I was looking through old photos recently and came across one that I thought I could write a thousand words about. It’s been awhile since the last time I wrote about a picture, so, I thought I’d do it again with the one below:
Yes, that is me at 8 years old in 1965 or, maybe 1966. It was Christmas morning. My pile of Christmas gifts is on the floor at the bottom right of this picture. The biggest (size-wise) gift I got was the Green Ghost Game – the exciting game of mystery that glows in the dark. The advertisers did an excellent job convincing me that I wanted it, so I asked for it and got it. Turns out it was more hype than actual fun. The board was 3D with standing snap on features to look like a spooky town at night. The premise was to move your player, a cat, or bat or something else sinister looking to get keys that would open trap doors which held the glow in the dark ghost kids. One of the ghosts was special and at the end of the game whoever had it won. The game was big, clunky with cheap parts that broke. And, since the game was so very stupid, my sisters never wanted to play it with me.
Also in my pile is a doll. I do not know her name. I think this doll would pee her pants after you gave her a bottle filled with milk water. My mother always loved dolls and I’m sure I got this one to satisfy her need for me to have one.
I also see a red book bag. Book bags were very popular that year. Most of my school friends had one at the beginning of the year, so I told my mom I just had to have one.
And, then, there were the ski skates – short skis that you could use anywhere there was snow. My ski skates were not the kind kids get today with the expensive ski boots that clamp on to the ski, mine had plastic straps with buckles that never kept my foot securely on the ski. I spent the first time out in the snow, trudging around through snow drifts, ski skates dragging alongside my boots. The ski poles were pretty cool, though.
On the far right of my pile, I see a red and white suitcase. Suitcases were a must for all little girls, most importantly to use when invited to slumber parties. But, they were also used during their down time to store all kinds of other special treasures, like diaries, lipstick and nail polish stolen taken when the sisters weren’t looking. I’m also sure I used this one to run away from home once or twice, too.
I got a new baton that year, too. See it leaning against the radiator? This was a quality baton, weighted properly for a professional. I thought it very cool that my new sister-in-law was a majorette in high school and could teach me how to twirl. She moved in with my family when her husband, my brother, served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. Several years later, when I was in sixth grade, I was a finalist in our school’s talent show with my baton routine to The Beatles, ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.’
My favorite gift that year was my outfit, the one I’m wearing in the photo. I thought I was so hot in that dress. Do you see how the shiny red belt rides low to accentuate my hips? And, my matching stockings made me feel so grown up. They were my first pair ever. Not a true pair of fishnets, but close! I was also wearing my new penny loafers.
I’m dancing in the photo which means there was a record being played on the stereo. Maybe it was a Beatles album. I cannot say for sure what dance I might have been doing. There were so many new dances going in and out of style in the 60s with names like the Monkey, the Dog, the Frog, the Pony, Mashed Potatoes, Boogaloo, Lindy Hop, Hippy Shake, the Hully Gully, the Frug, etc. I was probably doing the Jerk, which was my favorite dance and therefore, the one I did the best!
I was one of the coolest kids in my grade school because I knew all the latest music, dances, hair styles and fashion fads way before the other kids did, thanks to my older sisters!
Our Christmas tree was on the other side of the room. It was probably the aluminum one, which were very popular during this time. It had a floor based rotating color wheel that projected either a red, green, blue or yellow tint onto the tree. My dad would have had his Lionel trains set up around the base of the tree, too.
The TV behind me was our first color set. It was an RCA and had a rotary antenna, too. I can see the antenna box on top of the metal stand (our record album cabinet) to the left of the television. I remember four channels – ABC, CBS, NBC and Public Television. Depending on what channel we wanted to watch, we would simply turn the dial on the rotary antenna box which in turn would turn the antenna outside to get the best possible picture. This was super modern technology for the time. In the mid-60s we were watching shows like Gilligan’s Island, McHale’s Navy, Petticoat Junction, Green Acres, The Flying Nun, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Wonderful World of Disney, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, Bewitched, American Bandstand and The Carol Burnett Show. News was the Huntley Brinkley Report. Late night TV was The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (1962 – 1992). We still had quite a few black and white television shows, too, like Gunsmoke, The Lone Ranger, Cisco Kid and Poncho, although those programs lost much of their allure after we were introduced to color.
It’s a good thing I’ve reached the thousand word mark as I can’t think of another thing I can possibly say about that sassy girl in this photo!