“Handy unbreakable tube”

Handwritten page of a diary dated March 25, 1965

… would go crazy if I had this insulated bag to take to the beach this summer AND IT MATCHES THE COLORS OF MY BATHING SUIT!!!! I think it’s destiny for me to own this.

But my mom never buys Prell because it’s not the cheapest kind (and on top of that, she says she wants to meet the man who invented green shampoo that will turn all our hair green). And she won’t even let me cut the proof of purchase off the Crest toothpaste tube because there’s still a little left in there. I explained how I would fix the tube with masking tape but she still said no.

Fine. I know Aunt Babbette uses Prell. And if I give her this 5 cent coupon, she might buy more.

I’ll get this picnic bag if it’s the last thing I do all year.

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Published in: on September 12, 2017 at 1:33 am  Leave a Comment  

‘Do what you wanna do’

bedroom-427634_1280

Handwritten page of a diary dated November 24, 1966

… first time i ever slept in Granny’s attic, um, I don’t know but I think by the time I was old enough to realize it seemed like it belonged in a scary movie, I was kind of used to it. I slept there every time we went to visit her. The first time I bumped my head on that leaning tower of Piza wall, I was about 10 so I told Granny that it would make more sense to make the bed with the pillow on the other end of the bed but she said then if I moved too much in the night I’d knock the pillows “clean off the bed.”  And she said it would be like sleeping upside down, which made me laugh but she didn’t laugh.

So I had to wait till she tucked me in and after she left I shifted the whole operation. But I felt so guilty. Like if she came back in for some reason and didn’t see my head by the wall she’d be all wigged out. Which never happened by the way. She still doesn’t know about it. And I’ve been doing it for a few years! EVERY TIME WE GO THERE!

Advice to my future self. If there’s something you want to do, just do it. It’s like that song on Belinda’s Mamas & the Papas album: “Go where you wanna go. Do what you wanna do.” I mean not like a bank heist or something like that. But, you know.

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Published in: on August 27, 2016 at 3:27 am  Leave a Comment  

Turn up the heat

Landscape

Handwritten page of a diary dated December 18, 1968

… don’t know why we had to move to this godforsaken blizzarding state anyway when it was perfectly nice living in San Francisco. I was walking home from school today with my scarf covering my nose — UNTIL the scarf got wet from me breathing into it. Eeeew. I got home and told my mom to take back whatever stupid frilly dresses she bought me because all I want for Christmas is a space heater for my bedroom. Then she said the thermostat is set at 64 and that’s plenty warm for any human beings who are wearing a sweater. Then she pulls out a picture of her and her dippy friends posing in bathing suits out in the snow.

The only sweaters I have are some she picked out for me, which are all itchy, so I put on my bathrobe and listened to the Doors song called “Wintertime Love.” When Jim Morrison sings “Keeping you warm, your hands touching me”  I have a fantasy that my mom walks in my bedroom she goes ape because she sees that Jim Morrison and I are here under a blanket rubbing up against each other to keep warm. That would serve her right for bringing me up here to the arctic north.

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Original image:
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Published in: on July 18, 2016 at 3:36 am  Leave a Comment  

Not like Grandma’s

chef boy ar dee

Handwritten page of a diary dated September 10, 1961

… was getting dragged to Grandma’s house every Sunday but it was worth it (even though I know too many Louis Prima songs by heart now) because Grandma is the best cook in this world. Or even if Yuri Gagarin discovers another world, it won’t have a better cook. Grandma was born in Italy and I guess that’s where she learned a thing or two about tomatoes and basil. So we had the kind of Italian food that you can’t even get if you pay big moolah to eat downtown at Guiseppe’s Pasta Italiano. In fact I always dreamed that instead of getting a real job some day I would live my own La Dolce Vita by bottling Grandma’s sauce and hiring a crack team of salesmen to hock it to grocery stores.

But today Grandma brought a plate of raviolis to the table and everyone could tell they looked different. But looking different was only the start. These things tasted like bad news. So Dad asked where they came from, and he laid it on her about as nice as anyone coulda. Then Grandma says they came from a can!! She saw it in a magazine and thought how much easier it would be if she let Chef Boy-Ar-Dee do all the hard work. They promised it was “authentic.”

Man oh man, far as I’m concerned, Grandma’s house is now officially Nowheresville.

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Published in: on March 14, 2016 at 3:42 am  Leave a Comment  

‘Route 66’

1962

Handwritten page of a diary dated November 10, 1962

… because you KNOW that any old boy like me in his tender teenage years would have noticed this magazine page on account of the radioactive blond. But since I know she’d never look my way I paid attention to the TV, which I want to get for my room — for when I get sent there (that happens once in a while, ha ha) or when the family is watching some stupid show.

I knew Dad probably wouldn’t give in, but I didn’t know he’d actually get sore about it. He says “When I bought your mother a genuine Danish TV set with a Hi-Fi record player in the cabinet, I thought that would be all we’d need for a while. Who do you think we are, the Rockefellers? Yes, I’m John Rockefeller all right.” Then he points to his brother Timmy, who he usually calls “Deadbeat” and says, “You must be Nelson Rockefeller.”

Then my mom hands me a little piece of paper and it says “Meet me in the basement at 4 p.m. sharp.” When I get there she and Uncle Timmy are sitting there at a card table. She tries to make it all like a business meeting, but the gist of it is that she and Uncle Timmy are going to buy the little TV. She wants to have it in the kitchen to watch “As the World Turns” and then she’ll sneak it off to my room before Dad gets home from work. She says “I know you like Combat and Route 66 but you have to get it to Timmy’s room in time for the Tonight Show because he likes that new guy.” Timmy says “Johnny Carson.” They want a little of my lawn mowing money, but still — pretty snazzy deal for yours truly!!!!!!!

Then Mom says “On that show Route 66, how do those men have the money to just be on a road trip all the time and never hold down a job?” I was thinking “I don’t know Mom but I’m hoping to figure it out by the time I’m their age.”

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Published in: on January 5, 2016 at 3:00 pm  Comments (1)  

Janis Joplin and Tom Jones? Huh?

Janis and Tom

Handwritten page of a diary dated December 5, 1969

…   older sister was watching the Tom Jones show on TV which I never bother with but she came up and said “one of YOUR people is going to be on it tonight” ha ha which means someone who can really rock out more than Tom Jones which by the way doesn’t take much. So I go down there and she has abandoned her Pepsi which I wipe off her cooties from and drink it because it still seems cold. Then Janis Joplin comes on! Wow. I mean Tom Jones should sing with her more often because he did actually keep pace with her screaming and he really doesn’t have such a corny voice when he’s not singing to old 30 year old women!

Original image:
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Published in: on November 10, 2013 at 4:06 pm  Comments (1)  

Yipes stripes, Fruit Stripe gum

gum wrapper chain

Handwritten page of a diary dated July 3, 1977

…  taught Benny to make a gum wrapper chain and it’s ok, but it’s making me have a taste again for gum, which I haven’t chewed for almost TEN years since I made my REAL gum wrapper chain — the one I spent an entire summer chewing and folding and creating and then my mom decided it was cluttering up the house and threw it away!!!!  It was a million feet long and I was going to make something really huge out of it. Like a rug for when I get my own apartment. It sure smelled a lot better than this new one does. I think because this one doesn’t have any Fruit Stripe Gum wrappers. “Yipes Stripes Fruit Stripe Gum” which they still play the commercial of sometimes, but not much any more.

Benny would rather have Big Red gum. I mean it’s cinnamon! What kid likes cinnamon gum? Eww. That makes about as much sense for him to like as that stupid song he plays over and over — “I believe in miracles, since you came along, you sexy thing” and believe me it’s disturbing to hear an 8 year old boy singing “Now you’re lying next to me, giving it to me.” I have so much to teach him about how to talk to females. But I’ll wait till he’s folding gum wrappers again. Then once he really gets going he’s a captive audience.

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Published in: on October 15, 2013 at 3:16 am  Leave a Comment  

The Playboy Club?

playboy club

Handwritten page of a diary dated August 5, 1965

…  and he only let me borrow the matchbook if I swore on Grandma Brown’s big old Bible that I would not use more than two of the matches which I figured would be easy enough since I don’t even smoke myself. Besides Marty down at the Riviera is the only person I wanted to impress by having these matches anyway.

So I go down there Saturday and as always Marty pulls out a cigarette and he says “Got a match?” and I said “Not since Superman died” and everybody laughs even though it’s the stupidest joke I ever told because really if you think about it Superman isn’t even dead. So he says “Hey, Jokemeister, do you have a match or not, and I pull out the matches in a way that I can be sure he’ll see the cover. And he whistles and says “Whoa Gentlemen, look who has been to the swankiest spot in town” and he shows it to everyone and they’re looking at me like they don’t believe I went there, but they’re not just exactly 100 percent sure.

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Published in: on June 2, 2013 at 4:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Double exposure

double exposure

Handwritten page of a diary dated August 29, 1965

…  persuaded Mom to take two pictures of me with the old camera I found in Dad’s trunk, which she was kind of mad that I opened, but we don’t exactly have any other camera to use, plus which I don’t think, now that he’s been dead for two years, that Dad’s going to get too mad about us getting into his stuff.

She said she expected there’d still be film in there, so if there was, ok, if there wasn’t, I’d have to buy a new roll out of my own money. So one picture I wanted came out great — it shows the new curtain in my bedroom window, which Wally and me made with strings and strings of pull tabs from all the root beer we drank this summer.

The second picture I made her take was of me on the couch holding my Hank Aaron baseball card that I FINALLY got. But what do you know, that one turned into a double exposure WITH TWO DEAD PEOPLE IN IT!!!!!!! It might’ve been so creepy to see Dad and Grandma surrounding me — like they were looking from heaven down at me the age I am now — except for the fact that it’s kind of funny that dad is holding a cupcake and an doughnut up to my face, which even Mom agreed wasn’t so bad at all.

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Published in: on April 15, 2013 at 3:51 am  Leave a Comment  

VW bus

Volkswagen van

Handwritten page of a diary dated June 15, 1966

…  since Grandpa’s house smells like old people ever since Great Grandma moved in with him. But then I asked him if I could park my van behind his garage for the summer (because it is his very own daughter who is driving me out of our house by saying that if she hears my radio playing the Beaker Street show on that Little Rock station ONE MORE NIGHT she will make me move in the basement with Uncle Dwayne) (the chainsmoker) (and she will turn my bedroom into a sewing room).

So Grandpa not only said yes I could live back there beside his old truck, but he got some old circus tent out of his garage and draped it around a porta-potty. He calls it my “privy.” I thanked him about a hundred billion times and he said some day when I’m “rollin’ in clover” I can pay him back by giving him a little cottage on the grounds of my estate. So I said “Deal.”

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Original image:
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Published in: on January 6, 2013 at 2:27 pm  Comments (2)