Remembering the Good Ole Days

Well over 80 years of life was a great deal for youngsters.

Sure there were cars, but they were not that many around and they certainly did not interfere with children’s play time. In the winter, we walked half a block to a very short street (only one block long.) It was a hill that had no houses on it, only a large garage. It was perfect for sledding in the winter.

We would slide down Templeton Street and onto Woodlawn Terrace. Woodlawn was strictly residential with a grammar school adjacent to the intersection with Templeton. There were few cars on Woodlawn Terrace so we could slide down Templeton and onto Woodlawn Terrace with no fear for oncoming traffic. I remember once I hooked the rope on the sled onto the rear bumper of a car going up the hill. I couldn’t unhook the rope from the car fast enough and my sled was being carried away. Fortunately the driver heard my cries and slowed down enough for me to recover the sled.

In the summer we played ball in an empty lot. There was no such thing as Little League. We just chose up sides and played. I was always the last one chosen because I was such a poor hitter. On reflection, it was probably because I could not see that well. Years later I got eye glasses.

Baseball games, or any other activity stopped quickly whenever an airplane flew by. There were always small planes flying out of fields in Bethany or Plymouth. My father used to take me to Bethany on Sunday afternoons to watch the planes take off on the grass runway.

Across the street from the grammar school was a heavily wooded lot. The older kids used to warn us not to go into the woods because there were Indians hiding there. We believed them. Many years later, my wife’s grandmother was going to Chicago by train to visit relatives. She was in great fear that Indians might attack the train. She had been reading about Indians attacking trains in the far West and couldn’t distinguish the vast difference in the train routes East and West of Chicago.

Back to the cars. Everyone put chains on the rear tires as soon as there was snow on the ground. Flat tires were a regular happening. It meant taking the tire off the wheel after first using a jack to raise the wheel up. Then looking over the inside tube to find the puncture. Next there was a s scraper that roughened the tube around the puncture; then liberally spreading special glue around the puncture and sticking a patch on the tube. Then it was putting the tire back on the wheel and pumping the tube. Hand pumps were always in the car. All the repair equipment was always carried in the car because flat tires were so very common.

Sherman London
Southbury, CT © 2016

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