A. Vevey, Switzerland.
Wax Lips
Wax Lips are actually a waxy chewing gum with a cherry flavor. How can you not smile at these? Wear them at your next business meeting... guaranteed to reduce stress.


Candy cigarettes is a candy introduced in the early 20th century made out of chalky sugar, bubblegum or chocolate, wrapped in paper as to resemble cigarettes. Their place on the market has long been controversial because many critics believe the candy desensitizes children, leading them to become smokers later in life. Because of this, the selling of candy cigarettes has been banned in several countries such as Finland, Norway, the Republic of Ireland, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.[1]
In the United States a ban was considered in 1970 and again in 1991, but was not passed into federal law. The U.S. state of North Dakota enacted a ban on candy cigarettes from 1953 until 1967.[1] In Canada federal law prohibits candy cigarette branding that resembles real cigarette branding and the territory of Nunavut has banned all products that resemble cigarettes.
The Family Smoking and Prevention Control Act was misquoted as banning candy cigarettes. The Act bans any form of added flavoring in tobacco cigarettes other than menthol. It does not regulate the candy industry.
Candy cigarettes continue to be manufactured and consumed in many parts of the world. However, many manufacturers now describe their products as candy sticks, bubble gum, or candy.
Popeye Cigarettes marketed using the Popeye character were sold for a while and had red tips (to look like a lit cigarette) before being renamed candy sticks and being manufactured without the red tip.
Let us not forget Bubble gum cigars!
OLD Sayings and Phrases (a blast from the past)
Conniption Fit, Holy mackerel, I'm just flabbergasted, Mind your P's & Q's, Having a field day, You can't pull the wool over my eyes! I didn't just fall off the turnip truck; Hold Your Horses; I'm at the End of My Rope; I've Told you Time and Time Again; Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth; A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush; Don't air your dirty linen in public; A person is known by the company (s)he keeps; Necessity is the mother of invention; Silence is golden; Cat fit; Keeping up with the Jones' and You've just cooked your own goose!
"I'm rubber & you're glue, whatever you say bounces off me & sticks to you."
I see England, I see France, I see xxx's underpants.
When someone would call you stupid, you'd say, "I know you are but what am I?"
"Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me"
...."if my dog had a face like yours, I would shave its butt and make it walk backwards"
"Went downtown to see my lady,
No one was home but skinny and the baby,
Skinny was drunk and I was sober,
Skinny blew a fart that knocked me over....."
"He who farts in church
sits in his own pew"
"What's the difference between a woman who comes out of church on a Sunday morning and a woman coming out of the bath on a Sunday morning? “One has a soul full of hope and the other has a hole full of soap."
And who can forget Johnny and Susy sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, first comes love, then comes marrige, then comes Johnny pushing a baby carriage
" Birdy birdy in the sky, dropped a white thing in my eye, I'm no baby, I won't cry, I'm just glad that cows don't fly."
"Oh, the girls in France do a naked lady dance, and the boys don’t care so they eat their underwear."
Whoever smelt it, dealt it.
Lady bug lady bug fly away home. Your house is on fire and your children alone!
I am a little tea pot short and stout, Here is my handle, here is my spout, When I get all steamed up this I shout, Just tip me over and pour me out.
Don't step on a crack or you'll break your mother's back.

Pull my finger...
It’s raining, it’s pouring the old man is snoring he went to bed and bumped his head and couldn't get up in the morning.
Early to bed, early to rise....., .....man, I am getting old ;o)
I like myself, I love myself, I took myself to the picture show. I wrapped my arms around my waist, I got so fresh I slapped my face.
Alice, where are you going?
Upstairs to take a bath,
Alice had legs like toothpicks
and a neck like a giraffy affy affy affy...
Alice, got in the bathtub
Alice pulled out the plug
Oh my goodness
Oh my soul
There goes Alice down the hole..
Glub, Glub Glub

Can’t believe what children use to do and say for fun back in those days, but doesn’t seem like we ever got bored.
 

stanleyjohn

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Wow! you sure brought back some memories.I was born in 1956 and can really relate to the above.In those days you walked to school with friends or by yourself! No parents to guard you or drive you and no school buses unless you was at least a few miles away from the school.Great TV shows,people seemed more friendly and less uptight.
 

dfergie

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Wow! you sure brought back some memories.I was born in 1956 and can really relate to the above.In those days you walked to school with friends or by yourself! No parents to guard you or drive you and no school buses unless you was at least a few miles away from the school.Great TV shows,people seemed more friendly and less uptight.
Same here, except I lived in the country and rode a bus... I remember watching some of President Kennedy's funeral at my Grandfathers house (and heard about it at school)...
 

walrus1957

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Just a couple quik comments to add to this thread; anyone besides myself remember Pixi Stix and think you could actually make Koolaid by dumping several packets and stiring them into a class of ice water (yuk)? Does anyone remember the old BW Sunday morning Westerns on the tube, and having to run outside afterwards, strap on the old hostle with cap pistol, tie on a beat up cowboy hat and play Cowboys and Indians with the nieghborhood kids?

Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians, playing Army, they say these games are too violent for children to play nowadays! I wonder what they have to say about the new video games that kids play?

By the way, if you haven't guessed by now, I was born in 1957.
 

stanleyjohn

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Mar 25, 2010
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Anyone remember the civil defence drills we had in school!this time period was the hieght of the cold war.Im glad i really didnt know how close we were to all out nuke war during the cuban missle crisis.
 

walrus1957

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Anyone remember the civil defence drills we had in school!this time period was the hieght of the cold war.Im glad i really didnt know how close we were to all out nuke war during the cuban missle crisis.

Ya, I remember the drills from grade school! I also recall the fallout shelter signs that most big buildings in town had plastered on the walls outside.
Fallout_Shelter.jpg

Heres another item from the past (curb feelers), you know that foot long springy thing that was attached to the fender of the car that rubbed the curb when you parrallel parked uptown. I remember the noise it made when scrapping the curb, let you know you were close enough. In those days parking to far from the curb could land you a ticket from the meter maid as she made the rounds collecting money from the parking meters. Spent many a day in an old yellow Studabaker waiting for my mother to come out of the store. My sister and I were stuck sitting out in the car playing games like I Spy for hours, you got good at that game if your mother was a real Shopper.
 

Magic Static

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I used to walk across the street to the General Store and buy penny candy, tootsie rolls 2 for a penny. I watched Captain Kangaroo with Mr. Green Jeans and Bunny Rabbit and Mr. Moose. Jimmy Durante was fun at night. We said the Pledge of Allegiance all the time. I ate burgers at Griff's All American Burger Bar for 19 cents. And huge icecream cones for a nickel. I went fishing every weekend. If you live where the "River Runs Through It" you have to fish :)
 

walrus1957

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I used to walk across the street to the General Store and buy penny candy, tootsie rolls 2 for a penny. I watched Captain Kangaroo with Mr. Green Jeans and Bunny Rabbit and Mr. Moose. Jimmy Durante was fun at night. We said the Pledge of Allegiance all the time. I ate burgers at Griff's All American Burger Bar for 19 cents. And huge icecream cones for a nickel. I went fishing every weekend. If you live where the "River Runs Through It" you have to fish :)

Candy was dirt cheap back then! And ah yes fishing! The small town of Fremont were I grew up is situated between the Platte and Elkhorn rivers. The Platte river is just a mile south of town. My parents bought a cabin along the Platte when I was 5 years of age, the first trip out to the cabin was a real surprize to me. I thought the river was an ocean, the Platte is a mile wide but only an inch deep during the summer months. When we first got the cabin it was only one of about six cabins along a three mile strecth of graveled road. The lot consisted of large cotton wood trees situated on roughly 5 acres of ground. The first day out at the river found me shimmying up a very tall cotton wood tree, I got up to about the 80 foot level of the 100 plus foot tree and was balancing on a branch about 2 inches in diameter- yelling down to my mother "hey Ma look at me"! That's when she had her first heart attack! To this day I can not remember how the hell I ever got down. But I do remember a lot of fishing on the river and small sand pits around the area. You have to love making doe balls for fishing if you use vanilla.

Those were the days of innocents, but some how you always ended up in some sort of trouble. I remember when I was 4 years of age I use to collect keys from coffe cans, you recall the detachable keys they had on the old tin coffee cans the ones you used to roll up the starp around the top. Well I had placed several of them on a beaded steel key chain and carried them around with me always. One morning while trying to wake my little sister from her sleep to go out and play, is when I got my first lesson in electricity and just how loud a 3 year old girl could scream. While standing on her bed I for some reason decided to insert one of the keys into a spade terminal of an electrical wall outlet that was positioned just above her head. All was fine until I pluged in the second key- Then WAMO! The fourth of July all over again, and white hot steel balls of fire shot out all over the bed, and started the sheets on fire (can't remember how long I sat on that chair in the corner after that).

Our home back then was just a city block from the train switch yards were the Union Pacific, Burlington Northen and Chicago and Northwestern tracks all crossed over. I had three older brothers that also got me into trouble around this time by taking me with them to the train yards to hustle hobos for cash. And believe me these bums have the cash. Made all of 6 bucks in just one afternoon down at the tracks before the railroad dicks ran both us and the bums off. Ya mother wasn't to pleased about that.

But the worst I can remember about trouble was when my older brothers decided to raid a Caboose and aquire a box of railroad torpedos (fusees). If you don't know anything about a railroad torpedos, all you need to know is that they are exactly 1/4 stick of dynamite. We also aquired several large tractor weights, then began placing half dozen torpedos between two plates and stricking them off by hitting the top tractor weight with a ten pound sledge hammer. MAN did the ground shake and the top weight flew up in the air (200 feet in the air), and the entire back yard filled with smoke and drifted across the street where there was a large gas station and fuel farm. We repeated this experiment several times in the course of about half an hour before the neighborhood filled up with police cars and fire engines. HMMMM how do you say grounded for an entire year!
800px-Railroad_torpedo_with_lead_straps.jpg
Description of railroad fusee (torpedo):
About the size of a fig newton cookie, the railroad "torpedo" was used on the CN&L (Columbia, Newberry & Laurens) railroad (later Atlantic Coast Line, Seaboard Coast Line and now CSX) and most all railroads as a signaling device to alert the train crew that a work crew was working on the track ahead or that there was some danger ahead..
Prior to working on the track, work crews strapped the torpedos to the rail using the soft, lead straps. This device was strapped to the rail about 1/4 to 1/2 mile from the work crew. They would be placed in a pattern so that when the oncoming train ran over the torpedos, the train crew would hear a bam...then bam, bam, or some pattern like that to alert them to the work crew ahead. The bang was so loud, that the work crew could hear it, too, alerting them to a train approaching. Once the track work was done for the day, the track crew removed the torpedo(s) prior to leaving the work site.
Though only a "noisemaker" to a train crew, it could be dangerous to a person if handled improperly. The railway torpedo was made by the Standard Railway Fusee Corp. in Easton, MD.

Great Times back then, but beginning to wonder how any of us ever survived.
 
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Magic Static

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Well according to what is taught today, We didn't survive! We're all dead! I smoked for 40 years before I quit. I should be dead. Had a double bypass 18 years ago, gave me a new lease on life, LOL
 

walrus1957

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Well according to what is taught today, We didn't survive! We're all dead! I smoked for 40 years before I quit. I should be dead. Had a double bypass 18 years ago, gave me a new lease on life, LOL

I'm glad to hear you gave up smoking. I started smoking when I was nine, thanks to the influence of my older brothers. I quit when I was 20 and started back up a few years after that. I never smoked heavy, and down to less than half a pack today. After the chest cold I experienced this last spring I am seriously thinking about giving them up for good.

"Magic Static" have you always lived in Montana? Just curiuos, spent a very short time there some 15 years back. Little off subject here but seeing how I started this thread I don't think I will get hammered to badly. I used to spend a few weeks every summer during the 90's in Hill City South Dakato, fishing at a cabin my wife's uncle owned. I would frequent a walk in fishery along Castle Creek a few miles north of town. Get up before dawn and be at the creek just before sunrise to walk the meadow with my fly rod and creel fishing for brookies.

One year the wife wanted to do something different, and I was getting tired of all the motorcycles there for the Sturgis rally so we dropped plans and headed up to Devils Tower Wyoming. Spent half the day there and decided to cruse Montana, possibly make it to a motel near Yellowstone and see Custers last stand the following day. My mistake, got 100 miles into Montana and the paved road shown on the map turned into gravel, no road signs for the entire trip??? Started running out of gas, stopped at a one building town- they had a gas station but were out of petrol. The gal at the station said fuel is delivered once every two weeks and everyone that lives around there comes that day and buys it all up. She said the next delivery wasn't until next week and I should travel back east 100 miles to the nearest town. Running on fumes I made to the nearest station and finally back to Hill City. The attendent at the station in Montana said that a State Law was passed in Montana to save money and they no longer furnished road signs, she said "hell we all know what road were on, why would we need signs to tells that". Like I said, I'm just curiuos here, is there, or was there a time that Montana stopped erecting road signs on the highways?

You got me on a tangent about fishing, loved it as a child and can't stop thinking about it today. Has to be one of the alltime favorite past times for many, but that is fuel for another thread.
 
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Magic Static

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Moved to Montana in '59 and started grade school. been here as much as possible since. I quit smoking a pack-a-day, and bought a brand new car with the money I used to spend.
 

Magic Static

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OH and about the road signs, funny! but here lately you'd thought there was a lot of truth to that. The huge loads of equipment heading for the Tar Sands in Alberta were planned to ship thru Montana and they took down all the highway signs to accomodate them. But lawsuits halted the process for now and they put them back up.
 

walrus1957

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Moved to Montana in '59 and started grade school. been here as much as possible since. I quit smoking a pack-a-day, and bought a brand new car with the money I used to spend.

Like I stated earlier, my older brothers got me smoking when I was nine. Of course never inhaled until years later due to ridicual from peers. Back then you could cross the street from my house to the gas station, cigerette vending machines were everywhere, and no one ever noticed who was buying a pack from them. It only cost 35 cent a pack in 1965, and on ocassion even my dad would send me to the gas station to buy a pack of non filtered Pall Malls for him when I was nine. Last time I checked around here the cheapest you could get was $42 a carton.

I also remember the pop machines back then where you opened a side door and pulled out a glass bottle from the delivery shelf. There was a coke machine on the second floor of a bank building uptown where the lid lifted up and you put a dime in the coin slot, you had to slide the bottle over to the coin operated gate and lift the soda out. Years later a freind of mine showed me a neat but dishonest trick- he carried a bottle opener with him and a long straw, he would open the lid to the machine, pop off the bottle cap and use the straw to drink the soda from the bottle. The machine was sort of hidden around the corner on the second floor from the elevator shaft and you could get away with doing things like that without being seen from others in the bank building, unless some one happened to be walking up the stair route.

Back then we found all kinds of ways to cheat the system, including being able to make free phone calls from the pay phone booths in town. My mother after raising 4 boys found out in a fast hurry to put a short leash on us kids, and for the most part my roaming the streets came to a screatching halt when I was 10. Ah yes then came boy child number 5, ya and that's an interesting story. My younger brother started out with a plywood lid on his crib that kept him in at night. And for outside playtime until he was 5 years of age she had my dad erect a 20x20 foot play yard under a large Hackberry tree with a 6 foot high fence that he got locked into. The play yard could be viewed from the kitchen window so mom could keep eye on younger brother while cooking dinner or doing dishes. He really didn't have it all that bad, the shaded play yard had a tractor tire sand box and all kinds of toy trucks and cars. If little brother reads this thread he'll have to get a chuckle out of this one!:D Hee Hee!
 
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AcWxRadar

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Oh yes! I remember the "play yard" those were some fun times! Roads everywhere (made with real concrete) and bridges over rivers made from the water from the garden hose. Pretty realistic.

I certainly recall the crib with the board on top to keep me in at night! I was a night owl then as well as now and loved to roam the house when everyone else was asleep! I'll bet my crib had lead paint!

There was a local shop, ice cream shop sort of, that served those shaved ice treats or slushies with the polar bear on the side of the cup a few blocks away, what was that place? Do they still have those today?

I really remember the B&W Zenith with the bad vertical hold (especially when it got hot) and the RR torpedo incident!

Can't forget toy plastic soldiers and clay forts built all over the dining room table or the living room floor and the old plastic building bricks (like Legos but 1000X better) and erector sets!

For some reason, the sky seemed bluer back then, in the 60's. I'd love to have a time machine to go back for a year to relive some of it.

RADAR
 

Keith Brannen

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I'm surprised you old people can remember anything from such ancient history as your youth!

(running, and ducking for cover!)

And before the flames come my way, I was born in the same year as the OP. Funny how you can have vivid memories of some obscure event or game from that time, yet can't remember where you put the remote that you now realize you absentmindedly carried out of the TV room! Thanks for the trip down memory lane!
 

AcWxRadar

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There is one "THING" that I remember VERY vividly from my very young years... When I used to roam the house at night, probably after my crib days, there was this little old slouchy man with a slouchy old hat that stood guard in the corner at the bottom landing of the stairs. He was always there every night. I was so afraid that he was going to eat me or something. But, I crept by him ever so quietly and he never got me. After seeing the movie, I now think he reminds me of Freddy Kruger! Of course, in the daylight hours, he was just an upright Hoover vacuum cleaner!

Ha Ha! I wonder if Walrus remembers him?

RADAR
 

Lone Gunman

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I remember paying 7 cents for a Dr. Pepper! I also remember 15 cents a gallon gasoline! Back then a pack of Winstons were 35 cents. Those were the days. Oh, and I started smoking at 13, quit at 30 in 1976 and never looked back!!! My Dad died at 45 years old from a massive heart attack so I had motivation to quit! I'm almost 66 now and show NO symptoms of heat disease, thank God.

And about cheating the system, we (as teenagers) figured out how to use the pay phone on the corner hang out for free. You could drop a dime in that thing and hit the coin return about the same time and your dime would show up in the coin return and you'd have a dial tone. We use to just dial random numbers and hork with ppl from that phone booth. ;-) Yup, I was a prankster, and still am!

One other thing stands out. When I was a teenager I though the local neighborhood was hughe! I mean it seemed like a long ways around the block back then. Well, now I go back to that neighborhood about every 10 years and man, that place is as small as a cracker box! What use to seem to be a mile away is only like 200 yards. Amazing how perception changes with age!
 
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