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Posts Tagged ‘childhood memories

Back To School

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Back To School

Back To School

It is that time of the year when schools are beginning again after the summer break. Some schools will start shortly and others have already begun.  Today I will take a look at the good and the bad of back to school.  I wrote about back to school memories in 2012 as well, click here to read what I had to say.

The good:

  • Traffic gets better with fewer people on the road during morning and afternoon rush hour.
  • High School football games offer a fun way to spend a Friday night.
  • Child care expenses are greatly reduced. Having nearby relatives has substantial benefits.
  • Going shopping for some new clothes. I typically wore jeans and T-shirts in high school but was made to dress up in elementary school.  Getting bell bottoms was a big deal.
  • Seeing your friends again on a regular basis. Things might be different in today’s connected world.  We did not have Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Skype/Face Time, cell phones or the internet when I was in school.
  • Having your mind filled with knowledge and to continue your lifelong journey of learning. (I am sort of serious)

The bad:

  • For the kids, it is the homework, getting up early and the lousy slop that they call pizza at the cafeteria.
  • Finding out that you have a first period gym class or worse a challenging subject like calculus or physics.  After the summer off and sleeping in you don’t want to tax your body or your brain that early.
  • The drama associated with the bus ride for the elementary school kids. On top of that, it seemed like every year I would get on the bus first in the morning and be the last to be dropped off in the afternoon.  Spending 45 minutes on a bus is no fun.
  • Traffic gets worse during the morning and afternoon rush hour.
  • For the parents the running kids to various school related activities.
  • For the parents they also have to deal with homework every night making sure the assignments get done. I personally think they assign too much homework these days.
  • For parents taking a hit to the budget to get clothes for the new school year can be a shock.

I hope this brings back some memories for you and I hope that back to school is mostly a good thing for you. Have a great week.


Written by pacelinebiz

August 28, 2016 at 8:01 am

Remember When?

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 Cheeseburger In paradise - No Pop Tops Allowed

Cheeseburger In paradise – No Pop Tops Allowed

Take a trip down memory lane and see how many of these you can remember.   I ask you, remember when:

  • They sold a pack of cigarettes in a vending machine for a quarter.  If you had a quarter you could smoke.
  • Pull tabs on soda cans were new and were removed from the can (Jimmy Buffett does).
  • Soda pop was dispensed in bottles by pulling them out of the machine and a bottle opener was on the front of the machine with a container to catch the bottle cap.
  • They sold newspapers on street corners in a box that opened up with a stack of papers inside. (Did anyone ever take more than one?)
  • Motor oil was sold in a cardboard quart can at the filling station and would be added to your car by the attendant using a spout that would puncture the top of the can.
  • Various foods were introduced that were supposedly from the space program.  Tang instant orange drink comes to mind.  “Back in the day” we named our dog Tang but I don’t think we had it very long.  Let’s say it went on a mission to the moon.
  • Ice cream cones were sold by price not size.  I remember the 10 cent, quarter and fifty cent cones at DQ.
  • Soda pop was sold in a bottle with a deposit – this was before recycling was cool.
  • Jeep’s were the only all terrain SUV’s on the road?  My dad had one that was WW II vintage.
  • Station wagons ruled the road?  They were answer to the modern-day minivan/SUV.
  • Beneath the rear license plate was the gas cap to fill the car.   This was an explosion risk which ruined the concept.  Save for the explosion part, this was a great idea because you didn’t have to figure out which side of the car the gas cap was on.  You could just pull up anywhere and say fill’er up!
  • You actually wrote someone a letter and mailed it to them and they got it two, three or four days later?  It wasn’t that long ago!
  • Prices on grocery items were stamped on with a mechanical ink stamp and were carried by stock boys in a leather holster.

I am not sure if things were better in the good old days or worse.  I think some things are better now and some things are worse.  What I really miss is having my gas tank in the middle of my car because I can never remember which side it is on!  Can we at least make an industry standard that it is required to be on the driver’s side?

Have a great week.

Christmas And A Boy Named Frank

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Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

Tomorrow is February 29th and I hope you make the best of your extra day this year to do something positive. Even though winter is winding down I wanted to revisit a favorite topic for kids of all ages.  That topic is Christmas.  Today you will be treated to a story of a young boy named Frank.

Frank ran home from the bus stop and rushed into his room. It was early December and he had to put the finishing touches on his letter to Santa.  Tomorrow was Friday and the whole family was going into to town to see Santa at the department store.  Back in the 1960’s when Frank was growing up Santa liked to hang out at department stores.

Before Frank settled into reviewing his list, he stopped to wrestle with his brother to burn off nervous energy. In Frank’s day mom called it rough-housing and dad called it…something else.  Frank looked down at his list and then looked up at the ceiling as he mentally checked things off his list that was committed to memory.  He spent hours going over the Sears and Penney’s catalog looking for ideas and by now he had it down to the most vital items.

Grenade launching gun? Check. Hot wheels track and some cool new cars? Check.  A walkie-talkie set?  Check.  A kid sized plastic electric guitar? Check.  Rock ‘em Sock Robots?  Check.  After listing the big-ticket items he knew had to add some smaller stuff so Santa would not think he was greedy.  He wrote down a slinky, silly putty, a football and a Mr. Potato Head.  Then, at the last-minute he added plastic toy army men and a new pair of blue jeans – he wrote in big letters, BELL BOTTOMS PLEASE.  It was the late 60’s cut Frank some slack.

The trip to see Santa went well and he told Santa what he wanted and then Santa patted him on the head and asked him if he was a good boy. Frank was worried because he knew Santa already knew the answer so he played it cool and was a little non-committal and said “sort of”.  After that it was time to go home and hope for the best.

The days passed by quickly and it was now Christmas morning at 6 AM and Frank had already been up for a half an hour. He couldn’t wait any longer so he ran into the living room to see what was under the tree.  As he took inventory it looked like it was going to be a good year.  This came as a surprise because his mom and dad were acting like they had inside scoop that Santa was a little disappointed.  As Frank tore into his gifts he was quite happy with what Santa brought for him.  He had so much to sort through he wasn’t upset that he didn’t get the grenade launcher.

Frank ended up spending much of the day playing with something he didn’t even ask for – an electric football game. Frank thought to himself amidst all the excitement that it seemed like the big day always ends up different than you expect it – but it is always better.  He just assumed that was part of Christmas magic.  Later he knew he would be visiting with his cousins and aunts and uncles so this Christmas day was not over yet!

I hope you have a great week re-living some childhood memories of Christmases past.

Written by pacelinebiz

February 28, 2016 at 12:19 pm

Taking Inventory At Christmas

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A new bicycle, with that attitude?

A new bicycle, with that attitude?

Don’t worry, this is not a soul-searching topic on my inner most thoughts as we near Christmas.  This is actually an inventory of facts I find mildly surprising about my Christmas experience up ‘til now.  It will be in the form of a list.  I love lists.

  • I have no recollection of having a real tree at Christmas. I remember when we got our artificial one (it was before we landed on the moon) but cannot recall a Christmas with a formerly live tree. Does this qualify me as a tree hugger?
  • I have never had a “beach” Christmas. All my Christmas days have been at home or at a relative’s home. I have no relatives who live on or near a beach.  Jimmy Buffett will have to invite me next year.
  • I have never had a “Blue” Christmas – sorry Elvis. That is a pleasant surprise.
  • I haven’t had a White Christmas since I moved to Georgia and surprisingly don’t miss it. I can always watch it on Netflix or Hulu. Not all my Christmases were white when I lived in Pennsylvania and Ohio either. My guess is about 20%-30% were green.
  • My tradition of using a decorated piece of toast as an ornament began shortly after college and I am surprised that it has not become a sensation.
  • I miss the old silver tree with the multi-color light wheel that my dad had at his filling station/repair shop. I think that “back in the day” it caused many a hippie to think they were on a bad trip. It surprises me that I miss that thing but it does not surprise me that 40% of the people reading this are asking someone to tell them what a filling station is.
  • I have fond memories of watching the “Blue-Grey” all star classic. It was a college football game and was a showcase for players from smaller schools or ones with losing records since any one from a larger school or a winning team would probably be getting ready for a bowl game elsewhere. I remember that to make games competitive they would allow any team that was down by 2 touchdowns to receive the kickoff after a score – even if they had just scored. I also liked the bizarre color combinations from the player using his own schools helmet with his blue or grey uniform. It was strangely odd but surprisingly I liked it. Maybe for the same reason people can’t look away from a traffic accident. My younger brother would watch it with me and that was cool.
  • I have never gone to a restaurant for Christmas dinner. Maybe that is not surprising. I think going to a restaurant for Christmas dinner is surprising.   Maybe the only people who go to Christmas dinner at a restaurant are like the family in the movie A Christmas Story. The dogs got the turkey! That father, despite his ability to weave a tapestry with his cussing was a cool customer.

I hope you have a great week and get that shopping done!

Written by pacelinebiz

December 14, 2015 at 8:01 am

Thanksgiving Memories

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Sleep Well After Eating

Sleep Well After Eating

This week is Thanksgiving so I am obligated to blog about it according to the rules that govern internet blogging. Incidentally, the internet has strict rules about the accuracy of what is added to the worldwide web.  Rule number one is; if it is not true then it’s not for you.  I might be wrong about that.  In 2012 I blogged about how it is on the wrong day.  You can read my reasoning by clicking here.  I stand by my views.  In 2009 I took a humorous approach in an unscientific poll that you can read by clicking here.

This year, rather than talking about Thanksgiving Day foods or trying my hand at humor, I am going to prepare a list of my most memorable football games that were played on Thanksgiving.

  • 11/26/98 – Pittsburgh at Detroit – Jerome Bettis and the coin toss fiasco.  

The Steelers lose in overtime because the ref “misheard” Jerome Bettis call the toss at the beginning of overtime and the Lions quickly kicked a field goal to win the game 19-16.

  • 11/28/74 – Washington at Dallas – The Clint Longley game.

Clint Longley beats the Redskins 24-23 after coming in for an injured Roger “the dodger” Staubach. He took over in the third quarter down 16-3 and won it on a 50 year “hail mary”.  A couple of years later in training camp he sucker-punched the very same Roger Staubach and was quickly traded to San Diego.  There are two things you never do; divide by zero and hit the star quarterback.  He never amounted to much after that game on Thanksgiving but he had his moment in the sun – the San Diego sun.

  • 11/25/93 – Miami at Dallas – The Leon Lett* game

Cowboys led the Dolphins 14–13 with only a handful of seconds to go and Miami attempted to win it with a 40-yard field goal but it was blocked by the Cowboys. Unfortunately, Leon Lett of the Cowboys chased after the ball, touched it and the Dolphins recovered it and kicked the winner with a final score of 16-14

*Leon Lett gets special recognition for being a bonehead. In the January 1993 Super Bowl which the Cowboys crushed the Bills 52-17 he recovered a fumble on the Dallas 35-yard line and ran it back towards the end zone.  Around the 10-yard line he began “showboating” and slowed and held the ball out as he neared the goal line.  He did not see Don Beebe, a noted Bills hustling special teams player who chased him down and knocked the ball out of his hand and through the end zone for a touchback.  This cost them a touchdown and, more importantly, set the stage for his gaffe on Thanksgiving Day in 1993. 

Those are three Thanksgiving Day games that I remember and the special Leon Lett Super Bowl gaffe was added in as a bonus. Have a great week and practice your fundamentals Leon!

Toys Make Great Christmas Gifts

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Toys are great gifts

Toys are great gifts

Toys are on every kids Christmas wish list and I was no different. I stumbled upon this article and thought I would share my thoughts on it with you.  It is a 2011 Time magazine article that has a list of the greatest toys of all time.  It actually was the best from 1920 to the present but that is close enough I guess. 

Here are a few that I had as a kid listed by the decade they first appeared.


  • Chemistry Set
  • Yo-Yo


  • Finger Paint
  • Army Men


  • Slinky
  • Little Golden Books


  • Silly Putty
  • Paint By numbers
  • Wiffle Ball
  • Matchbox Car


  • Etch A Sketch
  • Barrel Of Monkeys
  • Hot Wheels


  • Nerf Ball
  • Simon

After the 1970’s I had outgrown the toy age but I must say the entire list is very cool and a good starting point for the kid on your list. My only question is where are Lincoln Logs?  I hope you enjoyed this walk down the virtual toy store.  Have a great week.

Written by pacelinebiz

December 15, 2014 at 8:01 am

Christmas 1964

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Rotary Phone

Rotary Phone

Let’s go back in time 50 years to December 1964. It is December 1st and it is time to begin your Christmas shopping.  How times have changed in 50 years!  You would first notice the changes when you got in your car you would see that you needed a hand-operated choke on the dashboard to start your cold car.  You would also notice that the old reliable “grocery getter” had a manual transmission and AM radio with a telescopic whip antenna on the front fender. 

After you got the car moving, you would start shopping, not on-line or even to the mall, but some would be done at the new shopping plaza and the rest would be done downtown at the various shops in the shopping district. Since you had your Christmas club account paid out a few weeks ago you would be itching to start the lay away process so you could have all things paid for in time for the big day.  A Christmas club account was a savings account that you would use to make regular (weekly) deposits to prepare yourself for spending big bucks for Christmas.  This was before credit cards were universally given away to anyone who wanted one at age 16.  Lay away was a method to secure a gift by making small payments and when you paid the price in full it was yours to take home.  Lay away has come back in style after the 2008 banking crisis and with the continuing economic doldrums is with us even today.

When you were downtown shopping you would always save up for a lunch at the restaurant located in the department store. A department store of this type was usually on many floors and would have one or more departments on each floor – hence the name.  For example, menswear and sporting goods might be on one floor and ladies wear and house wares on another.  In the basement of these stores the marked down merchandise would reside and that is where the term “bargain basement” comes from.

If you forgot what you were supposed to get for Aunt Martha you would have to dial-up your sister for a reminder. Of course this was as easy as walking down to the street corner to the bank of pay phones.  It was only a nickel for 3 minutes.  Since minimum wage was $1.25 an hour back then, that call would cost you about 30 cents in today’s dollars.  Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you they didn’t have cell phones back in December 1964.  In fact, payphones used the old rotary dial method.  That is why people of a certain age say “dial me up” when they want you to call them.  The push button phone was introduced in late 1963 but was very rare during the Christmas of 1964.  They did not arrive at most homes until much later.  I don’t think my parents ever had a push button phone until they began using the cordless phones that became popular in the late 1980’s. 

After you got home from a long day of shopping you would treat yourself by heating up a TV dinner instead of slaving over the stove top making dinner. A TV dinner was like a hot pocket for the microwave but it took 45 minutes to heat up and was usually Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes with mixed vegetables. Later in the evening, you could heat up some Jiffy Pop Popcorn – it was as much fun to make as it was to eat. 

Have a great week of shopping and be happy you have the modern gadgets to make your life simple.