Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My 1957 survival kit

It sure was the best of times.

Ahhh!! The bittersweet passage of time.
Recently my sister notified me that the house I grew up in had been sold. It had been the family home for over 50 years. She said she had found some interesting stuff in the attic, basement, and storage shed. She had also found a trunk in what used to be my bedroom.
I had forgotten about the junk trunk. My mother had saved some mementos of my youth and I had thrown some stuff in there myself.
Could my long lost baseball card collection from my youth be in that chest? I will tell my sister to send it to me, all of it.
I waited with great anticipation for the arrival of the goodies.
My New York Yankees cards, My Mickey Mantle baseball cards were probably on their way back to me. Dollar signs danced in my head. Mickey Mantle rookie cards. It would be a financial bonanza. Our family "Ponderosa" had been sold.

The package had finally arrived and it did have plenty of stuff from the 50's. My Mickey Mantle road to riches bonanza was not in the package.
I had some baseball cards. I had Ray Jablonski, Rip Repulski, Ted Kluszuski, Moe Drabowski, and Bill Mazerowski. Nobody named Yogi, Mickey, Casey, Babe, or Honus. No "Stosh" either.
Apparently I was putting together a polish baseball team.
I am a record keeper so I got out my pen and paper and itemized my find.

I had some newspapers. The Albany Times-Union. Hmmm! What happen in 1957 in Albany and the World.
  • Francois "Poppa Doc" Duvalier became dictator of Haiti. That name seems to ring a bell. He sees no reason why Haiti can not be a vibrant and lively country.
  • Hamilton watch company introduces the first electric watch. The watch cost only $29, but the cord cost $142 and it was unruly.
  • A kid named Elvis Presley appeared on the "Ed Sullivan Show". A really big shoo that night. The kid is a flash in the pan. He won't last critics are reporting. Religious groups are calling him a messenger of the devil.
  • Wham-O toy company came out with a plastic disc called a "Frisbee" named after the aluminum pie plate from the Frisbee Pie Company of Bridgeport, Ct.
  • The Brooklyn Dodgers are moving west next year. Baseball starts playing musical chairs. Giant's are moving to San Fransisco. Yankees stay in New York.
  • July 6, 1957* Paul McCartney and John Lennon meet for the first time.
  • Leave it to Beaver premieres on TV. These stories are about a sulky youth named Beaver Cleaver, making the Nelson family seem like saints. Beaver was always in trouble of some sort. Ricky Nelson, on the other hand, always had a gig and appeared be the bread winner in the family. His father, Ozzie, seemed to be unemployed. He just would walk into the closet and stay there awhile. He would wander into the kitchen and ask Harriet a stupid question, laugh at his own folly then head next door to see "Thorny". It seems to me like he should be filling out applications or making some phone calls. Find a job, Oz!!!
  • Vanna White is born in North Myrtle Beach, SC. Her parents go to store and buy her a vowel.
  • I look at the comic strips. We have Dick Tracy. I tried to read that comic strip but it was just too crazy. A two way wrist radio? Come on, get real, not going to happen. A fantasy world. I must enjoy comics that are much more realistic, so I read "Henry", which is about a bald-headed kid. His head is large compared to his body. Bigger Brain? Nope!!! I also read Nancy and Sluggo, Little Lulu, Buzz Sawyer and Ozark Ike. Ozark Ike was about a slow witted but talented athlete. I could relate to him.
  • On TV during this era was programs like Dragnet, where Jack Webb could showcase his acting ability. I never knew that "just the facts, ma'am" could be said so many different ways.
  • Steve Allen does his last "Tonight Show". He is replaced by Jack Lescoulie. Jack Lescoulie!!!!...????..really? Wow!!! Roy Rogers goes off the air after he accidentally runs over his dog, Bullet. The dog recovers, the program doesn't.
  • Gas cost 24 cents a gallon, eggs are 28 cents a dozen.
Moving on, I go to the sports page and I see that our local catholic schools had a baseball game.
Final Score: Our Lady of Perpetual Persnicketiness: 2, Our Mother of Perpetual Motion: 0.
Rumors abound. Monsignor O'Malley got in a fist fight with the umpire. His star pitcher, Mary Margaret McManus was a girl. A rather boyish girl who threw a Brylcream ball which is very much like a spit ball or a wildroot cream oil ball. Illegal.
I notice my secret stash of Annette Funicello pictures. She is in a provocative poses. She is wearing funny ears and is developing. She is a babe.

Hmmm! I have found my high school notebook. It has the initials MM written everywhere. Melita Mongooze, my big crush from 3rd grade to 10th grade. I always tried to get a desk very close to her, but not in front of her. I always wanted a good view of Melita. I just figured early on that if I was in close proximity to her that she would eventually notice me and then turn to me and ask, "Would you like to have sex with me?" I thought this could happen until 10th grade. Then one day a Senior walked up to her and queried, "Would you like to have sex with me?" and off she went as my world disintegrated like a sandcastle at high tide. 7 or 8 years of planning down the drain. Since that day I have never had long range goals. It just doesn't pay.

Hey, There is my report card. Hmmm! I had better burn this before my wife gets her hand on it. I did get an "A" in Physical Education, I might add.

What is that? Oh....Ok...I have sketched out some plans for building a fallout shelter. Yes, that was a brilliant idea. After the bomb falls you sit in your shelter for 6 months. Then you run out of food and water. Then you go outside, your head swells up, your hair falls out, you end up looking like a comic book character that I seem to remember, then you mutate and die.

Yes, It was the best of times. no worries. I have this little story in my head. Everything was just wonderful.

I wonder what ever happened to Melita Mongooze? It's all coming back to me now. I think she ruined my life. I wonder if it is too late to ruin hers? I haven't been right since 10th grade. That's a long time.
My head now feels like Henry's head.
I can't look at this stuff any more. very painful. (sniff!...sniff)
Burn it.


  1. You certainly brought back a lot of memories with that post. I remember all that stuff. Well, except for Melita Mongooze.

  2. I remember all that stuff. The main event in our life was the birth of our second daughter in October - two days after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik.

  3. I don't remember that stuff, but I did drive by my childhood home about 6 weeks ago. I suddenly remembered all sorts of things I'd forgotten. And sorry about Melita. It sounds like she wasn't worth it anyway. :-)