Balsa Wood Airplanes with Rubber Bands

I was looking for a post today, in one of the catalogs, when I spied an ad for a remote control airplane. The shape of the plane triggered a memory about those cheap dime store balsa wood airplanes that mom and dad would get for us now and then back in the 70s.

There were two kinds that we had, with and without rubber bands. I remember the kits would come on a sheet of balsa wood where you punched them out with your fingers and then assembled the plane. I eventually switched to an x-acto knife because the balsa would sometimes break when you used your fingers to punch it out. The ones that came with rubber bands had a plastic propeller that you could wind up the rubber band with and then let her fly.

They never seemedĀ  to last very long though. We could get a couple days of play time out of them, but those really bad crash dives always seemed to crack the balsa of the plane. They were a lot of fun non the less.

Do you remember these?

Have a great weekend everyone!

8mm Projectors from 1972

The first projector we had came from a garage sale. Mom bought it sometime in the late 70s.

8MM Movie Projectors from 19728MM Movie Projectors from 1972
8mm Movie Projectors from 1972

Ours came with a couple of movies, one being a favorite of mine called “Earth vs the Flying Saucers”. Woot! We also had some cartoons and a Laurel and Hardy movie, which you can never go wrong with one of those.

It was kind of fun sitting in our bedroom watching movies projected on the wall. We even had some home movies that someone had filmed on their 8mm. One of them was a parade where I was a “King” and riding around in a convertible. I was like four years old and crying the whole time. Hey… I am an introvert, stop putting me in the spotlight! šŸ™‚

If you could relive one 70s day over and over again…

What day would it be? You will be able to relive this day over and over again anytime you want.

It seems that my child hood was big blur, I remember bits and piecesĀ  here and there, but does one day really stick out to me?

I think mine would be a day in the blizzard of 78.

Blizzard of 78

It was the most magical winter I had ever seen. The snow was so high in the backyard that you could literally walk onto the top of the house. And let’s not forget that school was cancelled! Woohoo!

But it was also one of the rare occurrences that my brother and I didn’t get into a fight or argument. We spent the time building snow tunnels and forts as well as playing with our G.I. Joe and Johnny West figures.

Mom and Dad would be home too. All roads were closed so it was just us, in the middle of the country with no one else around. This is probably the day I would pick.

What’s yours?

I am on vacation until Jan 2nd. Not sure if I will have much time to post, so if I don’t see everyone until then have a great Christmas and New Years.Ā  I want to thank everyone for your comments. Your participation keeps me fired up to keep blogging.

Merry Christmas!

Green Stamps

Do you remember Green Stamps?

It was interesting to find out that trading stamps became popular in the US as far back as 1896! Retailers would buy stamps from Sperry & Hutchinson and then give them to customers, who in turn would trade them back to S&H for various items.

The Green Stamps which we were familiar with are very similar. They were from the Green Shield Trading Stamp Co. which was established in 1958. It was popular in the 60s and 70s, but rising cost of inflation in the 70s caused the value of the stamps to go down. The Green Stamp sales were eventually suspended in 1983.

I remember my mother having a few of those books but we kids never decided what to get. So we didn’t have to go thru the whole Brady Bunch house of cards episode. (lol) I think my mother turned them in for new pots and pans if I recall correctly.

Do you get anything cool with Green Stamps?

What was your first “PG” and “R” rated movie?

I grew up in a very strict family when it came to moral issues. I am sure a lot of kids who grew up in the 70s were raised the same way. I think that is one of the reasons I will never forget my first “PG” and “R” rated movies. It was one more step of being more like an adult.

There are only three genres of movies that I was (and still) really into. My favorites are:

1. Fantasy (The sword and sorcery type movies)

2. Science Fiction

3. Horror

My first “PG” movie that I was allowed to go see was “Star Wars”.Ā  And I didn’t get to see it the first time around. It was the year after it’s initial release that my parents let me go see it. (That was after they asked others if it was okay for me to view.)

My first “R” rated movie, (and my parents would have never allowed it if they had known) was “Friday the 13th”.Ā  I wasn’t scared one bit. Oh, I jumped when there was sudden noise but other than that I loved seeing horror on the big screen.

There were several movies that I went to later that had a special meaning to me and it had nothing to do with the movie itself. I still chuckle when I think about the 2nd “R” rated movie I went to. It was “Outland”, a science fiction movie starring Sean Connery. I still remember going to the ticket booth and they wouldn’t let me buy a ticket because of my age. So I had to go next door to where my mom was shopping and bring her over to the ticket counter. Her words still crack me up today. She said “His father said he could go.” Rofl, I don’t think mom wanted me going to that movie.

Another great memory I have is going to see “Flash Gordon” in 1980. That movieĀ  has become one of my favorite movies of all time and it has nothing to do with the movie itself. It’s because my father went to see it with me. You would have to know my dad, movies were not his thing. With that movie, being as cheesy as it was, he probably hated watching 75 percent of it. But if he did hate it, he never said a word.

What where your first “PG” and “R” rated movies? Are there any movies in your childhood that meant a lot to you?

Some Grade School Memories

The town I grew up in only had a population of 1000 people. There was a grade school which taught kids from kindergarten to the 6th grade and a high school that taught kids from the 7th thru the 12th grade.

The grade school didn’t have a library per say. We had a book mobile that would come once a week. I don’t know what it was about book mobile day but I loved going into that bus and perusing all the books.

I don’t recall there ever being a reading time where we sat on the floor and listened to the teacher read to us. We had a reading period and a reading room,Ā  which was similar to the library time that the high school had, where we could read books, magazines, and other things of that nature.

One of the things I remember about the reading room is at least once, maybe twice, a year they had posters for sale that you could buy. I don’t remember who provided them, maybe Scholastic? They were decent priced too. My folks would give me a couple of dollars to pick a few things to buy. One of the posters I bought was a picture of a kitten hanging on to the end of a rope with it’s claws and there was some motivational saying that went with it.

What I am wondering is any of you remember the posters being for sale that you could buy? I think they were a plethora of things you could buy like stickers, notebooks, and books. I was trying to remember who provided them and what the purpose was. Did the money go to the school or was it for a charity?


Gardening in the 70s

One of my own personal goals is to be more self sufficient. IĀ  remember during the 70s that we had our own garden. We grew tomatoes, lettuce, pumpkins, corn, green beans, peas (ewwwww), grapes, zucchini, and other many other things. When the food was ready to be harvested, we would bring it from the garden and prep it for canning. Once canned, it would be stored in the basement to be eaten thru the winter.

I wish I could say that I had gotten more out of this. I feel fairly competent that I could grow a decent somewhat of a garden, but I have no clue about getting it ready for canning.

It seems that as the years go by, people as a whole get more and more unable to sustain themselves. Maybe part of the problem is that it isn’t cost efficient to grow your own garden these days. In my own thought process though, it seems that this should be vital knowledge as part of our own survival. You never know when you might need it.


My Brother

I was supposed to post this on the 17th of this month. On September 17th, 1980 my brother was killed in a car wreck. He was eighteen.

This thought began because of a post from Martha. She had discussed her brothers death and that post has constantly remained with me mentally. As bad as this sounds, I came to the realization that I really haven’t thought about my brother for years. And like Martha, I never discuss my personal life with anyone so this post is odd for me.

I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was in the high school cafeteria having lunch when our preacher came in to pull me out of school. I didn’t even think anything about it because I was so delighted that I was getting out of that hell hole early. (As you can tell by my great grammar and spelling skills, school and I did not get along at all.)

I sat down in in the passenger seat of his car in front of our school and that was when he told me. I don’t remember much after that.

There are few things I recall, like seeing the funeral director at our home going over the details with my father. The only reason this stuck out was because the funeral director said something and chuckled and my father just sat there straight faced. I know I was thinking how stupid could this guy be trying to say something humorous?

The only part of the funeral I remember is when my sister came to the viewing. She isn’t my real sister, but one of my brother’s ex-girlfriends. She was always someone special to me and she became like a sister ever since my brother’s death. I latched on her as soon as I saw her and my mind was screaming please don’t leave, but she said she had to and I couldn’t blame her for that.

And that’s it. I never even went back to the grave until a couple years ago when I helped my mother change out the flowers.

Unlike Martha, I never considered my brother and I close. He was born in 1961 and I was born in 1966. Five years doesn’t sound like much, but when you are kids it is a huge gap. We got along most of the time when we were younger but not so much as we got older. I was starting to resent my brother to some degree because I got tired of the punching, bullying, or whatever you want to call it. I don’t want to give the wrong impression here because this wasn’t an all out abusive beating fest. There was only once that things went to far where he intentionally hurt me.

As the years went by, I was probably around 18, I was hanging out at “my sister’s” house when the subject of my brother came around. She told me she remembered him picking on me. She said that he really did care about me and he told her he was trying to toughen me up. This threw me for a loop. I had spent years thinking he didn’t give a rat’s ass about me for the most part and now I found out that he did, and his way of showing me was to bully me.

Might as well add confusion to “threw me for me loop”.

If you have ever watched “Saving Private Ryan” you might remember a part where Ryan says he can’t see his brothers face. Tom Hanks tells him something along the lines that he shouldn’t try to focus on his face but instead think of a context that he was part of. It is a lot like that with me. I can remember the good times and the bad that I had with my bother. He is more of a shadow than something I can see. I don’t even know if this is normal, but when I see my brother’s graduation picture it is almost like looking at a stranger. Why is that?

I am not even sure the purpose of this post. I guess I just wanted to say something and I did. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Did you ever notice that the simple things in life were the best?

As I have said before, money was tight when we were growing up, but we had everything we needed. We didn’t get every toy on our Christmas wish list and that was okay. I am sure at some point in time I acted like a spoiled brat, but from what I can remember I was pretty happy with what I had.

I have also said before that the Major Matt Mason Space Station was the greatest toy I ever owned. I couldn’t even begin to count the hours I played with that set.Ā  When I think back though, it was the simple things that received most of my play time.

At the very end of the back yard there was a dirt pile, behind the barn there was about a 3ft tall pile of bricks, and somewhere in the back yard, depending on where we quit playing with them, were two huge wooden spools that were taller than me. At some point in time, on any given day of the week that we were outside, I was at one of those three spots.

There was nothing special about any of those places, but in my head they were the most magical places in the world that housed countless adventures.

It wasn’t until recently, when I was responding to a comment, that I finally put two and two together. It never occurred to me that Dad removed all those items right after I left childhood behind. You see, my Dad is very particular about his yard. He likes everything a certain way. I have a sneaky suspicion that, even though he disliked having those items in the yard, he kept them there just for us. That was pretty cool.


Dime Store Parachute Guys

My wife and I were walking thru a Dollar Store when I spied a display of fuzzy worms. I immediately said “Hey, I had those when I was a kid.”

Basically, it was a fuzzy worm on a really thin and transparent string that you attached to a button on your shirt, which then allowed you to manipulate the string to do tricks.

But what this really brought back was memories of buying those little rubber parachutes guys at the dime store in the 70s. You wrapped their parachute around them and threw them up into the air. The chute would unravel and they would float to the ground. I loved those guys! I would play with them so much that the parachute would rip by the first day.

Do you remember those? Any other cheap dime store toys that you loved to play with in the 70s?