Tales of Terror: Times Past

Irene Waters’ “Times Past” prompt challenge topic for February is: Tales of Terror

Can you remember any tales of fear that your parents used to stop you going out of bounds. Please join in giving your location at the time of your memory and your generation. 

~~~

 

jungle gym
on top of the world circa 1962

 

As a baby boomer growing up in the USA suburbs, I basically roamed the tree lined streets of my working class neighborhood. On foot. On my bike. On my skateboard. On roller skates. I specifically remember the house I lived in from the age of 4 to 11. There were woods to explore at one end of the street before it curved uphill to circle around to the next block. Houses lined up close together and near to the street.

 

My mother issued two clear directives to keep me safe:

 Don’t take candy from strangers.

This was in the context of a stranger driving around the block, who might stop, open the door and try to lure me into his car with a Nestle’s Crunch. I would then never be seen again. And terrible things would happen…which were never spelled out in any detail, but an implied tale of terror just the same.

I will admit I considered possibly grabbing the candy and making a run for it. However the opportunity never presented itself.

Being the immortal child that I was, I was unafraid to ride my bike for hours at a time…for long distances that perhaps would have been prohibited if I had advertised my adventures. Which I didn’t.

A favorite trip: to “the little store” on the other side of town…saved my allowance and bought my own candy. Smarties, Mary Janes, Mounds, tiny wax bottles (remember those? argh), button candy, Bazooka Bubble Gum. No strangers needed. Sometimes I let my younger sister tag along, swearing her to secrecy.

Interesting side note: when we first moved there, my sister was 3 years old. One day she packed a lunchbox with napkins, hopped on her tricycle and took off…without telling anyone. Her destination: where we used to live…a long car ride away. A dozen houses later – almost a quarter mile – she arrived at the far end of our road, about to pedal down the cross street. A dangerous intersection at the crest of a hill. The neighbor on the corner stopped her in time and called the police.

So my sister got a ride in a police car…which is where she was eventually spotted by my frantic mother. Who had grabbed me and my infant brother and probably went looking for strangers with candy. An actual tale of terror thankfully averted.

Don’t go near Tony M.

Tony was a mentally challenged teenager who lived a couple of blocks away. At least I think he was a teenager…to my young eyes he could have been in his twenties. He lived with his parents and sometimes wandered around looking somewhat disheveled.  It was never explained to me what he might do. Or say. But the look in my mother’s eyes spoke fear. My questions about why went unanswered. I rarely saw him, but when I did he mostly looked lonely and sad.  I wonder what happened to him.

 

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Family gathered safely on the front porch – 1958

 

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Orange and Pink

Cee’s Challenge topic this week is Orange and Pink

Orange and pink together?
Yes!
It was back in the 1960’s…amidst the blinding landscape often referred to as psychedelic. The term coined to describe what was visualized during an LSD “acid trip.”

No acid trips for me, but as a young teenager I was drawn to the colors shouting out from Teen magazine and the “mod” outfits popping up from television’s Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In. Or album covers…The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Magical Mystery Tour, among others. Wild “peace and love” posters covered my bedroom walls. And the jewelry…

One artifact from that time period: a “Mod Watch” complete with 4 interchangeable bright colored wristbands. Made of authentic patent leather. A vintage set now over 50 years old. Well worn. Well loved.

It was one of my favorite “accessories”… being the practical person I have always been, it also served a very useful purpose. I always knew what time it was.

Practicality always topped fashion. But with this watch, I had both.

 

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Orange or Pink?

 

The complete vintage set:

IMG_7997

 

 

 

Pass That Note

This post inspired by Ragtag Daily Prompt: Note

 

I saw a note that Gail wrote
& it says she hates me…

I don’t know if you’re mad at Gail but I am…

 

Notes.
When did I first run headlong into notes?
At that awkward will-I-fit-in-say-the-right-thing-avoid-exclusion-at-all-cost stage that characterized my middle school years in the 1960’s.

When successfully passing notes was a prized achievement. A right of passage. If you didn’t get caught.

Notes directed the intense undercurrent of a girl’s ever shifting social hierarchy. They could make or break your day at school.

Scrawled on lined notebook paper. Ripped out of 3-ring binders. Torn into halves. Or quarters. Hastily folded as small as possible. Then..slipped to a friend. Or potential friend. Or some kid sitting at a desk on the way to the note’s intended recipient.

With one eye on the teacher, who with chalk in hand might not turn towards the blackboard as quickly as you think. Who might snatch the wrinkled piece of paper. Which held the potential key to your social future. And then, horror of horrors, read it out loud. So everyone would hear…

Are you mad at me?
Write down yes or no.
Check next to these names…
Do you like them or not?

Or worse, if the note was for you…
From the girlfriends you just had a sleepover with…

We have decided that you are not our type.
Please don’t hang around with us that much. 
You can if you want….Every time
we look at you you are reading. I know you
like to but not every second. Don’t hang around
that much anymore.

 

Elaborate codes were devised. note029
I’ve always wondered…why? Why did girls jostle for position in such cut throat ways? Which is probably why I saved a few notes for 50 years. Thinking I’d figure it out. I have not. I still have no clue.

Except I am grateful there was no Facebook when I was struggling to fit in. No Instagram. No social media.
Notes would have followed me everywhere.
Day and night.
I can’t imagine.

Notes on wrinkled paper were thrown away. Or stuffed in a drawer.
Only public for an agonizing minute if the teacher recited them in front of snickering classmates.

Then the bell would ring.
And out the door I’d go.

swing

 

 

Bologna Pie

Thanksgiving = Turkey
Christmas = Roast Beef
New Year’s Day = Bologna Pie….say what?

When I was a kid, my parents often hosted an Open House on New Year’s Day. Neighbors and friends streamed in and out all day long. Eating, drinking, laughing, talking, smoking.
Lots of drinking. Eggnog (2 pitchers: labeled “with” and “without”). Punch with fancy shaped ice floating in the center.
Conversations morphing into a dull roar.
Alongside music from my dad’s hi-fi.

My younger sister and I helped prepare the party food the day before…
…and that’s where the bologna pie comes in.
It was (and still is?) slices of bologna with cream cheese spread between each slice.
The higher the stack, the better. Cut into pie shaped wedges – hence the pie label. And there it was.
We always sampled the greasy concoction as we made the pies…and I hate to admit we really liked it.
How times change.

Loaves of miniature rye bread were transformed into chicken or tuna salad mini sandwiches. Sometimes toasted french bread topped with canned crab & cheese dip was on the menu.
Always delicious.

One memorable January 1st Open House was worth an entire diary entry:

jan 1 1967020
January 1, 1967

 

I have no photographs of these Open Houses.
Which is probably just as well.

Happy New Year!