Thoughts from the Publisher

Monday was my birthday. I am now 55, the same number as the speed limit and same age as Disneyland. I’ve been told that I have reached a milestone, a key number as far as the beginning of a new life of senior discounts. Yippee!

In a birthday email from my friend Denise was a message describing our childhoods. I have paraphrased that wonderful string of reminiscence below– and added some of my own…
It took three minutes for the TV to warm up, we had no remote or cable/satellite. We were thrilled to have so many stations to chose from- channels 2,4,5,7,9,11 and 13. Nobody we knew owned a purebred dog, dressed their pets in clothes or bought anything but grocery store pet food for Fido or Fluffy. A quarter was a decent allowance and fifty cents an hour was the going rate for babysitters. Mom wore nylons that came in two pieces, and she had to buy them at a department store. There was no such thing as pantyhose.
Gas stations were not self-serve. Drivers had their windshields cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped without asking, every time. Tires were checked, air was free and trading stamps were included.
It was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a drive-in restaurant with your parents. We had no pizza delivery, and going to a drive-in movie with Mom and Dad meant sitting in the back seat in our pajamas. 
Schools threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed, and actually followed through with those threats. Students studied penmanship and did not talk back to teachers. Girls wore dresses to school and were required to don ugly gym uniforms 
Being sent to the principal’s office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited us kids at home. We all ran scared, but not because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. but because our parents and grandparents were much bigger threats and we survived because they were not afraid to be tough.
Three months off for summer vacation meant bike rides, rollerskating, sleepovers, barbeques, chores, vacation Bible school and playing outside. There were no video games or computers. We had hula hoops, visits to the pool, Frisbees and a brand-new invention– skateboards.
We thought it was cool to “smoke” our candy cigarettes or sip colored sugar-water from wax bottles shaped like soda pop. We remember soda-pop machines that dispensed glass bottles, and the booths in coffee shops had tabletop jukeboxes. Our chewing gum came in flavors like clove, licorice and teaberry, and bubble gum cost only a penny. Milk was delivered to our homes in glass bottles and the Helms Bakery truck made frequent stops as did the Good Humor ice cream man. Tupperware was amazing to us. 
It wasn’t odd to have two or three “best friends.” Decisions were made by going “Eeny-meeny-miney-moe,” and  mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, “Do over.” Playing hide-and-seek meant exclaiming, “olly olly oxen free” (instead of the intended “all the all the outs in free”) and it made perfect sense. Spinning around, getting dizzy, and falling down was our only “high.”
I’m sure that being a senior citizen will have its benefits, and I’m looking forward to my second childhood. By the way, anybody wanna play marbles? If you do, you’ll have to bring extra. I’ve lost mine.

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