One special memory is very vivid when I was a youngster. Coming from the lower east side of Manhattan, we weren’t anywhere close to any beach or swimming pools. We were too young to travel to the beach by ourselves. So, on really hot evenings, the older men in the neighborhood would turn on the fire hydrants and sometimes put a hollowed out garbage can over it, so the water would spray up. And we would all take turns running under the rushing water. Many times, we slipped and hurt ourselves, but it was all worth it JUST to get wet on a hot sticky summer night in New York.
A major snow storm in 1960 shut the schools and gave us enough snow and time to build a series of igloo-like structures with connecting tunnels all along our Brooklyn street. We were a bunch of happy and wet,young “Eskimos.” It also gave us the best opportunities to go down the ever-terrifying COMMANDO HILL on our shiny sleds, in cardboard boxes and on our tushies.
I was so dumb on one major snow storm that I didn’t listen to the radio and it was always better to be at school than to be home. I never didn’t go to school, maybe I didn’t go to my classes but school was where my friends were. So any way I was in eighth or ninth grade and it snowed a lot and I didn’t listen to the radio and my mom was asleep and her husband probably didn’t even notice if it was snowing raining or eighty degrees outside he was so involved in his paintings in those early morning quiet hours of the day that he may not have even noticed if I was in the house or out the door. So my school was a subway ride away and then a walk through a few blocks. Somehow that day I was wearing a long skirt and socks and sneakers and I was soaked and I got to the building only to realize that it was empty and I was the only one around.
How about going to bed at night when there were a few snow flurries coming down. The only time you ever really prayed hard was that in the morning the Radio would announce the following schools will be closed today.. What a Blast those days were. Only times kids listened to the NEWS.. We used to build igloos and lite candles inside, and maybe a cig that someone stole from there parents.. Hitching on the back of busses. Piling up snow in the middle of the street so no cars could get through.. Winter Had its great times also. Any other stories??
Rain Races/Trolley Car Races – Cincinnati, Ohio/ Northern Kentucky area Just prior to a rain storm we would collect ice cream sticks, decorate them with a ball point pen or india ink to make them distinctive. A nickel would buy a Popscile and you could race your friend. I scrounged my mother’s friend’s bar for nickels, sometimes washing all the glasses if necessary just to get the cash to keep up my habit of a popscile a day. We would stash our cache of popscile sticks until that rainy day. When there was sufficient rain and it would be flowing down 12th Street’s trolley tracks (they were concave tracks) we would place our racers into the left or right track and let them go down the track the first racer to get to 13th street “won” and would take the other track and the person who had the most “wins” that day was declared “King Neptune Of 12th Street”. Hey give us a break, we only raced until we were about 10-11 and then we went to “work” collecting old newspapers, scrap metal, bottles or whatever to buy 10 cent balls to play “Strike Out” with. Racers were sometimes decorated and “shaped” by rubbing the ice cream stick on the pavement which usually had a sandpaper effect. The better races had flat tails to catch as much surface area as possible so the water would push them down the trolley track faster and the faster racers had very pointy noses to cut through the water better. Usually there was a safety lookout, who would yell “cars” or “trolley.” On some days there were enough kids available to use the east and west tracks (a two way street)and we’d call it a regatta (I had no idea what it meant until I was 9) Some of us little kids parent’s would let us play in the rain in our underwear and forgo a bath that night. Oh how I prayed for rain! Fun times on 12th Street. Today I can’t even imagine kids 5-6 years old playing in the street or even enjoying a rainy day splashing in the puddles. That was in 1950-1958, the tracks are gone, torn-up and recycled, traffic has increased by at least 50 times and children are watching South Park. But life is still wonderful in our memories and if God takes me tomorrow, I can say it was FUN!