Today It’s raining hard on the east coast and at times especially in the summers of the 1950’s when it was a rainy day, I would go out on the front porch and just watch as the rain came down and I loved that aroma that rose from the streets from the summer heat!
So if it wasn’t too bad I would across the street to the monastery grounds and because the large driveway came down on a sloop, the rain would roll down into the street. And then I would go and make a dam out of twigs and things because a lot of the ground was dirt, all but the driveway and the area where the people parked their cars for Sunday mass at the Church.
And the rain didn’t bother me at all I would spend a hour or two there just me and the rain making dams and knnocking them down just to start over again. And this weather always makes me think of those days in the rain.
My friends also loved the rain in the summer and after it stopped raining, we would run out by the cars and wiped the cars off with our hands just to feel the cool water on a hot summer’s day and go up and down the block, a bunch of weirdos! But that’s what great memories are made of!
In the mid-50’s we would go over to the Monastery across the street from our homes, where we played stick ball, baseball, and 2 hand touch football. When we weren’t doing any ball playing sometimes we would climb the fence which the Church had put up to keep people out of that area, at times we would just lay on the green grass and stare at the clouds talking about what we wanted to be when we grew up.
There was a cemetary where the Priests were laid to rest over the fence but we never went to view them, we never wanted to because you never did that, and sometimes we would over the fence to just walk around it was large area and the grounds were always taken care of by the maintaince men.
But we really wern’t allowed there at any time so we had to watch out for the “Fast Runner” he worked mostly in the kitchen area and had a good view of the grounds, so every time we went over there one of us had to be the lookout for him! Whenever he spotted us he would come out running!
He never caught any of us but we ran as fast as we could to jump over the fence I think he could have got one of us if he really wanted, but we weren’t taking any chances that’s for sure!
The Church is still there but empty and the land was up for sale, and it’s sad because it was the biggest Church in the county at the time which many people attended at the time, In the back area of the Church grounds they built condos a numer of years ago.
They did rebuild the grounds where we played ball, it’s for the high schools in the area today for sports and they did a great job with it, but it will always be that place where we would play and try to out run the “Fast Runner”
Back in the mid-1950s the P.A.L. in my town would hold try outs for the little league teams and depending on your age, a kid could go to the stadium about 4 blocks away the same one we always went for the 4th of July events every year.
It’s funny now but when I think back of the names they used for the teams, like the “mosquitoes” the “bugs” and a few other names I don’t recall now any kid that got to try out lined up and had a turn at bat only, I remember getting real nervous as the line got shorter just like, waiting in line for your vaccination shots like I wrote about awhile ago
Anyway my turn came up and I got at the batters box, the kid on the mound wound up his pitch and down it few and a fast ball at that! I had just a second to decide to swing or not but I took my best shot and missed, so I said I’ll get the next one, and I missed that one also I’m like wow! I should have clipped that one at the most and the next swing was the same.
So I stuck out and that’s the only time you got on a team and if you didn’t get a hit at bat it was like, sorry kid maybe next time or next year. But it was fun to play at the try outs and in the stadium at that!
Here’s one for the books! I think it was the summer of 1957/58 when word got around that there were two New York Yankees showing up at the restaurant around the block from my house, I don’t remember who spread the word but it was a suprise to say the least!
We didn’t know who it could be we heard it might be a pitcher or a hitter but it didn’t matter anyway, I mean where does a kid see Yankkee players other then TV or at the ball park? and In a store just a block from you home!
Most of us kids were yankee fans that I can remember but a few of us liked the Brooklyn Dodgers, and a great team they were! With Roy Campanella, Sandy Koufax, Pee Wee Reese, and other greats. It seemed like the Yanks and Dodgers were always in the world series in the 1950’s.
But back to my story I got together with a few of my friends and we hurried to the store and we were like, it can’t be true why would the Yankees come to a store right in our neighborhood what’s the odds?
So we crossed the steert and walked into the store and sure enough there they stood with a bunch of people and other kids who were waiting for an autograph! I did get one Yankeet to sign my ball but I lost it sometime later over the years. It was Bill “Moose” Skowron! who played first base at the time. And I can’t recall the other yankee, I think it was Gil Mcdougald But I’m really not sure but his name seemed to click in my head when thinking back but it was when I was 10 or 11 years old.
We found out later it was the store owner who knew one or the other of the players and that’s how it came to be that 2 yanks made a visit in a corner store on a summer’s day in the 1950s. Let’s Go Yankees!
This is a true story that’s bitter-sweet for me from the 1950’s through the 1960’s It’s about a childhood friend who passed away in 1966 in an auto accident, he was only 19 when it happened but my story starts from the 1950s, he lived a couple of houses from me and he would hang out with us and in the summer and we played a lot of baseball across the street at the monerstary grounds.
Kevin was his name and he had red hair and freakles and he was the one kid on the block who seemed to have all the bats, baseballs, beause most of us had only one bat between us and I didn’t have a glove that was left handed, so I always had to use one of their gloves I was the only left handed kid of the boys.
So we would choose up sides and play baseball but if Kevin didn’t like being wrong on anything and then he would take all the balls and bats, and storm off and go home and the game was over! This was normal for us “here he goes again”! Then we would find a way to play a new game. There was a couple of summers we would play our “world series” game and his Grandfather who lived with him would be the coach, it was played like a real game 9 innings and 3 outs, like real baseball but not a full lineup!
I don’t remember who won the games but it was fun to just play in it and Kevin brought all his equipment with him! And we were like hope he doesn’t get mad and leave! But he ever did most likey because his Grandfather was there. Over the years we moved on and I only saw him at the dances we played at as a band in the 60’s, he was in high school then and would come with a few other kids, and I think a girlfriend, we would say a quick hello untill the next time.
Kevin had this great car that he fixed up a real cool looking car and the last time I saw him I was walking down to the poolroom that me and my friends used to hang out in the 1960s and it’s weird, but as I was walking across the street I noticed him waiting for the light to change he was the first car, I was about to say hello but the light changed and he took off and I just went my way, and in the morning my father said to me “Your friend was killed last night in an accident” I read the headline I coulnd’t believe it!
Every once in awhile I think back and remember Kevin and think how sad because he was a bright kid and who knows what he could have been if he lived we’ll never know. I wanted to share this with you because Kevin never got the chance to look back, so whatever decade your favorite memories are from as a kid, cherish them all.
I was thinking the other day of how aromas can bring you back to a certain time in the past like, the smell of the street after it rains on a hot summer’s day, or the aroma of the air on a crisp fall day and so on. And that got me thinking how music can bring you back to a memory from the past as well!
Besides Elvis, the Everly Brothers had a great sound and tight harmonies and great songs like, “Wake Up Little Susie”, “bird-dog” and more. Rock and Roll was in full swing and my favorite female singer at that time was Connie Francis with her hits” Who’s Sorry Now” Stupid Cupid” playing on the radio.
And that brought me back to the day I ran in at the tavern my Father worked part-time at just around the block from my house, to ask for a nickel or a dime to go the Mom’s next door and Connie was on TV singing “who’s Sorry Now” and I said to myself “she’s the best girl singer ever”! Then ran out the door for my treats .
To me the Everly Brothers were the Beatles of that time, and even they were influenced by them with the wonderful music of the 1950s! It’s funny when I was living in the times then, I didn’t know it was the fabulous 50’s! as It’s now referred to or look around saying wow how great is this!
But there was something about it and you could feel it, it’s only as the years pass you look back and say, Yes it really was a special time! and just imagine I was one of the lucky ones to be there when it was all happening!
There was a time where a kid could travel around without a worry this short story reminds me of how I did that from time to from Mom Bruno who owned the candy store around the block from my house.
Every once in while when I went to Mom’s for something, she would yell Hey Bobby! to get my attention before I hurried out the store. I came back to the counter and she would say” Do me a favor I need you to go the the store a few blocks away and pick up a few things and bring it right back and I’ll give you .25 cents you and can pick out what ever you want.
Wow! ok Not quite like hitting the lottery but it was exciting to me so Mom gives me a note with her list of what she needs and I head out to the store I go into the store then hand over the note and money to the owner, who gos in the back and fills the order in about 15 minutes or so, and in a large box there are cartons of cigarettes, boxes of display candies, and othe items, he then ties it up with twine rope so i can carry it the few blocks to Mom’s.
So here I am 10 or 11 years old and walking back to Mom’s without a worry about anyone stopping me or trying to take anything from the box, the items were aways out in the open for all to see as the man never had the top of the box sealed.
But I never once had anyone question me about it so I went right back to the store and mom would say thanks and then she would say ” Pick out what you want Bobby” but like I said once before a kid could get a bit with candy, being 2 for a penny, soda, about 5 to 7 cents, ice cream, about the same I did that a number of times for mom Just wanted to share this!
Back in the winters and summers of the1950’s my father worked part time around the corner tavern, and every once in a while he would wake me at 6:am and say, Do you want to come with me I have to open up and get the tavern ready for the day? I said ok so as we opened up he would say to me, take this flashlight and look under the wood plank on the floor behind the bar and any money you find you can keep I’m like wow a treasure hunt!
So I did just that and after about 30 minutes or so I added up my finds and at times it would add up to a couple of dollars, and a kid could buy a bit of candy then as most were 2 for a penny, and soda a dime or less, chips were about 5 cents, ice cream about 5 cents so you get the point I’m making here.
Yes what a treat it was to have 2 dollars at one time then you felt like you were rich! The money was gone in like no time because you would wind up buying things just so you can. And there were times I would go the 5 and dime store “Woolworth’s” just about 3 blocks from my house and once there I had a pick of things as the prices were low enough to buy a Duncan yo-yo, or a water pistol, a hi-bouncer ball, from Spalding and a number of other great little toys and gadgets and still have enough for candy!
This was fun to do in the 1960s, it was a new dance craze that caught on like fire! I remember it well I never did learn how to do it but a few friends I knew could work it.
It was a great time fot dance crazes There was the Pony dance and others I will post later on when I come back as this is a test entry again to try out this new editor.
This is me when I was a kid at 10 years old not, really but it is very close I had redish hair with freckles and on summer days I wore polo shirts like this and had a blast as a kid. You can view more about my photo on the button link below.
I don’t have any other photos of me as a kid only one I have posted with my cousin, and a friend and me on the porch in 1957..
My sister took the photo after coming back from the candy store around the block from my house, I’m the one eating the Italian Ice on top left :