I remember my father playing this song on the radio as he painted our upstairs bedrooms, which used to be the attic until he converted it–with his own hands.
Cindy, Oh Cindy–I was seven years old when this was popular and I was watching Daddy paint the walls. This version is by Vince Martin and the Tarriers. There are others.
I can’t hear it without thinking of my father–and missing him. He went to sea when he was little more than a boy, joined the Navy to fight in World War II. I’m sure this song made him recall those days.
If I could impart just one lesson to the relatively young, it would be this: There will come a time in your life when you’re losing more people than you gain; so with your family, with your friends, love ’em while you’ve got ’em. You come into the world as the youngest member of your family; and some of us live to see themselves the oldest member of their family.
Love with all your heart. It’s not like money, you don’t run out of it by spending it. God doesn’t let that happen. Love without stinting. You’ll never be sorry you did.
Of course, you had to have an attention span, and an imagination, to enjoy these. On each page was a short article to read, a line drawing to color with your crayons, and a full-color stamp to paste in.
I don’t know how old I was when my Grammie got me In Days of Old: The Story of the Middle Ages–ten, tops, no older than that–but I remember it as if I’d read it yesterday. The pictures and the text ignited my imagination, and to this day I’m still interested in the Middle Ages. Still learning.
I am so glad I didn’t have to settle for “Zombie Apocalypse” on some kind of electronic gizmo.
Don’t worry, I’m not going into the occult. But yesterday’s “Memory Lane” with the Magic 8-Ball reminded a couple of our readers of another popular fortune-telling device. I don’t remember what you call it, because I haven’t thought of it for ages, but I do remember it was a big fad in high school.
So here’s how it works.
And we need another video to show you how to get the thing folded in the first place.
The thing that made this fun was, you wrote the “fortunes” yourself. High school kids–of course we wrote them to be funny or (even better) embarrassing. “You are in love with (most despised teacher in the school).” “You steal your dog’s food and eat it yourself.” Stuff like that. Nothing to turn anybody into the next Aleister Crowley. If you made the fortunes too raunchy, no one would bother with you.
I was a lot better at this than I was at algrebra.
There are folks out there who’ll pay a self-advertised psychic an arm and a leg for advice they could just as easily get from the Magic 8-Ball or the origami fortune teller–and which would be just as helpful, but a lot cheaper.
Ask it a question, it’ll tell you no lies! That’s because it can’t, but never mind: it’s the Magic 8-Ball, invented in 1950 and still going strong.
My cousins and I had enormously good times with their Magic 8-Ball, asking embarrassing questions about each other and getting embarrassing answers. “Is Joanne in love with that creepy guy down the street?” “It is certain.” You get the idea.
I’m more than a little surprised that no one has trotted out the Magic 8-Ball to prognosticate this year’s political contests. Think of the money they’d save, just asking the 8-Ball. “Is Joe Biden all there?” “Please concentrate and ask again.” “Do those people on CNN ever tell the truth?” “Certainly not!”
In fact, it’d be instructive to compare the Magic 8-Ball to the various TV nooze analysts, scoring them for accuracy. I dare you to do it, MSNBC. Triple-dog dare you!
When I was ten or 11 years old, somewhere around there, my mother bought my brother and me these little fedoras to wear to Sunday school.
How I loathed that hat! Most men wore them, back then. Our family doctor had one, which I tossed into the toilet when he wasn’t looking. And now I had one. A fleeting glance at the mirror convinced me that I looked like a total yink.
How many times did I leave it in the cloakroom and emerge from Sunday school without it, claiming it had mysteriously disappeared? My father always made me go back in and get it. I left it in the kids’ cloakroom, in the adults’ cloakroom. Even left it in the church’s kitchen once.
After several dozen attempts to ditch the hat, it finally dawned on my parents that I just simply couldn’t stand it. I don’t remember exactly what they did with it; it only mattered that the stupid thing was out of my life. I mean, really! Mark and I were the only kids in the whole church who had those hats, and all the other kids snickered at us when they saw us.
And no, I wouldn’t wear one today, either. And at my age, you don’t have to.
It used to be a common sight in our town–the milk machine. Stores weren’t open at night, or on Sundays; but if you ran out of milk, there was always a milk machine a few blocks away.
Now there aren’t any.
A milk machine featured in one of the best days of my boyhood. The machine was a block from our middle school, and it rested on a wooden platform.
One day, passing by, we discovered that much of the platform had rotted through and broken off. Light bulb flashes over three kids’ heads! Digging into the soft earth that used to be covered by the platform, we unearthed a treasure trove of quarters. Wow! Instant wealth! I can’t remember how much money we dug up; but after who knows how many years of people dropping quarters and seeing them vanish into the cracks between the planks, I think it was the most money I had ever had in my life, so far. Kids didn’t go walking around with $20 bills, back then. If I had 20 cents in my pocket, I was doing okay.
I don’t remember how long it took me to spend those quarters; but I’m sure I had a good time doing it.
Music Box Dancer, by Canadian composer Frank Mills, came out in 1974, worked its way around the world, and was a major U.S. hit single in 1979.
What could be more harmless, more benign, than this simple piece of music?
To me it brings back a time when everybody in my family was still here, still healthy. Around 50 you start to lose ’em, so a word to the wise: love ’em while you’ve got ’em.
It also brings back a vignette from the warehouse where my wife worked at the time: this was the tune that was playing loudly on the intercom while a couple of the lads fought each other, rolling around on the floor–with the British foreman dancing around ineffectually, pleading with them, “Steady on, lads! Steady on!”
This was many years ago, when my folks still lived in town, everyone was still alive, and we had Thanksgiving dinner over their house.
When Patty and I arrived, the family was gathered in the cellar, and on our way downstairs–my mother hadn’t seen me in a week or two–I stopped in the sitting room and picked up two throw pillows. I stuffed one under my shirt and the other into the seat of my pants.
We marched down the stairs, and when my mother looked up and first laid eyes on me… she screamed. “OMG! Oh! Oh!” She was appalled, couldn’t get the words out. How could I have gotten so corpulent, so soon?
Everybody else laughed themselves silly, and my mother was vastly relieved when I removed the two pillows.
Meanwhile, as you read this, we’re probably sitting down for dinner with my brother and sister. Pray we get home all right!
Fun times, those were. How I miss them. We are profoundly thankful for the wonderful family that God gave us.
Sorry! But I couldn’t resist this blast from the past (lots of blasts, actually)–former National League first baseman Chuck Connors as The Rifleman, a classic TV Western from way back when. I wonder what would happen if you showed this on a college campus today.
Two questions for trivia buffs:
How many shots does the rifleman get off in just this brief intro?
And what was Chuck Connors’ real name?
(P.S.–His lifetime batting average was only .238, so quitting his day job wasn’t a problem for him.)