Part three in the series. The year was 1960.
1960~"Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie...."
Song link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXJUtPMaYYg
My mother made this white with pink embroidered flowered dress for me as she often did. This was taken on Easter Sunday, thus the lovely and fashionable hat. We always went to church on Easter Sunday.
In so many ways, 1960 was ushering in so much more than those of us living in the times would understand.
Being twelve is being caught on a precipice, balancing between childhood and becoming a teenager. At the time, it seemed as though it would never arrive.
We were still living on the base. I would babysit my younger brothers, while my parents went out to bowl several nights a week. We used to play together those nights. We would begin by pulling off all of the cushions from the couch and chairs, piling them all on top of each other, all of balancing tenuously atop them. Then, pretending we were on a boat in the ocean, we'd precariously hold on until one of us would fall off, usually from our gales of laughter. Then the "drowning" person had to hold up one finger, then another and finally all three saying, "Glub, glub, glubber", hoping one of us would stop laughing enough to jump ship and save them. All it really meant was the rocking and laughing got bigger and louder until the top cushions would give way and unceremoniously dump the other two in the ocean. Such simple games of our imagination amused us for hours. The only thing we had to worry about was getting everything back where it belonged, before mom and dad got home, or else!
I was hanging out with Miriam (the next door neighbor) much more, since Kathy had moved away. Her parents would even hire me to come stay with her when they went out. I guess times were lonely for her, not having any annoying little brothers to contend with. I earned 15¢ an hour, and would spend it at the drug store, the soda fountain to be more precise.
It's funny, to get to the drug store, we had to go through about six houses' back yards (there were no fences separating the yards) then hop the cinderblock wall into someone's yard off-base, outrun their dog to get to the front of their house, and run giggling down the street another half a block. I still have dreams of doing this.
Ahhhh, the smell of a hamburger on their grill! Usually though I just got a huge basket of french fries and the obligatory chocolate, vanilla or cherry Coke. We would sit on the stool, swinging our legs back and forth and, if we were lucky, someone would be playing the jukebox, and we would get to sing along....."She wore an... itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny-yellow-polka-dot bikini...".
Afterwards, we would look through the shelves of candies, trying to pick out the one or two we would most enjoy, or last for the longest period of time. Usually it would it be a long lasting Sugar Daddy, or some JuJubes, perhaps a roll of Necco wafers, Atomic Fireballs, Jawbreakers, Bit-o-Honey, Boston Baked Beans, a package of Candy Cigarettes, a bubble gum Cigar, Dum Dum suckers, or Charms? Charms suckers or a Sugar Daddy was my usual choice because they would last so long.
In 1960, things were simple, a gallon of gas was 31¢, and nobody worried about the price of a barrel of oil. Every Saturday there was a matinee at the base theater, and if we all had been good, my mom or dad would drop us off, to join the other kids at the movies. It cost 25¢ for the movie, 20¢ for popcorn and 10¢ for a Coke, and of course I had to have a 5¢ Hershey bar. To this day I don't enjoy eating popcorn without some Hershey's chocolate and a Coke.
Before every movie started there would be a serial short, usually having some futuristic space thing with a really bad prop of a spaceship, but we didn't care, the movie and our friends were the main event. The movies I most remember from that year were, "The Time Machine", "Cinderfella" and "The Bellboy" with Jerry Lewis, "Spartacus" with Kirk Douglas, "The Alamo" with John Wayne, "Psycho" with Janet Leigh, " *The Magnificent Seven" with Yul Brenner, and so many more.
Nearby the theater was the base Teen Club. I couldn't wait to turn 13 so I could go hang out there, going to dances and all of the other activities for teens only.
*In the early 1980's I was introduced to Lou (Louis) Moorheim, the associate producer for "The Magnificent Seven". He and his wife became a mentor and friend. His career began in the 40's as a writer, and he has continued writing, teaching at the American Film Institute, and continues writing and producing.