Father’s Day brought a unique gift from our daughters, Ruth and Elizabeth.
It’s an online subscription to StoryWorth. Each week for a year, StoryWorth sends me a question. I reply electronically. My answers will then form a book, an heirloom, cherished for generations.
I have gotten four questions so far: What would you consider your motto? What is one of the most selfless things you have done in life? How did you feel when your first child was born? What fads did you embrace while growing up?
That last one was a toughie, but I still came up with a few fads from the Sixties:
• 1960. I am 6 when I see my first pair of Hush Puppies loafers: soft soles, suede uppers, no shoestrings. Dad found a tiny pair of green ones at Sholem’s. I was the envy of the first-graders at Garfield School. The story ended tragically. We were fishing at Campbell’s Station, northeast of Danville. A paper bag was on the bank. When I kicked it, my right Hush Puppy flew up, up, up, and away, splashed, and was never seen again. Tears!
• 1964. The Beatles appear on Ed Sullivan and every kid is a Beatles fan. Overnight, stores were flooded with Beatles merchandise, including Beatles wigs, which allowed even crew-cut lads to look like the mop-tops from Liverpool. I was 10 and my brother Pat was 9. We pooled our money and bought a Beatles wig at Meis Brothers. Somewhere, there’s a photo of me in my Cub Scout uniform, wearing it. Pat and I would take turns wearing it as we harmonized to our favorite Beatles tune, “Do You Want to Know a Secret?”
• 1965. Every boy wanted a Schwinn Sting-Ray, with banana seat, high handlebars, and Slik rear tire. While begging Dad for a used, $18 Raleigh three-speed, he spotted the new $49.95 Sting-Ray and asked the world’s dumbest question: “Wouldn’t you rather have one of those?” It was like a gift from God. It was Christmas in June. It was the greatest and most unexpected present ever.
• Circa 1966. I follow two short-lived boys’ clothing fads. Capitalizing on the popularity of the hit TV show, the “Bonanza shirt” made its debut. It was baggy, corduroy, and instead of buttons, it had leather laces. Believe me, it looked better on Little Joe Cartwright than Kevie Cullen. That winter, hooded fake-fur coats, for boys, were in vogue. I had a green one, and Bobby Shapuras had a silver-black one. We both looked like bears in drag.
• Late-1960s. For many, the penny loafer was the shoe of choice, and the ones with the really thick “beef roll” were best of all. Almost everybody put pennies in the little slots, but not Debbie Myers and her best pal, Nancy DeBarba. They used DIMES. Wow. It was hard to imagine having 20 cents, and not blowing it on hot dog gum.
That’s it for me and fads. Next question?