My Scoop on
"There's a man in the funny papers we all know"--Alley Oop, the comic strip caveman
created by V.T. Hamlin in 1932. This Stone Age, though not stoned, Neanderthal was
immortalized in 1960 through the screwball lyrics sung by the Hollywood Argyles--
really Gary Paxton with a multitrack solo since he was already under contract with
another label as "Flip" of "Skip and Flip."
Love Love Love
The Beatles spearheaded the British Invasion by wanting to hold our hand, loving us
yeah yeah yeah, and assuring us all we need is love. However, a honey-toned,
Brazilian chanteuse named Astrud Gilberto who made her professional singing debut
with "The Girl from Ipanema" in 1963, bossa novaed love in the proper perspective
as the daring decade of the Sixties emerged. Her quavery voice subtely and
realistically bemoaned the complexity of love hitherto hushed behind closed bedroom
doors of the conservative fifties.
The price of a first class postage stamp in 1960 was 4 cents; school bus drivers
did not run the gauntlet of background checks prior to getting hired; no one made a
big deal out of things where it concerned children--perhaps they should have;
people in the boonies opened their door after dark when they heard a knock...and,
most importantly, Judy deserved a citation for using her head...
How I Spent My Sweet Sixteenth Summer Vacation
In 1967, I took my first job under the umbrella of summer temp. Capitol Heel Lining
occupied a large part of the old Wanskuk Mill complex on Branch Avenue, Providence.
Like an aging sage, the mill's wisdom trickled through those walls to teach me
lessons in life I've never forgotten.
As a child growing up in the Sixties, the Cold War was as palpable a dark cloud as
the mushroom blast over Hiroshima. StilI fresh in my mind are clips of Nikita
Kruschev banging his shoe on a lecturn while delivering the line, "We will bury
My fondest recollections growing up in the Sixties settle upon those day trips
taken during my father's two-week summer vacation. Thinking back, it was hardly a
vacation for my parents. My mom would load the picnic cooler with utensils and food
staples road-ready for my father to cook on the portable stove at a campground
enroute to our destination
Auld Lang Syne
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Not 1969…the year
which closed the lid on the Sixties without smothering its cultural revolution.
1969 rose to prominence as the year I graduated high school during a time students
were tracked as college prep, business, or "generally lost."
Since the Sixties were a prime time of protest against the Vietnam War, and
advocation of equal rights be they Gay, Student, or Civil--why not equality for
women while we were at it? Empowered Daughters of the Riveters revolted against
male supremacy in a capitalistic society where discrimination in wages and
promotions ran rampant.
One of the popular hairdos of the Sixties decade was that of the Bubble Flip--no
simple undertaking indeed! In order to achieve the "look," serious commitment was a
As hamburger prices increased anywhere from 45 - 55 cents, we ventured to the
Hillsgrove section of Warwick, Rhode Island where the first burger joint selling
beef on a bun for 15 cents took a stand-- Burger Chef. This new fast food
establishment's meagre offerings included: burgers already prepared with mustard,
ketchup, and onions; fries; Coke; vanilla shakes.
Though there will always be spills in "Aisle 2" of our nation's supermarkets, B.B.
King's '69 song title spills all: The Thrill is Gone...the thrill of collecting and
hording S&H Green Stamps.
Spiraling down Jefferson Airplane's Go Ask Alice when she's ten feet tall looking
glass of the sixties, I find myself winding along the linoleum corridors, a seventh
grader at Lincoln Junior High.
Perhaps more memorable to me than Ralphie's Daisy Red Ryder BB gun in A Christmas
Story (1983), is that bizarre leg lamp, so evocative of nylon stockings during the
sixties. Fragile or Fra-Gee-Lay, are what they were.
Who would have thought a metal folding chair would impact my recollection of Summer
in the 60s? That's right...a cold, shallow, beige chair with a set of jaws to spawn
its own macabre tale
The year 1969 is most memorable to me as my last year at Lincoln Senior High, and
the start of my freshman year at Rhode Island College. Though I can now appreciate
the challenging spirit of the Sixties, you might say it eluded me while living
through the decade.
Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers' "Monster Mash" caught on in a flash
with its release in 1962. You might say Pickett's Transylvanian twist was a blood
tansfusion infused by his father, a theater manager, who distilled in his son a
love of horror films.
A Few of
My Favorite Things
Rodgers&Hammerstein's timeless lyrics of brown paper packages tied up with
strings prompted a seasonal memory jog to dredge up a few of my favorite things.
Mind you, as 1960 rolled down the living room carpet where our Christmas tree stood
in front of the picture window, I was a 9 year old--one of those girls in white
dresses with blue satin sashes. This disclosure alone should prove illuminating as
any jaunty gold star placed on the pinnacle of a tree.
for Mom & Pop Stores
Before my family moved into our custom-built home in Lincoln, we lived in a
tenement for a few months. This temporary lodging happened to be practically right
next door to Walker's Market on the corner of Douglas and Mineral Spring Avenue.
Hard to believe this barn red clapboard structure had aisles wide enough to stroll
a shopping cart.
Peering down Memory Lane of the Sixties, I see "those oldies but goodies" delivered
right to our door in the neighborhood sticks.
The year 1969 has afforded me much to write about, allowing me to revisit my year
as a freshman at Rhode Island College yet once more. The summer prior to, my mother
bequeathed me her '66 blue Chevy Nova coupe fully loaded, undoctored save for my
touch of baby moon hubcaps. The price for regular gasoline was $.35 per gallon in
SPIN IT and WIN
634-5789"...not my telephone number, but a song title whose words were crooned in a
raspy voice by Wilson Pickett circa 1965. While 1965 was historically significant
for the growing Anti-War movement; civil unrest with rioting, looting, and arson;
the first year mandated health warnings appeared on cigarette packs; the debut of
the mini skirt; the Beatles' release of four new albums including Help...I became a
A child of the Sixties, my family's celebration of Easter was hard-boiled in
traditions. However, Peter Cottontail hopping down our bunny trail and an egg
scavenger hunt were not our basket case. That's not to say my parents weren't warm
and fuzzy. They just didn't walk on eggshells when it came to fostering a belief in
the Easter Bunny, though we never lacked for chocolate marshmallow and solid
chocolate bunnies. Ultimately, Easter was to dye for.
We live during a time when Ma Bell would have shuddered over how the telephone gave
rise to cell phones so technologically advanced as to spawn such aberrant behaviors
as "sextexting" nude photos.
Time to grab a canvas bag filled with clothespins, throw it on top of the load, and
let's tow the line...the outdoor clotheslines in our backyards which enabled our
neighbors to network throughout the Sixties.
The End of the
From "The Wringer" to "Towing the Line," comes "The End of the Line"--a fitting
title for the grand finale of our laundry trilogy.
At The Ranch
Before you get the notion I'm going to drawl about roping cattle or saddling up at
the "Flat Broke Ranch," I'm not steering you there by a longhorn shot. Instead, I'm
rustling up a few memories growing up during the Sixties inside a one-level, five
room ranch house in Lincoln, Rhode Island.
Nearly every Sixties summer Sunday my dad drove us to Crescent Park--not my choice,
but my sister's. Polar opposites, she never got her fill of thrills on the adult
rides my father accompanied her on, whereas I was always too chicken to take a ride
on the wild side. The Whip and Dodge Ems were more my speed.
Friends of ours had a summer home in Wickford Cove, necessitating we visit during
low tide and wait out the tide before leaving because the dirt road winding to
their home would disappear. No matter to me because I spent many an adolescent
Sixties summer day digging for quahogs, prime time during low tide.
The Sixties were an idyllic time when you were more apt than not to sit down to
family dinner spread over a red and white checkered tablecloth, feasting on a
sumptuous repast of Southern fried chicken, corn on the cob, and mashed potatoes
smothered in giblet gravy followed by mom's homemade dessert--perchance, blueberry
My own French Connection occured last period of my junior year at Lincoln Senior
High--French III with Miss Bouquet (not her real name, of course). Though I could
roll my gutteral r's and sound as though a clothespin pinched my nose when I spoke
fluent French, the language did not make the French Connection for me or for the
rest of Miss Bouquet's starry-eyed pupils. It was Mademoiselle Bouquet
herself--tall, willowy, vivacious, and tres chic.
“The Times They Are a Changing” (Bob Dylan)--just one of the many protest or
patriotic songs drummed up during the Sixties in response to the Vietnam War.
Though times indeed have changed, we Americans salute our country’s 233rd birthday,
Just Be A "Picnik"...
If the evolution-revolution of an anticonformist underground movement in American
culture sprung the word "Beatnik," it makes perfect sense to coin the word Picnik
in reference to those who sprawl over the ground or sit at a bench to feast on
takeout from home.
In the Sixties, the five-and-dime store on every Main St. morphed into the large
discount store you were apt to find in "strip malls" in the burbs, stripped of
unique architecture and character, that’s for sure.
The Topps Company developed Bazooka Bubble Gum after the end of World War II, its
name a derivative of the musical instrument Bob Burns fashioned from two gas pipes
and a funnel in the 1930s, as well as the armor-piercing weapon developed during
the war. First introduced in 1953, Topps has developed more than 700 comics for the
Bazooka Joe series.
My dad who braved snowstorms to get his girls what they wanted for Christmas while
we gave Santa all the credit, pulled through again like a reindeer flying through
the midnight clear. That Christmas a black Royce Union balanced on its kickstand in
the living room.
During those long hot summers of the Sixties, we'd pile up in the Plymouth Suburban
station wagon or one of my dad's restored Bonnie & Clyde mobiles after dinner
for a leisurely drive with no particular destination in mind. A prerequisite before
takeoff: crank the windows all the way down so the breeze drafted by momentum
plastered our hair back from our faces and made our eyes squint.
A Buck and A
I recollect inching forward in a line which snaked along the institutional green
walls past the the lavatories and boiler room before being deposited inside the
cafeteria, an emerald isle of green banquet tables spatially arrayed with napkins
and silverware. A team of matronly hair netted cooks in immaculate white uniforms
served us behind the kitchen counter,their scoopers raised in the air, ready to
dole one or two scoops of sustenance on light plastic plates poised on our trays.
Chuck Berry's 1956 hit recorded by the Beatles in 1963 for their British LP, With
the Beatles, and released in the US of 1964 for the opening track of The Beatles'
Second Album got ”My temperature risin" and me "Rollin' in arthritis," a Baby
Boomer out of joint from what's been rollin' down the pike since the Sixties faded.
I'm not whisking a Western omelet, praising the Best Western hotel chain, or
stirring up tumbleweeds of sensitivity and sentimentality between two friends vis a
vis BrokebackMountain. Instead, a big howdy to those major network "smoking guns"
of the Sixties where you could spot the good guys by their white cowboy hats.
In the US, instructions were enclosed with every record sold: "Imagine you are
stubbing out a cigarette with both feet whilst drying your back with a towel."
Meantime, while I was in junior high, I dried my back with a towel after showering
at the conclusion of gym.
My own childhood twist of the macabre did not involve scary hay rides or stepping
inside the likes of the Munster Mansion on 1313 Mockingbird Lane, but rather a
Taxidermy Twist into a shop where animals are skinned, tanned, and placed over a
Light My Fire
The season of autumn stirs such homespun nostalgia for the colorful foliage on
trees aligning the neighborhood streets, dipping apples in caramel, baking pumpkin
pies, raking, and ultimately disposing of knee deep leaves surrendered by those
Contaminated Canned Cranberry Caper
Just a year shy of the Sixties, on November 9, 1959 when I was an impressionable
eight year old--The Contaminated Canned Cranberry Caper cowered me. You see, the
Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare announced that some cranberries grown
in Oregon and Washington State had been found contaminated with aminotriazole, a
weed killer found to cause cancer in rats.
While most of us gather with family and friends around a dining room table in
warmth from the hearth and heart, it is hard as "hardtack" to fathom the First
Thanksgiving, let alone the Pilgrims' 66-day/2,750 mile journey aboard The
Mayflower, originating from Southampton, England to their final destination of
Plymouth Harbor along the western side of Cape Cod on December 21, 1620.
Hi Yo Silver
Tunneling through the tinsel toward Christmases past, Sixties past, Agent Orange
collides with Elivs’s “Blue Christmas.” The early Sixties embraced all things
futuristic, and Christmas was no exception. Hi-Yo, Silver!
March of the
Just as we’d dashed through the snow o’er the hills of adolescence in the Sixties,
my sister and I entertained visions of sugarplums in anticipation of the toys we
wanted for Christmas.
Ghost of Christmas Past - Sixties Past
Ebenezer Scrooge’s memorable, miserable, miserly line, “What's Christmas time to
you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year
older, but not an hour richer” subsequently rattled Marley’s chains and provoked
ghostly visits conjuring up the past, present, and future. I am whisking up the
Ghost of Christmas Past-- Sixties Past
Reminiscing the Missing
At 11:59 p.m. on December 31st, millions of people around the world will focus on
the Waterford Crystal Times Square New year's Eve Ball as it begins its descent. In
the span of a minute, we are in suspension, about to cross over time's threshold
into a nebulous area of hope, challenges, and dreams.
Keesa me Goo' Night
During the 60s, Topo Gigio made more than fifty appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show
aired live 8-9 p.m. EST from CBS-TV Studio 50 in New York City, renamed The Ed
Sullivan Theater on the occasion of the program's 20th anniversary.
I’m talkin’ 'bout Dick and Jane reading series: I’m talkin’ 'bout those elementary
school days of reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic when we sat behind our desks, part
of the straight-and-narrow row, a strategic plan so we’d be visible to our teacher
who clearly ruled the roost and didn’t put up with any shenanigans.
Morning Jammies Session
During the Sixties we sure got a lion’s share of "sugar, sugar" shored on each
heaping tablespoon shoveled from of our bowls: Fruit Loops—who can forget Toucan
Sam, the mascot for loopy loops. Alpha-Bits—"Loveable Truly," the mailman character
on the box; my sister and I would slurp the milk from our spoon and spill the
letters onto the table, seeing what words we could form.
In the early Sixties I’d approached double digit birthdays. During those brief
interludes where my nose wasn’t serially immersed inside a Nancy Drew mystery, I
enjoyed other relatively sedentary activities.
In My Shoes
As a youngster in the Sixties, stepping out into the world in my shoes, I have a
fond recollection of having worn and worn out a few pairs of brown and white saddle
Oxfords. Since I wore them to school, my mother frequently applied white shoe
polish to the leather to keep them groomed.
In the 1960s when Baby Boomers were coming of age, and many aspired to the notion
that marriage could be put off in order to enjoy the single life, it was a
"swinger's" paradise, attested by singles apartment complexes springing up,
starting in California.
As youngsters across the land rejoice in no more books or teacher’s dirty looks, I
look back to my own winter breaks during my childhood of the Sixties at a five room
ranch in the picturesque country setting on Angell Rd. Bearing in mind that video
games, DVD players, and computers were not at our fingertips to fritter away the
time, allow me to escort you through a typical winter vacation of one week
Whenever I became bedridden with bouts of the measles, chickenpox, or influenza, I
got hooked on Archie Comics. The Archie Comics is one of the most successful,
longest running brands in the history of the comic industry. Its characters were
created by publisher/editor John L. Goldwater.
For Goodness' sake I got the Hippy Hippy Shakes, the contagious lyrics to "Hippy
Hippy Shake" written and recorded by Chan Romero in 1959, and made popular by the
Beatles in 1963, makes a perfect intro for things once considered hip in the
Sixties. It was once considered hip to watch NBC's Hullabaoo (1965-66), a musical
variety show for the leading pop acts of the time, and its ABC competition,
Shindig, hosted by a different celebrity each week.
Oreos Are Sacred
Those of us who grew up in the Sixties loved our Oreos--sweet white creme filling
sandwiched between two circular chocolate pieces. Over 491 billion Oreos have been
sold since Nabisco's cookie monster debuted in 1912, making it the best selling
cookie in the USA.
- The Letter
...letter writing was an essential form of communication besides the telephone. The
handwriting on the wall clearly indicates letter writing is on the line.
Handwritten love letters tucked inside hat boxes stored in an attic once served as
portals to the past like peel-back Polaroids.
The story about to unfold is sure to strike a chord in most of us whose childhood
spanned the Sixties, even though it doesn’t tiptoe through the tulip garden of
assassinations, unforgettable fashion, new musical styles, Camelot, civil rights,
gay and women's liberation, Vietnam, the first manned landing on the moon, peace
marches, world's fairs, flower power, hallucinatory trips, or sexual freedom.
Retro Sixties Cocktail Party
Though I was just a child during dawn’s early light of that era, I’ve gathered my
wits about me to conjure what it must have been like to attend an adult cocktail
party stacked with 45 rpm singles or 33 rpm albums on the stereo…It’s my party and
I’ll cry if I want to…(Lesley Gore, 1963).
The carefree cruise referred to as the Sunday drive was prevalent during the
Sixties when veering off the beaten path was more of an affordable luxury than it
is today with the exorbitant price of gasoline.
Ironically, through all of the social upheaval conducted by the nonconformist
generation, the 45 rpm spinning the windmills of my mind is stuck on “uniforms” I
remember during the Sixties.
Sixties Mom's True Love Way
Throughout the day our true love ways will bring us joys to share with those who
really care—epitomizes that special breed of mothers—“A Sixties Mom”…Back in the
early sixties when most moms were career housewives, my mom got up at five every
morning to make my father’s lunch.
The Cookie Jar
Lifting the lid on a cookie jar is one way to jar childhood memories from the
Sixties. Our cookie jar idled on a scarf in the middle of the round, maple kitchen
table flanked by four captain’s chairs.
My Kingdom for
“Which twin has the Toni?”One of the most famous fifties ads for home permanents
showed identical twins each given the “royal treatment”—one, a professional hair
salon wave, the other a Toni home permanent.
One of the most famous performances in American history was that of Marilyn Monroe
flicking the mic and singing Happy Birthday, Mr. President for JFK’s 45th birthday
at a Democratic fund raiser held at Madison Square Garden on May 19, 1962. However,
the beautiful, blonde, blue-eyed Marilyn M who exerted her influence on me during
the early Sixties and beyond was not the smoldering screen star, but my father’s
Warmth of the
As I channel surf adolescent Sixties summer memories, the tide washes in nostalgic
debris of The Beach Boys and beach party movies with Gidget & Moondoggie, and
Frankie & Dee Dee trudging through the sand in “The Warmth of the Sun” (1964).
The year 1967 may be memorable for encapsulating Montreal’s Expo 67; the Green Bay
Packers defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in what would launch the first Super Bowl;
an onslaught of racial violence in major cities; Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate,
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and The Dirty Dozen achieving box office success.
From my perspective, this particular year is most notable for the beginning of the
summer excursions my mother, sister and me would partake in-- simply referred to as
Off The Beaten
In a far out, far away, but not forgotten Sixties era before nonfat mayo appeared
on grocery store shelves, before Oreo crème filling contained a mixture of
vegetable oils instead of lard and metastasized into several varieties and cookie
sizes, before the invention of cell phones and PCs capable of educating, game
playing, communicating--there existed the most sacred stretch of leisure time known
to adolescents—summer vacation from school.
Frosting on the
George Orwell’s post WWII term, "Cold War," impacted the lives of adolescent Baby
Boomers in the Fifties and Sixties.....Meanwhile, TV shows like Leave it to Beaver
and Ozzie and Harriet went nuclear to reinforce the image of a self-contained
family with the traditional role for women as housewives the social norm
Every culture has one—an amorphous embodiment of terror with no specific
appearance, who emerges from its hiding place under the bed or closet to “get us”
during the night. The Boogeyman in its many forms terrorized us during the Sixties.
Some historians claim "The Sixties" arrived on June 15, 1955 when antinuclear
activists protested a civil defense drill, and ended with the final U.S. withdrawal
from Vietnam in 1975. For me, the middle of the Sixties revolved around The Salon.
An adolescent of the Sixties, and a bookworm at that, tiptoeing diagonally along
the dark colored squares of a checkerboard seemed such a natural progression of
A student at Lincoln Senior High during the Sixties, my drawing ability, the same
as now, bordered the stick figure stage of development.
Stuck in a
The stylus on those record players had a tendency to get stuck in a groove on
45-rpm singles or 33 1/3-rpm LP’s. Seems the passage of time warps vinyl as well as
our recollection of the Sixties.
The Cold War
Hard pressed to find a Sixties housewife/stay-at-home mom exemplified by June
Cleaver, coiffed and ready to tackle housework in a shirt waist dress, heels, and
beads-- I’m not the least bit surprised. Running a household in the Sixties
entailed more than waltzing Hoover in a dress—interpret that as you will—or
swishing a dust cloth.
Even after tempest-tossed rides in the back of our Plymouth Suburban station wagon,
unrestrained by seatbelts; scrapes dexterously painted with Mercurochrome; inhaling
noxious fumes from airplane glue piecing together science .....
Good to the Last Puff
Man, the Sixties were smokin’! Winston became the best-selling cigarette brand in
the United States....We Sixties kids had an unfiltered, smoke ring-side seat
watching The Flintsones (1960 – 1966) light up Winstons at the end of the show.
The Fine Print
What’s black and white and read all over? During the Sixties, you’d be hard-pressed
to come up with any answer other than the “newspaper” even though the Baby Boomer
decade witnessed the decline of newspapers accompanying the rise in television
Besides business as usual during school summer vacation in the Sixties—bike riding,
roller skating, rainy day Monopoly, puttering in the basement which Rhode Islanders
call the “cellah” –my sister and I enjoyed a little daytime television.
The Way Things
A frequent time traveler through Alice’s Looking Glass of the Sixties, I’m inclined
to chase memories that lead me on a wild goose chase through the myriad twists and
turns inside those tunnels to the past where I pry loose a stone or two.
You Can't Go Bach
Growing up during the Sixties, in 1964 I entered Lincoln Jr. High as a seventh
grader. That same year the Beatles arrived in the US, and made their first
television appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Soon the British Invasion
revolutionized music with the likes of The Dave Clark Five . . . .
During the early Sixties when I was of trick-or-treatin’ age, long before the
tumultuous end of the psychedelic decade when the candy man mixed things with love
to make the world taste good – you got yours by the penny or two at the local sugar
During the early Sixties a swinger named Tarzan, portrayed by Gordon Scott in
Tarzan the Magnificent (1960), and by Jock Mahoney in Tarzan Goes to India (1962) —
achieved a jungle high by swinging from grass ropes or vines. Back then, I did my
own adolescent swinging which had nothing to do with the new twists American
morality would take at the end of the decade, exemplified by the 1969 film Bob
& Carol & Ted & Alice. So, too young to hang around where the hippies
hung, to swing and dance where the swingers swung, I moved and grooved just the way
I should on my outdoor swing set throughout the four seasons.
Ever since Philip Danforth Armour opened a meat packing plant in Chicago - "Armour"
- it "behoofed" many a cowpoke to round up the herd along the Southwestern trails.
... I have stirring memories of cowboys sitting around the campfire sipping strong
coffee and spilling the beans whether from chili or swapping stories.
Chatting over a landline with my sister the other day, we straddled the line of
demarcation between the past and present, concluding that our family road trips
during the Sixties instilled in both of us, enough thrills and adventures to last a
For most of us growing up during the Sixties, childhood was an idyllic Camelot,
affording us a place and time of peace, enchantment, and enlightenment. I associate
my Camelot with the late fifties and early sixties inside Lincoln Community.
Twelve years old in 1963, when Thanksgiving fell on November 28th, our traditional
family dinner was saturated not only with gravy but of the grave.
Giving my snow globe a shake, before the snow settles on the landscape, here’s a
nostalgic look back at the Christmases I fondly remember – a time when the hustle
and bustle of shopping for presents occurred the last Saturday before Christmas…
The Magic of
Though the spirit of Christmas may reside within our hearts all year long, its
enchantment is rekindled by magic. For some, it takes an annual pilgrimage to