Saturday, January 8, 2011

Back In The Day........

A boyhood friend of mine died the other day. We grew up across the street from each other, in a little town in Michigan, about 3 thousand middle-class folks, in 1960's America.
It was a whole different world back then, and his death brought back a lot of memories that I had not thought of in many years.

All our houses were pretty much the same back then, 2 or 3 bedroom developer houses, our houses were different colors, but the layouts were all about the same. We lived on a dirt street that they sprayed with old motor oil 2 or 3 times a year to keep the dust down, nobody knew it was carcinogenic back then, I'm not even sure we used that word back then. Wow, those were some innocent times!

It was a really big deal was when they put in the cement street in front of our house, wow, I will never forget all the huge machines, the modern world was finally coming to our little corner of the world!

The best part, was after the road crews and the machines had left, we had the perfect place to lay patches of rubber on from our banana seat equipped Stingray bikes.

We all went to kindergarten at the little school at the end of the street. That was the meeting spot for the neighborhood kids. On those lazy summer days, after the frivolous play in the water sprinklers, and catching the ice cream guy pedaling his bike/cart through the neighborhoods (begging for a chunk of dry ice to make mischief with), we would meet up at that school, after dinner, and have pick-up games of football. The big kids in the neighborhood would get to pick the teams out of our motley crew, the goal was not to be the last one picked!

My Dad, he kept up our baseball diamond in the big field behind our house. Baseball was another one of those neighborhood things back then, Dad would mow the diamond in the rough field grass every year, then the other Dads scrounged up some old posts and wire fence, and built us a backstop. Us kids, well, we decided we needed a dugout, so we grabbed shovels and scraps of wood, and made ourselves a dugout, just like the big leagues.

The summer skies were so blue back then, no such thing as chemtrail clouds. When the clouds rolled in, it usually meant we were going to have a storm. Man, we had some cool storms back then. Me and the Old Man would hang out in the garage together during the thunderstorms, he would be manning the broom, sweeping away the water before it would get in the garage, God, we were innocent!

Neighborhood fights, yeah, we had them. Only back then, we could settle things ourselves. No guns, or knives. Just pull apart the fighters, go home with a bruise or two, and get your butt spanked by one of your parents. We actually learned to respect adults back then, no 911 in those days. People were actually able to solve their own problems, no lawyers, rarely the cops.

Kick the Can, that was the ultimate summer-time game for us. Kids for a 2 block radius would get together for those. We could play that till after dark back in the day. Hiding in bushes or trees, under porches, whatever it took not to be IT! Good times were had by all!

We were all so innocent back then, yeah, we had our secret camps in the woods out back where we got to see the neighborhood girls hoo-hoo's for the first time, camping out in pup tents, finding the Old Man's playboy magazines. But innocent in way that we can never go back to, innocent of a Government that is not full of wonderful new things like landing on the moon, or building new freeways ( I remember when they were still building them, it was something to see!), Presidents like JFK, who really seemed to care about the country he ran!

I could recall lots more from the days of my youth, but like my childhood friend, they are gone forever.

Rest In Peace my Friend!

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