THE GOOD OLD DAYS

Remember the good old days? Depending upon your age, of course, those days can vary quite a bit. I was at a fund raising barbecue on the weekend at the Scugog Shores Historical Museum in Port Perry. While there, I had a chance to walk around all of the old buildings. It is a fine museum, and I started to muse just how far our country has come, and the hardships that people must have endured to get us here.

Once I was finished with that, I lightened up a bit, and remembered my own childhood and some of the things that are fondly etched in my memory. I wonder how many of these are things that you can relate to.

I remember the old Italian gentleman, who would cruise the neighborhoods with his candy wagon, an old beat up VW van I believe. He would visit the housing project where I was raised and the sky would get a little brighter. There he was, with his big gold tooth, and his famous black balls. We called them black balls because gob-stoppers or jaw-breakers weren’t invented yet, at least not in our neck of the woods. There were candy apples and cotton candy, and of course caramels. He was magic to the kids, and a source of permanent revenue for the local dentist.

The ice-cream truck. Ahh. Nothing as fine on a hot summer day, unless you’re a parent, then that obnoxious thing that they try to pass off as music is just a bad noise. I can still hear it.

A & W. I can still remember the girls rollerskating up to the window with that big tray full of food, and mom trying to do the window up so it would hold the tray on it. They went the way of the Worker’s Compensation Board and high insurance costs.

Do you remember Krazy Cars? Those were the little round seats with the tow big wheels and a handle on each wheel. Spinning them both meant you took off like a rocket, and spinning them in opposite directions just spun you like crazy. What a hoot.

I used to play a game with my sister. We would spend what seemed hours on it. It was a boardgame called “Battling Tops”, and was the forerunner of the modern Beyblades. It came with an arena, and 8 spinning tops that you would tie a string to. There was ‘Dizzy Dan’, ‘Hurricane Hank”, as well as some others. Good old fashioned fun. That game sells for up to $100 US on auction sites. I guess people want to go back.

There was World Of Disney every Sunday at 6:00pm, a family event. Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom stands out, as do Commander Tom and Saturday morning cartoons. We had Mojo’s, those little candies that my dog would try in vain to eat, candy Popeye cigarettes, and toy guns that looked like the real McCoy. These weren’t a problem back then because kids were kids and we didn’t shoot people, we just played Cowboys and Indian’s.

Remember the games of Jailbreak, where the entire community would be playing? There was tag with 40 people playing. How about going out when the sun came up, and knowing that you had to be home before it went down?

In Toronto, there was roller skating at Mimico, The Terrace, and Habitant arena. I am sure that there was roller skating all over North America. How about the 400 Drive-In. That is now a 407 interchange. I remember going to the drive-ins. “The Snack Bar Will Close In 5 Minutes.” It was amazing how many people could get out of their car at the same time.

Every generation has its own ‘good old days’ and I guess that means that things keep getting worse, or at least it seems that way when you get older, but no matter what your age, the good old days will always be the best part of life.