Retirement: Life’s Greatest Adventure | Memories of past generations serve as mental pictures

Written by Bill Leavitt. Posted in Featured, Senior Living

Published on September 01, 2020 with No Comments

Every now and then I remember a word or phrase that takes me back to my youth.  Fiddlesticks, by golly, heavens to Betsy, bogyman, hideout, and cap guns are words like that for me.  It is pleasant to remember experiences from long ago because they often bring us mental pictures of the enjoyable times we had while we were growing up.  I recall that during my teen-age years we frequently visited neighbors and they visited us.  Our neighbors knew us and we knew them.

Also, I recall when I went to a friend’s house to ask him or her to go somewhere, I didn’t phone or text, I “called” for him or her.  That is, I stood in front of their house and yelled out “Rick” or “Jim” or whatever the person’s name was.  Phone calls were so much more personable when the operator asked “number, please” for the phone number you were calling.  She seemed like a member of the family just helping out.

Most of us couldn’t afford expensive toys or games, so we made up our own.  Creating these games may have made us more creative than today’s kids, since they are usually at a loss for what to do if they don’t have store-bought toys and games.  Among the games we played were “cowboys and Indians,” bounce-back, stickball, hide and seek, marbles.

We had to get a group of kids together to play games like those mentioned above or baseball, football and basketball.  And we often played with the same group all day.  Sometimes the mom at the house we were playing at around noon would feed us all.  Conversely, when one of us did something wrong, the mom at that house might spank us—and if she did, you’d get it again when you got home.

Here are a few more words and phrases that might have meaning for you:

Party lines; ride your wagon; using playing cards on the spokes or your bike to make it sound like a motor; playing with cap guns; the phrase “shave and a haircut:  two bits”; “see you later, alligator”; Polaroid picture; cooties; pedal pushers; spats; and flat top.

I hope these brought old memories back for you.  “Don’t touch that dial!”

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About Bill Leavitt

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Bill Leavitt is a technical writer from Valparaiso. After retiring from a large corporation in Chicago, he did technical writing consulting for many companies. He currently teaches part-time at Purdue University Calumet. You can order Leavitt’s book, “Retirement: Life’s Greatest Adventure,” by sending $16.65 (includes shipping and sales tax) made payable to Write On Technical Writing, Inc., P.O. Box 132,Valparaiso, IN 46384-0132. Or, visit for more information.

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