Summertime Memories from 1964

Jackson,. Newsie, Dad and Bar
Jackson, Newsie, Dad and Bar

Throughout the years while I was raising my four kids (beginning in 1954), I kept a journal where I periodically made notes about holidays, school, vacations, etc.  As an occasion arises where I think one of my journal entries would be pertinent, I’m going to post it just as I wrote or typed it back in the day (except for an explanatory note or correction of a typo).

The children will be known here by the nicknames their grandfather used when they were toddlers:  The oldest daughter will be Newsie (because she was as good as a newspaper for finding out the latest happenings), the oldest son is Bar (because he called Grandpa’s truck Bar and Grandpa called him Bar), the youngest son is Jackson, and the youngest daughter is Shanty (as in Shanty-Boat).

Summertime and the living is pretty hectic most of the time.  The days are filled with sounds of kids out playing – riding squeaky bicycles, fighting over possession of the sand pile, hitting baseballs off the garage roof, playing “mudders and fadders”, slamming screen doors, protesting the boys’ teasing.  

Jackson and the water hose
Jackson and the water hose

The days are filled with the sights of wet bathing suits, soggy footmarks on the floor, barefooted and bare-chested boys, tan and healthy looking faces, dust two inches thick in the backyard and grass two inches long in the front, blooming petunias and marigolds, a veritable forest in the back hollow with lush trees, squirrels, birds, chipmunks and a family of raccoons.

The days are filled with the smells of summer – the harsh chlorine smell of a carful of wet kids coming home from the pool, the smoky fragrance of wieners and hamburgers on the grill, the smell that permeates the neighborhood when someone bakes a cake, the fresh fragrance in the air after the grass has been mown.

Lillian and Penny, the dog
Lillian and Penny, the dog

Summer is filled with knothole games and the undefeated Sweeneys in their green and white uniforms, the much defeated Reds whose progress is followed avidly on TV and transistor, the harness horses at the night races and soon at the fairs, the neighborhood pools swarming with kids, the parks filled with families and picnic baskets, the roads overflowing with people and paraphernalia.

A knothole game at Oakley Park
A knothole game at Oakley Park

Life is hectic, true, and fun and as the song says, “lazy, hazy and crazy”!  L – July 11, 1964

Here’s a 1963 version of Nat King Cole singing about the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.

Note:  It would be 6 more years before Shanty came along to join us in our summer fun.

Click picture to enlarge.  The colored pictures are from a home movie and not of the best quality.

April 16, 1964 – A Journal Memory

Throughout the years while I was raising my four kids (beginning in 1954), I kept a journal where I periodically made notes about holidays, school, vacations, etc.  As an occasion arises where I think one of my journal entries would be pertinent, I’m going to post it just as I wrote or typed it back in the day (except for an explanatory note or correction of a typo).  

The children will be known here by the nicknames their grandfather used when they were toddlers:  The oldest daughter will be Newsie (because she was as good as a newspaper for finding out the latest happenings), the oldest son is Bar (because he called Grandpa’s truck Bar and Grandpa called him Bar), the youngest son is Jackson, and the youngest daughter is Shanty (as in Shanty-Boat).

Bar and Newsie
Bar and Newsie
Jackson
Jackson

 “Jackson saw a plump robin on the front lawn today and with the confidence of childhood announced:  ‘There’s a robin.  It’s spring!’  And I’ll have to agree with him that the miracle of spring has come to Maple Drive.  The sky is a pale clear blue, serving well as the background for tender green buds and leaflets appearing on so many of the trees.  Each lawn is the fresh green of spring and the gorgeous color compensates for the bare patches of earth.  Daffodils, dandelions and violets are blooming, and the tulips are budding.  The leaves of the iris are straight and sure and reassuring.  The temperature is 80 degrees this afternoon and the kids are wearing shorts and crop-tops, and Bar and his friend Danny are tossing a baseball.  Our dog Penny ran with great glee over newly-seeded lawns and through flower beds, and dug a foot-deep hole in the dusty patch beside the back porch.  Newsie and her friend Rosanne came in with nosegays of violets, dandelions and large leaves, picked in the hollow and carefully placed in a yellow plastic cup on the refrigerator.”

Precious memories of a spring almost 50 years ago.

January 2, 1964 – A Journal Memory

3 kids-1964

3 kids-1964 (624x800)

Throughout the years while I was raising my four kids (beginning in 1954), I kept a journal where I periodically made notes about holidays, school, vacations, etc.  As an occasion arises where I think one of my journal entries would be pertinent, I’m going to post it just as I wrote or typed it back in the day (except for an explanatory note or correction of a typo).  

The children will be known here by the nicknames their grandfather used when they were toddlers:  The oldest daughter will be Newsie (because she was as good as a newspaper for finding out the latest happenings), the oldest son is Bar (because he called Grandpa’s truck Bar and Grandpa called him Bar), the youngest son is Jackson, and the youngest daughter is Shanty (as in Shanty-Boat).

In January, 1964, we were a family of five: mother, father, 9-year-old daughter Newsie, 7-year-old son Bar, and 3-year-old son Jackson.  We lived in a 1922 two-story home in the Oakley suburb of Cincinnati with a nice backyard for the kids to play in.  Jackson was prone to the croup and didn’t get to go out and play in the big snow that greeted us on the first day of January, 1964.

Maple Drive greeted 1964 wearing a thick blanket of white as seven inches of snow covered Cincinnati early on New Year’s Day.  The street is rutted deeply with tread marks and the cars are all wearing top-pieces of snow which occasionally tilt rakishly on the side as the sun grows warmer.  Most of the walks are neatly shoveled and salted so the kids troop gleefully across lawns and up the middle of the roads.  Our kids got an extra two days of vacation due to the snow and showed their appreciation by wallowing in it all day.  As a surprise for Jackson and me, Newsie and Bar fashioned a plump snowman with all the trimmings—limb arms, rock eyes and buttons, plaid scarf and Bar’s green leather cap.  Jackson can look through the dining room window and see friend snowman staring back at him from the yard, which is pocked with footmarks of various sizes.”

L – January 2, 1964

Jackson had six more years to be the baby before another daughter came along and I love to read in my notes where the two older children went out of their way to surprise and please their little brother.  Happy memories of almost 50 years ago.

Thanksgiving, 1964

Throughout the years while I was raising my four kids (beginning in 1954), I kept a journal where I periodically made notes about holidays, school, vacations, etc.  As an occasion arises where I think one of my journal entries would be pertinent, I’m going to post it just as I wrote or typed it back in the day (except for an explanatory note or correction of a typo).  

The children will be known here by the nicknames their grandfather used when they were toddlers:  The oldest daughter will be Newsie (because she was as good as a newspaper for finding out the latest happenings), the oldest son is Bar (because he called Grandpa’s truck Bar and Grandpa called him Bar), the youngest son is Jackson, and the youngest daughter is Shanty (as in Shanty-Boat).

This journal entry was made 6 years before Shanty was born.  We were living in a 1922 house on Maple Drive in Oakley, a suburb of Cincinnati.  My mother and father lived at the other end of Maple Drive.

THANKSGIVING DAY, 1964

Bar, 8 years of age, and Newsie, age 10

Jackson, 4 years old

The afternoon sun is bright as it shines on the white birch in the backyard.  A gaudy red cardinal perches on the fence while his earth-brown mate pecks at the grass.  A great pile of leaves is heaped at the entrance to the hollow, waiting patiently for a push into the woods below.  The houses across the hollow are in clear view now that the leaves are gone and our forest of the summer has become an autumn canyon.

Dinner is over and the dishes washed and put away.  The turkey was golden brown and only lost its two wings in its transport from roasting pan to platter.  The potatoes were perfect, according to Newsie, and the rolls, light.  We all ate too much, as usual, while Penny (our dog) whined in the basement, eager to get her share of the feast.

When I look back on Thanksgiving, 1964, I’ll probably remember Newsie busily toasting bread and cutting it into cubes for the dressing; Jackson putting great slabs of turkey on a roll with radishes and making a sandwich; Bar, in his football helmet, either playing football in the street in front of the house or watching the game on television; Frank (husband) lounging on the floor in front of the television after consuming an enormous helping of everything on the dinner table; Grandpa coming through the back door into the kitchen carrying a bowl of half-beaten whipped cream for me to finish up after their mixer had broken; the parades in the morning on TV, the aroma of roast turkey filling the house, the frenzy of getting everything on the table at once, the feeling of gratitude for everything I have.

Lillian – Thanksgiving Day, 1964

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.