Do you remember?
Sledding and tobogganing at Ludington Park? Ice-skating? “Hopping” cars on back fenders? Tickets at the Delft and Michigan, a quarter, with great serials and cartoons. A and W frosty mugs and Marco’s Pizza? “Beating the Drag” with A and W and one end and the water plant at the other — with the submarine races down there? Proms, KC and tennis court dances? Club 314 for boxing, pool and watching the girls dance together? Slipping on the track around the old high school gym? The crowded stands at the old junior high for high school basketball games? We grew up on the 400 block of South 15th Street, only two blocks from Kobasic’s, Fisher’s, Pete’s, Hob Nob and Cliffie’s, with Family Bakery only three houses down; we were trapped in by donuts, penny candy, 2 cent Tootsie Roll pops, nickel and dime Coke and close enough for Leed’s 5 and 10 cent cones, especially Blue Moon. Yes!
Saturday night was bath time, polish those black shoes and renew our tie tying skills. Sunday morning was church. The Presbyterian Church gym was weekly open raucous volleyball. We said the Pledge proudly and sang religious songs and no one complained.
There was little school bullying and recess involved “king of the snow hills”, hop scotch, jump rope, jungle gyms and kickball. In junior high we became familiar with the auditorium balcony, stage and library. Mr. Alvin Starr and his car were staples. At the high school we were tutored by Mr. Hiney, Puck, Mr. Chown and many more. My favorite Aunt, Madelyn Thompson, ran the Activities Office. She still carries fond memories – -and is now 98 living in Marinette. We did get in trouble for running in the halls and chewing gum — and some for the occasional cigarette. The occasional school paddle was followed by worse at home.
Authority was expected, earned, respected and taught whether for law enforcement, teachers or parents. It was not always fun to meet dad standing at the door when you brought your date home.
There were two drive-in movies…and no one snuck in via a trunk. We walked and rode bikes everywhere thinking nothing of it. Most families had one car and it and the house were usually unlocked. You played outside until the street lights came on…..and when you heard the yell “Supper” you recognized which mother that was by her voice. “Suuup—pper!!” We had all kinds of games, kick the can, leaf piles, snow forts and sand piles.
Downtown was Tim and Sally’s, West End Drug and their phosphates, Neisner’s, Kresge’s and Woolworth’s where you spent your $5 Christmas Club money from the bank for presents. Yes? And we could understand the music — Beach Boys, 4 Seasons, Elvis, The Beatles, Supremes.
The beach was ours, Betty was in the library basement and smelt in the rivers. There was a lot of mutual respect, trust (handshakes sufficed), fun and camaraderie. Simple, easygoing. I miss that.