Do you remember your first Walkman?

Jane (from Jane’s Jewels) triggered my own memory when she talked about the power of music and memories in my last post. This memory is probably more of an 80s post than the 70s era as I am kind of fuzzy on what year I got my first Walkman.

What I do recall is that I was sitting in my bedroom when my dad walked in. He had a Walkman in his hand, that belonged to my aunt, and asked me to listen to it. I really didn’t want to because it was Kenny Rogers. (No offense to Kenny, but I was into punk and new wave at that time.) I did listen to it anyway and to my amazement I couldn’t believe the sound quality that this tiny little device put out.

The stereo sound completely blew me away. By today’s standards it could be compared to listening to music from a CD player instead of a scratched record. Everything sounded crisp, clear and distinct.

It was a couple months after that I was again surprised. My parents had purchased a Walkman for me! It was just one of those times when parents do something really nice for you even though it is expensive.

Being that I was in my new wave stage, the first two tapes I bought for it was Berlin’s “Metro” cassette and Missing Person’s “Spring Session M”. I loved that gadget and I listened to it until wore out.

Do you remember your first Walkman? What were some of the first cassette tapes you had for it?

The moon IS made of cheese!

Did you ever have a dream as a child that you have never forgotten?

When I was kid, I dreamed that I was on the moon and it WAS made of cheese. There were also squirrels on the moon that were hiding nuts in the cheese just like they would do on planet earth. That is all I can recall about that dream 30 years later.

Now I know to most of you this sounds like a nonsense dream and I can’t blame you for thinking that. But for me, when I was a child, that dream was such a huge magical moment of my life that I tried to re-dream it for several years to come .  To this day I have not forgotten that dream, though the reason it was so magical has left me.

I think it had to do with the dream seeming so real. So real that I was probably confused or disappointed when I woke up. My belief for the reason is because of one other dream I had  as a child. In that dream, I had the ability to jump into the wind and soar around much like a kite. I really couldn’t travel very far, but I could use the wind to take me high enough that I could look down on the trees in my father’s yard. The excitement of discovering this ability was intense. When I woke up, I was actually bummed that it wasn’t real.  This dream, I have dreamed several times including my adult life.  I still get bummed that it isn’t real when I wake up.

I am nothing of a dream expert so I have no idea why dreams effect me that way. I am sure there is something important in that dream that would cause a sadness upon waking but I can’t figure out what it would be. I guess it isn’t much difference when you have a nightmare and wake up with your heart pounding. This is just at the other end of the spectrum.

Anyway, I am starting to digress. How about you? Did you have a dream as a child that you have never forgotten?

Revell Model Kit Club

Building plastic models was a huge hobby for my brother and I. At some point during the 70s I saw an invitation to join the Revell Model Kit Club in one of the boxes from the model kit I was building.  I was pretty excited about all the items they provided to help build your model. I would be receiving an x-acto knife, paint brushes, all kinds of materials to help hold and glue models together, just everything I could have ever wanted. It was only a couple bucks to boot!

When my modeling tools arrived, I think I was just as disappointed as Ralphie when he figured out Little Orphan Annie secret message was a commercial for Ovaltine. What a bunch of cheap crap. (sigh)

How about you? Did you join any clubs and find out it wasn’t all that?

Ye Olde Fashion Hardware Store

A few days ago, Jane (Jane’s Jewels) posted an article reminiscing about corner stores where she group. I grew up outside of a farm town and we had a dime store that was very similar to the corner store, but her post triggered something else I had forgotten about.

We had a hardware store in town that I loved going to when I was a kid. I wasn’t interested in what was being sold at the hardware store as much as I was the atmosphere. (Well that isn’t completely true because I bought my BBs for my BB gun there. Remember when BBs came in a yellow cardboard tube with a black cap?)

The store always had a distinct smell of metal and wood. If you have walked into a wood working shop you know the smell I am talking about. A mixture of tools, grease, wood, metal and such.

The store walls were lined with wooden drawers that contained all sorts of nuts, bolts, washers and nails of various shapes and sizes. They didn’t have prepackaged nuts and bolts. You bought what you needed and paid for it by the pound. There was a big metal scale that they would weight your items in then package them up in small brown paper bags.

One thing I always like about our town was the fact that most of the buildings on the main strip where very nostalgic. It would have reminded you of something from the early 1900s.

Sadly, regulations and competition have put almost everything out of business there. The hardware store, the dime store, all three gas stations, the barber shop and the restaurants are all gone. Don’t get me wrong, it would still be nice place to live, but a lot of the nostalgic feel has disappeared as new business are being built out on the outskirts of town while the buildings downtown remain empty.

A Christmas Carol

When I was young, this would be way back when I was in Kindergarten or 1st grade, I watched one of the black and white versions of A Christmas Carol and it scared the bejeezus out of me. The ghost of Marley was the start of it and the final terror was the skeletal-like children of Want and Ignorance. I haven’t seen that version again so I am not sure which one it was. I think it was the 1938 version with Reginald Owen.

Well these days, A Christmas Carol has become one of my favorite movies to watch this time of year. I especially love the version done by TNT with Patrick Stewart.

Just thought it was kind of funny that a story that scared me 40 years ago is now one of my favorites. 🙂

Christmas Tree Decorating

The more I think about it, the more I realize that I would love to go back to traditional Christmas decorating. I don’t know why things changed, maybe it is because I don’t have any kids of my own, but over the years I have steered away from decorating for Christmas completely. It isn’t from being a Christmas humbug because this is my favorite time of year. To be honest, right now I only put a tree up for my cat. She loves to climb in it and go to sleep, so for safety reasons I only have a couple dozen of plastic bulbs on it and nothing else.

When I think back to my childhood, decorating for the Holidays was a huge event in my house. I can still remember the rides to the tree farm. I would look at every single highway sign on the way, trying to find the one that advertised the tree farm, so I would know when we were getting close. We would then look through every tree until we found one we thought was the perfect height and size.

Decorating was also just as fun. After putting the worst side of the tree facing the corner of the room we would string the lights. Of course then you would have to plug the lights in and begin replacing every bulb that didn’t light up. Remember when Christmas lights were made of glass and actually screwed into a socket instead of the plastic plug in kind we have today?

Once all of the bulbs were light up we would then get out the colored glass ornaments. My mother would have us place the ornaments so that color of the ornament matched the color of the light it was next too. This would bring out the color of the ornament even more.

We used other odd ball ornaments (like the pixies and the birds I talked about in a previous post) to fill in bare spots or holes in the tree. After all the ornaments where in place we would string the garland, taking care to make sure the spacing was even on all sides.

Next came the tinsel. I have heard of houses that used to place one tinsel at a time on a tree. Thank goodness we didn’t have to do that, but we would grab a handful of tinsel then run it down the tree from top to bottom, letting the needles grab the tinsel naturally.

When the tinsel was finished the final touch would be the star at the top and then mom would put candy canes all around the tree that we would get to eat through out the month.

I have to admit we had beautiful looking Christmas trees. We could barely wait for night to come so that Dad would turn the Christmas tree on. I can remember sitting in the living room and just stealing glances at the tree now and then while watching old black and white Christmas movies.

Sounds kind of nostalgic but I would like some of that simplistic “magic” again.

Christmas Coloring Contests

(Had to change my post for today. What I wanted to post wasn’t working right so I am switching to this one until I figure it out.)

Day 2: I don’t know if most towns had this, but when I was growing up in the 70s our town would have coloring contests every Christmas. The local paper would have several small Christmas scenes to color (much like a mini coloring book) with each scene representing a local business.

I would cut out and color all the pictures and then on our next trip into town, mom would take me to the stores so I could put my picture in the contest bin.  A drawing would be held and the lucky winner would get a gift certificate or an assortment of store goodies.

I remember winning once at an art hobby store which was fantastic for me as I loved to draw and color.

Did you have something similar in your town?

A couple things that reminded me of mom’s kitchen…

It isn’t anything very exciting, but I ran across a catalog, and there were a couple of items in that I recall playing with in the 70s. I think we got more use out of them then our parents.

Remember this? It is a plastic money counter that you used to keep a running total at the grocery store.

Plastic Money Tally from the 70s
Plastic Money Tally from the 70s

I have no idea why but I loved clicking that thing. It probably drove my mom  nuts. The other item that I remembered being in the kitchen is this little gadget here. It is like an envelope scale but it was used to track calories somehow.

Diet Scale Calorie Counter from the 70s
Diet Scale Calorie Counter from the 70s

Again, I think I used this more than my parents because I always wanted to see how much  food weighed. Had nothing to do with calories lol.

Told you! Nothing very exciting but not all memories are. Some memories just make me smile.

Real Ghost Stories of the 70s… or Something Like That

I had to add the “Something Like That” to the title. I am one of those skeptics that do not believe in “ghosts” per say but there has been an event or two in my life that I cannot explain. When Martha, a blogger from “Plowing Through Life”, posted a childhood memory of a witch in her neighborhood, this memory came back to me.

The town where I grew up had it’s share of haunting rumors. Everything from a portal to Hell that was located in a church cemetery to a headless man that appears on a bridge when you honk and flash your lights. All of which we pursued vigorously to no avail. (I am not really sure what we would have done even if we did find a portal to Hell. lol)

There is one story though, that I have no explanation for. It was not uncommon, during the nights my friends stayed over, for us to sneak out of my bedroom window into the foggy, dead of night to go exploring the great outdoors. It was on one of the nights that we decided to check out an old abandoned house that was about a country block away.

When we reached the back porch of this house there was a sign on the door stating “For all of those who dare to tread, Grandma’s spirit isn’t dead.” We all had a good laugh and the house was locked up so we moved on to explore other things in the yard as we joked about Grandma’s spirit.

Several months after that I was helping my father out in the yard. The sun had almost set completely and I happened to look in the direction of that old house when I noticed there was a light in the attic window. At first I just figured it was drifter who let himself into the house and had lit a candle. Earlier in the year I had seen signs of a drifter underneath a bridge that was close to the house.

The whole thing struck me as odd so I went into our house and grabbed my father’s binoculars to take a closer look. The light was not a candle, but a bulb in the ceiling. An electric bulb… in a house that had no electricity.  I never saw that light on again after that night.

I know, the story wasn’t very scary.  I guess when you don’t believe in ghost you don’t find many of them, but it is an event in my life that I will never been able to explain. I am glad that Martha triggered that recollection.That was a fun adventure.

Anyone have their own personal ghost story from the 70s?

Halloween Memories

Let’s here about your Halloween memories from the 70s!

Halloween is my second favorite time of the year. I don’t have any special memories myself as a child of the 70s (my parents didn’t celebrate Halloween), but I loved horror films and haunted houses non the less.

My fondest memories would be from the 80s. We didn’t have the Internet back then, so the only way to hear about the greatest haunted houses was word of mouth. I can remember hoping into the car and traveling an hour or more to another city just on the breath of a rumor. Of course those rumors never panned out to be as awesome as implied, but I think half the fun was just getting there.

What are your memories?