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.

Fresh Blueberry Teacakes

These little teacakes are just right to serve with cold lemonade on a hot summer day.   They are not as thick as muffins and make a nice afternoon snack.


  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (Canola)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2-3 tsp. granulated sugar for sprinkling tops

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Lightly oil or line a 12-cup cupcake tin

Note:  There is no milk in this recipe

In large mixing bowl whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla.

Place blueberries in a bowl.  Measure the flour and from this, take two tablespoons of flour to mix with blueberries.

In medium bowl mix remaining flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to oil mixture, stirring just enough to blend.  Stir in the blueberries gently.

Spoon mixture into greased or lined muffin tins.  The mixture will be thick. Sprinkle the tops with sugar.

Bake @ 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes.  Let pan cool on rack for 3-4 minutes, then remove cakes to rack to cool.

Yield:  12 teacakes

Summer Lunch for the Ladies

My two daughters were here for lunch before going swimming in my neighborhood pool.  I wanted to have something summery and light and decided to have corn-on-the-cob, Pecan Spinach Toss Salad, and Pineapple Cups.


  • Servings: 6 generous servings
  • Print

  • 2 cups orzo pasta
  • 3 cups boiling, lightly salted water
  • 5 cups fresh baby spinach (about 5 oz.)
  • 5 oz. crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 cup toasted pecans
  • 3 Tblsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tblsp. lemon zest
  • 3 Tblsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Grinding of black pepper

Add orzo to the boiling water, bring to a boil again and cook for 6 minutes.  Rinse in cold water and drain.

Put spinach, cheese and pecans in a very large bowl or pot and add orzo.

In a small jar, mix together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper – put a lid on the jar and shake well.  Pour this dressing over the salad and toss well.  I let the salad set for about 30 minutes and served at room temperature, although cold leftovers were also good.

WARNING:  This makes a lot of salad – it would be good to take to a potluck or family gathering.  We three each had a big serving for lunch and each one had another large serving to save for supper.

This recipe is adapted from one in Susan Branch’s AUTUMN cookbook.

I’ve been organizing my huge collection of cookbooks and this dessert recipe jumped out at me from a 1939 Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook.  There are a lot of recipes in the cookbook, but my favorites are always the Round Table Recipes from readers which were clipped from the magazine and inserted in the cookbook binder.  This one is from someone in Connecticut in November, 1940.  Her comment, “Double surprise!  Comes cake, then custard hiding pineapple!”, which describes the dish exactly. This is a nice, tasty, light dessert – just right for lunch or supper.


  • 8 oz can pineapple tidbits, drained (reserve juice)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/3 cup juice drained from an 8 oz. can of pineapple tidbits
  • 1-1/2 Tblsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tblsp. grated lemon peel
  • 1 Tblsp. butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tblsp. milk
  • 2 egg whites, beaten stiff

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Have 3 small ungreased individual baking dishes at hand.  Boil water to pour into a flat pan with a lip that will hold the 3 dishes.

Drain juice from pineapple can into a cup – should measure approximately 1/3 cup.  Set aside

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, flour and salt.  Add the lemon juice, lemon peel, cooled melted butter and milk, whisking until smooth.

Fold in the beaten egg whites.

Place tidbits in the bottom of three individual casseroles.  Divide batter among the three dishes and pour over the pineapple.  Place the dishes in a pan with a lip containing an inch of hot water.

Bake @ 325 degrees F for 45 minutes.

Pineapple cups are best served warm or at room temperature.

The buttered corn-on-the cob, the Pecan Spinach Toss Salad and this Pineapple Cup dessert made the perfect ladies’ summertime meal.

Yukon Chicken Salad

This is a combination of a couple of favorites, made with the little Yukon Gold potatoes.  My husband was growing Yukon Golds in his garden in the late 1990s, before they became so popular on all of the cooking shows.  We loved them then and I’m happy they’re available in all of the grocery stores now.  Combined with chicken, gorgonzola cheese and walnuts – what’s not to like?


  • 10 small Yukon Gold potatoes (2-2-1/2″ diameter), unpeeled
  • 1 large tart apple, thinly sliced (Golden Delicious)
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, coarsley chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 cup chopped, cooked chicken breast
  • 1 Tblsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

Wash potatoes and put in a large pot.  Cover with cold water and cook over medium heat until tender (30-45 minutes depending on size).  Set aside to cool.

When potatoes are cool, cut into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl.  Add apple and onion slices, toasted walnuts, gorgonzola, cooked chicken and fresh basil.

In a jar or other container with a lid, mix the olive oil, vinegar and honey.

Pour over the potato mixture and toss to mix.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Makes 4-6 servings

This is not a very photogenic salad, but it sure is good.

Along with the salad, I served an old favorite summertime pie, Nancy’s Chocolate Lime Pie.

It was a nice summer lunch for my two daughters and two grandchildren.

A Day at Kings Island


When I was raising my first three children in Cincinnati in the 1950s and 1960s, our amusement park was Coney Island on the Ohio River, east of town.  There were rides including a gorgeous merry-go-round and an exciting Shooting Star roller coaster, shady picnic groves, a huge swimming pool, and a big lake for paddle boats.  It had everything we needed and the kids loved it.

By the time my fourth child was a toddler in 1972, things had changed.  Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, became the place to go.  We didn’t get to visit that often because it was expensive for a big family and a long drive from our house, but it’s the place that my youngest daughter remembers fondly.

Coney Island has remained in business and we visit a couple of times a year, but now we all live about 10 minutes from Kings Island and my daughter buys season passes for everybody.

Last week, I went along for the sights and sounds of Kings Island with my daughter and two grandchildren, known here as Jellyfish (age 10) and Dolphin (age 6).  I don’t get on any of the rides but I come in handy sitting with one of the kids while the other is on a favorite ride with mother.  The Beast is one of Jellyfish’s favorites.


Dolphin has a lot of exciting rides to choose from like the Dodgems, the Scrambler, Shake Rattle & Roll, a kid-sized roller coaster ….


sydwaterA ride I like to watch is the old 1926 merry-go-round which was moved from Coney Island.



It has 48 beautiful horses….


Jellyfish is a very good photographer and took the pictures in this post (except this one).  This is a view from the top of the Kings Island Eiffel Tower, a 1/3 replica of the one in Paris.


We all had several hours of fun and then drove the short distance to my house for lunch.  Just like in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, I have a chance to enjoy going on a summer outing with some cute kids.