Monday, July 24, 2006

Continuing on with the Nostalgia Theme. . . .

I grew up in a tiny house about three blocks from a neighborhood grocery store.
I shared a room with my two sisters, one of whom slept on a twin mattress that slid under the real bed by day.  We didn't know it was weird; we thought it was cool to have a trundle bed like Laura and Mary.  My brother, of course, had his own room.
Dad also bought him his own car when he was sixteen but we don't dare go there. 
I was in junior high before I realized that my friends who all had their own bedrooms weren't necessarily 'rich people.'
I don't remember Mom ever buying a lot of groceries at one time.  She just sent one of us kids down to the 'store' every fifteen minutes or so, year round, to get thises and thats.  When it was my turn, she often had to phone Jerry (the store owner) and ask him to tell me to stop reading the comic books and get home with the ketchup and onions.  We never took money with us to the store; we just told Jerry to "put it on the bill."  Every payday,  Mom paid up.
And I never took advantage of it like "some people" who rode their bikes down there six times a day and loaded up on Watermelon Stix, 'on the bill.'  I put a couple of comic books on the bill once, but I never did it again.  Whew.
My allowance was a quarter a week.  It was enough. 
Candy bars were six for a quarter.  You could play six songs on the jukebox for a quarter.  A quarter would buy a hamburger, fries, and coke at Little Jerry's, next door to the 'store,' and not to be confused with Big Jerry's, the restaurant franchise on the other side of town.  I remember the teenagers in there playing "Sugar Shack" over and over.
You could get two comic books for a quarter, until they raised the price from twelve to fifteen cents.  I was so outraged I wrote DC Comics a letter of protest.  They answered, too.  I was thrilled, until Mom explained to me what a 'form letter' was.  I still have that form letter somewhere.  Bazooka Bubble Gum was a penny, and I saved the comics in a cigar box, intending to redeem them someday when I got enough.  I never did.
For 75 cents, you could bowl three games and have lunch at the counter.
A regular coke was a nickel.  The dime coke was just too huge for a little kid to handle, alone.
All elevators smelled the same: kind of like a doctor's waiting room.
Mom took me to Indianapolis several times a year to the eye doctor.  In the fall, we would go to Block's and Ayre's to buy school clothes.  She had charge cards there; I loved to watch the saleswoman get out the little machine, put the card in the space, and swipe the handle back and forth till the raised letters in the card were printed on the carbon paper.
Sometimes we rode the Greyhound bus.  It was on a bus that I saw my first drunk. 
These experiences and prices seem so extreme now, even to me.  It's almost like something we'd read in a novel about the olden days.
Oh, scheisse. . . . .
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:02 PM | |


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