A Glorious Summer of 1963

Summer Days

I must say it was wonderful to be back in my old stomping grounds.  A Long summer and days of freedom were ahead of me. The world was my oyster!

A typical summer day was as follows.  Wake up and watch Captain Kangaroo at 7 AM on the television.  Then fool around with some toys.  Then have breakfast with mom and dad.  Do a few chores for the parents, followed by  a half hour of piano practice.  I would then ask mom or dad if I was free to go out.  After hearing an affirmative, I then I would head over to Greg and Carlos who lived not even a mile away. I would walk up Beaumont drive and cut through a yard that touched the back of Greg’s yard.  Greg and Carlos lived next door to each other, separated by one empty lot on Jono road. On the other side of Greg’s house was were we used to live before the move to Lakeview.  Greg and Carlos were, and still are my best friends in the world.

Gregs House

Greg’s House

So I would make my way through Greg’s back yard and to his back door.  Most of the times Greg was in the middle of his morning chores. Perhaps I would find him feeding their dog Jet as I approached him on the back patio.   Greg had more chores to do then Carlos or myself. So after Greg told me that he would be busy for while, I would cut though the vacant lot and  head over to Carlos’s house next door.

Carlos house

Carlos House

Most of the time at this time of the morning, I would find Carlos in the living room sitting on his fold up TV tray/chair, eating Alphabets and watching TV. Many times I would join him in a bowl of Alphabets and a slice of toast and watch the tube with him.   Alphabets were a forbidden cereal in my family as both my parents worked at Kellogg’s.  So the temptation was irresistible.  A couple of early morning TV kids shows come to mind.  Tarzan.  The Three Stooges.  Then we may go down to the basement and play some pool. Or play with the fantastic train set that Carlos’s father had built. Complete with a little town with roads and train crossings. Even mountains and tunnels!  Then it was time to go out and find the adventure of the day.  Besides, Carlos’s mom wanted us out so she could clean the house.  So out she would come from the kitchen screaming in her high pitched voice that told us that she wanted us out from under foot “Carly” her nick name for Carlos. “Carol! Out out. Both of you out!  Look at this place.” So out we went into the summer day.  By this time Greg was done with his chores and we had spotted him in his back yard. Off Carlos and I went to see Greg.

The Big Woods

                                                           The Big Woods


What remains of Steve’s grocery and the Mapes Gulf filling station.

county park BC

                                                   County Park in Wattles Park

There were many adventures way back then. Perhaps it was building a tree fort in the big woods east of us. Or heading down to the county park on our bikes to fish and swim. Or maybe riding up to Steve’s grocery for candy and a soda.

And then heading back home in the late afternoon for a cold cut picnic under the umbrella table served with ice tea!  Then heading inside for some quality television. Then off to bed.  The summer was indeed long and sweet!