The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Snippets of Life - Being a kid in a small town

Memories of my early childhood home are sketchy. Little bits and pieces of my life in Farmingdale, New York. Our little house, the fruit trees in the back yard, the grape vine behind the garage. I only recall the cherry tree producing and we picked and ate them a bit too soon. I remember riding a sled down the hill we lived on. Not a steep hill but good enough for sledding in the winter and for riding my little red wagon down in the summer. One summer we put together a thick plank, some old wagon wheels, and some rope to make a summer toboggan to ride down that hill. It carried several kids. We weren't very good engineers and the thing had no brakes. It got out of control and we all ended up with abrasions and bruises.

I was not an athletic kid, skinny and undersized. I tried to play baseball but wasn't very good at it. I wasn't musically inclined either. About the only thing I was good at was climbing trees and I even fell out of those on occasion. I roller skated on metal wheeled clamp-on skates. You adjusted the length of the skates to fit your shoes, tightened up the toe clamp, and you were good to go. They worked well enough on concrete sidewalks and asphalt streets. Stopping was easy if you were on the sidewalk, you just headed for the nearest lawn. On the street you had a bit of a problem since we had curbs thus more skinned knees.

We flew kites a lot. My grandfather showed me how to build a kite from scratch. You took a newspaper, some paste, a spool of string, a strip of cloth for a tail, and some thin sticks, added a little grandpa magic and *poof* you had a kite. Kites cost less than 25 cents so I didn't build any when he wasn't around. One of these days, I'll try building a kite... just to see if I can.

I liked summer. Wild raspberries, honeysuckle vines, sitting up on the top of the hill at the edge of the Woods and looking over the whole town. We used to call it the "King's seat". It was an old stump sitting next to the drop off. Looking back, I figured this was where they cut into the hill when building the housing development I lived in. The Woods was an undeveloped area belonging to a fairly rich family. In those days, they didn't have to worry about lawsuits and let the neighborhood kids play there. It was an area maybe 4 blocks in size but it was Sherwood Forest or Indian Country or an island where pirates buried their treasure or anywhere a child could imagine.

Those were carefree days. It was a time when you could spend hours in a "Five and Ten" (aka "Woolworth's") deciding how to spend the quarter you found. Or, for that same quarter, you could spend an afternoon at the movies watching a double feature. And, if you had another twenty cents, you could have popcorn and a soda.

That was the upside of those days. The downside was the septic tank that had a very difficult time handling a house with 2 adults and 5 children, a house with only one bathroom, a house with steam heat using not quite enough radiators, no air conditioning except at the bigger stores and the theater. I'd add mowing the lawn with a push mower (no motor) but I was too young to do mowing.

All that disappeared from my life in the Spring of `56 when my family moved to south Florida.


Anonymous said...

wow, this was a great post. it's always so neat to hear of others' childhoods, especially when they are similar to your own. I grew up on a farm in upstate new york and lived there until I was sixteen. experiencing the freedom and the fresh air of the country life is something that you can never forget. those simple days will always be missed.

Fran Hill said...

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog, Douglas. I enjoyed this post of yours especially. Your writing is very evocative and well-described. Great stuff. You have some interesting things to say on your blog.

Fran Hill said...

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog, Douglas. I enjoyed this post of yours especially. Your writing is very evocative and well-described. Great stuff. You have some interesting things to say on your blog.