Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Top 10 Things I miss from my Childhood

I've been reading a lot of lists today, so I've decided to make my own. This is a random list of things I miss from my childhood... spurned on by the fact that I'm broiling food for the first time in over 10 years!

They are counting down, but not in any order. (None of the pictures are from my childhood though)

10. Wall Oven. My parents' double wall oven with the broiler on the bottom. I used to make the best tuna melts in that thing!

9. The Front Stoop. Playing on the stoop. I had a few neighborhood friends (two next door and one across the street), and we used to play in front of our houses (despite me having a giant back yard and a pool and a basketball hoop). We'd bring out indoor toys (action figures, comic books, etc) and just play on my stoop. Now by stoop I mean two steps. Occasionally we'd play ball games and running games, and we had a strict limit placed by our parents (or at least my mom). We could go down to the corner (about 100 feet away) and up to just past the factory (50 feet).  Mrs. Broken was the house on the "corner" (not really a corner at all because the cross street didn't go through 67th but started on 68th (my block)), and her dog Penny! BTW, there was never adult supervision unless Mrs. Broken was gardening in her front yard!

8. The Penny Club. My grandma used to have a jar of pennies. HUNDREDS of pennies, so on rainy days she'd pull it down and we'd go into the hallway and build pictures. Giant, complex pictures. Art of pennies. My cousins and I now call ourselves the penny club!

7. "Sick Days" My mom was an awesome mom (still is). When we were younger, she would allow us to play hookie from school one day a marking period! We would have to let her know the night before and it just couldn't be on her day off AND it couldn't be a "test" day. These sick days were just great rest days.

6. Christmas. Now I know that Christmas is still around, but it doesn't have that magic like it used to. When I was 5, it took 1/5 of my life to get to the next Christmas. Now it's only 1/26 of my life. That's significantly smaller! So the magic of Christmas time (although it still brings me great joy) is lost because it seems to happen more frequently.

5. Weekend Trips. My mom used to take my brother and I on weekend trips! They were educational (Like Williamsburg) and random (like Caves in North Carolina) and fun (Day trips to the beach). Of course I still take weekend trips, but nothing will beat the red "Taurus" with Joey in the front (because he could read the road signs - he does have 4 years on me) and me laying in the back with my Highlights Magazines.

4. Movie Nights. My dad worked late hours often, but about once a month, I was allowed to stay up late and wait for him to close the restaurant. He'd call before he'd leave and ask what snacks I wanted (always a Cherry Coke). Then he'd come home and we'd watch a movie of my choice. (I seem to remember many showings of Mary Poppins).  Dad and I revisited these in High School on snow days (when we'd watch Sopranos all day).

3. Night Swimming. Again, my dad worked late, but in the summer, I could stay up much later. And when dad would come home, Joey and I would be in our bathing suits hoping Dad would want to go swimming. He'd pull our legs and pretend he was too tired, and we'd get disappointed, but then he'd run down the hall in his trunks and jump into the pool, with us trailing behind him!

2. Bergenline Avenue. When I was younger B-line was (and still is) a few miles long shopping district with discount stores. Mom, Joey and I (in a stroller) would start at 68th street (our block) and just walk down; generally to the 30th street bus depot (when the district would dissipate). If Joey and I were well behaved, on the way back Mom would let us buy one thing. We'd walk into the discount store and pick out a toy (usually under a dollar!) and be happy for weeks with these toys. (God I had hundreds of toy "collections" from these stores. I had so much fun with them!) (P.S. That is actually a pic of B-line, after the modernization with black street signs and that cool clock)

1. Gift Budget. On those weekend trips with Mom, we were always on a tight budget (this was before cell phones and atms) so mom had X amount of money and that was it. But no matter how tight the budget was, she had a rule (again as long as we behaved) that we had a gift budget of $5 a place! (She even used to say, she'd pay for the tax, so we could get up to $5). So at every place we visited (even if there were multiple places in a day, when we got to the gift shop we had $5 to spend! I remember I'd always buy post cards and maps and then any money I had left went to a toy or guide book (yeah I was a looser). Sometimes our budget would be extended, or we could carry over the $5 to another gift shop, but we were in charge of keeping track of how much was left in our budget.

So those are things that I miss from childhood.

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