If I could go back in time to my hometown which was North Little Rock, Arkansas where I lived from the age of 3 to 15:
My little brother Freddie and I would climb on the bus and go over to Little Rock and spend the entire morning at the zoo and then we'd be hungry and we'd walk just a few steps to the Amusement Park which was at War Memorial Park and we'd stand for the longest looking at and laughing with the jolly fat lady with the red and white polka dotted dress who lived inside a big glass box. We'd put nickle after nickle in the slot to watch her laugh, then we'd be feeling real happy so we'd get a bite to eat and ride the Merry-Go-Round and depending on how much money we still had left we might get to take a spin on the Tilt-A-Whirl or even play a few games and remember we came by bus, so we had to save enough to get back home. The park and zoo was safe in the early fifties. No perverts lurking about.
I'd go for a full day of shopping at Sterling's down on Washington Avenue or maybe even head on over to J.C. Penny, Woolworth's or the Argenta Walgreen Drugs. I could look at all the new stuff like foam rubber curlers or might even buy some Spoolies. What you say.........you don't know what Spoolies are? Well they were little bitty rubber curlers which were shaped like miniature hubcaps and they came in brown or pink and you held them flat to your head like a little bobbin and rolled your hair around it then snapped the top and bottom closed at the same time and that was it. Groovy!
If it was Friday night, I'd probably be found down on Riverside Avenue at the Skating Rink and music blaring and handsome boys with ducktails greased to perfection would be my idea of heaven for several hours.
Maybe Freddie and I would go to the Razorback Drive-In on Saturday night and put dime after dime in the jukebox and listen to Stonewall Jackson sing "Waterloo" and have a blast watching all the truckdrivers make passes at the roller skating, short skirted carhops. We'd probably get ourselves an RC and a burger while there.
Some Saturdays we spent the whole day downtown at the Rialto Theater watching Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and Hopalong Cassidy. We'd get to see previews, and comics and if they were really funny we'd stomp our feet on the seat in front of us and cheer and clap wildly. We'd always get a big dill pickle, a hot dog, a Coca Cola and some JuJu's and still have money left for the bus ride back home. Most of the times and when we'd eaten all our spending money up we'd just walk on home. Only 4 or 5 miles.
On a weekday we knew what day the new comics (we called 'em all funny books) came in the stores and I wish I could remember the name of "our" store but I can't. Anyway we'd be there before the truck brought them in and we'd buy however many we had money for and carefully read them, then go in and the man who owned the store would sometimes let us trade them back to him for ones we'd not read. Eventually we wound up with our books and we could then trade them to another kid for ones we didn't have.
When I was in Junior High, I'd stop off after school at a little cafe called Paladino's and we'd all sit around and play the juke box and dance usually with other girls, 'ya know the Bop and the Jitterbug because there were way more girls there than boys and they didn't much like dancing unless it was dark. We'd have Hot Chocolate and Donuts and most of the times I'd skip lunch so I could have more to spend there. Sometimes the older girls from the high school would be there and be smoking cigarettes and they'd sometimes give us a puff. That was pretty daring and fun. I couldn't wait to grow up like them. Before I left I'd go in the restroom and scrub the lipstick off!
If I wanted to be alone, I'd go down to Fairy Street by the Arkansas River and visit with the homeless people who lived in cardboard shanties and they were called "Foxholers". I loved those interesting and colorful folks.
When Daddy was studying to be a Mason with Uncle Sammy, Momma would drop him off and we'd all three head for the Crystal Drive-In for a huge bag of tiny hamburgers. 10 for a buck and we'd take in a double header at the drive-in movies and eat our burgers and drink the grape Kool aid on a pallet in front of the car and we'd go back for Daddy afterwards. We did this once a week for over a year.
If it was blistering hot in the summer and Momma was not working she'd load us in the car with innertubes, sandwiches, lemonaid, Freckles the Cocker Spaniel that bit Freddie on the lip and off we'd head for Lake Nixon to meet up with Aunt Marion ( whose parents actually owned the place) and her girls for a fun day swimming, dancing around in the pavillon to the jukebox, eating lunch and lying around on the sand while Aunt Marion read Romance books and Momma read mystery magazines and smoked L&M cigarettes. That was the life.
What are your memories of if only....................