Thirty Years and More
For years, I couldn't even play the album, because it was inextricably linked to the ex-husband. Moving on. Anyway, I've spent a couple of hours thinking of things I miss about childhood and realized that a pattern emerged in those things I missed. Without further ado, my list:
1. Heading down to Newbridge Park pool with my mom after dinner, enjoying the warm breezes off the Great South Bay (but not those pesky green flies), as the sun set. Loved that the pool was open until 10 pm-many of those nights, we were the last ones out.
2. Going to the beach with my dad many Sunday mornings. I didn't like having to get up before the sun rose, but it was worth it to get the prime parking spot in the first row at Field 6, the primo beach spot right at the surf line to the right of the lifeguard stand. I'd put a towel over me and sleep until American Top 40 started playing, Dad and I would split the sections of Newsday and read whatever books we'd brought and take breaks wave hopping with my sister, Giggles.
3. Exploring the woods with my friends Donald and his younger brother, Patrick until the bulldozed it to build a dozen high ranch houses.
4. Riding my bike everywhere, and I mean everywhere.
5. Thinking that five bucks was a lot of money. Babysitting, earning ten bucks and having it last a couple of weeks.
6. Leaving school for lunch, getting an egg roll and a can of soda, giving them a buck and getting a dime back.
7. Pen pals. I had a bunch of them, and it was fun to get mail.
8. Summer vacation lasted forever.
9. Nancy Drew mysteries, hell, any books. I would hole up in my room for hours and read.
10. Monday night dinners. My mom was an awesome cook, that was her day off, and we'd have the best home cooked meals every Monday night.
11. Spending time with my second family, usually we went to mass together on Sundays and Giggles and I would spend time over there during the week.
12. Walking the split rail fence in front of the house from end to end. It was like a tight rope act, but the fence was pulled down when I was in sixth grade.
13. My dog, Sheba. He was a Sheepdog mix and was awesome. I miss having a dog.
14. Choir in high school. It was my safe haven, and taught discipline in practicing over and over.
15. Being dad's navigator on road trips, planning the two 'southern exposure' vacations and going to two World's Fairs. I always wanted to take my kids someday, but I think the '84 New Orleans Expo was the last one in the US. What was amazing is that my dad had fantastic itineraries scouted out without the benefit of the Internet. Too bad some of the places can be described, but not named-I'd love to go back.
16. Going strawberry picking in the summer. That was the sign that summer had arrived. Now, they mean it really is winter and the strawberries are better here, but I loved trips to Lewin Farms every year.
17. Selling Girl Scout cookies and Choir citrus fruit. I looked forward to going door to door and selling. It was probably the foundation for all those years in sales.
18. Meeting Joe and working at his low-wattage radio station. I loved learning radio production, ended up working in the field for a while, and spent many hours at Joe's enjoying creating a show to be rebroadcast later.
19. The many nights hanging out with Joe and Lisa. My word, we'd laugh ourselves silly for hours. If we had money, off to Friendly's we'd go and eat Jim Dandys and not gain weight from them. (oh, to have that kind of metabolism now!)
20. Ice skating at Newbridge and Freeport Rec. Dad even got Giggles and I skating lessons for Christmas one year, she ended up going a lot longer than I did, but many weekends were spent doing back to back sessions at either rink.
21. Horseback riding. To prepare for one of the summer vacations which involved trail rides, Dad, Giggles, and I took English riding lessons for almost a year. I loved it. Haven't been on a horse in years, but I will eventually get back in the saddle.
22. Holidays at my mom's. Thanksgiving was always celebrated the Monday after, same with Easter, but Christmas was a HUGE celebration and everyone was welcome. What this meant is that my best friend, who was Jewish, was at our house for years celebrating with us. I learned from mom to ask what others are doing for a holiday and if they're alone, invite them to join you.
23. Awesome radio. Central Florida is radio purgatory. New York is the number one radio market, and it spoiled me. As a kid, it was WABC-770am, WNBC-660am, then as I got a little older, WLIR 92.7, WBAB 103.5, and WNEW 102.7. I loved the music and that the contests were just local-I won more than the average person's share of prizes, thanks to persistence, even with a rotary dial phone!
24. My hometown. I was back there in September, and it's become Queens East. There were tons of mom and pop stores, we could ride our bikes downtown and find just about anything without going to the mall. Now, my favorite deli is a Starbucks, the bakery is closed, the family run grocery store is part of a major chain and the card shop is gone.
25. The trips into Manhattan with my dad for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, the Broadway shows, King Tut, the museums, the Empire State Building, Intrepid, Statue of Liberty, Circle Line, the Nutcracker and all it entailed. Getting dressed up, taking the train, riding in taxis, having a nice meal and enjoying all the cultural experiences one can have living in the shadow of a major city. (And heading into the city myself when I was in high school to go pick up a script at Dramatist's was pretty cool for a 15 year old.)
What about you? What do you miss about your younger days?