16- 1965 Aug: Monopoly, Ice Cream Truck, Playing PIG, Big Germany News, School
The life adventures continue. I documented these times in a diary when I was growing up in Southwest Georgia. Please enjoy the jumps back into the past and my current day reflections on those memories.
People mentioned in this post are childhood friends: Laurie, Debra, Nan, Jimmy, Sandra, Mitzi; brothers: Joe & Adie; my mother and father; an uncle and aunt; old family acquaintances, Mike and Macy; an eighth grade Science teacher, Mr. McKinney
“16 Aug 1965, I helped Mama, Miss Joyce (Laurie’s mom) and Laurie serve at the Lion’s Club tonight. Daddy is in Macon today. I miss him. Adie and our cousin went to Ft. Benning to a movie. 17 Aug 1965, We played Monopoly all day long and a little Yahtzee. Debra, Adie and I got chocolate sundaes from the Ice Cream Truck. 18 Aug 1965, Laurie came down awhile. I’ve been over at Nan’s playing PIG (basketball toss game like HORSE). It’s 11:15 and I’ve been listening to old tape recordings.”
Ft. Benning, Georgia long known as one of the nation’s largest infantry training centers, was only about 20 miles up the road from my hometown. Convoys of army trucks, jeeps, tanks, and other military vehicles were a common site passing through my little town. Often times the soldiers went on maneuvers in the surrounding counties of Muscogee, Chattahoochee, Stewart, Quitman, and Webster. As a kid, I remember standing out on my front lawn and waving to the convoys of soldiers. We kids always enjoyed a wave back or a honk of a horn from the friendly troops passing by.
All of us adored that Ice Cream Truck that came through the neighborhood on Tuesdays during the summer. We looked forward to lining up for treats and I can still hear the little bell ringing as the ice cream man made his way through town.
Although July offered mostly outdoor time for us kids, we spent some indoor time continuing to enjoy Monopoly and our newest acquired game Yahtzee. My husband and I shared Monopoly with my own son, as he grew up in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, but although we had the board game, we mainly played with a computer version installed from a game CD. Nowadays, the game exists on our smartphones!
I always cherished lots of outdoor time in the summer. The chance to shoot a few hoops offered endless hours of entertainment. If we had a couple of extra folks, sometimes we’d play a rendition of “one-on-one” games with two players on each side; but if there were only two or three of us, we enjoyed the basketball toss games where the first to go would shoot a goal from a certain location or dribble in for a layup and then the following player had to perform the exact same shot. A missed basket resulted in a player ‘getting” a letter. If you accumulated all the letters: a PIG or a HORSE -that meant a loss of the game. That player stood on the sidelines for remainder of the game.
“19 Aug 1965, I rolled my hair this morning. We had a barbecue at the schoolhouse. Aunt Gladys and cousin Sara came for that. 20 Aug 1965, I went swimming. Had a very good time. Mom, Dad and I went to Columbus. Mom shopped for groceries. We just got back. 21 Aug 1965, Jimmy came over. I went swimming and got really blistered. Jimmy, Debra, Sandra, Nan, Mitzi and I played outside until 9:45 PM. 22 Aug 1965, I went to Sunday School and Church. We rode over to Cuthbert to see our dog Buster, but we couldn’t find the house. Ate supper in Columbus.”
Playing outside in summer until 9:30/10:00 at night was a given. We loved that freedom. Four or five of us would enjoy running around the neighborhood, sometimes playing hide and seek, kick the can, or chasing after ‘lightening bugs.’ Couple of other outdoor games I recall were Chase, One Two Three Red Light, Red Rover, Dodge-Ball, and Hopscotch.
“23 Aug 1965, Got a phone call from brother Joe in Germany saying he is staying over there for the next two to three years! I went swimming pool awhile. Aunt Gladys and crew came for supper. 24 Aug 1965, Jimmy came by and we played Bingo. We’ve now got to go to Lebanon, Tenn, and pack up Joe’s things to ship to Germany. Laurie came over. Went with her to buy notebooks for school.”
I’ll never forget that phone call from Germany that summer. Brother Joe had taken his family (his wife, his three year old son and four week old daughter) and headed to Germany for a vacation. The goal was to share their newest baby, Angela, with her German grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. The surprise of all surprises happened when he phoned to say he had accepted a job as a teaching principal in a small American school on Hohenfels Army base in Germany. He was 27 years old. That note above ‘stay the next two or three years’ turned into a career overseas with the Department of Defense School System. Joe spent the next 25+ years living abroad.
It was also great fun having neighborhood friends who popped over from time to time — whether to play a game or just to talk and pass the time together. Laurie and Jimmy were both frequent visitors that summer of ‘65.
“25 Aug 1965, Mom, Dad and I are in Lebanon. We cleaned out Joe’s apartment. We are so tired. We’re staying in a motel. We had a nice supper out. 26 Aug 1965, We’re home! Mike and Macy are here visiting (They rented out part of our house when I was about 6 years old). Everything is fine. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen them. Glad to be back home. 27 Aug 1965, Mike and Macy left. I got a new permanent wave. I talked with Laurie on the phone awhile. Got a letter from Joe.”
My mom and dad certainly handled that task like real troopers. They packed up and moved Joe’s entire household. How on earth did they pull that off in one day? My mother was 51 and Dad was 53 that summer. I’m not sure I could have done something of that nature at that age.
Who knows whatever happened to Mike and Macy? I remember two other couples who also rented out part of our house for a year or two. Young recently married couples: Peggy and Billy Jo; Miriam and her husband.
Getting all prepared for a new school year, I had to get that yearly perm! My mother had beautiful naturally curly hair. Mine was as straight as a rail. She had been taking me for a perm as far back as kindergarten, almost every year.
“28 Aug 1965, This morning Laurie and I went to Columbus to the fish market with Mom and Dad. We then stopped at the fish camp in Omaha and ate with Aunt Gladys and Uncle Rody. 29 Aug 1965, I went to Sunday School. Mike and Macy came back by. We had barbecued chicken. My Uncle Rody’s family joined us, as well. School tomorrow!”
The summer was coming to an end. A weekend trip to the Fish Camp was fairly regular with my family that summer. Time with relatives and friends and barbecuing out back added to the fun of summer. Sweet tea was always the beverage of choice. I love that smell of the chicken cooking on the outdoor grill. We kids spent time enjoying the backyard while the grown-ups sat in lounge chairs out by the picnic table talking until supper was ready.
“30 Aug 1965, I went to school. First day of the 8th grade! The Science teacher is going to be very strict — Mr. McKinney. We rode out to Aunt Gladys and Uncle Rody’s. I had some homework ALREADY. 31 Aug 1965, Mama went to the PTA meeting. I studied some tonight. Mr. McKinney talked about everything but Science in today’s class. Diane broke up with Scott.”
Summer, gone! School, in session. The second year of the consolidated schools between Richland and Lumpkin began. The daily bus ride for me was about nine miles each way. I had now become accustomed to riding the bus and not just having an easy walk to school.
The bus ride was a time of socializing. I have no recall of bullying or weird behaviors concerning those bus rides. The greatest social fear I had was that as I walked down the bus aisle, perhaps there wouldn’t be a ‘known’ place to sit. The pull always existed to sit with folks of same age group or those I commonly enjoyed hanging out with, but there was no fear in sitting with someone not as well known, just maybe a tinge of shyness or awkwardness.