Category Archives: Childhood Memories

Two Hours of My Life…Gone

I bet one of them is out of order.

There’s another thing about our New York rental I’ve failed to mention. There’s no washer/dryer. Because of this reality, every 10 days I trek a block and a half to the local laundromat.

Laundromat. A name that harkens back to the space age where everything you could want is yours at the push of a button.

As a kid, our family had an old white porcelin tub washer with rollers on top that you fed soaked clothes. The rollers squashed the clothes thinner than a vanilla wafer. (Watch your fingers!) I don’t remember if we had a dryer. One of my childhood memories is hanging clothes on the line in the warmer months. If the temperature dropped over night, the clothes were stiff as a board. I bent the clothes like cardboard.

Before my parents took the step of buying a modern washer and dryer, we piled into the  1982 Toyota Tercel and drove 15 minutes down Route 6 to the nearest laundromat. In the winter it was pleasantly warm and smelled of soap. I recall dust lint, ripped magazines, hard plastic bucket chairs affixed to the floor and metal carts. My job was to place the wet clothes from the washer into the cart, drive the cart to an available dryer and plop the coins into the slot. How adult.

Good times. Good times.

My next experience with laundromats was post college. Living in Everett, MA, I walked my laundry a couple of blocks away. I don’t have many memories of those days. I can recall stuffing my clean, dried underwear into the laundry bag immediately because it seemed the middle-aged men were eyeing those particular garment pieces. Yea…gross.

Dozens of years later, here I am…full circle.  This time I’m doing laundry for three. Hains briefs, black bras and pink onsies make up the pile.

The local laundromat is a small one. Nothing special. Mostly old folks and young couples come in. There’s nothing romantic about the place. In fact my tolerance for it grows thinner with every passing visit.

Yesterday was laundry day and one woman was using SEVEN dryers, leaving only two left. How thoughtful. During the course of the visit, dryer hog woman took her laundry and departed. Soon after a retiree came in. She claimed the title of dryer hog and claimed five dryers, placing just a handful of clothes in each dryer. Retiree/dryer hog complained about acid rain and how the Chamber of Commerce takes foreign donations. By that time, my clothes were done and I made my escape.

Yea, doing laundry isn’t like it used to be. There aren’t even metal carts.

That’s just wrong.

Flashback

My favorite cartoon in 5th grade was Star Blazers. I watched it every weekday afternoon on Channel 56. It never seemed strange to me that the rough and tumble non-Asian crew (do you remember the sea-salty, caucasian captain?) traveled through space in a JAPANESE battleship. Enjoy the theme song:

USA #1

Last week I ran into a cousin who I haven’t seen in a few years. He’s a lovely man with a heart of gold who works as a DJ at a strip club. I may not agree with his place of employment but I’ll never forget what he did in the early ’90’s.

Cousin was in the National Guard who served in the first Gulf War. After his return from the Middle East, my cousin was full of patriotic vigor. Around this time, my Cousin, Augusta Bro and a friend decided to drive to Montreal for the weekend (a very do-able 6 hour drive from southeastern Massachusetts). My cousin helpfully volunteered to drive. I remember he drove up my parent’s driveway to pick up Augusta Bro. I don’t remember the car exactly…some Detroit boat of a car. But I do remember that my cousin had written in white house paint on the hood and sides of the car,

“USA #1!”

I laughed my a$$ off picturing the looks on the Quebecois as this example of exuberant American patriotism passed by.

More Than Meets the Eye

schroederI always liked the Peanuts comic strip and Hubby loves them, too. And who DOESN’T adore the Charlie Brown Christmas Special?!? Now it looks like Peanut’s creator, Charles Schulz, added a hidden depth to the strip. It seems Schroeder’s Beethoven obsession crafted the rhythm of the story telling.

When Schroeder pounded on his piano, his eyes clenched in a trance, the notes floating above his head were no random ink spots dropped into the key of G. Schulz carefully chose each snatch of music he drew and transcribed the notes from the score. More than an illustration, the music was a soundtrack to the strip, introducing the characters’ state of emotion, prompting one of them to ask a question or punctuating an interaction.

The whole thing is explained at the “Schulz’s Beethoven: Schroeder’s Muse,” an exhibition at the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center. Read the whole article at the NYT site.

Finally, there’s a reason to visit California.

H/T: The Deacon’s Bench

O Christmas Tree!

Fond Holiday Tradition

Fond Holiday Tradition

Last night Hubby and I decorated our Tannenbaum using the loot we bought from the Christmas Tree Shop. It’s one of those old fangled real trees that we picked up in Lunenburg. Growing up, my family never used real Christmas trees.

I remember Mother dragging the beat up rectangular cardboard box from the attic and, with a reverence reserved for solemn occasions, she would place the metal tree spine into the base. It was our job (my bros and me) to separate the plastic branches into the “A”, “B”, and “C” groups. Next, we placed the “A” branches into the “A” slots, “B” into the “B” slots, etc. on the metal tree spine. Then the real fun part was adding the lights and decorations. At this point, Mother broke out the box of wine and let us kids go crazy. The nativity scene was placed at the base and I used to play with the figures just like a doll’s house. Mostly I had the donkeys and sheep saunter around the manger, braying and baa’ing at the Baby Jesus.

Some years passed before Mother thought of a brilliant idea. We took down the tree just after New Year’s Day and, instead of dismembering the tree, she covered it with a plastic garbage bag (keeping the decorations intact) and my bros dragged it up to the attic. Mother was always thinking ahead.

colorwheelWe grew up in my Grandmother’s house and she had her own tree. I swear it was one of those silver tinsel trees with it’s own color wheel. Even in the mid-1970s, it seemed very retro.  I have no idea what happened to it.

The real tree standing in the corner of our living room is a balsam and, so far, the cats have been ignoring it. Last night, Hubby and I drank Madeira in the glow of the Christmas tree while listening to the ice storm outside. Now, THAT’S a fond holiday memory.
Our Lunenburg Tree

It glows!

Hot enough for ya?

Boston in July

Boston in July

I hate the heat and it all started for me in 1980. My parents are country music freaks and used to take my brothers and I to Nashville, Tennessee seemingly every other year…in July. In that seventh month of 1980 we were visiting Opryland USA (then it was an amusement park and now it is a mega mall in Nashville). I remember running around in the heat, having a swell time but looking forward to the air conditioning awaiting us at the Days Inn.

Instead of climate controlled motel room, we went to the Grand Ole Opry, which was actually (then) a new building on the grounds of Opryland USA, and sat in the balcony for 2 1/2 hours watching a country music radio show. Who gives A CRAP about Minnie Pearl, Roy Acuff and sponsor, Little Debbie Snack Cakes, when you are a chubby 10 year old, who can’t keep her sleepy eyes open and has a red, irritating rash between her chubby thighs because she had been running around all day like a crazed weasel.

I don’t ever remember hating the heat before that radio show but since then, we have been nothing but enemies. Today and tomorrow are supposed to be scorchers and as I walk along the heated concrete Boston sidewalks, I’ll remember that chubby 10 year old girl and scream like a crazed weasel.

And to this day, I refuse to eat Little Debbie Snack Cakes.