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24th Wedding Anniversary

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Editor’s Note — I wrote this editorial on my Wedding Anniversary for my wife. I had problems logging into my Word Press blog accounts on that day. Thus, the editorial stayed on my hard drive until I could get logged into publish the article.
Word Press seems to have updated their publish system, since my last editorial, so the format of this editorial may look different than previous posts.
Samuel E. Warren Jr.
_____________________________________________________

24th Wedding Anniversary

Today, Sunday, July 20, 2014, Christy Warren, my wife, celebrates her 24th Wedding Anniversary. Wait, a minute. . .my wife ? Holy Cow ! That means I’ve been married 24 years today also.

I need a minute.

Okay. The shock has passed.

I am surprised I am celebrating 24 years of marriage. I was a single man. I liked being a single man.
My first marriage was “Made In Hell.” Actually, I made the Supreme Mistake of walking down the alise of the neo-Gothic cathedral of The School Of The Ozarks at Point Lookout, Missouri, back in the late ’70s.

I made it a point to ‘Forget’ that so-called “Wedding Day.”

The Lesson Of My First Marriage was simple: I will Never, Ever get married again. Two-and-a-half miserable years of being “Locked” into “Holy Wedlock”, is the reason Why I Don’t Fear Hell. I spent everyday in Hell for two-and-a-half, long, miserable years. I dreaded sunrise each day.

Once my divorce was granted, I made myself “The Promise.”

The Promise was simple: “Never Again.”

At age 24, I won back my “Freedom.”

I never had any intention of ever getting married again.

I was “Free !” I was single, again.” I had a good job in the United States Air Force. Thanks to Uncle Sam, I do my job, salute smartly and I could travel the world. I did.

Again, I was a Single American. I was fortunately to be a Single American G.I. I loved my job in Public Affairs because I got to live my fantasy as “The Reporter.”

I lived to write. My mentor Master Sergeant took the time to really “Teach” me how to use a camera to take news photographs for the newspaper. I worked at it and became a photojournalist. I wrote the stories and shot the photos, which ended up in print in a base newspaper. My Life was complete. I was Whole. I was Happy.

The day came when Uncle Sam handed me a set of orders for duty in the Pacific. Hallelujah !

The Ozarks country boy ends up at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. I had heard my father’s stories about World War II in the Pacific. I had heard other veterans War stories about duty in the Pacific. I did some interviews and published some of those stories. When Uncle Sam gave me the orders, I had my camera bag packed before my duffel bag and I was ready to catch the aircraft on the runway.

While stationed on Okinawa, I noticed and met some of the Most Beautiful Women On Planet Earth.

I met Koreans and Filipinas. I got a temporary duty assignment to the Kingdom Of Thailand, so I met beautiful Thais, Cambodian and Laotian women.

I was in my 20s and 30s, so I was as “Handsome” as I was ever going to be. Fortunately, the striking blue uniform and my Battle Dress Uniform made even an average looking guy like me appear like a handsome Hollywood heart throb.

Still, I had “No Intention Of Never, Ever Getting Married Again.”
At Clark Air Base, Republic of the Philippines, I fell in love with the tropical climate, the country, the base, and my job. I was a Single American G.I., whose blood flowed and his heart pounded, so I naturally noticed I was “Ground Zero” in the Pacific version of Heaven. Everywhere I looked — Filipinas.

A Single Man In Paradise surrounded by beautiful women realizes Life is more fun and meaningful when it is shared.

One Filipina caught my eye. Christy had a Farah Fawcett-Majors shag haircut. Her eyes sparkled. Her smile was diamond bright sunshine.

She wasn’t tall. Still, she caught my eye and I could see her as a “Playboy” or “Penthouse” centerfold in my mind.

Christy might have known two words in English. Language was definitely the barrier. I learned broken Tagalog and she busted through the barrier and learned English quickly.

One of the things I noticed about my future wife was her independence and sense of style. In the Asian culture, women usually are shy and taught to stay in the background. Christy was one of the few Asian women I had ever met, who did not do the cultural “Docile Routine.”

When it came to style, Christy had the eye of a fashion designer. She knew how to mix and match colors that caught my eye and made other men turn their heads.

We began to date. I suddenly realized, “Jackpot !”

I knew “If” I didn’t marry Christy I would always regret the decision. I wanted someone I could “Love” and share my Life with.

Women came and Women went. I was a single man. I knew, Christy was “The Woman!” I didn’t want to see her, “Go.”

I proposed.

She made me wait.

I kept at the job and wondered “If” she would take me up on my offer.

She did.

Friday, July 20, Nineteen Eighty Nine, the presses rolled. “The Philippine Flyer” came “Hot Off The Press !”

In the best tradition of American Newspaper Editors And Reporters, I had told Christy, “The newspaper comes first !”

My Wedding Day was scheduled to happen — after “The Philippine Flyer” came off the presses. Show Time was 10 a.m., at the Justice Of The Peace office at The Main Gate of Clark Air Base. I and everyone of my witnesses and people from my office were in position.

The only thing missing ? The Bride.

Christy was having “Second Thoughts.”

The clock ticks. Time passes.

I smiled a lot.

The smiles helped to hide my nervousness.
I remembered the stories about being “Left At The Altar.” I remembered Dustin Hoffman in the movie, “The Graduate.”

The witnesses were getting restless. The Justice Of The Peace did some more paperwork to pass the time.

I got restless.

At 1 p.m., my “Bride” walked through the door. Heaven retired an “Archangel” that day. Christy was a heavenly vision. She wore a simple white dress with the traditional Filipina “Imelda Marcos Filipina sleeves”, which rise an inch or two at the shoulder seam.

Filipina First Lady Imelda Marcos made the dress style internationally famous, so, at least, Military Americans got in the habit of describing the dress as “The Imelda Dress” or a Filipino dress with “Imelda sleeves.”

Christy wore her long hair up to create a bun at the back described as Chinese style. I describe her holding mechanism as “Chopsticks”, for lack of a better descriptive term.

Christy was “Perfect.”

24 Years Later — My Bride, Christy is still “Perfect.”

The only thing my bride lacked was “Wings.” I looked at her and my mind’s eye supplied the feathery, ivory angelic wings to match her dress.

“I do.” The two most important words I ever uttered in my life, I spoke that day.

When I die, I doubt I go to Heaven. I don’t care. I’m a redneck Texan. I grew up in the Hillbilly Ozarks. I am an arrogant American. I love my country and my flag.

The Texan Warrens and The Missouri Ozarks’ DeLongs taught me the most important thing in Life is to Live It and Love Your Family.

The Day I Step Out Of This Life and stand before God or Satan and am expected to make a statement about my life, I already know, what I will say:

“Sir, with all due respect, I enjoyed every second of my Life. I had the Best Mother any Son or Daughter could ever ask for.”

” I am grateful for my father. I hit the celestial jackpot of aunts and uncles when it came to DeLongs and Warrens. The Universe hit me hard at times in Life.”

“I am not a religious man. However, I got The Best Wife that any man, in the past, present or future, could ever imagine or ask for. Christy Saldana Warren might not have been an archangel, but, she has always been, My Goddess. My wife has always been my strength, my heart and my soul.”

“If this is Judgement Day; so be it ! I ain’t askin’ for ‘Squat.’ I just want The Universe, Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah, The Christian God and whatever other deities, real or imagined, which live in The Universe to realize I loved Christy Warren with my heart and blackened soul. I thank The Universe for my son, Samuel Ranilo Warren. I thank The Universe for my daughter, Donna Junea Warren.”

“My children have ‘The Best’ of their beautiful Filipina mother. I truly hope, my children have inherited some of the redneck arrogance, cynicism, skepticism, independence, stubbornness,and courage of their American Warren and DeLong ancestors and their ‘Hell-raising’ father, so they will achieve their own personal greatness in their lives.”

“Therefore, God, Satan, with all due respect,my Life is better than I could of ever hoped for. Faith, Hope, Beauty, Joy, Happiness — I had it all.”

“If you gentlemen dieties wanted me to suffer — you messed up ! I found ‘My Wife.’ I found ‘My Life.’ Christy Saldana Warren. I lived on the planet Earth. But, I Never really Lived until I woke up each morning and looked into Christy’s face.”

“My world. My Life. My Soul. I lived as a man. My wife completed me. No silly reward or No eternal punishment can ever separate my from The Love Of My Wife Christy On Earth.”

“Send Me To Heaven ! Send Me To Hell ! Cast My Atoms To The Far Reaches Of The Universe ! I will have the last smile. I had ‘The Best Mother Of Mankind.’ No Eternal Punishment Will Ever Torture My Sinner’s Soul because I had ‘The Best Wife Of Mankind’ — Christy Saldana Warren.”

In the United States, it is never easy to find the Love of another person.

In the Republic Of The Philippines, Love might be totally ignored because people are taught to believe in a God creature or his underling, rather than open their eyes and search for the soul that adds to or completes their Life.

My Life has taught me that Love is The Soul Who Completes You.

Christy has not always agreed with me. Christy, at times, has definitely disagreed with me. We have had our loud shouting matches at each other. However, I would never want to imagine My Life Without Her.

Thus, God or Satan — real or not — does not worry me. None of the deities of Mankind frighten me. Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah, The Christian God can all take a bus to Brooklyn and drown themselves in The Atlantic Ocean. I do not “NEED” or “WANT” any of the silly religious fantasies and mythologies of The World’s Old Tired Organized Religions.

I stood at “Ground Zero”, the day that Super Typhoon Yolanda, came to my barangay in the Philippines. I heard the winds howl. I saw the intense white light around the door frame. The door busts open three times. Three times I rushed put my shoulder to the door and closed it.

None of the phony Gods Of Mankind had ‘The Power’ to take me.

I love my wife and family. The phony Gods didn’t get me and they had their chance.

Super Typhoon Yolanda didn’t take me and I gave her three chances when I grabbed the door and shut it.

Thus, “If” I ever do stand before one of the false Gods Of Mankind or Satan, I will be respectful: I was born a Texan and “Respect” is ingrained in my DNA.

I will not “Fear” because I was raised in the Ozarks by a proud “hillbilly” mother, who taught me “Love IS Family” and “Family IS Always Love.” Relatives who betray you; aren’t family — they are just biological lifeforms who have a lot of the shared RNA and DNA.

Marriage can and does “Create A Special Mystical Strand Of RNA and DNA”, which flows through the blood and enhances the organs to evolve a human into a special, unique human, who lives for his or her family.

In the final analysis, I have, no doubt, I could look God or Satan in the eyes and present my final statements.

“My wife,Christy made me welcome each sunrise. Everyday with Christy was an adventure. We had our ups. We had our downs. We always had ‘The Love.’ Christy gave me two beautiful children, Samuel Ranilo Warren and Donna Junea Warren. The Universe knows ‘My Goddess’ is Christy Warren — my heart, my soul, and my Life.”

Thank You, Christy for 24 Wonderful Years Of Married Life. Thank You, Christy for 24 Years Of Life. Christy, You are “My Goddess.”

I love you, Christy.
Sam

Christmas Day in the Ozarks 1966 by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Childhood Christmas Celebration

 

Christmas Day in the Ozarks

1966

COUNTRY LAMPS

 

The Ozarks’

Kerosene Lamps

The Ozarks Electric Cooperative and White River Electric Cooperative were two Ozarks power companies that were working to provide consistent, stable electricity to the farms and homes of Stone County, Missouri in the 1960s. In the winter, Ozark’s snowfall would bring trees and limbs down on power lines and families would have to resort to kerosene lamps at night until the power companies could get back into the rural hills and hollers to repair or replace the power poles. In the southwest Missouri Ozarks’ snow is usually on the ground for Christmas Day,so these decorative “coal-oil” lamps were always an important functional holiday decoration to have ready throughout the winter. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Friday December 9, 1966

I come back home from school and Momma has a four foot Christmas Tree set up. The cedar tree looks impressive sitting in the three pound Folgers Coffee can in the center of the wooden office desk.

 

The heavy wooden desk had originally belonged to J. Frank Couch, of Gilmer, Texas. Papa Warren had bought it from J. Frank and given it to Momma, “for Sam Junior to do his school work on.” It is a beautiful, heavy flat top wooden desk, with a slender middle drawer and three deep side drawers on each side.

 

Gravel from the driveway is packed tightly around the trunk of the tree. This year, like the years before, Momma had walked into the woods, across the road, with her ax and cut down the tree.

 

I know I will have to “water” the tree to try and keep it alive until Christmas.

 

christmas-tree-logo-photo-two-thumbnail_thumb[1]The nice thing about our Christmas Trees is they were “FREE”. One plant, other than ragweed, that seems to appreciate Stone County, Missouri’s rocky soil is cedar trees.

 

Momma’s “Warren Land” and Uncle Richard’s “DeLong Land” kept the Stone County courthouse in Christmas Trees for more than a decade.

 

Late November or early December, someone from the county would “stop by” and ask Momma if the county could get a Christmas Tree off of her land or Uncle Richard’s. Momma’s standard response: “Take an ax and cut as many as you want.”

 

Momma had her box of Christmas decorations sitting on the floor by the desk. I reached in and got the little strips of flimsy aluminum that is suppose to represent icicles and put it on the branches.

 

Later, Reynolds Wrap aluminum from the kitchen will swaddle the coffee can to become the tree skirt. It will give me something to do after I finish my homework.

 

When I got home from school, the old white Chevrolet pickup was parked in the driveway, which meant Momma was home. I suspect that she is down on the hillside in one of the hog houses, which means one of the old sows is probably ready to have pigs.

 

A few minutes later, Momma came in and said, “One of the old sows is acting up. I put her in the shed. She will probably have pigs tonight or in the morning. Do you have homework ?”

 

Yes, mam. I know, take off your school clothes and get on your homework.”

 

She smiles and nods.

 

Sam Junior’s Hot Dog Sandwiches

 

A couple of hours pass. I go in the kitchen and take wieners out of the ice box.

 

I know how to cook one thing – hot dogs.

 

I turn on the gas stove and heat up the water in a white enamel quart sauce pan. Once the water, steams and boils like a witches’ cauldron,then, I would dump in the wieners.

I come from a family that does not believe in “Raw Meat.” We cook our food. I would always wait until the steaming water bubbled like sulphuric acid.

 

I would watch the wieners boiled in the pan. Usually, I would take them out before they ruptured. Sometimes I would allow the hot water to rupture the wiener. Then, I would pour the hot water down the sink.

 

I had laid out slices of bread on the counter. With a layer of mayonnaise or Miracle Whip on the bread. If the wieners had not ruptured, then, I would take a butcher knife and slice the wieners lengthwise.

 

Once sliced, I would position the wieners on he bread and fold out the sides so that the wieners looked like tall, pink butterflies.

 

Two wieners on a slice of bread would fill the slice. I would spoon on relish. Then, I squirted on catsup and added a slice of cheese before using the other slice of bread as a top. On Momma’s hot dog sandwiches, I would add a squirt of French’s mustard.

 

In the dark ages, before the invention of the microwave, you had to be able to at least cook a little.

 

Hillbilly Hog Hospital

 

HOG HOUSE LANTERN THUMBNAIL 1Momma comes back to the house. She had a couple of hot dog sandwiches. Since the first grade, Momma has asked me what we had for lunch at school today. Usually, I remember. Today, I can’t remember.

“It is Friday, which means it is the weekend. She tells me about her day and I really don’t have anything interesting to tell about my school day. After a few minutes she heads back down on the hill to wait for the old sow to have the pigs.”

 

When you have three or four old sows, there is the likelihood that a couple of old sows may “pig” on the same night. When your herd is expanding toward the number 25, rest assured there will be days and nights when you feel like a nurse in a maternity ward rushing from one sow to another.

 

If Momma had a couple of old sows in “delivery mode”, she would keep an eye on one and I would “play doctor” for the other.

 

When a pig is born, the important function is to clear away the afterbirth from the nostrils so the little squealer can breath. Keep an eye on the sow, because a squeal from the newborn pig will have the old sow trying to get up to check on her baby.

 

Every now and then, Momma would have a “mean old sow” that would rather fight than have her pigs. You always kept your distance from an old sow in labor.

 

Momma comes back to the house. She has another old sow that will probably haveHOG HOUSE LANTERN THUMBNAIL 1 pigs tonight. She has already got that old sow in the lower shed. I just need to get ready and go down on the hill. She will keep an eye on the old sow in the upper shed. I get to watch the old sow in the lower shed. Daddy has the sheds wired for lights. The light in that shed usually works.

 

My old sow is not suppose to be mean. The sow Momma is watching is usually mean, when she starts to pig. I will just have to watch my old sow and make sure she doesn’t lay down on any of her pigs by accident.

 

A severe labor pain can cause an old sow to “jump up.” When an old sow jumps up from labor, she is fighting the pain and anything nearby that could be the source of her pain becomes the target.

 

Snorting and grunting the old sow will come at you. I was taught there is only one way to “Stop” an old sow or boar that is charging at you.

 

Farm stores don’t sell tranquilizer guns. Pharmacies don’t sell farmers Novocain or any type of livestock muscle relaxer drugs. The farmer has to rely on his God-given common sense and the shared knowledge from other farmers.

 

You pick up a stick of wood, a shovel, a hoe, an ax handle or any type of tool handle you can get your hands on. Then, you swing it down as hard as you can across the hog’s snout, That will stop the hog in it’s tracks” Momma told me time and again.

 

HOG HOUSE LANTERN THUMBNAIL 1Momma explained that you busted the item over the hog’s snout to stop it from charging at you. You can slap a hog on the side and it will shrug off the blow like a nuisance house fly. Hogs go through brush and saplings in the woods, so they just shrug off the scrapes and keep going.

 

I don’t know if the procedure would work for everyone, but the procedure always worked for me to stop our Yorkshire, Duroc and Hampshire sows. Fortunately, I didn’t have to do it too often.

 

My old sow had 12 pigs. Momma’s old sow had 15. My old sow had a runt, but he looks okay.

 

Momma’s old sows averaged 12 to 18 pigs by the time she put the two bulk hog feeders out in the field. The bulk hog feeders were the science fiction equipment on any hog farm.

 

Take Me To Your Feeder”

 

By the early 1970s, Momma had bought two bulk hog feeders. The two fat, cylindrical tubes were connected to their respective oversized metal bowls that had a series of lids that hogs could raise with their noses.

 

Whenever I stood out in the field and looked at the bulk hog feeders they always looked like two strange fat, short, landed UFOs.

 

I could always imagine a tiny green man asking me to take him to my leader. I just always hoped I got to the little alien before one of the old sows went rooting around and decided that he looked more like a root than an alien.

 

Sunday, December 18, 1966

 

Daddy arrived from Houston early this morning. I love it when I see that blue and white fleet side half ton pickup pulling into the driveway. It means daddy is home for a couple of weeks.

 

Aunt Bill sent me one of her German Chocolate Cakes. And, the white coffee can tin with the gold shape of the state of Texas was packed to the brim with Aunt Bill’s Chocolate Chip Cookies. She packed the cookies in wax paper in the can,so they did not crumble. I love these cookies.

 

When daddy came home for the Fourth of July, he didn’t go by Aunt Bill’s house before he headed for Missouri. Daddy said Aunt Bill got on to him for not stopping at her house first, because she had some chocolate chip cookies to send to me. This time, daddy said, Aunt Bill didn’t take any chances. She made sure she and Uncle Audrey went by the house the night before daddy left out for Missouri. Thanks to Aunt Bill, we got the cake and the cookies.

 

I don’t know if we will go Christmas shopping in Springfield tonight. I know daddy is tired from the drive, but I hope we get to go.

 

I did get to go Christmas shopping, The trip from Houston to Galena always wore you out. I know daddy had to be tired, but he knew that I looked forward to him coming home for the holidays. We looked everywhere for the Operation game. We spent every night going shopping before Christmas.

 

Monday, December 19, 1966

 

I didn’t have to ride the bus from school tonight. Daddy and Momma picked me up once school let out and we headed to Springfield to do more Christmas shopping. I really want the “Operation” game for Christmas. Store after store in Springfield said they had it, but it sold out fast.

 

Last weekend, I even talked Momma into going to Springfield and going “down on the square.” Momma doesn’t like shopping on the square. It is always a pain for her or daddy trying to find a place to park to shop on the square.

 

Earlier in the month. Momma and I went to Aurora to the stores, to try and find the game. No luck.

 

I didn’t get the Operation game for Christmas. That year we left no stone unturned trying to find the game.

 

In the 1960s, The Ozarks seemed a remote location “right smack dab in the center of the United States.: If something “new” in terms of fashion, toys or technology got released or announced in New York City or Los Angeles it meant that it would be at least six months and probably a year before the item would be released and available for purchase in The Ozarks.

 

December 2011, I was curious about the types of toys the stores are selling for kids at Christmas. I strolled into the toy aisle of the Wal-Mart store in Branson West Missouri, there in the games section were plenty of brand new “Operation” games waiting for parent and grandparents to purchase them.

 

 

Home Sweet Hen House

 

I started school at Abesville Elementary in 1960. Momma and I arrived and she was looking for a small place to buy, so I could go to school in Missouri. If I started school in Missouri I could start at age five. If I were to start school in Texas I would have to wait until age six.

 

Momma already owned her land in Missouri that she and daddy planned to build their “Dream Home” on when he retired. Time and again, I heard her tell people we were just looking for a place we could, “batch.” I understood it to mean a “temporary” location.

 

We ended up with a house about a quarter of a mile down the road from Grandma and Uncle Richard. It was a weird house. It had a weird design. US houses in Missouri had gabled roofs.

Our house had a “Hen House” roof. Technically, the roof style is called a, “Shed Roof.” However, in Missouri in the 1960s, when people built their chicken houses they seemed to use the slanted roof.

 

Ernest Cloud build our house. Everyone always talked about the beautiful work Ernest did as a cabinet maker. The story is that whenever there were leftover pieces from construction jobs that he worked on, he would use those materials and built the house that we lived in.

 

In The Ozarks, in the 1960s people were building homes out of beautiful red brick. Older homes that used the giant rocks belonged to the 1930s, 1940s and a few to the 1950s. The rock houses had huge rock and a wide white line between the stones.

 

Alas, our hen house was a rock house. It had a garage attached, which only served to continue the hen house look.

 

In the beginning, even though we lived by the state highway, there were so many trees in the yard, the house was almost completely hidden from the highway.

 

A slight pig trail through the trees was the only indication that there was something in the woods.

 

At dusk, the slender, anorexic trees blocking the way looked like a Hollywood movie setting for a horror flick. In the sunlight, we were still so far back in the boonies from the main highway, “God had to pump in sunshine.”

 

Momma bought some hair goats for the brush and sprouts. Then, she bought a chain saw and the trees began to disappear. Suddenly, the hen house sat close enough for everyone going by to see.

 

While I was in the United States Air Force in the early 1980s, the roof of the hen house fell in. Momma got a trailer and put it on the property until she could get what she wanted. The remains of the hen house got bulldozed down on the hillside.

 

Thank God for the invention of the bulldozer.

 

I never liked the house that we lived in because most of the rooms seemed slightly larger than a Ma Bell phone booth. These series of phone booths had simply been joined together to resemble something like a house. The kitchen was so small you had to go outside to change your mind,

 

The fireplace collected soot and weary birds. In the winter time, the fireplace was more of a huge draft that let in cold air, rather than a fireplace. Momma finally blocked off the fireplace and got a large gas heater stove to shut out the cold.

 

If you have ever saw the 1986 movie, “The Money Pit” with Tom Hanks and Shelley Long, then, you have an idea of the hen house that we batched in. The movie house was a nice, prestigious looking building; our house didn’t look that good and it had the hen house roof.

 

Operation Christmas Tree

 

Sunday, December 25, 1966

 

In Houston, I would bolt out of bed and rush through our huge old house toward the Christmas Tree. The house had cathedral ceilings. It was an old home, but it was majestic.

You rushed down the hallways and it was like being a kid and running through Westminster Cathedral. You were celebrating being alive and you wanted all of God’s creatures to know it.

 

In Galena, the house was small. It was cozy because it was cramped. The still green Christmas Tree sat on the desk. Brightly wrapped boxes were positioned around the tree.

 

Tonka Pink Surrey Jeep

 

Aunt Bill and Uncle Audrey always sent me something for Christmas. I ripped open theTONKA PINK SURREY JEEP THUMBNAIL 1 wrapping paper and got through the outer box to the toy box. I got the Tonka Pink Surrey Jeep that I had wanted since I had seen it.

 

Elvis Presley in the movie, “Blue Hawaii” had drove this type of jeep. I learned to dance watching Elvis Presley on TV as a kid.

On a family outing to Galveston, Texas, a couple of years later, a Pink Surrey Jeep had passed us on the highway.

 

Aunt Bill always listened to me. I had told her about the Elvis-type jeep that had passed us on the way to Galveston. Of course, I told her I had seen the jeep toy in a store. I had even forgotten about the jeep until I saw the box. As always, Aunt Bill came through.

 

1960s Secret Agents

 

Once I saw Patrick McGoohan in the TV show, “Secret Agent”, I became intrigued with the ideas of “secret agents.” Roger Moore was “The Saint.” Sean Connery became “James Bond” the famous “007.” Dean Martin did the tongue in cheek, “Matt Helm” movies. James Coburn was “Flint.”

 

While the 1960s were about “The Space Race,” The Cold War remained a reality. The Americans didn’t trust the Russians. The Russians didn’t trust the Americans. Nobody trusted “The Red Chinese.”

 

In America, China was a Communist country and the location meant it was the “Far East”, which meant, “The Orient” and in the 1960s there weren’t that many Americans, other than Chinese-Americans, who spoke Chinese.

 

The Russians didn’t seem in the Cold War days to trust the Chinese. Russia had Lenin Communism. China had went with Trotsky Communism under Mao Tse tung. Trotsky had to flee the Soviet Union and the Russians, evidently didn’t appreciate the fact that one of their “political exiles” had influenced a neighboring government.

 

Of course, in the never-ending debate of forms of government, “The A-Bomb Paranoia” loomed large in the back of everyone’s mind. The Americans were afraid the Soviets would launch their Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles. The Russians were afraid the Americans would launch their ICBMs. Then, around 1964, China announced they had “Nukes.”

 

Spy flicks and novels were all the rage in the 1960s because “The Nuclear Politics Of The Cold War” had every country worried about their neighbors. Of course, the “spies” were the guys who always brought the world back from the brink on TV and in the movies.

 

Secret Sam

 

Topper Toys came out with one of the best “secret agent” toys, “Secret Sam.” Instead of using suave, debonair,handsome men to advertise their toy, Topper put kids in trench coats. Suddenly, America had legions of the worlds smallest spies ready to save the world.

 

I was ecstatic when I opened the wrapping and saw my “Secret Sam” briefcase.

 

MY SECRET SAM BRIEFCASE_Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Secret Sam

The Atomic Bomb fallout of World War II created a Global Paranoia that pitted every nation in the world against one another in a never-ending Olympics of Cold War politics in which countries were suppose to choose up sides and go with one of the Super Powers: The Americans, The Soviets, or The Red Chinese. The only escape from the persistent paranoia was television and movie stories of brave espionage agents, who were always battling in the shadows,“The Bad Guys.” Topper Toys noticed that kids wanted to be “Secret Agents”, so they started selling this toy espionage kit with the periscope, message missile, pistol, silencer and the camera, Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

Secret Sam is a futuristic looking pistol with several attachments like a periscope. There is the message missile, where you can put a message inside and slip the orange sleeve on the rod. Then, you shoot the missile. The whole briefcase amazed me. I liked the function that you could push the circular button to shoot a plastic bullet out of the briefcase. The plastic peg on one end you press down to take a picture with the camera concealed in the briefcase.

 

Secret Sam quickly became one of those toys that allowed kids to become Peter Graves or one of the “operatives” in the “Mission Impossible” TV show.

 

MY SECRET SAM BRIEFCASE _closed_Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

In this photograph the “Secret Sam” briefcase toy is closed. The circular indentation is the side button you pushed to launch plastic bullets. There is a plastic peg that you push down to take a picture with the concealed camera in the case. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Operation Christmas Tree 1966 is over. You carefully replace your equipment in your briefcase. You hum the theme to “Secret Agent” and stroll confident toward the door. Your next port of call ?

 

Bucharest ? Budapest ? London ? Moscow ? Beijing ? Tel Aviv ?

 

Grandma’s house for Christmas Dinner.

 

Sam

 

Sam’s Wonderful World

of Toys Links

 

The robot that my mother and father bought me for Christmas 1959 was the Marx Electric Robot. It was not a handsome robot, but, the Morse Code functions and it’s ability to move amazed me. Of course, I was only about four years old at the time. The website below has more information on this unique robot toy. The other toy links are to remind you there should always be “a little child inside of all of us, when it comes to toys.”

 

Doc Atomic’s Attic Of Amazing Artifacts

http://astoundingartifacts.blogspot.com/2009/09/electric-robot-marx-1955.html

 

Toy Robot History

Daryl aka The Robotnut

http://www.robotnut.com/history/

 

Toys You Had

http://www.toysyouhad.com/

 

Antique Toys

http://www.antiquetoys.com/

 

Collectors Weekly

Toy Robots

http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/attack-of-the-vintage-toy-robots-justin-pinchot-on-japans-coolest-postwar-export/

 

 

Alphadrome Toy Space Helmets

http://danefield.com/alpha/forums/topic/13898-toy-space-helmets/

 

Tootsie Toy Company

http://www.tootsietoy.com/

 

Louis Marx and Company Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Marx_and_Company

 

MARX Toy Museum

http://www.marxtoymuseum.com/

 

Mattel Toy Store

http://www.matteltoystore.com/

 

Hasbro United States

http://www.hasbro.com/?US

 

Hubley Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubley_Manufacturing_Company

 

ERTL Farm Toys

http://www.rcertl.com/

 

Scale Model

http://www.scalemodeltoys.com/

Toy Farmer Magazine

http://www.toyfarmer.com/

 

Kenner Products Wikipedia

http://www.antiquetoys.com/

 

Dinky Toys Dinky Site

http://www.dinkysite.com/

 

Toy Collector Magazine

http://www.toycollectormagazine.com/

 

Auburn Rubber Company Auburn Toys Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auburn_Rubber_Company

 

Tonka Trucks Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonka

 

Buddy L Toy Company Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddy_L

 

Structo Toy Trucks TNT Toy Trucks

http://www.tnttoytrucks.com/Structo.html

 

Toy Trucker & Contractor

http://www.toytrucker.com/

 

Wham-O Toys Inc.

http://www.wham-o.com/

 

Ideal Toy Company Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideal_Toy_Company

 

Remco Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remco

 

Topper Toys Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topper_Toys

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 23, 2012 at 9:32 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Current Events, Ecology, Editorial, Family, Food, Holidays, Money, Nature, Observances, Photos, Stone County History, The Ozarks, Tourism

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Massive Moving Sale Idea – Toy Box for Kids

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by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

All the unsold merchandise has been returned to storage.  The Weiser Tent Service, of Monett, Missouri came and got the big top.  Now, that a day or so has passed, I have had time to reflect on what worked and what did not.  Overall, I believe the sale was an outstanding success.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the shoppers who came to our massive moving sale.

My wooden crate toy box in August offered kids the chance to dig into the box for a toy. But, there were not that many kids at the yard sale. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Back in August, when we decided to have a yard sale, I noticed my old wooden crate toy box.  As a young boy in Houston, Texas, I had thrown my toys in the crate.  I had an imagination and I played hard with many of the toys.  I stressed tested many of the toys to the limit.  The toy box from the garage in Texas only represented a fraction of the toys that made the trip to Missouri and ended up in storage.  Toys, other than mine. found their way into the toy box.

I looked at the old toy box and wondered if kids in the 21st Century of 2011 were as curious as a boy of the 20th Century back in the late 1950s.  Before I started school, I would dig in the box in the garage and play for hours with the hodge podge of various toys from plastic cars to green army men.

I had noticed at garage sales and yard sales that I had been to that if there were no toys to interest children, then, parents weren’t always able to concentrate on browsing all the items.  I wondered if the big toy box setting out in the open would occupy children’s interest, while their parents and grandparents shopped.

Not to sound like a bureaucratic number crunching bean counter, but August didn’t provide very much in the way of data because the majority of the grown up shoppers came without their kids.  September was a different story.  I was ready to put out the toy box and watch to see if kids would dig into the toy box.

“Junior, I sold your toy box,” said Donna, my cousin, on the first day fo the Massive Moving Sale.  I freaked !  My eyes went wide.  I felt my mouth drop open.  “I hope you don’t mind.  A lady wanted the wooden crate, so I sold it.  Your toys though I put in another box,” explained Donna.

I took a deep breath and smiled.  Now, I could carry on my experiment and see if kids even paid attention to the toy box.

Friday, I came up with the idea to put my Star Trek dolls on a table and place them where cars going by would see them.  Later that afternoon, a long, big, yellow Galena school bus sped past enroute to Abesville.  I noticed a multitude of tiny faces pressed against the window glass and staring out at the dolls and the tent.  After school, some parents stopped by with their kids and when I told the child to pick a toy they wanted out of the toy box . . . I didn’t have to tell any child twice.

The kids dug through the toy box with the exuberance of an archaeologist and the discerning eye of a Rodeo Drive shopper.  I had worried that I did not have any toys that would interest little girls.  However, through the years, some girls had left toys around here that found there way into the toy box.

In September for the Massive Moving Sale, my toys ended up in an old computer box. The kids that came with their parents and grandparents dug into the box like frenzied shoppers at A Day After Thanksgiving Christmas Shoppers Sale. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Judging from the kid’s expressions, they  enjoyed being able to get a toy.  It doesn’t get any cheaper than, “Free !”  Everyone loves a bargain, even a kid.  It seemed they also enjoyed digging through the toy box to see what they could find.  My analysis may not be scientific; but, being a kid at heart – I believe the idea worked.

Sam

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FREE Photo — Rockets’ Red Glare Over Galena

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FREE PHOTO — Rockets Red Glare Over Galena

This cloudburst of fireworks launched into the night sky from the Y Bridge at Galena, Missouri. This symbolic explosion of the Fourth of July celebration entertained spectators, who watched sitting on the ground and in lawn chairs at the Y Bridge Park.

The old Y Bridge is only one of two such bridges in the United States. Today it is a bridge that still spans the James River, but is usually restricted to just people walking across the bridge. Since the 1930s, the bridge gets bombarded by trees and other debris that James River slams into the bridge anytime the river floods.

Actual automobile traffic flows along the boringly named. “new bridge,” which was built in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The old Y Bridge has an interesting architectural structure, while the new bridge is the basic, lack of imagination, no artistic style structure normally associated with local, state and federal government construction projects since the 1960s.

Naturally, the “new bridge” leads past Galena, so that motorists can quickly speed on past Galena, Crane and head into Republic or Springfield, The new bridge is a few miles down the river from the historic Y Bridge.

The fireworks in the sky is a reminder at how we take the simple thing in life for granted. In the five years that I was stationed at Misawa Air Base Japan I never saw a Fourth of July fireworks celebration.

Misawa, Japan’s weather was always so lousy with a damp, thick cloud cover that base officials always decided to postpone the Fourth of July fireworks until Labor Day Weekend. Fireworks on September 1 ain’t the same as on the Fourth of July – regardless of dismal, damp cloud cover.

The Rocket’s Red Glare Over Galena is a reminder that the freedom to think and the liberty to enjoy your life should always be celebrated.

Story Behind The Photo – I used my Nikon D 200 and took extra Compact Flash cards to be ready to do some serious holiday photo shooting.

Like an old fashioned gunslinger, I slipped my Canon holster on to my western belt. I chose my Kodak CX7300 camera because with two rechargeable double A batteries the camera shoots amd shoots. I like it as a backup camera. So, I slipped it into the holster and spent the day shooting.

By nightfall, the Nikon had consumed the cards and flashed “FULL.” I aimed the Kodak skyward. The flash kept going off against a black sky.

Fast on the shutter can yield too little too late. I clicked in the Movie Mode and watched through the shutter window of the camera.

Back home, I downloaded the Nikon and the Kodak’s cards. The Kodak gave me pictures and some MOV clips. I remembered the Avidemux program that I had seen discussed on the Internet. I downloaded the program and used it to separate the movie into frames that could be saved as photos.

Then, I chose the photo I liked and cropped out some of the night sky.

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Written by samwarren55

July 6, 2011 at 4:27 PM

FREE PHOTO — Round The Bend

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FREE PHOTO — Round The Bend

The railroad tracks lie past Galena, Missouri. These tracks lie below the courthouse and above the Y Bridge Park that stretches down into the James River.

This photo was taken July 4, 2011. The view reminded me that these tracks curved around the landscape and lead past the old railroad track pylons that stand abandon in James River enroute to Reeds Spring by way of Highway 13. The tracks in this direction lead on into Branson, Missouri. The message of the photo is to be willing to round the bend and see what lies beyond,

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Written by samwarren55

July 6, 2011 at 4:16 PM

FREE FOTO – Fly Free Flag Foto Two

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FREE FOTO — Fly Free Flag Photo Two

In the United States on the Fourth of July, how can you celebrate the holiday without an American flag ?

I walked upon the south lawn of the Stone County Courthouse. Naturally, since it is a Federal holiday, it was just me and the flag. I shot several different photos to see if I could find a unique angle or perspective on Freedom’s Banner.

I decided to post one horizontal and one vertical photo to my blog that people can download to use. I didn’t crop either photo so that they could be used in presentations, publications and blogs. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Written by samwarren55

July 6, 2011 at 3:52 PM

FREE FOTO — FLY FREE FLAG FOTO ONE

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FREE FOTO — Fly Free Flag Photo One

In the United States on the Fourth of July, how can you celebrate the holiday without an American flag ?

I walked upon the south lawn of the Stone County Courthouse. Naturally, since it is a Federal holiday, it was just me and the flag. I shot several different photos to see if I could find a unique angle or perspective on Freedom’s Banner.

I decided to post one horizontal and one vertical photo to my blog that people can download to use. I didn’t crop either photo so that they could be used in presentations, publications and blogs. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Written by samwarren55

July 6, 2011 at 3:44 PM

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