Thursday, September 8, 2011

Found An Old Valentine!!

Remember Valentine's Day in school? When we were kids in Glen School - at least up until the 4th grade, it was a pretty cool day of the year. The guys would make like it was really no big deal except for the party and the refreshments which WAS actually a big deal - the usual great mom-homemade stuff! But there were the cards too - always the cards! Don't kid yourself - we all couldn't wait to get a card from someone we liked! The beauty of it was that no one got left out - regardless. Everybody was expected to buy their annual Valentine cards and take the time to fill one out for each kid in your class and your teacher.

When we were in first grade and probably even second grade we even made elaborate boxes that we would drop all our written cards in and they'd be "delivered" to our desks by our classmates - "one for you, one for you......".

I bring this story up only because it made me remember an innocent time and made me smile. When my mom passed away, she had a bunch of my papers and things among her own. My mom would sometimes salvage things after I threw them away as I got older. Now please don't laugh, among the things that I found was a Valentine card I had saved as a kid - I placed it on my mirror and it remained there for a long time. Now believe me I realize this sounds really silly to most people but if you're even the slightest bit sentimental (I say that a lot!) you'll get it. Over time I forgot about the card of course - you're so busy living your life.

The valentine was from Karen Eide - even when I was little I didn't pretend to think it was anything more than 1 of 30 cards Karen may have written to each one of us - but it WAS from her and so it held a prominent place in the edge of my mirror. To find this among my mom's papers was the coolest thing - my mom knew what it had meant to me at one time and finding it just brought a smile to my face. There was a small packet of other Valentine's from everybody which was rubber-banded but Karen's was loose on top and I immediately remembered when I was like 8 or 9 or whatever sliding it into my mirror!

Going through a parents papers and things after they have passed away is not easy - you stuff a couple of boxes in the attic and say "One day I'll go through them" - well the day came and it is like revisiting the times when you were younger. My mom's and dad's love letters, letters mom got back from my uncle in World War II - I mean really special stuff. It's as if she was saying "Rick, you don't want to throw this out - you'll be happy you have it one day!" She's right - some things you just can't part with! She knew it would make me smile!

The innocence of one's childhood is special and the importance of this card to a little kid (me) I remember like it was yesterday! Growing up is sometimes difficult - always bumps in the road at almost every age it seems - but one's life is also filled with great memories. I remember how difficult it was to ride my bike around Karen's neighborhood and I already mentioned how I would never knock on Karen's door at Halloween despite going to every house in her neighborhood (can you imagine?) - but Karen was one person I never wanted to find out didn't like me - never wanted her to not say hi.

How great that life brings special friends back into your life - Artie understood it - he never stopped remembering while he was living for today.  Like I told Cara, we're all like brothers and sisters. What saps we are sometimes but it doesn't matter - I stopped caring what people thought some time ago! Sorry Karen - hope this didn't embarrass you!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Show Me the Way To Go Home - From Glen School!

At Glen School - most of us walked to and from school. We also went home for lunch. I'm guessing I walked back & forth to school 5,000 times!!!!! Is that possible? Well generally, we walked to school 2 times a day and home 2 times a day - 7 years (K-6) - 180 days of the year!

Above - Salem Lane - this path was taken by tons of kids who lived on the other side of Van Emburgh Ave, E Glen Ave, Allison Court or Gateway Road.

There were 3 paths we took for the most part. There was Salem Lane which Cara, Linda, Artie, Beth P, Jennifer, Betsy and so many others took home most of the time.

Above - the cement steps that lead to Westbrook Road. Merrill, Vukov, Rehe, Koper all took this way to get home. I too would sometimes take this route home talking with friends along the way and taking a half hour or more to get home!

Above - the same steps to Westbrook Rd. All the Salem Ridge kids would go to the right to Eastbrook, Norgate, Roslyn Rd and many others.

Then there was the West Brook Rd / Quackenbush routes. If you took a right when you got up the steps or simply walked across the baseball field toward the little tree in the corner - you were headed to Roslyn Rd, East Gate, Norgate, Eastbrook, Arrow Lane, etc - Margaret Silvers, Karen Eide, Chic Voorhis, Ann Rimmer, Katie, Hank, Doug and many others would take that route. If you went up the steps and headed straight you headed for Quackenbush, North Rd and E Glen Ave.

Above - the long, narrow macadam path I would usually take to and from school.

Then there was the long macadam pathway that led to E Glen Ave - this is the route I took most of the time but I also took Westbrook to Quackenbush if I happened to be walking home with Gary Vukov, Ken Merrill, Jan Koper - they lived along the way. For me, taking that route was not a long distance but it would take me longer to get home because I would get side-tracked trading baseball cards or talking with friends or exploring the woods or the field by the Breitweiser's!

Going home for lunch was great! You had basically an hour and you'd get home pretty quickly. I would often run home if  there was a new song I liked on the radio - WABC-AM radio in NY tended to play their popular songs at specific times! Otherwise you'd watch a favorite rerun of a tv show then take the walk back to school.

When you got to ride your bike to and from school that was even better!

When walking along those 3 paths today - they really haven't changed and they bring back a lot of memories of running home to catch the end of a World Series game on the radio or if it was the fall, getting home to play football while there was still enough light!