Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween Redux

Ah, the good old days. I'm going to lapse into my "I'm turning into my Mother" mode for some nostalgic memories. Halloween. It isn't what it used to be. Last night we had three trick or treaters, none of whom we knew. The first two came by car.

When I was growing up we lived in a neighborhood where everyone knew one another and holidays such as Halloween were embraced by all who called it home. One or two nights before Halloween the older kids were allowed to go "Halloweening". They'd creep through neighborhood yards to soap windows and create other types of harmless mayhem.

It was a time when stores were not filled to the brim with elaborate costumes. We made our own. I can remember my brother getting gussied up as a black faced Aunt Jemima before it was politically incorrect. It was a hoot.

Our house was about the halfway point on our street. We had a game room in the basement so we became the midpoint warming place. Dad and my brother, when he was too old for "trick or treating", would rig our long driveway with eerie lights and fog and weird noises. Finally, into the game room to be greeted with a fireplace to warm by, fresh donuts for a final burst of energy and hot cider to ward off the chill. Mom would be there handing out the goodies, oooing and ahhhing over the cleverness of the costumes and making an elaborate game of guessing who was hiding within.

I took over my brother's spot along side Dad when he moved on to more "adult" activities. We kept it up until I too was "too old" along with the rest of the kids my brother and I grew up with. Years later, when I was working in Pittsburgh, I'd still head for home to help hand out the goodies though by then it was at the front door to unknown youngsters.

I have so many memories of those growing up years and the events that made them special. One can say they were more simple times but on reflection I think not. The folks had the same worries parents have today. How to make the pay check stretch. Was there going to be enough money for college. Were taxes going to go up. The price of groceries. The very same issues we face today.

I yearn for those days though. The folks were resourceful and resilient and not given to complaining. My brother and I were loved and protected and given every opportunity we could have wanted.

That was the American Dream. What many of us have done or not done with it has become the American Nightmare. It is said one can't go home again. That may be true. We can however learn from the past and it doesn't have to be past mistakes. It can well be from wonderful, past memories.


Sylvia K said...

I mostly remember when my kids were little and I made all their costumes -- with their help, and no one worried about the kids going trick or treating through the neighborhood. Usually, there would be one or two parents int he background, but no one even dreamed it could someday be too dangerous. I have to admit that inspite of loving all the modern hoopla associated with computers etc. I miss those days of yore and wonder if we'll ever see anything that remotely resembles them again.

Kim_Norm said...

I miss those days as well, and they will never come back as we know it. Memories are what we have, and it seems you have good ones like me. Enjoy. The Stickman

Hughes ap Williams said...

Halloween must bring about a round of nostalgia. I also blogged about my 1950s memories on the Hillsborough NJ Journal:

cconz said...

I always thought halloween was SOOO much fun. Your posts brings fond memories for me also. POPCORN BALLs were my favorite.