Friday Photo Flashback

This is a “feature” I started a while ago with a Daily Writing Prompt, and I have enjoyed it so much, I have decided to keep doing it. This week – two for the price of one. I guess the common theme to these pictures is that they are both taken at my grandma’s house and they both contain … a couch.

It is hard for me to tell which photo is older. They look to have been taken relatively close together age-wise. I know that both of these pictures were favorites of my grandmother, the first one especially.

Photo #1 – Sleepers

In the first photo, I am wearing “sleepers.” I remember always having them for some reason. I was probably 4 or 5 when I finally wore pajamas without the “feet” in them. One thing I hated about them was that your feet were always hot and sweaty! URGH!!! Parents must have always worried about their kid’s feet getting cold because even after I started wearing pajamas where the feet were free to breathe, I always seemed to have a pair of slippers on or close by!

That awful yellow couch had an ugly green chair that matched it. I remember the fabric being sort of rough and it always made noise when you sat on it. It reminded me of corduroy pants and the noise they made when you walked in them. At some point, my folks inherited the couch (maybe the chair, too) and it wound up in our basement.

Just to the right of the blue pillow in the photo, I can see the three chains that held the weights of the cuckoo clock I can still hear in my head. In the upper right of the picture you can barely make out the handle to grandma’s fridge, which was always contained a carton of Half and Half (which she called “milk”), eggs, and cans of Altes beer. The stove is to the left of that and on the far wall the sink. There was always a yellow water cup – the yellow matched the color of the couch!

Coincidentally, my sleepers seem to match the cup and couch, too! My grandma used to laugh out loud when she’d see this picture because of how my leg is cocked. I really don’t know if this is the way I always stood around, or if this was a lucky candid snapshot, but it kinda makes me chuckle, too!

Photo #2 – cool and relaxed

The second photo actually makes me laugh out loud. Look at the attitude I am exuding in it! I know for a fact that I will still stand this way today. It isn’t odd to see me with my hand or arm up against a wall or something and my feet positioned with one crossed over the other. It’s obvious that I have been doing that for a long time.

It would not surprise me if that outfit was made out of corduroy! It sure looks like it. I would also wager a guess that those shoes I am wearing are Stride Rite shoes. My brother and I both had a pair. When my oldest boy was born, my mom made sure he had a pair too! I’m not sure that they were ever “bronzed” like my dad’s baby shoes were, though it is entirely possible.

My hair is a mess in both pictures and it’s odd to compare them because it seems that my hair is going one way in one photo and the other way in the other one. I really don’t know what the “lip pout” is about in this picture, but it seems I am pondering something.

What’s interesting about this picture is that it is taken in the front room of my grandma’s house. This was an “off limits” room for us. We just never played in there. We weren’t even really allowed to sit on the furniture in there. So why am I in there? Can’t tell you.

That couch I remember clear as day! There was at least one chair that matched it, maybe two. What I remember most about it was that it was on wheels, one of which you can see in the photo. The chairs had those wheels, too. If you were fooling around on them, they would move fairly easily. If that happened, my grandpa’s OCD would kick in and he would come in and put the chair back in it’s exact place – making sure the wheels went back into the spots by them in the carpet.

I remember those terrible pillows, which were obviously just for decoration, because they were scratchy as hell to the touch. I couldn’t imagine anyone ever wanting to sleep on one. If memory serves me right, there was an end table at each end of it. They would have had big ugly lamps on them and may have looked something like this:

Almost everyone had end tables that looked like that in the 70’s!!

The painting above the couch is one I recognize, but it may have been replaced with another as I got older. I went through some other photos and actually found one with the whole thing. I’m not sure exactly where this is supposed to be, maybe Hawaii? I don’t know, but it was almost as long as the couch!

I don’t want to sound like an egotistic jerk, but these two photos of me are among my top ten favorites. They bring back some good memories. It may seem weird to say, but as I look at them, I can almost smell the stale cigarette air that hung in every room of my grandma’s house. I’m sure that wherever those couches may reside today, they almost assuredly reek of Lucky Strike and Kool cigarettes!

Bedtime Books – Part II

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I usually post a link to my blogs on my Facebook page.  Many of my friends there offered comments about their favorite books.  Many remember chapter books from Judy Blume, The Hardy Boys, The Boxcar Kids, and others.  Some of them, my wife included, reminded me of other “bedtime books”.  So here is a short continuation of yesterday’s blog.

Clifford the Big Red Dog

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There were plenty of Clifford books that I read growing up.  Most of them were hardcovers when I was growing up, but by the time my boys were reading them, they were paperbacks.  I loved reading these.  Dante’ loved watching him on TV (John Ritter was the voice of Clifford).

Curious George

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I think I inherited many of the Curious George books from my aunt.  I remember how much trouble George would cause!  The Man with the Yellow Hat had SOME patience!!  I remember checking out these books from the library in kindergarten.

Winnie the Pooh

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My wife reminded me of Winnie the Pooh.  I think I had a stuffed Eeyore when I was a kid.  I remember so many of his stories.  I think I had the book and record set where you could read along with the records with these because I remember Tigger’s voice!

The Berenstain Bears

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We had SO many of these books!  What I remember about these was that my dad always called them the BerenSTEEN Bears!  I thought that was who they were for years until the TV show was on PBS and the boys watched it.  Only then did I notice that it was STAIN and not STEEN.

Corduroy

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I was reminded of this bear by a Facebook friend.  I remember him, and I may have read this book (and the others), but he obviously wasn’t one who made an impact on me.

Harold

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Harold had a few books, but I remember this one because he drew all over things!  I could relate to this little bald brat!  I drew on many walls, floors, and other places in our house growing up!

Frog and Toad

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I remember reading about these two.  I read a few to Dimitri growing up, and the Youth Theater group here in Flint put on a Frog & Toad play, which was great!  This is one book that I will always make me think of Dimitri.

Thomas The Tank Engine

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Thomas had been around for a LONG time.  Dante’ loved Thomas growing up.  I read him MANY books and he always watched the show!  Thomas and Dante’ go hand in hand for me.

The Little Critter Books

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Here is another one my wife reminded me of.  I can’t believe I forgot these!!  I really LOVED reading these to the boys.  So many great stories!  Of course, Just Me and My Dad was one of my favorite ones!!

Happiness is a Warm Puppy

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I can still remember reading this one as a kid.  I must have read it 300 times.  The binding was ripped, it was falling apart and I still read it.  We always had dogs growing up and it always reminded me of how happy those dogs made me.

Underdog

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From the Little Golden Book collection, I had a few Underdog books that I loved reading!  I used to love watching him on TV.  He was one of the first superheroes I came to know.  I don’t recall this book in particular, but I know I had others that I read nightly.

Babar

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I used to have Babar books – at least 5 of them.  I remember I had to have my mom or dad read them to me.  Why?  Because they were written in cursive!  What kid’s book is written in cursive?!  I remember thinking that it was written in another friggin’ language!!!  These may or may not have been great stories, I really don’t remember because I couldn’t get past the cursive!!

Do any of these remind you of more??  What was YOUR favorite bedtime story?

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