Wednesday, September 23, 2015

16th Avenue

My hometown was a town of rectangles, lived in by squares.  Row upon row of Cape Cods, bought by working stiffs and occupied by their chain smoking wives with bee attracting hair do’s.  Kids pretty much raised themselves; just feed em and get em off to school.  Make sure they’re home by six or you’re gonna have to beat em.

You just wait till your father gets home!

We drank Tang n Tab, and Cool-Aid; with its mountain of sugar at the bottom of the pitcher.  We ate Sloppy Joes, and TV dinners; portioned in aluminum tins and eaten on folding trays.  But mostly we ate at the dinner table as a family.  Only assholes called at dinner time.  Family waited till 8 to call and mom was on the phone for at least an hour.

When there was something good on our one, and only, boob box’s eight channels, we poured Jiffy-Pop popcorn out of its swollen, disposable, aluminum pan into a big yellow or orange bowl and drizzled melted Margarine over it.

If your parents were assholes, you could emulate the black n white heroes and stable families you saw on the box.  Back then, you knew what a good guy was and how you were supposed to act.

Everyone was over at someone else’s house at least once and saw the indigenous kid catch a beating.  Belts were part of the culture.  Thanks for the PB and J Ms. …  wack wack wack, dang - got go to go, bye!

Cars rusted quickly and took forever to warm up in the winter, yet for some reason we loved them.  And you didn’t know you were poor, ~cause everyone lived in the same house and drove a similar shit-box.

You knew mom or gramma was cooking something good if Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines were in the kitchen with her.  There was always a little spice tube of Accent on the counter if what she made needed a kick, and a can of LaChoy in the fridge if it didn’t help.

You’re not getting up from this table till you finish everything on your plate.

Shopping bags were made of paper, soda bottles were made of glass and returned to be re-used.  Stuff your mom or gramma needed was bought at Ben Franklin and Jewel had buckets of chitlins and pig face in the meat fridge.  Mmm Mm.

On the really great, hot summer days, you’d ride with friends and family to Cock Robin for ice cream or Golda’s for dogs.

Lindop was your home away from home for nine years.  Teachers could still pull you out of class by your ear and screw ups stayed after class writing Nature Bulletins in detention.  So many Kildeers so little time.

On Valentine’s Day we handed out valentines.  So many babes, so little nerve.

On Halloween, kids trick or treated from 3 to 9.  When you got home at 10, your dad would pour your brown grocery bag full of candy out on the living room floor to look for razor blades, poison, and the best chocolate, which he consumed for your safety.

Pong, then Asteroids, then Pacman, Defender and Donkey Kong were cool, but mostly kids played outside… with each other.

Phil Collins, Journey, Pat Benetar, Chaka Kahn, Peaches and Herb, Cool and the Gang and Kenny Rogers played on your boom box and you tried to capture them on your mix tape.  Star Wars ruled the movies and Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica ruled television, next to Son of Svengoolie of course.

Fist fights happened; some of the girls were scarier than the guys.

I’m fond of all of em, seeing my old friends and enemies after 32 years has left me with a nostalgic and broad view of my home town.

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