Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thoughts of summers long ago

Happy first day of Summer here in the "Northern half of the world". It has felt like Summer for sometime now. We had a lovely rain a couple of days ago which brought the temps down a bit but a whopper of a heat wave is in the long term forecast.

My husband is usually a big fan of "the boys of summer", especially the Chicago White Sox. I say usually because they are having a dismal season this year. These days when he watches a game, it is almost as if one were watching a horror film with their hand in front of their face and peeking out just once in awhile. :)

Even if I don't watch the games, I love to listen to them. I was drifting off for a much needed nap recently when I heard the sound of a baseball game coming down the hall from the family room TV. It made me smile and sleep in safety. Even during those rare summer afternoons when I am alone in the house, I often turn on the TV just to see if there is a White Sox or Cubs game being shown...crank up the volume a little...and work to my heart's content cooking or cleaning.

For the sounds of baseball remind me of my father carrying around his little portable transistor radio and listening to his beloved Cubs games. There was the day when I was ten years old that he didn't come home (he had suffered a major heart attack) but baseball in the background can make me a child again.

We were a radio family, every morning it would be turned on for weather reports and the friendly chatter of familiar DJs and after breakfast, we'd hear "Let's Quiz the Mrs.". My favorite in my teenage years...WLS streaming from my own portable radio. Anyone who was a teenager in those days will remember such words as Sunday, Sunday, the beautiful U.S. 30 Drag Strip...Big Daddy... as the famous names of drag racing would roll off the tongue of the DJ. Not that I would go to a drag race mind you but I did find their commercials fascinating.

My husband and I lived in two different towns and almost a different generation but we both can wax poetic about listening to WLS at home or in our car and it providing the soundtrack of our teenage years. His was the California sounds of Jan and Dean or the Beach Boys, mine the British Invasion of the late 60s and early 70s...ahhhh...Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter. Sigh..the music coming from those radios was so much more innocent back then...and fun.

I can't count the times I would take a blanket to the back yard with my radio, a book, or the latest issue of Seventeen Magazine (which was completely different than it is now). If I was fortunate, there would be a picture of Bobby Sherman. One of the highlights of my teen years was taking part in a Seventeen Magazine "charm school" which was put on by a Downtown department store, the same store that had the nicest tea room. That particular store closed when the mall was built, charm schools are a thing of the past, and I didn't let my daughter come close to Seventeen Magazine in the 1990s.

My memories have also been going back to the scents of Summer, of which the slightest whiff can make me feel sixteen again. I was chatting about great home products with my daughter (a favorite subject) when we found we both had Method pump hand soap (from Target) on our kitchen counters. I told her how mine is the cucumber scent which reminds me of a facial mask that was very popular in my youth. I know...cucumber is a rather odd scent to become nostalgic over but it really was quite popular back then and everyone I knew used it (the girls obviously).

After our conversation, I tried to remember the other scents that we loved back then...Musk Oil, Heaven Scent, Wind Song, Golden Autumn, Channel #5 and #19, anything by Yardley. My older sisters loved Evening In Paris, which was still around into the 1960s. The coconut aroma of Coppertone automatically takes me back to trips to the "beach" with my friends or with the family as we went to my dad's company picnics in July.

What sparked the thoughts of Summers Past was a recent drive on the Highway, windows down, my radio turned to the Oldies But Goodies channel where my husband had left it when he used the car...feeling as if I was still in my teens driving my (used) Mustang convertible ...meeting my girlfriends for a movie and cherry Coke.

I would never want to return to those days for in reality, my teen years were often filled with sorrow. But there has not been a time since when I could also become so carefree and giggly. So, I'm thinking I may stop by a perfume counter soon and spray a sample of Heaven Scent behind my ears, stop by the candy store "Downtown" for a Diet Coke mixed with cherry syrup, put on one of my John Denver CDs...and just relax.


Susan P. said...

Brenda, lovely post and a great "ride" down memory lane. Guess who also went to a Seventeen charm school??!!!! BTW, I was convinced I was going to be MRS. BOBBY SHERMAN;o)

Anonymous said...

Bobby Sherman and Davy Jones!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
All of the things you mentioned are me!!!! Hello, COPPERTONE SMELL!!! That IS summer!!

Anonymous said...

LOL. You ladies are funny.
My teen years were spent in the 70's, so I remember Bain De Soleil (sp?) for the "San Tropei tan."
LOL. I can still hear the commercial on the radio.
I grew up a block from the beach in Ca. so my tunes were the Beach Boys and John Denver. I was never into rock music, folk music was more my style. I didn't become a believer until I was 21 so my teen years were all spent without the Lord. :(
I remember loving...what was that lip was root beer flavor and it was in a huge tube. Hmm...thinking. Does anyone remember? It was a certain brand and they had different flavors-bubble gum, etc.
I was never really into perfume but one year I received a "Baby Soft" spray for Christmas.
Let's see....I can't remember having a crush on any certain singer, unless it was John Denver. My sister did though-Shaun Cassidy!! And she liked Adam Rich from "Eight is Enough." She's 8 years younger.
If I had to pick one sound of summer, it would be the Beach Boys. I actually have their greatest hits cd that my boys listen to now.
Fun post Brenda.
joanna :)

Connie said...

I enjoyed the trip with you and the others here...My memories also include the movie "Where The Boys Are", "Beach Party" with Annette & Frankie; the early sounds of Rick Nelson and Connie Frances on the radio, mine was a little aqua blue transistor with a leather case. We also read a magazine "Teen" I think it was and so innocent. We teased our hair and sprayed it so it wouldn't move. Life was so different in the early 60's.

Anonymous said...

Perfect post for a perfect midwestern summer afternoon!

Ah, yes, the scents of summer. I've recently discovered the fragrance called "Beach" by Bobbi Brown. It's the memory of Coppertone in the 60s. It's better than most anything to make me feel a bit young again.

Also love the smell of Bonne Bell's 1006 facial astringent. Thank goodness my parents made me tone down the cornflower blue eyeshadow. My lips were covered in Yardley's "pot-o-gloss" in a frosty icy pink. Loved the smell of that stuff too.

I had a red spherical Sony transistor radio. I would sleep with it on my pillow - hoping my favorite song would come on the AM station before I fell into sleep. ("Nights in White Satin").

Someone could make alot of money if they brought back some of these products.

Well, Brenda, I join the chorus of "thank yous" for the little trip down memory lane. You have such a gift with words. Your grateful reader, Martha

P.S. Oh! almost forgot. Charm School! I am a proud graduate of our local Montgomery Ward store's classes. Each time I get in or out of a car, keeping my knees locked together, I remember the lessons learned those Saturday mornings.

Anonymous said...

In my teens I had a crush on James Darin (Moondoggy). swoon.

Heaven Scent!

I didn't use Coppertone - instead I used baby oil with iodine. yikes. But man oh man was I tan!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember the scent "Desert Flower"? I was also a "Seventeen" fan, and had a subscription to "Ingenue" as well. When did that one disappear?

PT in Delaware

Suze said...

I SO remember Bain de Soleil commercials and I also remember people using baby oil and iodine. I used to take my small transistor into the back yard as soon as it was over 65 degrees (brrrrr) and lay soaking up the sun. If a cloud came over the sun I froze!! I loved to read and listen to the radio. I grew up in upstate NY and I remember the radio station jingle for 77WABC - a few months ago I found some recordings of their show from New Year's Eve 1969 and others. As I listened, I marveled at the difference in how people spoke (there were some interviews with listeners) and the sounds of the times. We just don't realize how much the world has changed during our own lifetimes until we hear something from the past like that. By the way, if you go to Youtube, you can search for old TV commercials, too - and old TV shows.....maybe even Bobby Sherman.

Adrienne said...

Ah, yes, those were the days! Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I think it's good to remember the innocence of our youth -- those days when we really didn't have a care in the world. My transistor radio went UNDER my pillow at night and played long after I was asleep. Under my pillow because I didn't want my mom or dad to tell me to turn it off and go to sleep now. I love the music of those days and when I hear it again it takes me back to a day in August I've never forgotten when I sat and looked out my bedroom window and thought how happy and free I felt. My mom collects cobalt blue glass -- on the windowsill of her bathroom is an old bottle of EVENING IN PARIS! Sometimes I'm tempted to try to open it and see if there's any chance some of the fragrance has remained after all these years.

She'sSewPretty said...

Oh wow! did you bring back memories. We must be near the same age. (47) I can almost smell the Heaven Scent perfume and hear the radio with baseball playing in the background. Do you remember Agre' shampoo or something like that. The scent will always remind me of my friends. We all used it. John Denver and Sunshine on My Shoulders...oh the memories!

Anonymous said...

Boy, do you bring back the memories. Bobby Sherman was a definite favorite and I think I had every picture from the teen magazines of him.( on my walls) And I loved him in Here Come the Brides.
I remember Coppertone but does anyone remember those kind that gave you an instant tan? ugh
I think I used a cucumber mask everyday through my whole

Chevie said...

Well I guess I'm late for the summer season but my search for Yardley Pot-o-Gloss (I needed to have the memories that smell brings me, one being my best friend from childhood who passed away from breast cancer at 37) brought me to your narrative. Thank you for your accountings that are just nearly the same;so many similar memories.

Joy said...

Oh my, this is too wonderful! I am in the midst of writing about my days in Seventeen magazine's sponsored Charm school, when I saved my draft and did a Google search on that 'charm school'. I came up with your blog post! I must come back and read more, but if you want to stop by and read my post about charm school, stop by I wil return to read more of your blog--looks like we may very well be soulmates...

Joy said...

I'm baaaaaack! Yes, Coppertone, Ingenue magazine, ANYTHING Yardley, transistor radio under the pillow... I wanted to marry Paul McCartney... 'Nights In White Satin, Desert Flower lotion. My mom had some Evening In Paris perfume, I remember the dark blue bottle on her dresser. Good memories, thanks, Brenda!