Growing up 50’s

If I had to characterize it, I would say I had a generally pleasant and carefree childhood.  My parents were loving and kept us well supplied with  Cocoa Puffs and bologna sandwiches. We had shoes on our feet and hats on our heads. (I tried it the other way around but the Red Goose oxfords kept falling off my ears.  Besides, as the Red Goose Shoes commercial kept telling us, wearing them was “half the fun of having feet”.  I never found out what the other half was.)  And if Johnny Swaboda stole my lunch from me at fist-point every once in a while, well, that was just the cost of growing up dweeb.

My parents were liberal-minded on child-rearing, not inclined to hem us in too much, but there were a couple of requirements that were iron-clad.  One, applying to our family only, was that we were not allowed to play hopscotch.  This may seem strange now, but they were just following the wisdom of the times.  You see, we lived in a glass house, and people who live in glass houses . . .. I think you can see their point.

Image result for public domain image hopscotch

The other restriction that sticks in my memory was this: we were not allowed to cross the street until an adult told us it was okay. The street I grew up on was actually pretty quiet–cars passed at the rate of about one every two centuries– but none of the kids would dare cross it without some adult saying okay.  It didn’t have to be your own parent; an aunt, the next door neighbor, even Johnny Swaboda’s mom could give permission. But  regardless of the weather or time of day, permission from some adult was absolutely necessary, and none of the children in the neighborhood dared think otherwise.

In order to attract the necessary adult attention, a child would stand by the curb, screaming in a sing-song voice, “I wanna go across!   I wah-na gooooo acraw wawss,” over and over again until someone’s mother came to the door and said okay.  At certain times, all up and down the street, you could hear the echos of children singing “I wanna go across”, sounding like plaintive Alpine mountain climbers melodically saluting each other from one peak to the next.

Image result for public domain images suburb street

Sometimes the response came quickly, sometimes you had to wait for what seemed like an eternity.  If channel three happened to be airing “Queen for a Day” at the time you were crying out for permission, you were almost guaranteed to wet your pants on the wrong side of the street.

I know it seems odd from today’s perspective, but such was American suburban life in the 50’s. Oh those halcyon days!



Abbott and Costello return.

Now at reduced prices:  My Brain Has A Mind Of Its Own


          As I’m sure most of you know, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were a comedy act that had huge success on vaudeville, movies, and t.v. They are probably best known for their hysterical baseball skit, “Who’s on First?”

If by chance you have not been exposed to their comedy, you may want to watch a few you tube videos before reading the following.  It will help you visualize the following scene.

This is a lesser known skit, but that’s probably because both had been dead for many years by the time it was written. It also appears, for good or ill, that Emily Litella had some input.

Enjoy, if you can.





{As the scene opens, Bud and Lou are at a table playing cards.}

Lou: (plays a card) Hey Abbott!

Bud: What Lou?

Lou: I been thinkin’ about our president.

Bud: (plays a card) Trump.

Lou: We’re playin Gin Rummy here.  What do you mean trump? (plays another card)

Bud: What are you askin me for, you brought him up. (plays) Trump.

Lou: Trump again!  This is Gin.  You got your melds, you got your three of a kind, you got your runs.  There’s no trumps!

Bud:  You were talking about the President.  The President is Trump.

Lou:  The President is trump.

Bud:  Now you follow.

Lou: What is he, the jack of spades or something?

Bud:  No, no, I’m trying to tell you our President is Trump!

Lou:  What does he do? Lay himself down on the table and take all the tricks?

Bud:  Well, he’s been accused of that, but no, he’s our President, Donald Trump.

Lou: Donald Trump

Bud: Yes

Lou: The real estate guy, Donald Trump?

Bud: That’s the one.

Lou: The hotel  guy, Donald Trump?

Bud: You got it.

Lou: The “you’re fired” Donald Trump? That’s our President?

Bud:  The very same.

Lou: How in the world did that happen?

Bud: People voted for him.

Lou: People voted for Donald Trump to be president.  Did they all want to get on The Apprentice or something?

Bud: Well I don’t know but they voted for him.  Didn’t you vote?

Lou:  No, I don’t vote.

Bud:  Why don’t you vote.

Lou: I don’t want to play favorites.

Bud:  You don’t want to play favorites?  That’s what voting is, picking your favorite.

Lou:  My mother always taught me “Don’t play favorites!”

Bud: You learned that from your mother, did you?

Lou: Cuz if you pick one, the other one will think you don’t like him.

Bud:  Well, I suppose.

Lou: And if you pick the other one, you got the same problem in reverse.

Bud:  It’s quite a dilemma to your way of thinking.

Lou:  So I just stay away from the whole thing.

Bud: Well, I guess that’s a sensible solution for you then.

Lou:  I thought Obama was president.

Bud: He was, before Trump.

Lou:  Obama liked me.

Bud: You could tell that, could you?

Lou:  Oh yeah, Obama liked everybody.  He was an equal opportunity liker.  He even liked you.

Bud:  You don’t know how honored I am to hear it.

Lou: There’s one thing I didn’t get about Obama though.

Bud:  What’s that?

Lou:  Before, whenever we chose a president, he’d spent a lot of time being a governor, or a general, or been a  senator and congressman for many years.  You know what Obama’s main experience was before becoming President?

Bud:  I’ll let you tell me.

Lou:  He was a community organ grinder!

Bud:  Organ grinder?

Lou:  Yeah, a community organ grinder.  I mean, here he is , the guy who can decide to put a pipeline through Poughkeepsie.  This is the guy who can say whether we bomb Winnipeg or not.  And before he became President, his main skill was cranking on a box and making music come out.  Does this make sense to you?

Bud:  Lou, I think you didn’t. . ..

Lou: (interrupting) How was he supposed to fix the national debt?  Stand out on Pennsylvania Avenue cranking out endless versions of “Yellow Rose of Texas” and the “Blue Danube” while some monkey in a bellhop suit walked through the crowd with a tin cup?

Bud:  You got it wrong Lou.

Lou: (singing) “Nobody else could miss her, not half as much as me.”  How’s that supposed to help the country?

Bud: Lou, you . . ..

Lou: (singing) La da da da da.  Useful for running an ice skating rink maybe, but the whole country?

Bud:  Lou, you heard it wrong.

Lou: La da da . . . What do you mean heard it wrong?

Bud:  He was a community organizer, Lou. Not organ grinder, organizer.

Lou:  Organizer.

Bud: Right.

Lou: Not organ grinder, organizer,

Bud: Exactly.

Lou:  Being organized, that’s a good thing.

Bud:  Absolutely.

Lou: It probably helps to run the country if you’re organized.

Bud: I should think so.

Lou:  You can get a lot of things done a lot quicker if you can organize.

Bud:  Of course you can.

Lou:  Well, then,  . . . never mind.

Bud: (lays his cards down) Gin!

Lou: Gin?

Bud: Read ‘em and weep!

Lou: Wait a minute, not so fast.

Bud: Wait for what?

Lou:  I got a trump left.

{Abbot slaps off Costello’s hat as the curtain closes.}