Tag Archives: levittown

#ThrowbackThursday Levittown Drum & Bugle Corps

Moving to the suburbs was an experience and although there were some tough moments, there were that many more good memories of growing up in Levittown. One of them was discovering the Levittown Drum and Bugle Corps which met just a couple of blocks away at the local church. It was one of first experiments with playing music, but from there, my sister and I both went on to other instruments. My sister was an amazing violin and viola player while I took up the bassoon. Being involved in music groups provided us both with amazing opportunities.

This photo is of us with our parents as we proudly display the bugles we were learning to play!
Levittown Drum & Bugle Corps

#WriteWed I was a reader before I was a writer

Prince ValiantLong before I was a writer, I was a reader. Some of my fondest memories are of reading the Sunday paper with the comics, going to the library, or anxiously standing on the corner waiting for the bookmobile to arrive.

Prince Valiant was my all time fav comic. I lost myself in those amazing images by Hal Foster of Valiant fighting to save his people while falling in love with the fair Aleta. The illustrations in the strip are amazing and I loved reading the stories and making up my own action-adventure romance as I fell asleep at night. I should have known then that I was meant to put my stories on paper in the future.

This strip was first published in 1937 and is still syndicated today to 300 American newspapers. The creator, Hal Forest, is a Hall of Fame cartoonist and illustrator. Thank you, Mr. Forest, for such wonderful memories.

As I mentioned earlier, another memory is of the blue Levittown bookmobile rolling up to the corner. I’d dash in to return the books I had borrowed and to find new books! I always had a book in my hands and when I wasn’t reading a book, I was reading the cereal box. LOL!

Here’s a picture of an early version of the library bookmobile.
Bookmobile

I hope you enjoyed this Write Wednesday look at my days as a reader before I became a writer.

Prince Valiant Photo Credit: http://www.alvarezperea.com/alberto/images/prince_valiant.jpg http://www.schrijvergezocht.com/viewtopic.php?p=13868&sid=949d10039a50efca4d09d9d0e842e2ee This is fair use under US Copyright law because (1) It is only a small portion of the Prince Valiant body of work; (2) It should not affect the commercial value of Prince Valiant; and (3) It is used for non-commercial purposes.

Levittown Bookmobile Photo Credit: Levittown Public Library, 1 Bluegrass Lane, Levittown, N.Y. 11756

#ThrowbackThursday Levittown & Mr. Softee

I grew up in Levittown, Long Island, the first planned suburb in America. Some will bad mouth it by saying it was bland, homogenous and sanitized, but to me it was heaven and the American Dream.

My family was able to buy a home and we had good public schools that prepared us for the future. We had friendly neighbors after some initial issues with being Cuban and all in all, things were wonderful.

The community had little village greens with community pools and we were just minutes away from Jones Beach. Summers were spent playing outdoors and going to the pool or beach. Summers were also spent waiting for the visit of Mr. Softee, today’s Throwback Thursday memory. Of course, that just made me remember that the Good Humor man would also visit on another day, but that’s for a future post. LOL!

My family wasn’t well off, after all, we were political refugees who’d been in America for less than nine years when my parents moved us to Levittown. How’d they do that? The old fashioned way: hard work.

But money was tight and it wasn’t unusual that dinner was fried eggs and rice and we ate cream cheese and jelly sandwiches for lunch. If we even ate lunch. I don’t really remember eating breakfast or lunch in the summer. We were too busy playing outside.

Anyway, having enough money for Mr. Softee was a big deal. A BIG DEAL. Back then, you could get an ice cream cone for about 15 cents, but I loved their sundaes, so I’d save up the 15 cents my grandfather would give us and wait until I had the 35 cents for a sundae!

My sister would always get the Brown Cow, an ice cream cone dipped into some kind of magic liquid that produced a hard shell on the cold ice cream. I sometimes opted for the Cherry Cow if I was really impatient.

After we bought our ice creams, we’d sit on the curb and talk as we ate our treats before heading off to play with our friends again.

Those were the good times and it’s nice to remember them on this Throwback Thursday.

Mister Softee Truck 1.JPG
Mister Softee Truck 1” by Rjsswf8Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Thoughtful Thursday – On Fruit Stripes and Summer

FRUIT STRIPE gumMy sister brought me a present yesterday – a package of FRUIT STRIPE gum. As I unwrapped it, the fruity smells assailed my nostrils and brought back memories of hot summer days in Levittown.

The flavor doesn’t last long on FRUIT STRIPE gum, but somehow that never made a difference back then. Sitting on the grass in front of someone’s house or along the curb in between rounds of stick ball, we would unwrap the gum, smile at its fanciful stripes and then enjoy that blast of fruity flavor.

And we didn’t toss the gum wrapper or use it to discard the now flavorless gum. Hell no, those gaily striped gum wrappers were bounty to be added to our ever-growing gum wrapper chains. Maybe that’s one of the reasons we prized the gum so much – those colorful wrappers sure made a statement on our gum wrapper chains! Wrigley’s gum also made great additions, especially the Juicy Fruit version.

I remember my chain was several feet long before I finally stopped adding to it. Some people never stop adding. Check out Gary Duschl, the current record holder and his chain. You can visit Gary at www.gumwrapper.com and even send him some gum wrappers so you can be part of his chain as well.

Gary Duschl of Virginia Beach, Virginia current record holder of the world's longest gum wrapper chain. Visit www.gumwrapper.com

Hope you enjoyed this fruit-flavored blast to the past and that it brought back pleasant memories of your own summer days.