June 12, 2005

Tag... I'm It

I've been tagged by Lyvvie to talk about the top 5 things I miss from my childhood.
But first...the Rules.

Remove the blog #1 from the following list and bump everyone up one place; add your blog's name in the number five spot. You need to link to each of the blogs for much cross pollenation of your pal's blogs.

1. third world county
2. BTW
3. Soliloquy
4. Lyvvie's Limelight
5. The Cerebral Outpost

Next, select four new friends to add to the pollen count. (Not obligated to partake)

1. Mr. Haney – Ramblin’ On
2. Mark – Meandering Musings Muster Madness
3. GEL – Silken Threads
4. Judy – JustaskJudy

(and because I’ve never been good at conforming)
5. Walker – Lost Here and Beyond

Okay. Now that you've wasted an hour of your life cutting and pasting ~ write about the five things you miss the most from childhood.

Mine are as follows:

1. My mother’s cooking. Understand one thing before you continue reading this one ~ mother (and the rest of the world at that time) wasn’t worried about things like cholesterol levels, maintaining a stick-thin figure, carcinogens and sugar highs. She was more concerned that we enjoyed what we ate and that she could manage to make both my German and my Irish/English grandparents happy by keeping some old family recipes alive. It wasn’t her fault that she prepared most meals in bacon fat or butter, and baked everything with a truckload of sugar. Blame could be layed on ancestry and ignorance; but not on mom.

The thing I loved most about her dinners was that they were served at precisely the same time every single day (except Sundays when we had a huge midday meal instead. The house would start smelling like delicious food sometime around 5 p.m. and by 6:00 all six of us were sitting around the table together, hands and faces washed and ready to share all our little bits and pieces about the day. You could set your watch by our dinner time. In fact, the entire neighborhood retreated to their dinner tables at just about the same time. It was the thing to do back then.

2. I miss the old neighborhood, terribly. Most of our neighbors were immigrants (some first generation but many second or third) from Italy. If you’ve ever watched or heard of the Sopranos, this was pretty much my old neighborhood. People looked out for one another and everyone within a three-block radius was “family.” You never shit on each other and all of the parents minded all of the children ~ even to the point of disciplining when necessary.

(incase you don’t believe me about the Sopranos reference, here’s a picture taken at the funeral of a mutual friend. This was four years ago, just after 9/11. We all grew up within a block of one another)

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

After school, you did your homework then ran out to play. Stickball was one of our favorite activities and back then, traffic was light and slow enough that you could use your own street as a playing field. Nobody got pissed off when a car interrupted the game ~ you just got out of the way and waited till it moved on then picked up the game where you left off.

There was always someone to play with. If Tony and Anna weren’t home you could walk down the block and find Georgie V or Freddie S hanging out at the schoolyard. If the schoolyard was empty, just continue around the corner to the candy store and sure as shit, there would be any one of the more than fifteen other friends from the same street. There were plenty of doors to knock on, and you were always greeted by parents with a welcoming smile.

I don’t even know who my neighbors are today. We wave and smile politely if we happen to catch one another getting into or out of our cars. That’s the extent of it; nothing even close to the way it used to be back home.
3. I miss how my dad used to take us kids on an outing every single weekend during the nice weather, offering mom a break for the day. He took us to places like the Staten Island Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Bronx Zoo, Coney Island, Asbury Park, Olde Richmondtown (a restored historical site with museums and people dressed in period clothing on Staten Island) … actually, there were too many outings to name. Having been born and raised in Manhattan, he also loved to just take us on various subway rides through the boroughs. I think he was showing off a bit ~ he knew those trains like nobody else. He was such a cool guy to hang out with. Often times, we’d ride a train till he got struck with a brainstorm and we’d get off and head to some obscure little museum or shop.

We’d leave early in the morning and without fail, we would return just in time for dinner.

4. I miss having a completely trashed bedroom and not giving the slightest shit about it. My mother would get after me every other weekend or so, and I’d scurry things into closets and drawers or under the bed till the room passed inspection, but within a day, it was usually right back to being a heaving pile of crap. We weren’t allowed to bring food upstairs to our rooms, so the junk wasn’t hazardous; it was just a simple mass of kid toys, dolls and stuffed animals, clothing, shoes, books and paper. Even as a young kid, I always did a lot of writing and loved to surround myself with every bit of it. I think I kept about three diaries at a time. I still have several of them and love to turn the pages on occasion, remembering the good and the bad times.

5. I miss the music. I grew up on several genres. Mostly my parents flooded my sensory receptors with 30s and 40s Big Band stuff. This remains my favorite type of music. Lyrics were written with such flair and grace and the tempos were so varied. You could enjoy strings and horns and tasteful drums in every single song. Sinatra was a staple in our house; he was born and raised just across the river from us in Hoboken, NJ and my best friend was a second or third cousin of his (probably fifth cousin twice removed but when you were a kid in our neighborhood, a cousin wuzza cousin ~ know what I’m sayin?)

My oldest sister listened to 50s tunes on the AM radio in her room, and my second oldest sister was a Motown and 60s fanatic.

Then there was Susan ~ my nemesis. She, being two years my senior, turned me on to the lovely sounds of Led Zeppelin, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Grand Funk etc. She also turned me on to marijuana and single-handedly made me wish I were an only child. She was the family rebel and enjoyed terrorizing me at every turn in the road, the be-otch. I do thank her, however, for having one hell of an album (LP) collection back then.

As I moved on through time, I became particularly fond of music of the Eagles, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, America, Blind Faith (or any Eric Clapton actually), Black Sabbath, Doors, etc. But my hero from that era, as far as vocals and lyrics, remains Joni Mitchell.

Oops, this wasn’t supposed to be a post about music.

Anyway, there you have five things I miss the most about my childhood. Perhaps another time I will create a post on things I hated the most about my childhood, but I’ll have to wait till I’m in a particularly hateful mood for that one.

It should go without saying that the two things I truly miss the most about my childhood are my mom and dad; but some days you just don’t feel like going all mushy so I refrained from delving into that any further than I already have.

Thank you, Lyvvie, for making me recall these things and get them into writing. It was fun for me.


Blogger kenju said...

Carol, I loved reading this trek into the past, and many of your "missed things" parallel mine. I just wrote about some childhood memories, so it will take a while to come up with a few more that aren't repetitive. You have given me a few ideas, though, and I will get on it tonight. Not sure about all the cutting and pasting, but I will do my best.

9:41 AM  
Blogger frustratedwriter said...

Ouch! I've been tagged! Medic! Medic! Okay, now that my little expansive dramatic routine is over I will get on my five. Totally enjoyed reading yours and I fear some will be similar, but hopefully with a Texan flair to it. Always enjoy reading your posts!

11:44 AM  
Blogger Walker said...

OK Carol I'll do it but you still owe me one LOL
I'll read your post in a little while I just woke up. :)

12:11 PM  
Blogger Lyvvie said...

That was awesome!

Thanks for the comments W.H., they mean a lot.

I love that everyone ate together every night. We try to do that in our house too; which means I was a missing the wee one last week as she was dining with others two nights in a row; our table had a empty place and it felt wrong.

It makes me almost want to make the family grow.


12:56 PM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...


I loved this. I always enjoy your posts about your family and your childhood. I may just borrow this as well but not until after I finish my post about phobias.

1:37 PM  
Blogger happyandblue2 said...

You are such an amazing writer. I could hear the sounds of your neighborhood, picture your Dad and Mom,see myself riding the subway,
meeting friends to play with, the music..
Just amazing..

3:02 PM  
Blogger blue2go said...

Your words really evoke the feeling of the neighborhood, the food, the outings, the music, even the messy bedroom! Great post!

8:15 PM  
Blogger Walker said...

GREAT!!!! Post , How am I going to follow this .

8:16 PM  
Anonymous J said...

I'm starting to miss your old neighborhood too.

I have a lot of the same tastes as you do in music, though my favorites from the 60s and 70s are slightly less spooky bands like the Mamas & the Papas and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. I love Sinatra and the old crooners but I never did buy any actual cds with their music. I should do that.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) said...

A great read, Carol! This brought back some similar memories for me, particurly in the music dept.

As far as tagging, you easily twisted my arm from "Both Sides Now." It might take me a while because of my daughter's graduation actitivites. I hope to post by early next wk, maybe sooner, but the tag reply will be at http://SilkenThreads18.blog.com

11:44 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

Okay, Carol, my post is up.

11:56 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

Carol, thanks for the lovely compliment. I don't know about the masterpiece thing, but it was fun to write and fun to remember. When re-reading it, I thought about how my schoolteachers would be blown away if they knew I write an essay everyday (almost), since I complained so much about having to do it in school! Thanks again.

8:04 AM  
Anonymous colleen said...

I just finished writing mine, tagged by Kenju, and to be posted tomorrow. But of course I left a lot out that your list reminded me of...like the suppers. I was the mowtown sister. Great memories and descriptions. Life was so much simplier back then.

12:51 PM  
Blogger annush said...

that was a great post that has made me miss my own mom's cooking...

12:51 PM  
Blogger Rob Seifert said...

I miss mom's cooking too. Mom's still alive but, subject to today's rules and an aging metabolism, she no longer uses things like butter, bacon, and salt. This has had the effect of ruining some of those very recipes I used to love. Thankfully, I can make most of them at my house though, as much as I love eating them, they sometimes cause physical pain which, for the time being is occasionally worth while.


3:36 PM  
Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

I really enjoyed that. Sounds like you had a great childhood. Strange how the mundane things are always the highlights in retrospect.

3:52 PM  
Blogger brooksba said...


This was a wonderful post. You made me feel like I was in New York City in a time that should not be familiar to me, but you made it real. Your writing always amazes me. You are so talented.


4:55 PM  
Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

What a great post...Thank you for sharing these beautiful memories with everyone.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Valkyrie said...

I love your Blog! You are a good writer who manages to put things down both eloquently and with a touch of humor.

Mind if I take a few notes on how you write?

10:42 PM  
Blogger OSAPian said...

You've got a very interesting blog. Keep up the great work!

12:42 AM  
Blogger anumita said...

Your childhood was wonderful! I have said so before too. And the way you write all about it, makes me want to go through it too.

2:10 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Wonderful insight into your childhood Carol. Been way too long between posts ehh!

3:00 AM  
Blogger Sask 1 said...

I missed my old neighbourhood also.But having just revisited it i realise it hasnt changed only the people have,and without the old people it just wasnt the same.Great post again as usual Carol.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Hey, you changed your profile pic. Less weary, more hag.

2:03 PM  
Blogger MYSTIC said...

You always make me think...Duh!
1. I did not make the rules..thus I do not have to play by them.
2. Old age and Treachery will always overcome youth and skill.
3. I have a garage full of Big Band Records. Love "some" of your choices in music.
4. See response to your comments on my blog..
5. It is hot as hell today.
Note to the curious. When I was a young boy, my mother took all of us to NY City on the train. She took us two places. The Piers to see the Statue of Liberty and the Bowery. Both had a purpose. The Statue of Liberty to teach us how blessed we are in this nation, and the Bowery to show us what would turn out to be if we didn't work hard. Mom had to work as my father passed very early in my life. I can't say I missed her cooking. She was a very Religious woman so everything we got was a Burnt Offering. "JK" Fish Sticks on Friday night was nothing to brag about. Mrs Paul should have been shot. Music I do remember and was given a great love of all types. Steel Pier in the early days was filled with Big Bands. Loved Louie Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Nat King Cole, Eddie Duchin, Eagles, Four Seasons, Beach Boys, Ray Charles, Country, Gospel. You get the picture. Dislike Blue Grass and Rap. I will leave a picture of a fish caught today on my Blog for you. Now this is FISHING!

7:44 PM  
Blogger The Rambler said...

Hi Carol,
Great post! I have been visiting some of your blog links, how do you have the time to read them all? Thanks for mentioning me too!

9:10 PM  
Blogger dan said...

I really do miss being able to break windows and not having to pay for them.

Mind, in a way I suppose I did because I never got the football back. But then I did run off.

5:40 AM  
Blogger Unga~Chunga said...

Hi! I'm new to your post through MommaK. By the types of music you and your family enjoyed I'm guessing we are similar ages. I think you have to live in Brooklyn/Manhattan or No. New Jersey to really get the flavor of the Irish-Italian neighborhoods. I lived in Elizabeth NJ for several years and it was a whole new experience from the transient DC area. My first introduction to bagels, the two story duplexes, big tight families and the many ethnic neighborhoods rich with tradition and culture. You are right in that so much have that has dissolved!

9:07 AM  
Blogger psychacid said...

Nice Stuff here. :)

6:43 PM  
Blogger L said...

sweet post-- and I'm with you all the way on #4

10:10 PM  
Blogger sidcruise said...

As stated earlier and still goinin to say it anyways your description of the memories are so vivid and makes one believe as if they were part of it .....for food one i am def in ....

a good read as usual ....

2:12 AM  
Blogger MYSTIC said...

Glad you had a laugh. Have a great day.

10:45 AM  
Blogger DLAK said...

I just bit my tougne.

11:11 AM  
Blogger DLAK said...

Sister Hag, thanks for stoping by. My neighbors are freaks and hillbillies. 30s and 40s big band is the greatest music ever! I have some Benny on as we speak, next up the Duke...ahhhhh thats livin.

2:27 PM  
Blogger jon said...

You miss some good things. Some of the same things I miss. I look back and it seems like a whole nother life. Like I died at age twenty something and was reincarnated as an adult who is feigning living a responsible existence. I do love dearly my life as a husband and parent, but still look back fondly on those wilder care free days.

9:49 AM  
Blogger rugdesigner said...

What wonderful memories. As I read everyone's posts that have been included in this little gig I am reminded of more and more things from my childhood. I'm also struck by similarities we share no matter what age we may be or region of the world we were raised. Thanks for sharing in such a beautiful way.

8:04 PM  
Blogger Justine said...

I agree with Lightning bug: "Strange how the mundane things are always the highlights in retrospect". So true. And ditto RugDesigner. Oh yeah and I liked everything everyone else said, too.

I miss pretending to be asleep to get carried inside after getting back from a trip somewhere. Asleep on the backseat of the car, wakeup as the car slows down to take corners as it neared home. Car stops, things unloaded, doors opening and closing, and me on the verge of being able to get up myself, but waiting instead to be carried and put into bed. THAT IS LUXURY. WHY DON'T THE AIRLINES PROVIDE THAT KIND OF SERVICE?!

12:17 AM  
Blogger dbdoberman said...

Thanks for the view of your childhood memories, it was interesting and enjoyable. What a great childhood to recall. Take care.

7:56 AM  
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