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Friday Flashback

Friday Flashback

Hubby and I found this new retro dry goods store in our little town . . . we LOVE it! Its got an antique candy area where you can buy one Bit O Honey for 1 penny, actual big metal Slinkies that will actually walk down stairs, metal lunch boxes without a zipper or cold pouch in sight, real live wooden Tinker Toys, 4 different “brands” of candy cigarettes, and this . . .


Oh yes, this yummy goodness is available for purchase in a single bottle, 6 pack, 12 pack, or by the case. OR, if you’re really feeling nostalgic, you can mix it with any of a number of other awesomely fun old-tyme flavors such as these:


I have yet to find the old top open bottle cooler like the one I used to get bottles out of at the Barber Shop with my Dad on Saturday mornings, but the soda tastes so yummy no matter where I may have bought it :-)

What’s your favorite nostalgic soda?

Ice Fishing? Seriously?

As you may or may not know, I spent the first 23 years of my life in MN. That would explain my hatred of all things small that buzz around your head while you’re trying to sleep and my love of that fluffy white stuff that falls from the sky.

I now reside in the lovely state of Colorado, right on the front range with an amazing view of Pikes Peak. How anyone could ever get sick of seeing that in the morning is beyond me – 13 years and I still smile every morning when I see it :-)

There are a lot of transplants here . . . lots of people form all over, but really lots of people from warm places like Texas and California. So today at work, my boss (an avid hunter and fisherman) said “Ahhhhhh . . . just four more inches of ice on the lakes and we can head out for some ice fishin’!” I was all “Ooooooh I’m so jealous. I LOVE ice fishing!” The other ladies, who are both from Texas, looked at me with the craziest eyes and said “Ice fishing? Seriously? You love ice fishing?” Then they got to hear all about my memories of ice fishing . . . maybe I only had this experience once, I don’t know, but I remember it vividly, right down to the coat I was wearing – bright pink with fake gray fur around the hood.

It was a beautiful sunny winter day in MN – the kind of day where you stared at the flaming sun against the beautiful blue sky and wondered how the sun could be so big and bright yet your nostrils still froze together instantly when you accidentally forgot yourself and took a breath through your nose.

My Dad loaded my brother and I into the plastic blue sled – the one with the twine for a handle. He put the hand auger on Pat’s lap and the poles and bait on my lap. He carried the three 5-gallon buckets, the thermos of hot chocolate, and the butter and bologna sandwiches in one hand while pulling us in the sled with the other.

As we rode out across the lake in the sled, listening to the ice cracking beneath us, Pat dared me to stick my tongue to the zipper on my jacket to see if it would stick. It did.

We finally got to what Dad announced was the perfect fishing spot. Pat and I hopped out of the sled and ran around throwing snowballs and ice chunks at each other and slipping on the ice while Dad manually turned the auger to dig us a some fishing holes. Pat and I got to take turns with the little strainer scooper thingy and scoop the ice out of our holes. When all the holes were ready, Dad set out the 5 gallon buckets, put a fishing pole in our right hand and a cup of hot chocolate in our left, and we fished.

I don’t remember if we caught any fish. I don’t remember how many times we had to pound the ice out of the holes with a screwdriver after they froze over on our lines. I don’t remember how the frost bite on my cheeks felt.

But I do remember spending that bitter cold sunny winter day sitting on a 5-gallon pail in the middle of a frozen lake with my brother, my dad, and a cup of the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had.

Flashback Friday – Elementary School Then and Now

The school choice window opened this past week, and it got me to thinking about what it was like when I was in elementary school. Then it got me to thinking how incredibly different it is for my little Dude now.

On School Choice

Then: There was only one school you went to – the one that the bus dropped you off at. If you were Catholic, you could pay a bit to have the bus drop you off at the church so you could go to school. Mom signed the piece of paper that came in the mail when you turned 5 that said “Yup, she’ll be in kindergarten next year, so save her a seat!”
Now: You can choice your child into any number of schools in your district. Some are regular public schools, some are charter schools, some are private and you have to pay a lot for them.

On Carpool Lanes

Then: There weren’t any. It was called the bus. And if you didn’t ride the bus, you walked or rode your bike to school. And if you did ride the bus but missed it, you walked or rode your bike to school. So don’t miss the bus!
Now: Half the kids on the planet are driven to school and picked up from school. Dude’s school is brand new – only 3 years old. The entire front entry and parking lot were designed specifically for the carpool. And OMG don’t do it wrong or you’ll get an earful!

On School Lunch

Then: You took your lunch money to school with you every day and gave it to Mrs. TakeYourLunchMoneyLady. If you forgot or lost your lunch money, um, too bad. Mrs. TakeYourLunchMoneyLady told you to remember tomorrow because you had 2 charges already. You’d better sit by a friend who remembered their lunch money. Of course they shared with you. You only forgot your lunch money once!
Now: You are not responsible for anything. Your parents can put money in an account for you, online of course, and you just show up and go through the line. When your account gets low, you have no clue because your parents get an email saying “put more money in Dude’s account or he can’t eat lunch at school.” You have no idea how much lunch costs, or that it even costs money.

Then: You grabbed your tray, walked through the line, and Mrs. LunchLadies plopped whatever was being served that day on your tray, including a box of whole milk. Your favorite day was pizza day because it filled the rectangle part of the tray perfectly! Your only choice was when you got to be in 7th grade – you could choose to have 1 grilled cheese or 2 on the appropriate day.
Now: The teacher takes lunch menu orders in the morning. There are 5 entrees to choose from. If you want, you can even request doubles, because you have no clue that your parents are paying for lunch! You have 4 sides to choose from. And heck, you can even PAY for a bottle of water if you don’t want any of the 8 varieties of milk they offer, including but not limited to whole, 2%, skim, chocolate, soy, and goat milk.

Then: If on the off chance you brought your own lunch, you got to sit wherever you wanted to and eat your peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Now: If you’re allergic to peanuts, you have to sit at the peanut free table and eat your sun butter and jelly sandwich.

Then: You got a special birthday treat on the last day of the month of your birthday. If you were lucky, it wasn’t the vanilla cream puff thing that made you hurl in science class.
Now: You get a birthday treat on the last day of every month whether or not your birthday is in that month. We wouldn’t want anyone to feel bad or left out now, would we!

On Field Trips

Then: You got to take a trip to Mr. Johnson’s dairy farm and learn all about cows and how they’re milked. You might even get to try to milk the cow! WithOUT washing your hands in boiling water afterward!
Now: You get to take a trip to the Air Force Academy and look through a ginormous telescope, one so big that you can see the actual dust on the moon and the clouds swirling around Venus!

Then: You took a trip to the sheep farm and got a lesson on shearing sheep. You got to see Mr. Jones wrangle a teeny tiny sheep, fire up the clippers, and sheer the sheep right in front of you. You got to touch the naked sheep and see how soft its skin was. You even got to touch the dirty nasty wool! And there were no letters written to the school on how inappropriate it was to let the children see an animal abused in such a way, not to mention that the children saw and TOUCHED a naked animal.
Now: On that trip to the Air Force Academy, you get to sit outside and listen to “Taco” tell you all about the constellations, while he points at them with a $400 blue laser pointer that actually looked like it was touching the stars. He would have preferred the green laser pointer because it’s better, but that cost more. You also get to click the mouse on the computer that controls the telescope so you can make the telescope move and look at Saturn!

On School Supplies

Then: You packed all your new stuff up in your new backpack, took it to school, and unloaded it in your desk – a desk that actually had a lid you could open. If you were really lucky, your mom bought you the big pack of crayons, the one with the sharpener on the back.
Now: You pack all of your stuff in a recyclable grocery bag because backpacks are not allowed in school. You take it to school and hand it to your teacher, who puts it all on a table in the room – the community table. You get to put only a few things in your desk . . . NOT including a pencil. Those are in a big holder by the sharpener. Your desk does not have a lid because someone might drop it on their finger by accident and sue the school district.

Then: You were required to do math on a piece of paper, with an actual PENCIL, and show your work.
Now: You are required to bring a $38 calculator to school to do the math for you.

On Recess

Then: We could go out behind the school and play whatever we wanted, including tackle football and tag. The teachers were in front watching the younger kids on the playground. We always came back, with an occasional black eye, but mostly without issue.
Now: You can’t play tag because someone might not want to be chased. Um, in my experience, it’s difficult to get chased if you’re not running!

On Physical Education

Then: We had it every single day. We learned how to play floor hockey, and tennis, and football, and basketball, and softball. We had fun days where we had “bus races” where you all lined up and when Mr. R called your bus number, you had to race the other kids that rode your bus to the end of the gym and back. The same people always won. Dan for bus 4, Barb for bus 5, and John for bus 3. I was on bus 3. Only John and I rode bus 3. John had long legs and ran like a gazelle. I am only 5′ 2″ now as an adult, so not very tall in elementary school, and ran more like a turtle in a full sprint. I always lost by like half the gym. I never got mad. My mom never called the school to complain that I was being singled out. My dad told me to run faster.
Now: They have it 2 times a week. Thankfully, they’re still learning how to play floor hockey, and tennis, and football, and basketball, and softball, and capture the flag.

On School Fields

Then: You could go to the school and play whatever you wanted . . . baseball, football, tennis, whatever you felt like doing on the PUBLIC school fields. You had pickup baseball games all summer, without adults around to ruin the fun and house rules. You played on the fields that your parents paid for with their taxes, and that YOU paid for by helping keep them nice because the school couldn’t afford all the grooming.
Now: The public school fields are fenced in with big signs that say “keep out unless you’re here with a school sport.” They don’t want you to mess them up and make the upkeep that much more difficult. Heaven forbid a kid and his dad go to the field to practice batting when the field might be a little soft from some rain. It might leave cleat marks in the dirt!

So there you have it . . . what’s your “then and now” about elementary school?

Friday (Mc)Flashback

I was looking through some of my older scrapbooks to find some photos of me and my Dad. I came across this photo in my softball album . . . my Dad’s not in it, but it brought back some awesome memories.


As I mentioned in my post on Wednesday, I played on a travelling softball team. 5 of us on that team worked at the same McDonald’s . . . and our manager was nice enough to give all of us every weekend off all summer so we could play in tournaments. The owner of the store was a VERY nice man and pledged $100 to each of us ($500 total) toward our fundraising if we washed 250 cars in one Saturday afternoon in the store parking lot – we did and he did.

I hope Dude likes baseball as much as I loved softball! The memories I have from playing softball are some of my best memories ever!

Thank you to my Dad for buying me a catcher’s mitt he probably couldn’t afford just because he knew I really wanted it. Oh, and thank you for setting me up in front of the bathroom at the campground, putting a glove on my hand, and pitching to me when I was 9 – it certainly helped me not be afraid of the ball 😉

Thank you to my Mom for travelling all over and spending every weekend of my teenage summers sitting at softball fields watching me play a game I love rather than sitting at the lake enjoying the water you love.

Thank you to my teammates and friends for helping me make such wonderful memories that I will cherish always.

Thank you to my coaches for volunteering their time and making the game so much fun that I wanted to play it every day all day and never got tired of it.

Thank you to Mr. Bamberry for being flexible enough to allow us to work at his store and still play softball every weekend all summer. (And to all 4 of my readers, if you ever find yourself in the tiny metropolis that is  Mankato, MN, eat at McDonald’s!)