Saturday, October 27, 2007

Halloween Memories

My hubby and I first lived in a new subdivision of mostly young people our age. Everyone knew everyone else and their children. It was safe then to turn the kids loose to play outside under watchful eyes from parents up and down the street.

Halloween night, from twilight to about 8 or 8:30, saw a stream of little kids from surrounding homes scurrying to one house, then another, in the age-old quest for candy, candy, candy. In simple getups, clowns, tramps, princesses and ghosts came running to our door. They carried plain old paper bags. No expensive, fancy costumes and elaborate, glowing plastic pumpkins back then.

After handing out treats, we could hear a faint, “Say thank you” from the sidewalk. A few little ones new to this fabulous idea of sugar in abundance would pause to peek inside their bags to see what they got. Experienced five year olds barely paused, knowing the faster they went, the more candy they would have at the end of their run.

By about 9 p.m., a few sugar-deprived teenagers and kids brought over in cars from other areas started coming. We turned out the lights, but kept the candy bowl handy.

One year there was a banging on the door and G. leaped up ready to throw candy (and I suspect a few choice words) out the door. There stood two of the saddest characters we had ever seen. The "daughter," who stood over six-feet tall, had a really bad hairdo, what appeared to be a missing front tooth, a tacky dress, and a very pregnant-looking belly.

The shorter "father," dressed in overalls (no shirt), had an obviously fake grey beard and a shotgun. Yikes! It was the most ridiculous our neighbors (both guys) had ever looked and just as the "father" was ready to haul off G. for soiling his daughter, we started laughing so hard we couldn't even talk.

They started to laugh, the pillow-baby fell out of Don's dress and porch lights went on in the houses around us. Neighbors came out to see what all the noise was about and soon we had a front yard party going. What a Halloween that was.

Now all the kids in my present neighborhood have grown and gone and those with children of their own trick-or-treat at parties, church events, or the malls.

Expensive store-bought costumes have replaced clever home-made getups. Little children – at least in my area – no longer whoop and shout “twick or tweat” at the door for candy, candy, candy.

I still buy miniature chocolate bars, though, just in case.


Now what in the world will I do with all this candy? Oh, silly me … never mind.

Happy Halloween!

P.S. – What’s your best Halloween memory?

© Copyright 2007 Suzzwords

Friday, October 19, 2007

Igpay Atinlay

Ancay ouya eakspay igpay atinlay?

Sometime around the seventh grade, a group of us girls all learned to speak pig latin. This incredible language was passed on to us by Nancy’s older brother, who assured us that only we and a few chosen others could understand this strange and cryptic language.

We practiced our new communication all weekend to be ready to whisper secrets to one another in study hall or flaunt openly in front of the boys.

In no time, we became so fluent that we used the language within earshot of our parents. When on the telephone discussing that cute boy in English, we left out no details about his dreamy eyes, his wavy hair or the way he looked running track during gym class. Why, we could just say anything and our parents would have no clue.

Occasionally, just to show off, we would answer back to our moms in pig latin, then condescending say, “Oh, I forgot, you only speak English.” Betty’s mom didn’t think it near as clever as we did and Betty wound up grounded for a week.

It was great fun among us girls as we told jokes, gossiped and even did our homework immersed in the switching of consonants and adding the “ay” at the end of the word.

All was going along smoothly until one day I slipped up and muttered “ammitday” under my breath when I dropped an armful of books in the living room.

Hands on hips and feet firmly planted, my mom suddenly appeared. “Iway avehay adhay enoughway. Ifway ouya asay atthya ordway againway, young lady, ouya areway roundgay orfay away onthmay! Ownay ickpay upway hosetay ooksbay andway ogay otay ourya oomray!”

Good grief! SHE knows our secret language! She knows everything we’ve been saying. Arrrrgggggh! We’re doomed.

The next day in home room, I spread the horrible news to the other girls. Within three days of diplomatically quizzing their mothers, we were devastated to learn that yes, the other mothers and most of the dads, knew our secret language.

When we confronted Nancy’s brother, he howled with laughter. “Of course Mom knows pig Latin, you goofs. Who do you think taught it to me?!”

We decided Nancy’s brother had to be punished for lying to us and then laughing at us. We almost let him off the hook, until we found out he told the guys he hung out with what fools he made of his sister and her stupid friends.

It took a little cocoa powder, sugar, flour, butter, vanilla, salt and baking powder and we whipped up the most beautiful pan of brownies to ever come out of Nancy’s kitchen. We giggled and imagined the consequences of one extra chocolatey secret ingredient recommend by Betty’s older sister.

Almost as if on clue, the brother and his friends appeared.

“Don’t touch these brownies,” we admonished the boys. “They are for a bake sale tomorrow and they have to cool.”

We went up to Nancy’s room, hands clamped over out mouths to keep the laughter from filtering downstairs, and slammed the door. Once secluded, we buried our heads in her pillows, rolling on the bed as tears streamed down our faces.

Two hours later when we emerged, the brownies had disappeared. So had her brother’s friends. At 3 a.m., reported Nancy, her brother was locked in the downstairs bathroom.

We never spoke of the incident again.

© Copyright 2007 Suzzwords

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Dear Olive

October 20 is the birthday of the world's oldest blogger, Olive Riley, a feisty 108-year-old Australian great-great-grandmother with amazingly clear memories of her colorful life. She was born on October 10, 1899, in Broken Hill, a mining town in central Australia.

Physically frail but mentally alert, Olive lives in an aged care hostel 50 miles (80 km) north of Sydney. Her blog (or 'blob' as she calls it), The Life of Riley, is read throughout the world.

Her blogging pal, Mike Rubbo, carefully documents and publishes Olive’s stories for us all to enjoy. Olive and Mike teamed up when he as researching centenarians and then made a film for the ABC called “All About Olive.”

So here’s to you Olive on your 108th birthday.

What a joy you are and what a wonderful gift you have given us with your stories.

Now on with the celebration!

Happy Birthday Dear Olive!

Sunday, October 14, 2007


It’s been a long, exhausting and painful month. I incurred a serious attack of declutteritis.

It all started with exposure to a television program about handy-dandy ways to simplify your life. A vision quickly spread to my brain of tidy closets and litter-free table tops, bookshelves and desks.

If not caught in the early stages, declutteritis can spread to the entire body causing a flurry of activity resulting in painful aches and pains from dragging, pulling, stooping, keeling and lifting.

It can also be expensive. Victims of this all-consuming delirium are often found in department stores scooping up containers and baskets of all sizes, labeling materials and trash bags.

Fortunately, recovery requires very little medication for the normally healthy person unless attics, basements and sheds are involved, or heavy furniture or equipment requires moving. A few over-the-counter pain relievers, some liniment and a good movie on DVD, plus a few days rest, clears up the aches.

Some victims often suffer a side effect. Declutteritis may lead to garagesaleotis, a short-term frenzy to rid the home of stuff that is no longer wanted, but too good to throw away. Further aches and pains may result, but can also be treated with non-prescription pain relievers and a cup of hot tea after the sale subsides.

Warning: Recovery from declutteritis and the resulting garagesaleotis can result in a trip back to the department stores with a bag of change (mostly dimes and quarters) to bring home more useless stuff to be stored in the closets and on table tops, bookshelves and desks.

Caution: Both conditions may reoccur, primarily in the Spring and Fall.

© Copyright 2007 Suzzwords

Monday, October 01, 2007

Things We Hardly Do Anymore

If you are from an average working family and grew up in the 30s, 40s and 50s, you will remember some of these.

Run towels through the wringer.

Sip Coca-Cola from the green bottle right out of the ice-filled box in front of the filling station.

Take shoes to the repair shop.

Trim grass with manual shears.

Defrost the refrigerator’s freezer compartment.

Drink from a woodland stream.

Walk to the corner store.

Use an outhouse.

“Patch” sheets.

Pile in the car for a Saturday night movie at the drive-in.

Press an ear to the console radio to listen to Fibber Magee and Mollie.

Make aprons out of flour sacks.

Open a beer can with a church key.

Get a really great surprise out of the Cracker Jack box.

Send off for a secret decoder ring.

Know all the words to all the songs on “Your Hit Parade.”

Wear triple roll socks.

Attach playing cards to bike wheels so they flap against the spokes and make an engine sound.


Prime the pump.

Loose a skate key.

Pluck a chicken.

Step up on the running board.

Hold your nose when administered castor oil.

Win a goldfish at the county fair.

What do YOU hardly do anymore?

© Copyright 2007 Suzzwords