The 1960s were my “formative” years for lack of a better term. I formed alright, but not properly, haha. I’ve always been the different one, inappropriate, just plain so very…Laura. Quiet, reserved, preferring to be alone most of the time, except for the company of dogs or other animals. I’ve always held little or no trust in other people (except for close family) for my well-being, so I generally take care of myself and avoid asking for help.
Surely there are those who relate to all that, but we’re not common. Normies don’t like us and we don’t like them even more. I’ve always cringed and seethed when witnessing blatant normalcy. Aggressively normal people make me bristle like nothing else can.
Anyhow, the weirdness I’m engaging in today is escapism and nostalgia for the “Good” Old Days, but barring all the sad horrors that were also part of those times for me. The whole world situation today…the political corruption and toxicity going on in the USA, the covid pLandemic still being in full force, heading us into some sort of communist dictatorship, etc., etc. …well, it has all made me want to blank out as much as possible about present times and look back on the days of my often blissful, often also traumatic, childhood.
In the 1960s I was from age 3 to 12; the days of the Cold War with Russia and all sorts of other grave concerns that I was oblivious to. As a child being only concerned with childhood exploits, crouching beneath school desks during air raid drills was mainly a sort of fun if slightly worrying break in the humdrum lessons of the day. I didn’t really know or care what Russia was back then except for another country that we were supposed to fear. My aunt used to say when life got too unbearable for her, “Why don’t the Russians hurry up and get here?” Meaning for them to blow us off the face of the Earth, or perhaps end the whole “rat race.” All just funny words to me back then. Well, not any more.
Knowledge of world affairs is a heavy burden that comes with adulthood, and frankly, I don’t like it. So I reminisce about childhood, the good times, that is. Here are some of many fond memories from the 1960s, in the very random order that I thought of them…
Poor boy Tops – Why they were a thing I don’t really know, except that they were ribbed and as a girl you just had to have one or more of them.
Stingray Bikes – I had a few of these great little bikes, one like a chopper, which promptly got stolen, much to my poor dad’s horror. I’d spend all of my spare time and summers zipping around on one of these, leaning on the backrest (taller than the one pictured) like some sort of little girl Hell’s Angel.
Swimming (including at Aunt Rosie’s) – Wow did I love swimming! Never normally though, haha; I had my own special way of swimming using a sort of butterfly stroke. At community plunges, hotels we stayed at, etc., but especially at my Aunt Rosie’s (Dad’s sister) pink apartment complex in Alhambra, CA, when I was around ten. Loved swimming so much in chlorinated pools that I got a horrific ear infection one summer, presumably from chlorine-immune super germs.
Beatle Mania – This hit the USA around 1964 when I was 7, in my recollection anyways, and I was sort of nuts about the Beatles, especially Paul, but not as nuts as most. I liked much of their music but no more or less than a lot of music from back then. But the Beatles and the resulting “British Invasion” are a really nice memory nonetheless. Those darn Brits.
Hip-hugger Bellbottoms – Yeah, I didn’t look so hot in those, but I sure wore them and was in awe of those girls who looked amazing in them with their midriff tops and their slim waistlines and curvy hips, their great tans and all that. Me? One of my hated nicknames was “pot wench,” so you get the picture. I liked my food and was chubby. Get over it!
Chevy Malibu – I just thought these were the “coolest” (ugh) looking cars and thought any older boy driving one was just dreamy as all get out. My goal in life at one point was to have a boyfriend with one of those with me right up next to him, tearing down the highway. Hah…never happened.
Ford Mustang – My neighbor friend, an older girl named Stella, got one of these in pale yellow in 1965. Well, her mom got it anyways, and it became hers later on. I just loved the look of that car. She continued driving that car for decades! Needless to say, I’ve never owned a Mustang. Poor wittle me.
Easy Bake Oven – I had one of these around 1966 and thought it was the greatest thing, baked several gooey, strange little cakes or whatever, then got thoroughly bored with it and it disappeared somehow. Still, a fond memory it is.
Roller skating – One summer I remember being on roller skates just like these nearly 24 hours a day. Think I tried sleeping in them once but my mom didn’t let me. I was like a roller derby queen out there, even went up and down our home’s stairway in them, but safely and sideways. My BF Jan and I would skate up and down the street, including down a longish hill, holding hands and pretending we were with our boyfriends, John and Paul from the Beatles, or Davy and Mike from the Monkees. Weird, yes, but so much fun!
Concentration Board Game – Funnest game ever in my opinion, so naturally we had it and played it with friends, and naturally it disappeared at some point, down some black hole where all those lost things go. It’s just a memory and picture puzzle game, but I loved it.
Bewitched TV Show – Don’t exactly know why, but I thoroughly enjoyed this show as a child. Samantha was a sort of role model for me of the perfect wife and mom, aside from the witchcraft stuff which is what made it entertaining. Nothing I loved much more than playing sick from school and watching Bewitched.
Baby Stuff (from when my little brother Tom was born) – Can’t explain this one too well, but all stuff baby related from those days when I was six and seven (except for the billowing talc!) holds a really special place in my heart; the booties, the blankets, cute little clothes, doting mom, pudgy little bro, etc., all of it.
Troll Dolls – Not much to say about these except that I liked ‘em. Today’s internet trolls, not so much! But at least some of them are really funny.
Corn Nuts – Mmmmmm! They first appeared as a convenient snack around 1964 and when I discovered them I was smitten. Many a bag I downed.
Playing pool at Reggio’s – My dad had an Italian restaurant in the 60s and around 1968 he provided a sort of game room for customers, with pool tables! I loved playing pool with my friends and watching others play, especially my little brother who became a little pool shark who beat the pants off adults with all sorts of fancy trick shots. Fun times!
Dad’s Restaurant – The previously mentioned Reggio’s Italian Restaurant was quite popular for several years (til he turned it into a popular nightclub), since the food was great and the atmosphere casual, interesting and welcoming. We and our friends spent lots of time there with all of the local regulars and ate lots and lots of tasty food, with my dad overseeing everyone as only he could. My mom worked in the kitchen for awhile (until they split up, sadly).
That Girl – Although I’m not now a fan of Marlo Thomas, this was another tv show that I sort of obsessively watched. Mainly I loved “Ann Marie’s” clothes, hair and makeup, but admittedly the show was pretty vapid. “Oh, DONALD!” As a young girl though, I wanted to look like Ann Marie. Fat chance of that! Although I was sorta cute.
Sheriff John Show – My earliest fond memories were of this man in black & white on the tv. He just made me feel secure and as if this was a nice world to be in. Well, boy did I learn differently later on! But Sheriff John and people like him make it bearable, still.
Fun days with Grandma – My mom’s mom moved to Los Angeles from Minnesota after her husband died, to be near us all, and I sure loved spending days with her in Downtown L.A.. Clifton’s restaurant was a favorite haunt of ours with its elaborate and unique decor, its diorama room, its cafeteria-line foods, etc. (They’ve made a comeback these days and are offering some vegan dishes now.) Grandma and I would ride on Angel’s Flight, take buses around town, walk all over the place and just enjoy each other’s company.
Doctors Who Made House Calls (and were affordable!) – Before the days of widespread use of healthcare insurance, medical care was simple, friendly and affordable in comparison with today. The differences in costs for procedures (broken bones for example) from then to today are astronomical, even barring inflation. I long for things to get simple and affordable again, in other words I dream. Thanks so much, insurance industry.
Days at the Beach With Steve Surfing – My brother Steve’s surfing thing meant we got to go to the beach a lot in the 60s. What’s to say about the beach except that you have to go there to experience it? The sandy, unhealthy picnic foods, the malodorous outhouses, the very unwise sunburns…all a small price to pay for all that fun in the surf and sand. We once rented a beach house for a week and had friends along, including our dear little dog, Tiny. I loved the beach as a child, not so much as a teen though, where body insecurity reared its ugly head. Ah well, the ocean’s still awesome.
So that’s all folks, hope you enjoyed.