Happy Days Memories

While at our family reunion, my sis and cousin, who lived a block away, were reminiscing about our childhoods. Thinking back, we had it really good, growing up in an atmosphere much like Happy Days.

No, we didn't grown up in the Midwest--we lived in Los Angeles. Our neighborhood was interesting--the houses were small, mostly two bedroom and one bath, but none looked alike. Behind our house was a big hill. Stairs led to the top, 121 to be exact. Yes, we counted them. No houses were up there, it was just hills and a water reservoir. Now, in that same location is the Glendale Freeway. But when we were kids it was a good place to go hiking--though we weren't supposed to go alone because hobos camped up there.

When the weeds dried out, we'd slide down the hills on cardboard. Once in awhile, there'd be a fire--and the fire engines parked in the big circle in front of our house.

When my cousin and I turned ten, our mothers let us go downtown by ourselves on the streetcar to shop as long as we stayed on one block, starting with the Broadway Department Store. For one dollar we could buy a back full of goodies at Woolworth's Five and Dime.

We walked to grammar school with our friends. The school looked like Mt.Vernon. In later years it was damaged in an earthquake. I grew up during World War II. Our school had a Victory Garden--really big one. Every class took it's turn in the Victory Garden and we all got to take home some of the bounty.

We had all sorts of celebrations including a May Pole the first day of May. We made May baskets, filled them with flowers and left them on the neighbors' porches. Halloween, we had costume parades at school and a festival in the evening.

We rode our bikes everywhere, skated on the sidewalks, took piano lessons from Mrs. Klofenstein. Played hide 'n seek in the dark while our parents were at the weekly Block Warden meetings learning First Aid and other important things in case the war came to our shores.

We put on plays with the neighborhood kids as the actors, decorated our bicycles and wagons for the Fourth of July and held our own parades, went to the movies every Friday night--double feature, plus cartoon, previews and newsreels.

In Junior High, a much farther walk, we learned how to dance in P.E. so we actually could dance by the time we got to high school. We rode the bus, the streetcar and walked six blocks. In the fall the girls wore sweaters and skirts to school no matter how warm it was, and in spring cotton skirts and blouses, no matter how cool. Many of us made our own clothes. We always wore bobby socks with white Joyce's. Girls never wore pants to school--though we certainly did on the weekends. Boys wore Levis and white shirts, many wore their hair slicked back in ducktails.

I belonged to Job's Daughters. Looking back, it was also kind of a finishing school. We learned how to properly set a table and which utensil to use for what. Attended formal dances with the Jobbies. Went to slumber parties, belonged to clubs, had sock hops at lunch time.

After church every Sunday, we had a big dinner. Then we either went to visit grandparents in South Pasadena, or to my aunt and uncle and three boys in Highland Park. Sometimes my aunt and uncle who lived down the street went there too. We often had homemade ice cream.

Our church had an active youth group and we had lots of parties, some at my house. I went to church camp in the mountains and made lots of new friends.

We could more or less go anywhere we wanted as long as we were home at 5 p.m. to have dinner with the family.

Our high school graduation was held outdoors at the Occidental College amphitheater.
All the girls wore white formals, the boys nice suits.

Yes, looking back, our childhood was like Happy Days.



M.M. Gornell said…
I have a cousin who remembers much of our younger days. I have a hard time remembering. Wish I could because I think they were fun days! (I do remember some unpleasant incidents) Funny how the mind works...

Interesting Post.

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