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All right OG, et all, here’s a string that may go nowhere, but that’s ok, hopefully it will at least answer my question(s)! It’s called “oddities” because I didn’t know what else to call it. It’s just some small things I remember saying/doing as a youth, and I’ve been wondering if they were just amongst my friends and I, or maybe neighborhood or even Citywide. Right now I only have 2 (maybe more will come) but does either of these ring a bell?
Maybe even beginning to realize their limited vale ‘in my day’, if one of us (or even someone we didn’t know) bent over and picked up a penny, we’d point, laugh, and say that they “stooped for grubbies”. Just us?
When we spotted an empty Lucky Strike pack on the ground, the first to stomp on it and call out “lucky strike” was allowed to hit someone on the arm with impunity, there being no question that he had the right to do this without retaliation. Just us?
Obviously, if anyone has similar sayings/doings, I’d be interested to hear them, and comment as to whether or not they were also common in ‘The Highlands’.
And forgive me if I've asked/we've discussed, these before, but I am, after all, getting old!
On Flag Day, the boys had the "right" to lift up a girl's skirt or dress. Of course the girls knew this too, and would simply wear shorts underneath. Just us?
Today, the girls know this; and they wear g-strings.
Finally, something educational.
Grubbies were a generic term for "pennies" and not just for harassing "stoopers". I distinctly remember having 3 cents and wanting a popsicle, so I asked one of my friends for a couple of grubbies. I guess you could ask for them, but never never pick them up.
OH Yah! The Lucky Strike strike, now there's a painful memory. I think the "punches" to the arm actually had their own name as well. Very similar to the painful result of ......... " You Flinched!!! "
As soon as I read the words "On Flag Day......." I knew exactly where you were going. The only day of the year boys could pull up girls skirts and receive no punishment from Mom. It was like an unwritten rule or something. And there were always a few young ladies who left the house in the morning unaware of the day and it's significance. I've mentioned flag day to several people, outside of Melrose, and received blank stares so I'm thinking this may have been a Melrose only thing or Boston area thing only at the max.
By the way....
Did you guys climb trees?
Or did you shimmy up the trees?
Even if the branches started a foot above the ground, we still shimmied up the tree. Now that you've mentioned it I have NO IDEA where that term came from, or if it even makes sense to combine shimmy and up :).
I think we have discussed this, but did you make 'match guns' out of wooden clothespins? It was of course still legal to burn leaves in the gutters at that time, but probably not the greatest idea to ride around on one's bike igniting them!
I remember the Lucky Strike thing. We used to call out "Lucky Strike, strike me lucky."
What part of the City, Songbird? Now that I know some of these things weren't "just me", as I recall Old Guy also grew up in the Highlands area, and I'm curious to know if 'these things' were Citywide.
I would love to have just half of the baseball cards that I ruined, by putting them on my bike so that they could make a noise when they hit the spokes.
What about a padido? If you were with the guys you yelled it and punched someone in the arm. Of course later when you were with your girl it was a kiss that you wanted.
Also; how about can of the rock.
Ah yes, of course, ya hadda have baseball cards in the spokes of your wheels. I also remember pitching cards against a wall, with the closest to the wall winning the cards. A "leaner" was obviously as close as you could get!
Padido definitely sounds familiar, I'll hafta cogitate on that. Unless of course I'm confusing it with a 'padiddle', which I believe was a car with only one headlight working. Wait, maybe that was 'padido', cuz now the rest sounds VERY familiar, specially the kiss.
Without a little more info, 'can of rock' has me stumped!
I remember padiddle for the "one head light out" cars and you either got a punch in the arm if your best friend was riding shotgun, or a kiss if your girlfriend was there.
I also remember "beetlebop" having similar punishments and rewards for spotting a VW Bug???? I think???
Can-off-the-rock. The person who was it, placed their can on the rock (usually in the center of a circle) then the other players would be around the circle with their cans. the object was to knock the can off the rock with your can before you were tagged by the person who was it. You could only be tagged if you had touched your can. If someone else knocked the can off the rock with their can before you were tagged the person would still be it. Beer cans were the best, but soup and bean cans worked okay.
We lived on Rowe St near the hospital emergency entrance. The houses there were replaced by the building with the doctors' offices in it.
Thanks Songbird, it's beginning to look like some of these things were indeed Citywide.
Also, it's a small world (or City I should say) as many years ago I used to do 'handyman' work for a dentist whose office was in a house on Porter, almost at its intersection with Rowe, a Dr. Hatch.
The Highlands had "hands down" the best sledding hills in the city and Orris street was one of the best of the best. A very long run starting in Stoneham at the top of the hill and going all the down to Sears Ave and sometimes to Vinton, not too drastic slope so the younger kids could participate, almost zero traffic and of course, there was no such thing a "salt" on a roads.
Not that I'm biased or anything.
And where the Heck did "Hands Down" come from?
I have to agree about the sledding hills, but will admit that growing up I was pretty "sheltered" and in retrospect very unfamiliar about other ares of the City. I'd hate to admit how old I was before I found out where "that mystery school, St. Mary's" was :).
OG, there was of course Warwick Road, but I went down that hill once, and only once, in my 'home-made soap box". Once was enough!
Did you have one person who was the best dodge-ball player imaginable (it certainly wasn't me), who was always the last one left 'in the middle'? Ya just couldn't hit him.
Sorry RATT, but the can off rock game, which sounds pretty good actually, is a new one on me. The fact that you mentioned possibly using beer cans might have something to do with it, as, believe it or not, I never had a beer until I was in college (darn Baptist upbringing!).
RATT's game almost sounds like some version of "Kick the Can" on steriods.
Were full beer cans allowed?
The beer cans were better because of the solid top (it only had two holes in it that were made by using a church key). when you threw them there was less of a chance of it going off course like an open top can could.
No we didn't use full ones, we were only 9 to 14 years old and back in the early fifties we weren't even thinking about it. Well; you might have bragged about your uncle letting you have a sip of his Dawson's, but that was about all.
Another thing we used to do was attach tonic caps to our hats. You would take the sealing material (I think it was cork) from the bottom of the cap. Then you placed the cap on the outside of your hat, holding it in position by forcing the hat material into the cap with the material that you had previously removed from the cap.
This is completely off-topic, but I've never seen this quote before today, and thought I'd share it:
TODAY IS THE OLDEST YOU'VE EVER BEEN, YET THE YOUNGEST YOU'LL EVER BE, SO ENJOY THIS DAY WHILE IT LASTS.
That was a good one by RATT, I remember 'em both also.
Was anyone else forced by their parents to take dance lessons (waltz, foxtrot, and chacha is what I recall) at the Y? I remember that "pairing up" for the lessons was done by the boys and girls each standing in a line on opposite sides of the room (where we were anyway!) and then the boys would have to walk over (possibly bow, not sure) and take the corresponding girl in line. After a while we starting 'counting' our position in line to see who we were going to end up with, and would barter to change places if there was a girl we wanted to avoid, or end up with. Of course the instructor figured this out also and would pair us up starting at opposite ends of the line :).
Dance classes. Yuk. And yes Geezer, I had to suffer through that REQUIREMENT.
I think we had the classes on the second floor of the Y and I think we were drafted into this as sixth graders, to prepare us for the Congregational Church dances, in the Highlands of course, for 7th and 8th graders that would be coming along the following year.
It was definitely a conspiracy between all the mothers and I'm sure all the Dad's just ran for cover. This was a battle they knew they could only lose. The Dance Instructor, when I went through it, was a best friend of my mother's, so I was doomed right from the start.
Anyone remember the word Fusco or Fuscos? (if that's the correct plural)
Was that a Melrose only term? In Melrose, the Funcos always seem to hang out after school by the High School, at "The Wall".
I remember the term fusco like it was yesterday! We used it for the guys with the black 'pegged'(?) pants, black leather jackets, and duck tail (is that the right term?) hairstyle. I honestly have no idea if it was a term that was used outside of Melrose though (as I never heard them call The Fonz a Fusco!).
I think the Highlands Congo was the only place that had dances. I remember "my" Baptist church trying it once, and it just didn't fly.
This has been so much fun to read this week! When I was growing up dance classes were only for girls and my mother couldn't afford them which is why you don't want to see me do my Steve Martin thing on the dance floor!
Oh yes, thanks Patty, it was "loads of fun". Just imagine twenty or so 11 to 12 year old boys, straight from the bathtub and forced into their white dress shirts, clip on ties, Sunday "go to church suit coats" and freshly cut slicked back crew cuts and you get the picture of Geezer and me. And our Moms just thought we were "sooo cute".
Thank god there were no cell phone videos back then.
And speaking of "the Y", what POSSIBLE reason could there have been for us to take swimming lessons without bathing suits?? I never understood that, nor do I to this day. I am, however, positive that it can't still be the case!
(As a 'sub-memory' to the above, why would parents have possibly named their child "Enos"? Didn't they realize, ala the Seinfeld episode, what nickname grief they caused for their son?)
The swimming thing started way, way back when the "M" in YMCA actually meant something.
And regarding your question about Seinfeld names.... are you sure you don't mean Mulva...... or was it Delores?
Did ya every drive a Rambler? In High School, I had a friend who had a Rambler and it did this funny thing...
Shinnied, not shimmied.
Yaknow.........you're right! [:)]
A few days ago we were talking about tonic. Well; I am cleaning in the cellar and what do I find, 9 empty WALKER'S bottles. How many of you remember them? They are even in the wooden case (although slightly beat-up). As the bottles are ether clear or green the manufacture placed the following on the label FLAVOR NAME ON CROWN. Can anyone remember when they went out of business?
Sure. Driver's Ed used Ramblers and Studebakers. Anyone have Death Breath for a classroom instructor?
I remember Walker Beverages well, since my father was a mechanic at the abutting Sunoco gas station, and used to bring home their tonic often. I can't recall when it closed, but was it tied to when Crystal Spring became polluted?
When Walkers was in business, what is now JJ Grimsby's was a Howard Johnsons.
I think I'm going to check it out today Old guy and I'll let you know.
I don’t want to sully the integrity of this string but I do have a confession to make.
Where was Walker's located? I have vague memories of getting tonic nearby, glass bottles in wooden crates, but I pictured it being on Main St Saugus near the Wakefield line. Was there another one there?
We used to go to Crystal Springs for water, and then go blueberry picking afterwards.
Patty, I remember going there about 15-20 years ago, and as I recall at that time the "pipe" was still there, along with some sort of sign indicating "....the former site of Crystal Spring...." or something like that. Let us know.
Hey Geezer, are you sure Walkers went out of business? I could be completely wrong and I don't know why but I have this "glimmer" of a memory that maybe Walkers burned down? I do remember the the buildings were basically all wood and one story, I think. But I have to admit, I'm 100% unsure of this.
Maybe I'm thinking of Haywardville? The little village in the Fells that never made it?
Hmmmmmmmmm, not sure if it's cuz you 'planted it' or not, but that glimmer sorta sounds familiar. But I'm almost positive that it was somehow related to Crystal Spring becoming polluted, in which case it may have been one of those "accidental" fires! I certainly remember it as all wood and one story.
We hafta get someone from the Melrose Historical Society on this string to answer questions like this! [:D]
Across the bottom of the label it is WALKER'S MIDDLESEX FELLS SPRINGS MELROSE, MASS. Now whether they ran a pipe over from the spring, or just drove a pipe into the ground, I don't know.
I do remember renting a horse at the stables locate on W'Wyoming and after riding through the woods, stopping at the spring to get a drink of water.
The "confession" thing didn't just slip by Ms. Wright, we're still waiting. Unless of course it's that we are just a bunch of nuts, in which case it's more like a statement of fact. (speaking only for myself, of course!)
Check the new string Geezer
That certainly was the spring Patty. Good Job! And you may have stumbled upon the lost village of Haywardville when you crossed over and checked out the woods behind the hospital. You might want to follow the link below. It will tell you all about it and it even has pictures of what to look for. All the buildings are gone so this will be more of an archeological tour.