Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Well, here I go again. Yesterday I was reading Gord Harrison's blog, It Strikes Me Funny, and as I was leaving a comment I got to thinking about old times, and old friends. He asked about small pleasures. I recalled the many times I was playing with my friend, Jack, and we would decide we needed a little treat. We both loved those big Hershey bars of milk chocolate. (They were considerably bigger in those days than they are now.) Jack always wanted to go to his mom for candy, because she always gave us a whole strip of those little squares. My mom only gave us two squares each. But she always gave us saltine crackers too, to "take the dark brown taste out of your mouth". I still love a couple of squares of chocolate on a saltine.
Maybe it was because Jack's mom had three boys. My mom had two girls and a boy, and I was the youngest by eleven years, so might as well have been an only child. My mom was always worrying about stupid things like safety and health. Jack's mom sort of took the attitude that what happens, happens, and we'll worry about it after it's happened.
Our houses were very similar. At our house, we'd go up into the attic to play sometimes. We'd open boxes and trunks, and play with various things we would discover. Our attic was as spotlessly clean as the rest of my mother's house, and there was a safety railing around the stairwell. But I liked playing in Jack's attic. It was dark and dusty and dirty. The stairwell came up in the middle of the floor, with no railing, so we could play cops and robbers, and jump from one "rooftop" to another over that stairwell when the chase was on. We only fell down it a few times, and I only sprained my wrist once. Not bad.
Out of sight of my house, we climbed trees together, and jumped off the garage roof, and went down the sewer after a stray ball, and explored the woods nearby. There were some caves, and a stream with an old rotting bridge. And there was a quarry not too far away. I could scale the walls of the quarry in nothing flat. My mom would have fainted if she'd seen me.
I was pretty good at getting dirty. I mean really dirty! My mother was crazy clean. The only place in our house that was dirty was the coal bin in the basement. And yes, I managed to get into that too. When coal was delivered, the man dragged a long chute from the truck to the little window in the coal bin. When he was done and went into the house for his payment, before he put the chute back, Jack and I would climb into the window and slide down the pile of coal to the basement floor, run up the steps, and repeat this as often as time allowed. When the man came back he'd always chase us, but I think he left the chute there for us on purpose.
Gee! It's been a long time since I climbed a tree or explored a cave - or slid down a coal pile.
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Hello You !
Very nice story...
The past is always beautiful in our head...
See You later...
Oh what a beautiful story. Thanks so much for sharing it. You and your friend Jack certainly had some fun times. Quite the pair of mischief makers! ;) Such sweet memories!
Chocolate & saltines? Hmmmm...must try this combo one day :)
Bobbie your words strike a familiar theme for if not sliding down coal chutes (for we didn't have them in our area) it would be swinging from one hay loft to another on ropes tied to the high rafters in our barn. That sort of risk taking fun is a missing factor in the lives of my grandchildren today and I think in many children's lives. It was a different world then.
Reminds me of those emails that make the rounds every so often, about baby boomer memories, saying No One Over 40 Should Be alive, or something like that, about all the "risks' we took back then, in the name of fun. Great memories, Bobbie!
a great bunch of memories Bobbie! do you ever hear from Jack?
I love the image of you all dirty and adventurous!
I was afraid I was repeating myself again with this one. Surely I've mentioned some of these things before.
Lily, I had been out of touch with Jack for years. On Feb 29 I did a post on his leap year birthday. Some of his colleagues saw it, and we started corresponding again. Jack had Parkinson's Disease. He passed away June 6th. You can check my archives for Feb and June if you're really interested.
What a fun read! And you and Jack did have fun, didn't you! A great look back and thanks for sharing! It's a gray, wet day here and I needed a little sunshine and that's just what you brought to my day.
Great story. But I never heard of eating saltines and chocolate before. But then I like jelly beans and potato chips.
Wonderful memories, wonderful post ... do you still keep in touch with Jack? Occasionally I will think of someone I once knew and wonder where they are ... so I Google them ...so far I found 2 old friends
Oh, one more thought/memory: my best friend in elementry school's dad owned an luncheonette .. with counter and stools that spun 'round when we thought he wasnt watching (Be careful or you will crack your chin, break a tooth and your mother will kill me).. every afternoon after school he gave us a chocolate malted to share and our own small bag of Wise Potato Chips and a Hershey bar! Salt/Sweet = YUM
Thanks for sharing these good memories, Bobbie. I would have liked to play with you when we were little. I still love to eat chocolate with something salty - either peanuts, pretzels or popcorn.
My friends and I always played in our basements in the winter, and we had trunks of old clothes and curtains for dress-up and putting on "plays". What fun we had!
Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Playing with all of the neighborhood kids. Hide n seek, hopscotch, red rover, red light green light, Mother may I?, SPUD,
Wow! That was a long time ago!
Love, love, love these memories! I climbed trees and jumped off roofs also. We could've been pals together if we were the same age and lived near each other! Good for you! I haven't climbed a tree in a long time either, but perhaps I should try it once again! There's no sliding around here, however, without getting your butt full of cactus spines!
Hi Bobbie, You brought back a lot of memories. I still have scars from playing in the barn. We used to get up in the loft of the barn and jump onto a big pile of hay. It a thousnad wonders we made it to adulthood. And I googled one of my friends and found he is a lawyer. Thanks for the memories!
Well done memory bobbie. Thanks for the blast from the past.
Man a coal chute must have been dirty.
Great post, Bobbie - such memories and what fun! We had a coal bin until I was about ten... pretty sure my mom would not have approved of sliding down the chute, though I did watch coal being delivered.
My childhood was fairly mild and tame, compared to your adventurous youth.
What a great photo! /Deb
What a great story loaded with many happy memories. My mom makes some kind of bars that you use club crackers on the bottom and chocolate, and of course other things. It's that sweet and salty thing that goes good together!
What great memories Bobbie.
Do you know this is the first time I have ever heard salt/sweet eaten together.
Perhaps tomorrow I will try that delicacy.
This is such a beautiful post of treasured memories. Thank you for sharing them. I loved those Hershey bars also. I've never had them with saltines but you've made me want to try it.
I checked the archives Bobbie. What great memories. It is so sweet that Jack always managed to sign his letters to you despite his illness.
Thanks for referencing my blog, Bobbie (i.e., It Strikes Me Funny). I'm still at it, writing re my childhood memories, and re my dad's, since 2013 is the 70th anniversary of D-Day Sicily and D-Day Italy, and he was there, a-workin' hard. Yup, I loved coal chutes in the early 1950s and I now live in a house with a hidden coal door. While reading my father's navy memoirs I learned his dad was a stoker in the British navy for 13 years, so chucking coal goes a way back in our family. Keep sliding down the chutes of life. Gord H.
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