Way back when, I lived with my grandma in Greeley, Colorado. I stayed with her for a year. I was in the third grade. My dad was recovering from a serious construction accident.
I enjoyed that year. My grandma taught me how to play canasta. My cousin and I entertained ourselves with that card game for hours. We also listened to the radio. I would lose myself in “One Man’s Family” and “Fibber McGee and Molly” and on Saturday mornings I made sure to listen to The Lone Ranger. I still remember the ad for Buster Brown Shoes. “I’m Buster Brown, I live in a shoe, that’s my dog Tag, he lives in there too!”. And something about “Push the magic button Froggie!”.
Summer evenings found us stretched out on blankets counting stars. Such a simple thing but it is a pleasant memory.
My grandma purchased “McCall’s” magazines every month. I looked forward to it because I occupied myself playing with paper dolls and I was a big fan of “Betsy McCall”. She came printed with a couple of outfits in the back of the magazine. I had a box full of paper dolls, but she was my favorite.
The most fun though came when my grandma had to go down town to purchase items such as thread or buttons at the Kresge’s Five and Dime store. They not only had sewing supplies, but other things like aprons and girdles or handkerchiefs, but the best was a whole aisle of CANDY! While my grandma searched for material or thread, I leaned against the glass case that held the candy. There was bin after bin of colorful sticky candy.
My most favorite was something we called dog bones, because of the shape. The candy was a coconut covered crunchy, Butterfinger type that would stick to my teeth. Fifteen cents bought a quarter pound bag. I think it can still be purchased at The Cracker Barrel. I’m really not much of a candy eater, but to this day I love those dog bones.
The ultimate summer treat was a day trip to Estes Park. When we were half way there we always stopped for lunch. No such thing as a fast food restaurant, absolutely not. Grandma always took a picnic basket along with a simple meal. The highway took us through canyons and forests with streams to wade in while we took our picnic break.
When we arrived in Estes Park we wandered the streets and found our favorite candy place. The Taffy Shop. I am happy to say that it is still there. We would stand at the window and watch a machine stretch and pull the salt water taffy. If you were to go there today that same type of machine will be there pulling the taffy. My favorite was pecan.
Thankfully some things don’t change like dog bones and taffy.
I feel fortunate to remember when summer used to be just summer.
“Summertime when the livin’ is easy, fish are jumpin and the cotton is high”…Porgy and Bess..