I’ve been meaning to write about this for a very long time — I even searched my archives because I was sure I’d written about my Little Bible before. It is so tiny, it should have been lost years ago, but I have always known pretty much where it is.
When I was young, not long after I learned to read, I think, I was given a tiny book that contained excerpts from the Bible. In fact, the cover page makes the claim that “The Little Bible Contains Selections from Every Book in the Bible as found in the King James Version.”
We were not a regular church-going family, but I definitely had questions about God and religion and I must have felt the need to learn “The Lord’s Prayer” for some reason. So, I turned to page 75 in my Little Bible and memorized “Mathew 6:9-13.”
I don’t know how long it took me to memorize it, but I do remember going into the living room and reciting it for my father who, if I remember correctly, was surprised enough to ask where I learned it. When I showed him the Little Bible he didn’t believe me at first.
I was very proud of myself for learning “The Lord’s Prayer” by myself and, for years, proudly recited it whenever we happened to go to church.
I wonder if I’d not memorized it then, would I ever have memorized it? I don’t know any of the other passages that are routinely recited at most churches, for instance, the Apostles’ Creed — I don’t know that by heart and I think it is shorter than the Lord’s Prayer.
I once owned a charm bracelet. I think my Aunt Ginny gave it to me. It was silver and had a few charms. The only charm I remember is a Christmas tree, but I probably had 4 or 5 charms on it. It was lost when my jewelry box was stolen when we lived in Pittsburgh.
I must have worn it in front of Jeremy, because he sent me a charm from Germany. I still have it — mostly because of the note on the back.
This has been sitting around for years, waiting to be blogged about. Well, here you go…
I don’t speak or read German but Professor Google tells me that Echt Email can mean either “Authentic e-mail” or “Authentic enamel.” Since I got this in the 1970s, I will assume it means the latter.
I spent much of the summer before I turned 16 with Grandpa and Grandma Green in their lake house in Chetek, Wisconsin just as I had done previous years. I spent my days reading and writing letters to my friends.
Sometimes I helped Grandma with things around the house and sometimes I spent time with Grandpa.
Grandpa Green had a few hobbies — reading, playing solitaire, drinking beer in bars and golf. One day he asked me if I would like to learn to play golf. I don’t remember if I was actually interested in playing golf, but I was interested in spending time with him, so I said I would like to learn. He took me to Chetek’s golf course and I acted as his caddie while he played golf with his buddies. I remember mostly being bored and hot and the golf bag was heavy.
When I told my mom about it, she said that the reason I was in Chetek in the first place was to spend time with Grandma when Grandpa was golfing. While that was news to me, I had no problem telling Grandpa that I didn’t want to go golfing with him when next he asked. I could tell he was disappointed, but I didn’t want to tell him that my mom said I should spend time with Grandma instead. I told him I did want to learn, but just not that day.
Before I left for home that summer, he gave me three golf balls and some golf tees. Maybe he thought I might try to golf in Elgin? I am not sure, but I thanked him and put them in a bag and took them home.
That November Grandpa developed a blood clot in his right leg and had to have it amputated. Besides being afraid for my Grandpa — someone I loved as much as I loved my own parents — I felt guilty because I’d declined to go golfing with him after the one time. I knew he would never set foot on a golf course again despite people telling me that when he got his prosthetic leg he’d golf again if he wanted to.
The next summer he developed another blood clot and had more of his leg amputated, but he suffered a heart attack during the amputation and died a few days later, on July 9, 1973. He was 63.
When my mom, who was at the Mayo Clinic with my grandparents, called to tell my dad about his death, I listened to Dad’s end of the call through the door to my attic bedroom. I sat on the steps, sobbing while holding the bag of golf balls and golf tees that Grandpa had given me. I cried out of grief, but also guilt because I told him I didn’t want to go golfing with him the previous summer.
I still have the golf balls and golf tees. I keep thinking I should just get rid of them, but I cannot do that.
Before my grandparents moved to their cabin in Chetek, Wisconsin, they used it for a vacation home. My grandfather typed up a set of rules for when friends and family visited the cabin. I remember the rules hanging on the wall in the hallway that led from the garage door to the kitchen.
I know for a fact that my grandfather typed this on a big, black, heavy typewriter with round keys — I know that because I learned to type on that very same typewriter by copying poems from my grandfather’s books when I visited them many summers.
I found the framed rules when I was going through things at Mom’s house in February. Here’s the scan so you can read it more easily.
Green’s Point Reminders
We hope your stay will be a pleasant one, and that you catch such a big fish, and so many, that you won’t have to stretch the truth when you go home and tell about them.
Use whatever we have here, but think of the next ones who are going to use the cottage. If you eat it or drink it, replace it so there is at LEAST as much here when you leave as there was when you came.
If you break something, or it goes haywire while you are here, replace it or have it repaired. If there isn’t time to do either before you leave, report it so we can have it taken care of. Don’t take a chance on having someone drive 340 miles expecting to have everything in order, then have to have something repaired that was out of order when you were here.
Before you go: Defrost the refrigerator and leave the refrigerator door open, unless someone else will be up within a week or so.
Shut the gas off at the tank and hang the key with the others.
Pull the plugs on all appliances.
As an added precaution, pull the main fuse in the switch-box and put it where you found it, so if lighting should strike the line outside, it can’t go farther than the box. Disconnect the radio aerial and let it hang outside the cottage.
Bring the motor, oars and other fishing equipment, etc., and put them in the basement. Lock up the boat and put the keys where they belong. Clean up before you leave, especially garbage and refuse, so the next ones won’t have to wade through it. Don’t leave anything edible in the containers that field mice or other rodents can get into and be attracted, unless it is inside a cabinet or can they can’t get into.
It is going to take all of us to get the place the way we want it, so you see anything that needs doing give us a hand.
We believe the foregoing to be only fair to all concerned; and we hope the place will always be ready so we can unlock the door, turn on the lights, and start to enjoy the time we are able to spend here. We hope you have the best vacation ever.
My first bank account was with Elgin’s First Federal Savings and Loan. Apparently, at the time, when you opened an account you were given a bank in the shape of the building. I found that bank, along with my passbooks a few years ago in the attic of my mom’s house in Elgin.
The bank is the color of old pennies — it may have been brighter copper colored when it was new. It is showing wear on one side, I think it is oxidation. White, not green, so I guess it is not copper.
I use the bank to hold foreign coins. I found a key that works (now that I look at it, it is the original key), so they are not forever stuck in it. I had the bank on my bookshelf in my office, but I want a less cluttered area so I am not positive what I am going to do with it.
The passbooks date from January 9, 1961 (I was 4) and is a joint account with my father. On January 10, 1961, a total of $31.06 was deposited into the account. The most money in the account was $2,364.74 on November 28, 1979. The account was closed on June 20, 1981, probably because I moved to Pittsburgh.
It seems I had another account with Elgin Federal Savings and Loan that I opened on March 8, 1976. Its highest amount was $538.11 on July 1, 1976. I closed this on November 23, 1976.
I vaguely remember going to the bank to deposit money and to withdraw money using these passbooks. I didn’t have a checkbook or credit card and ATM machines weren’t invented yet.
As for the passbooks — I will keep them in a box in the knee wall. Maybe the kids will find them interesting someday. If nothing else, the advertisements are interesting.
I like the way the style of homes are different from the passbook that was opened in 1961 and the one that was opened in 1976.
My dad was a funny guy and had witty stories and jokes ready for any occasion. I don’t really remember too many of the stories and only remember one of his jokes. Maybe two.
The joke I definitely remember made no sense to me when I was a kid. When I grew up I figured it was funny to someone who was in the “know” about the “golden days of radio” because it sure made my dad laugh. It was not until this afternoon that I realized that my dad was not telling me a joke as much as pranking me.
“Momma Bear and Poppa Bear were taking a bath.
Momma Bear said, “Poppa Bear, pass me the soap, dear.”
Poppa Bear said, “No soap, radio.”
After telling the joke my dad would laugh and laugh and laugh. I’d say I didn’t get it. He’d say, “No soap, radio! No soap radio!” I’d tell him I still didn’t get it. I’d ask what it meant, but he could never seem to explain it to me and said, “never mind” when I bugged him about it.
I told other people the joke and no one else understood it either. How could my father laugh so heartily at a joke that no one understood?
When I grew up I’d think back to the joke and try to understand it. I finally came to the conclusion that it must have had something to do with the olden days and radio programs. That maybe the people that grew up listening to soap operas on the radio understood the joke and that since I hadn’t I’d never hope to understand the joke.
This afternoon I brought the joke up with Dean. He remembered me telling him about it years ago. I told him my theory and he suggested that I consult Professor Internet. I did and what I found out kind of made me sad.
It turns out that the “No soap radio” joke was a prank that may have started in the 1950s. A group of friends would be in on the joke, one person would tell it (or a variation of it) and all the friends would laugh. If the person being pranked laughed, the others would laugh and ask what was funny.
So when my father told it and I didn’t laugh but asked what it meant, how did that make him feel? Was he disappointed that I didn’t do what was expected? Would I have laughed if other people were also laughing? Should I be upset that he was trying to prank me? Does it really matter? Should I stop obsessing on this?
This was written November 1966. Probably 4th grade.
I love my parents very much. I need them very much because if I did not have them I cold not tell them my troubles.
My dad is a mechanic. He is the only speedometer man in Elgin and my mom is a housewife. They both love me and I love me and I love them.
For my birthday once I got to go and see a movie called “Jack the Giant Killer” and then I got a kitten for my birthday. And I got a radio and alarm clock. But before my brother was born I got to do more things than now. I love my mom and dad. They spank me sometimes but I love them very much. They kiss me every day when I go to bed or when I get up in the morning or when I go somewhere and when I eat a good meal.
Nearly thirteen years ago the kids and I set out on a drive to Illinois. Dean must have been on a business trip. For one reason or another, the kids and I each wrote our account of the day on Holiday Inn stationery. We really didn’t need to write down the part about the seatbelt — none of us will ever forget that.
Left home at 11:10 this morning. Had hoped to get an earlier start but no luck. The kids were fine. Great first few hours then they began watching LOTR-FOTR. Stopped in good old Breezewood for lunch and gas. Bought too much food.
Arrived at motel in Fremont, Ohio around 7:30. Checked in. Kids wanted to stay in the car.
When I got back Clare was doing something to Andrew’s back. I jokingly asked Clare what did she do to Andrew. Then I saw that he had the seatbelt all tangled up and round his belly. I helped him escape and was on the verge of calling 911 to get him out. He finally did a backward somersault and slipped free. Dinner was good.
Kids watching TV now.
Andrew’s view (he was 11)
We left a lot later than I wanted to but we had TV. Then we ate lunch at a fine place. Then I had to go to the bathroom really really bad. Then we went to a place we went last time. Then stuff happened. And then…I got stuck in my seatbelt and I got to do a somersault. It was weird.
Clare’s view (she was nearly 13)
Today was funny…Halloween woke me up. Awwwww. Mom was mad. Dad left blah blah blah. OK later, Andrew got stuck in the seatbelt. Umm, I have no clue how. He had to do a backward somersault. errr.. Dinner was odd… umm mom probably told you. A cute kid (adorable) waved. He was 2. Then a thunderstorm came. I went to our room and am watching TV now. The seatbelt disappeared in his tummy. GTG ~*Clare*~
For the past few decades I’ve been in the market for an affordable record player that was capable of playing 78s because I had a pile of Little Golden Records from my childhood that I wanted to hear again. I remembered playing some of these records over and over again and even wrote about them in a memoir essay for a college class. I felt sure that I was going to be suddenly transported back to that pink room on Mountain Street.
A few months ago I pulled out the records and looked at the titles. I figured I probably didn’t need to play them again because I assumed I could find them on the Internet. While I did find some, I could not find all of the recordings. But it didn’t matter because I realized that my memories of the records were somewhat false. For instance, I was sure that Walt Disney himself was singing “Bibbity Boppity Boop!” on one of the records but it turned out to be Mitch Miller and the Sandpipers.
Not long after I’d decided I should just toss the Little Golden Records in the trash, I found a great deal on a small portable record player capable of playing 78s. It was about the size of my childhood record player. I bought it and when it arrived I immediately plugged it in and played one of the records. No feeling of nostalgia. I tried another. Same thing. Nothing. Looking at the titles, I don’t think that any of these records will give me that warm, slightly bittersweet feeling of longing for the simpler days of being a kid that I was hoping for, expecting.
I sit here wondering why these circles of yellow plastic don’t bring back fond memories. Is it that I am so old that I’ve forgotten actually playing them? Is it because I don’t need to feel nostalgic about these songs? Is it because I’ve got lots of better memories than being 5 years old listening to records in my bedroom? I don’t know, and I think I should stop wasting my time on wondering.
These, warped and scratched up as they are and worthless, will go in the trash today. Also, they smell bad.
Here’s a video that someone with an unscratched record posted on YouTube. It’s the only record with a singer other than Mitch Miller and his orchestra plus the Sandpipers.