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New Year’s Eve 1962 Editorial by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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New Year’s Eve 1962

TICK TOCK TIME TRAVELERS_resized

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

A childhood memory can last a lifetime.

 

The impact of a memory can affect the way you view an issue in Life.

 

This New Year’s Eve memory provided the framework for my approach to celebrations, especially, New Year’s Eve.

 

The New Year’s Eve memory of childhood always inspired me to carry out my own memorable New Year’s Eve celebration through the years.

 

The Layout of 313

 

Opal M. DeLong Warren, a tall brunette, and my mother, stands at the sink in the kitchen washing dishes.

 

The large kitchen has cabinets against the far wall. In the center, is the small window, that looks out over the backyard to the garage.

 

Underneath the window is a counter with a double sink. It is the 1960s, so the overhead cabinets and the counter cabinets are the same type of lacquered wood.

 

The counter top is a black vinyl with short silver lines erratically positioned throughout the counter top.

 

The linoleum floor emerges from under the counter and passes under the rectangular art deco table that seats six.

 

The dividing line across the top of the table allows for a drop in leaf that allows the table to expand to accommodate more people at the table. The black vinyl counter top pattern is repeated on the table.

 

A large Lazy Susan, sits at the far end of the table, usually it just collects misplaced envelopes and entertains a child’s imagination because the two large wood disks turn.

 

The six art deco chairs match the table;however, the back and the seats are a gaudy red material held in place by silver chrome hubcap buttons around the edges of the material.

 

The table sits East to West in the North to South kitchen, The obvious emphasis of the room is on the South. All the furniture and appliances seem to move toward the far wall.

 

Behind the head chair is a smaller art deco table under a two door white metal wall mounted cabinet that doesn’t seem to belong.

 

Under the cabinet is a shorter art deco table, that’s main purpose was usually to hold the electric gray AM radio.

 

Beside the table, is the large ice box. The wooden wall by the ice box extends at least eight feet under the cathedral ceiling to the wall into the formal living room.

 

About four feet away from the door of the ice box, sits the plastic, vinyl green sofa with a pattern of repeating octagons. The sofa sits the border for the living room.

 

The Boogeyman Door

 

The distant wall contains the door in the center into the formal living room.

 

The door in that far wall was always my nemesis.

 

Once the sun, went down I would not go through that door. Somewhere in my young life, I had heard “The Story Of The Boogeyman.” I was convinced at night, the Boogeyman waited on the other side of that door, waiting for someone to turn the door knob.

 

The corner of the far wall was the most important because a nightstand table supports the black and white TV.

 

Our Cathedral Home

 

The home at 313th East 26th Street is a large white shingled house with a screened in front porch.

 

The cathedral ceilings throughout the house towered above me and always made me feel at home. The irony is I was a small boy under ceilings usually used in omnipotent structures like the Westminster Abbey.

 

A curious construction technique had several columns of concrete blocks to rest in a surrounding pattern under the house.

 

The house may have been moved to this location and the block had yet to be removed. In childhood, it was interesting to be able to look under your home.

 

However, the horizontal three-step concrete step under the screened in porch, established that the home had found a port to drop anchor and ride out Life’s storms.

 

The large house dominated the lot. A small front yard and a small back yard were connected by an extremely narrow driveway.

 

The chipped and cracked shingles of the house were evidence that a driver had to be careful driving down or backing out of the narrow driveway.

 

The large structure at the back of the yard was the two car garage that never housed more than one car. The space to the right was storage and my large wooden toy box.

 

The cyclone fence around the property established the borders. A small gate, in front of the screened in porch allowed a visitor access to the front door, which was really the back door.

 

Two small standing metal lions faced each other on the tops of the double gate that protected the driveway.

 

Down the slender driveway, about six feet from the end of the house is the slender door, which is a screen door, in front of a wood and glass door.

 

The side door seems almost an after thought. The side door opens into the kitchen. Salesmen who knocked at the front door went unanswered.

 

Sunday, December 31, 1961

 

Night is in command over Houston, Texas. “Wagon Train” or “Rawhide” is not on, so the TV blabs on unwatched.

 

I am six years old. I have no concept of New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.

 

Momma washes the dishes. I sit on the floor, in front of the sofa, and play with my plastic cowboys, Indians and horses.

 

Momma and I had moved to the farm in Missouri. But, “The Dream House” dream kept us shuttling back and forth between Galena, Missouri and Houston, Texas.

 

Usually daddy came to Missouri. This year, we had celebrated Christmas in Houston and were getting ready to make the trip back to Galena, Missouri, after the New Year.

 

In Texas, when Daddy is working nights Momma would let me stay up until he comes home from his night job.

 

About 12:30 am., voices and laughter echo down the corridor outside the kitchen door. The pounding against the kitchen screen door causes momma to turn and look into the neighbor’s smiling faces.

 

Momma opens the door. Since the house is anchored on pillars of concrete blocks, people at the door stand about a foot below the entrance into the house. Thus, a visitor always has to look up at you.

 

Warrens and DeLongs are all long-legged, so stepping up to step in was never a problem.

 

The secret is the back door into the backyard and the screened-in porch door to the front yard usually got more use by the Warrens, who lived in the house.

Sunday night

and

new Year’s Eve

 

The culture of the United States has become more flexible in the area of religion through the years, but at the start of the 1960s conservative morals and ethics ruled the day, especially in the Ozarks and in the South.

 

It would be difficult to imagine that public celebrations would have been held on a Sunday, a traditionally religious day.

 

Nightclubs and bars would have had to had a celebration on Saturday, December 30, 1961 and kept their doors closed on Sunday, December 31, 1961.

 

In this era, states had “Blue Laws”, which did not allow alcohol to be sold on Sunday.

 

Of course, when you are six years old, it is just “neat” to be able to stay up until midnight.

 

 

New Year’s Well Wishers

 

Momma stands at the door talking to the festive neighbors. I naturally rush to see what is happening.

 

Thomas Jack Brinkley, in the traditional 1960s narrow lapel-ed black suit, white shirt and slender black tie, wears the black cardboard top hat bearing the silver glitter words: Happy New Year. He looks up and wishes momma, “A Happy New Year.”

 

He hugs his wife, Wanda. She is a statuesque redhead in a sequined midnight blue cocktail dress. Her hair is up. The cardboard silver glitter tiara brandishes : Happy New Year. Wanda’s red hair outshines the tiara.

 

Standing on the driveway, they look up and wish momma, “A Happy New Year.” Then, then launch into a detailed account of the evening’s exploits.

 

Tom worked for “Ma Bell”, the telephone company. Since December 31 fell on a Sunday, they must have came to our house from an office New Year’s Party.

 

Tom’s arm at the back of his wife emerges and grips a huge champagne bottle. Two plastic upturned champagne glasses dangle from Tom’s other hand.

 

My mind recorded the smiles, enthusiasm, joy, happiness and the waves of emotion that rippled forth, while Tom and Wanda told momma about their New Year’s Eve celebration.

 

My Challenge

 

When I became a young man and could celebrate my own New Year’s Eve, I always remembered Tom and Wanda in their New Year’s Eve attire and the enthusiasm they exhibited to welcome in the new year in style.

 

Likewise, I always attempted to embody the zeal, zest and optimistic enthusiasm that they displayed in their celebration.

 

Through the years, I’m confident I have met, and, perhaps exceeded, their level of celebration energy.

 

The lesson I learned is the beginning of a year should always be a monumental event. A monumental event always creates a memory.

 

The outcome of how the monumental event effects you depends on the energy, effort and dedication that you put into the event. The result is you end up with a positive or a negative memory.

 

In youth, New Year’s Eve celebrations seem to be celebrated with “A Spirit Of Wild Abandon.”

 

The World At Large has changed since the 1970s. Now, there are rules and consequences to partying and celebrations.

 

Celebrations overall are more toned down, less impulsive and spontaneous. In the US, cities make it a point to organize New Year’s Eve celebrations that they can control.

 

Future generations will learn to “party” and “celebrate” within a more reserved set of social guidelines.

The emphasis on global terrorism and security have done much to implement controls over public celebrations.

 

The change might not be a bad idea. Nonetheless, New Year’s Eve should always be considered monumental.

 

In my guru years, I observe the celebrations. I watch the youth take center stage. The unknown expectations of the future still seem to remain in the hopes and dreams of youth. The masses on television still exude the exuberance of hope in front of the TV cameras.

 

Celebrations’ Considerations

 

I have switched the tiny bubbles of sweet champagne for cold bottles of rum.

 

Alas, I still believe the spirit of most celebrations usually involves a certain amount of distilled spirits.

 

Experience reminds you to be responsible and aware in your use of distilled spirits.

 

Monumental Moment

 

The New Year should always be heralded as a monumental moment to set the tone of the days to unfold. Each New Year’s Eve celebration should be a positive memory maker.

 

When my New Year’s Eve event approaches, I always see Thomas Jack and Wanda Brinkley in their New Year’s Eve attire smile in my memory and I am ready to celebrate and face The New Year.

Sam

TICK TOCK TIME TRAVELERS THUMBNAIL

 

Links

 

New Year’s Eve

In The

United States

Time date.com

http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/new-year-eve

 

His dates.com

http://www.hisdates.com/years/1961-historical-events.html

 

New Year On The Net

http://www.holidays.net/newyear/dates.htm

 

New Year’s History History.Com

http://www.history.com/topics/new-years

 

Historical Events

December 31st

History Orb

http://www.historyorb.com/events/december/31

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Honor The Friend by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Treasure the Damon and Pythias’

Relationships Of Your Life

 

Honor

The

Friend

 

 

HOUR GLASS 2005-03-25_00004_resized

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Iremember friends.

In life, you, my reader, will remember friends.

 

Friends are the unique people, who add spice and meaning to your life. The ultimate concept of a “Friend” is the classic story of Damon and Pythias.

 

Phythias stood ready to “give” his life for his friend. Damon returned and the devotion of loyalty, fidelity and friendship, so impressed the king that the issue was settled and the king allowed both men to enjoy the “freedom” of their lives.

 

In Life, there are different levels of friendship.In my life, I have had friends my own age, friends who were younger than I and friends who were older.

 

The older friends were sometimes employers, supervisors or bosses who I respected for their integrity and credibility.

 

A friend is someone that you can rely on and they can rely on you.

 

Fools Fair Weather Friends

 

Fair Weather Friends” are the fools in Life, you meet, who show up to party with you. If you are paying for the food, buying the drinks and are in a position to pay the tab or the bill, then, you will find you have “scores of friends, followers, groupies, and companions ready to be your buddy.”

 

Of course, when your wallet is empty, they will slip into the shadows.

 

The first time Life puts a crisis in your path, the “Fair Weather Friends” will have lost, misplaced their cell phones and changed their cell phone numbers.

 

After all, they are already “too busy” leeching, bumming and being a parasite to another person, who is celebrating a great moment of Life.

 

A Fair Weather Friend is always a “prostitution” of the word, “Friend.”

 

Fools are The Fair Weather Friends that are pathetic people, who are simply the cancerous bacteria of Life. The minor role of any Fair Weather Friend in your Life is to clarify the true meaning of the word, “Friend.”

 

Friends, true friends, do not leave you in time of trouble. They help to the point they can and will still be there once the trouble passes.

 

A friend may not always be able to go shoulder-to-shoulder with you to “combat” the trouble head-on, but, usually they will be in a position to provide advice, guidance and counsel that will help you.

 

A friend always maintains their integrity, credibility and devotion to you. An acquaintance or an associate is a “temporary friend”, who will exit out the side or back door anytime the “heat” of a Life situation starts to rise.

 

The trick in Life, is the ability to look at and think about people and decide where they stand in your Life. Realize, we all have relationships in Life. Everyday our Life changes and the lives of our friends also change.

 

Relatives,spouses, Life events and the natural progression of “Time” can change your relationship with a friend. You loose contact with the friend.

 

Remember A Friend Always

 

The important fact is you never loose the memory of a “Friend.” Years later, when you are faced with a serious life situation you will remember the “Friend” of that event and you will know how to approach the situation for a successful result.

 

Years later, you will be able to reflect and remember a “Friend” or “A Roster Of Friends” who have added meaning, enjoyment, happiness, joy, laughter, and depth that changed the shadow of your Life into the pyramid that will stand the test of the ages in the Real World.

 

The Ancients”

 

The Ancients”, those early, superstitious humans that inhabited planet earth and eeked out an existence in stubborn soil, under moody skies and facing angry seas, where smarter than we, modern humans, give them credit for.

 

The ancients took note of their lives and the world around them and left behind stories, sculptures, paintings, drawings, sketches and other items that would be documented by scholars and uncovered by archaeologists.

 

Their pagan gods and goddesses inspired their simple imaginations and gave their dubious lives meaning in a world that was alive at a level far beyond their simplistic interpretation of life.

 

Their understanding and attempts to solve the curiosity of their lives allows us to pass on those lessons as stories, TV shows and movies to inform and entertain ourselves and future generations.

 

The Story Of Human Nature”

 

The true genius of their daily lives is “The Story Of Human Nature” survives every generation for the next.

 

Emotions The River Of Life

 

The emotions of human nature is still the same basic water that has always flowed in “The River Of Life.” A friend, who stands on the shore, may have worn her Roman tunic and carried her shield and worn her sword. You might have called her, “Isis, Diana, Fortuna, Juno, Athena, or, Hera”

 

In the 21st Century, a friend may stand on the shore of The River Of Life in a bikini,a business skirt, a uniform, a simple dress and, one would hope, the gender appropriate attire, unless of course; it is Halloween, the holiday, which tosses out all rules of dress for a comfortable costume.

 

A friend is a friend, regardless of the time period of history. Emotion is the key that always unlocks the feelings that identifies a “Friend.”

 

Time and the events of Life will age you and your Friend. Fate and distance will demand circumstances that will keep you from a Friend.

 

Your mind will never delete, corrupt or misplace the memory of a Friend. Because in Life, whether it is two weeks later or thirty years later, when you notice a man on the street or a woman in a cafe; your mind will quickly identify your Friend.

 

Associates, affiliates, acquaintances, groupies, fans, and Fair Weather Friends are the respective props and holiday banners of our lives that end up in the dumpster of our daily memories and activities.

 

The Immortality Of Friendship

 

A Friend is a person, who can step through the mists of Time and step back into your Life and the “friendship” resumes as though only a few minutes might have past.

 

Children, spouses, jobs, travel and all the events of Life, will have changed you and your Friend, but, the immortal genetics of Friendship never change.

 

The truth of the Damon and Pythias story is the voyages, crisis and disasters of Life will always challenge you, but, Friendship is a value engineered into your immortal soul and no force on earth can destroy a Friendship.

 

People can decide to end a Friendship;but, no force in the Universe can destroy a Friendship.

 

Usually in The Real World some of the best stories of Friendship are found in the annuals of War. War is the entity that rattles Time and consumes lives. The human struggle for survival creates and solidifies Friendship quickly.

 

Peace time relationships that evolve into Friendship usually require more time and day to day interaction to allow the Friendship to grow into maturity.

 

Fabulous Feast For A Friend

 

A true friend is always a “Friend.” A Friend lasts a lifetime.

 

In The Real World, Viking feasts should be held in great oak halls. Huge torches should burn away the evening hours.

 

Valkyries from Valhalla should descend and slide a chair up to the feast table to celebrate the glorious banquet held in the “Honor Of The Friend.”

 

Waves of music should rush through the caverns of the great hall. Wings of aroma of mutton, pork and sides of beef should tickle the noses and salivate the tongues of guests.

 

Joy and laughter should thunder off the walls under the bright campaign streamers of your Life that decorate the great hall. Platters of vegetables should glow like ripe jewels and the sweetness of fruit should blanket the senses.

 

Your Coat Of Arms and your Friend’s Coat Of Arms should be side-by-side as “The Great Shields” and be the centerpiece of the evening hung in the command position on the great rafter over the head table.

 

You and your friend should sit under The Great Shields, feasting, toasting, and laughing. Your karaoke voices should sweep through the hall to announce your deeds to the assembled guests. Great animal skins, symbols of your great hunts should line the hall for your guest to sit on.

 

On either side of The Great Shields are the other Coats Of Arms, campaign streamers and prestigious sheepskins that document the voyages and battles of your life.

 

Of course, the evening would be devoted to feasting and storytelling. You and your friend while away the hours with the tales of your triumphs, tragedies, successes, failures, and the stories of your lives.

 

Honor Your Friend

 

Of course, in The Real World, no one goes out of their way to find or rent you a Great Hall for a banquet feast for a friendship reunion. However, your mind and your imagination can make the necessary arrangements and host the monumental occasion. After all, a true Friend is always a Friend for Life.

 

Honor yourself; Honor your Friend.

 

Go ahead, pick up the cell phone or log on the Internet and try to find a Friend of your past.

 

A New Year is always a wonderful time to try and “check in” with an important person in your past that you call,”Friend.”

Sam

HOUR GLASS THUMBNAIL

 

Auld Lang Syne Wikipedia

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

 

Damon and Pythias Wikipedia

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

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

My Lone Star Christmas by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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My

Lone Star

Christmas Story

THE CHRISTMAS TREE_resized

 

Silver

Christmas Tree

Christy Warren, Leneil Saldana, Rayniel Saldana, Ranilo Saldana, Junea Tanahale and Esmeralda Tanahale, all worked to create the artificial silver Christmas Tree at One Warren Way, Barangay Baras. Every time I look at the tree I am reminded of the silver artificial tree that my Aunt Bill and Uncle Audrey used in Houston, Texas in the 1960s. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Opal M. DeLong Warren, my mother, was a savvy business woman, who learned at an early age how to manage and save her money and the only “risky” investment she ever made was in land that “always paid for itself.”

 

In childhood, I always had a remarkable Christmas. Both of my parents had had “a hard life” growing up on the farm in rural Missouri and rural Texas.

 

The secret to “My Lifetime Of Privileged Childhood Christmas Days” was my mother and father, especially my mother.

 

Both parents, “were bound and determined” if they ever had a child – that child – would have a better life “growing up” than they did.

 

I did.

 

My Childhood Christmas Celebrations” were always outstanding. The devotion of my parents to make life better for their child guaranteed that the slightest detail was never overlooked.

 

Christmas Shopping

 

Texas LogoIn Houston, my mother always planned my Christmas holiday celebrations with the precision and intensity of someone required to brief the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Momma never overlooked any details.

 

I remember Momma taking me with her to go shopping downtown at Woolworths and grocery shopping at Weingartens, in the suburbs.

 

The Airline Shopping Mall was one of the first major shopping malls built in our section of Houston. It was a place of wonder, when I was a child. There were so many shops with so many items to a five-year-old boy it looked like you could shop nonstop for a week.

 

Momma would swing by Aunt Bill’s house and pick her up or she would take a bus and meet us in the cafeteria of Woolworths.

 

Momma never left me with a babysitter, so wherever she went – I went.

 

Of course, Aunt Bill would take me by the hand and we would go shopping in the toy department, while Momma would shop for other items on her shopping list.

 

Aunt Bill never had a driver’s license until after her 48th birthday, when she passed the test.

 

Nights close to Christmas, Momma would have daddy set aside the night shift job to go Christmas shopping with us. There was a huge store called, “Globe” that seemed to stretch for acres across the horizon in all directions. We would make evening shopping trips to Globe to browse the long aisles.

 

Momma and I loved to shop. Daddy was the traditional American male shopping stereotype, who always just wants to “go in get what he needed and get out of the store.”

 

Southern Protocol

 

The United States is the United States from sea to shining sea. Americans are pretty much all alike in all the 50 states and trust territories. However, “The South” is still “The South.”

 

The southern United States definitely has a distinct sense of protocol that is missing from the northern states. It is a sense of protocol and etiquette not much different from any branch of the United States Armed Forces.

 

The best way to describe “Southern Protocol” —- imagine “The British Monarchy in Stetsons and dress cowboy boots.”

 

What It Means To Be A Texan

 

At heart, “A Texan Is A Successful Hybrid Of An Israeli And A United States Marine.”    Texas Logo 

 

Like the Israelis, Texans know they too are “God’s Chosen People – Texans are The American Version Of God’s Chosen People.”

 

Like a United States Marine, a Texan is all about God and Country, which means “The Battle Of The Alamo” is engineered into your DNA and the follow-up report of where General Sam Houston and the Texicans caught up with Santa Anna and his men is engineered into your RNA, which translates to “The Lone Star” will find a way to shine through any adversity at all costs.

 

Citizens of the other southern states have their sense of pride. Texas and Texans citizenship genetics is a unique blend of confidence, arrogance and pride.

 

Louisiana Pride

 

Louisiana citizens share a state pride that is similar to the Texan’s. Some of the original settlers of Louisiana had been forced to leave their native land and essentially found sanctuary in Louisiana. Then, you factor in the French heritage and the Caribbean cultural influence to create a unique state.

 

New Orleans’ magick, superstition, Voodoo, Hoodoo, Santeria and varying degrees of Roman Catholicism has always been “A Busty Bright Red Bra Waving In The Face Of America’s Conservative Religious Right.”

 

Factor in lawyers trained in the Code Napoleon, who practice law within the United States’ modified British legal system and Americans at large consider Louisiana an oddity best visited during Mardi Gras.

 

All the states of the United States have unique cultures based on their histories. The southern states have always had the European heritage belief that suggests your heritage should be a part of who you are —- rather than just an old family history book in a box packed away in a storage unit and forgotten about.

 

Texans and Louisianans simply seem more ready to embrace their family heritages and proudly live in the spotlight. The traditional southern culture concept is based on respect and politeness.

 

Children in the southern states in 2012 may not be as formally trained as I was as a child.

 

I was taught: “Please.” “Thank You.” “Yes, sir.” “No, sir.” “Yes, mam.” “No, mam.”

 

I was taught to always respect my elders. I was taught to be polite. I was taught if you disagree to do it in a civil manner. Only the adults got to cuss or lose their temper, but, that was only after they had exhausted all the civil rules of politeness and protocol

 

Smart Aleck ?

 

When I first went to “boot camp”, my first Military Training Instructor, Technical Sergeant Carr, a native of Kansas City, Missouri, accused me of being a “smart aleck” because I answered, “Yes, sir” and “No,sir” as soon as I got off the bus at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

 

Airman Basic Warren are you being a smart aleck with me,” he grumbled at the top of his lungs loudly into my face.

 

Sir. No, sir. Daddy is a Texan, sir.”

 

Titles Of Respect

 

I was taught that children did not interrupt adults talking in a conversation. You let people finish saying what they have to say, before you reply.

 

Anyone older than you are is always Mr., Mrs, Miss, Mz.

 

You never ever call anyone by their last name without a courtesy title like Mr., or Mrs., in front of the last name, especially, if that person is middle age or a senior citizen – it is a sign of respect,

 

Never ever refer to a middle-aged or senior citizen by their first name, even if they tell you it is okay. You would still call them by their respected title and last name.

 

When Momma and I moved to Missouri, my first three years of school I always felt weird because the Southern Protocol had been engineered into my DNA.

 

Classmates would look at me weird when I added Mrs before the last name of their mothers and added Mr before the last name, when addressing their fathers.

Ozarks Informality

In the Ozarks, kids call adults by their first names. In the Ozarks, kids could answer, “Yeah.”, “Yep.”, “Nope”, or “Nah.,” I was never allowed to use the informality.

 

I was taught it was okay to call kids my own age by their first names and if they had a brother or sister only one year older.

 

If the brother or sister was two years older than my classmate then the Texas and Southern Protocol default kicked in and I had to add Mr., or Miss.

 

The Southern Protocol was always comfortable and normal “Down South” because everyone did it. But, using the “Southern Protocol” procedures in the Ozarks always made me seem like a “foreigner” to my classmates, their siblings and their parents.

 

By the fourth grade, I didn’t care what my classmates thought of my “Southern Protocol.” Daddy expected me to do it. Momma required me to do it. I did it. By fourth grade, “Southern Protocol” was like eye color – it was a part of me.

 

Momma The Hillbilly

 

Momma took pride in being known as a Missouri hillbilly. She often referred to herself as a hillbilly. People would nod. Then, of course, when she called someone “Mr. Keithley” or “Mrs. Keithley,” Ozarkers would frown at the Mr., or Mrs.” being added before the last name, when they expected to hear a first name.

 

Usually an Ozarks’ family member would whisper or speak up, “Opal spent years living in Texas.”

 

As a child I would smile and wonder why Texas just didn’t issue a passport that the other states would recognize.

 

Texas Protocol and Southern Protocol in day to day business affairs in the Ozarks was like being a diplomat from a foreign country.

 

Texas, and maybe, Louisiana, should have their own embassies in Washington D.C., even as states of the United States because Texas and Louisiana really are still foreign countries to their fellow Americans.

 

Political Awareness – NOT

Political Correctness

 

Momma was a politically astute woman. She did not do or say things because they were expected or because it was the “politically correct fad” of the moment.

 

A politically aware person bases their actions on the situation and their beliefs. A “politically correct” person, is like America’s wimp politicians of the 1970s, who all had the “backbones of jellyfish.” Instead of standing up to controversy or working to find a solution, the “politically correct wimps” went with the “fad of the moment” and made America appear like a moody school girl in domestic and foreign policy matters.

 

Momma was politically aware. She made it a point to vote in every presidential election, every election for sheriff and the school board election. She voted for the other offices like county clerk, governor and the others, but, she really focused on the president because he or she calls the overall shots that can lead to war or peace. The sheriff has massive amounts of power in a county. The school board simply means they can go off the deep end and do things that are really going to send your property taxes through the roof.

 

Momma knew and dealt with politicians in the Ozarks, but, they never really knew if Opal was a supporter or just a polite woman.

 

Subtle Messages

 

Momma had learned the Texas Protocol and Southern Protocol custom of referring to people as “a personal friend of mine” or the remark, “they are an acquaintance of mine.”

 

Down South people understood the remarks identified a level of response. It was a subtle endorsement or a subtle rejection of a candidate, leader, official or the person next door.

 

Down South the “personal friend” and the “acquaintance” remarks were a polite way of showing where you stood. In the Ozarks, people shrugged off the remarks as though it was a boast.

 

Momma didn’t brag or boast. She always reminded me, “No one likes a braggart or a blow hard. Don’t blow your own horn.”

 

Family Holidays “Down South” in Houston, in the 1960s, were treated like “an audience with the Queen of England,” “a formal state dinner at the White House” or “an audience at the Vatican.” The significance of the holiday determined the level of formality.

 

The Generals And The Realtors

 

One of the major differences of the 1950s and the 1960s “Down South” as opposed to the Ozarks was in the “formality” of the American Woman.

 

In the South, once you sat foot in a home, it was comfortable, warm, functional and organized like a commanding general’s office. In the home, everything had a place and everything was in the place.

 

Here To Stay

 

There might be lace dollies on the furniture. Even if the home had kids, you still felt at home and everything was organized. It was formal and lived in, but, never gave the feeling that there was damage or that you were “under attack.”

 

Kids grew up with the expectation that all the important formal ceremonies of life would be within the four walls and under the roof. Home for Christmas really meant you had to be “Home for Christmas” to truly enjoy the holiday.

 

The home always had a comfortable sense of “relaxed and functional formality.” The South had a “home” mentality. The Southern “home” was a base of operations and the “wife” was the general in charge who made sure “the base was there to stay.”

Ready To Redeploy

 

In the Ozarks, in the 1950s and 1960s, women seemed to still have “the log cabin mentality.” It was the feeling that, “We cook in here and sleep in here, but, once we get some money, then, we will go find a ‘real ‘ home to live in and a realtor can sell this one.”

 

There was usually the feeling you get on being assigned to a base on a closure list, which is we do the job, until we get orders somewhere else and the realtors show up here or the bulldozers to start the closure procedure.

 

Kids seemed to grow up with the expectation that their homes were more like “bus stations”, which meant “Christmas On The Road” indicated you wouldn’t have to be home for the holidays.

 

The Ozarks had a “temporary and looking for something better” mentality. The Ozarks’ “home” seemed a “deployment area” and the “wife” was “the realtor in charge who stood ready to load the kids in the car and head for the state line.”

 

Texas Logo

 

Christmas Itinerary

 

Christmas meant you pulled out all the stops and went for “A Norman Rockwell Christmas” that could be filmed by a major motion picture studio for possible showing on the screens of theaters.

 

Zero Hour for Christmas Day relied on the children. The child was the “On Scene Commander,” once the child got to the Christmas Tree the mission kicked off.

 

Like a Strategic Air Command Operational Readiness Inspection,you knew it would happen; you just didn’t know when ? Parents hoped the child would wait until sunrise to begin Christmas Day.

 

Operation Christmas Tree” means the parents watch the kids be kids and have fun. Have the video movie cameras and the film or digital still cameras loaded with charged batteries and recording media positioned nearby. After all, children don’t learn about “photo opportunities ” until they grow older.

 

Once Operation Christmas Tree ends, then, Mom and Dad will have their plans to implement for the rest of the day.

 

In Houston,plans after Operation Christmas Tree, meant Aunt Bill and Uncle Audrey, would go to church and then show up for Christmas Dinner. Daddy and Uncle Audrey would shoot the breeze, while Aunt Bill and Momma would cook Christmas Dinner,

 

Usually the day would extend past Christmas Dinner, while the adults talked until the early evening, when Aunt Bill and Uncle Audrey would head home.

 

Christmas in Houston meant a 98 percent chance of “No Snow.”

 

C – Day !

 

December 25, 1959

The Home of Samuel E. and Opal M. DeLong Warren

313th East 26th Street

Houston, Texas

 

I have never been a morning person.

 

C – Day ! Christmas Day was always the exception to my genetic programming.

 

I bolted out of bed.

 

By the time, my tiny feet hit the floor, I was already halfway down the hallway and into the screened in porch room.

 

The huge Christmas Tree was only six foot tall, but, when you are a five-year old boy, the tree in the corner is always as huge as a California Redwood. Momma had massive amounts of matched decorations on the trees. The ornaments were the painted glass ball ornaments of the era.

 

The bubble lights always mesmerized me like a deer in the headlights. The plastic UFO shaped disk bulbs were two tones of color like red and green or blue and yellow. A glass tube contained a red fluid that when heated by electricity would “bubble.”

 

I would shake off my bubble light trance and dive for the brightly wrapped boxes under the tree. It helped that Momma and Daddy were workaholics because I always got what I wanted and more that I didn’t even know existed.

 

 

Marx Electric Robot

 

The centerpiece of this Christmas celebration for me – the Marx Electric Robot. It was an ugly toy.

 

Looks are not everything.

 

My robot came out of the box, to display a casket gray and dark maroon paint scheme.

 

It had a face, only a mother could love. It had a square, alphabet block style head. It had a Voodoo mask expression with a hideous toothless grin. The original toy designer must have worked on the sets of Hollywood Halloween Horror flicks because the toy looked scary.

 

It had a toolbox drawer in it’s stomach, which was cool because it had a wrench or two and the rectangular drawer looked like it belonged at that position.

 

The pedestal base leg design was misleading. You thought the robot would walk like a person with one leg in front of the other. Bur, actually, it’s walking function was more of a “rolling” function.

 

The fact that the big robot took two D sized batteries, “flashlight batteries” to move like it “walked” was a big selling point for kids and parents.

 

The C claw pincher hand at the end of the arm allowed the robot to pick up a “Junior” robot, a smaller robot that came packaged with the main robot.

 

I don’t remember the junior robot “doing anything.” It was a sculpted piece of plastic that sat on the floor for the main robot to “pickup” with the pincher arm.

 

The major selling point of this robot was “The Morse Code function.” You pushed the button on the back of the maroon blockhead and the large yellow eyes on the face would “flash out” Morse code.

 

My robot had The Morse Code key printed out in yellow on the back of the robot, so you knew how many dots and dashes you needed to spell out a letter or a word.

 

In the 1950s this robot was “technology.” In 2012, you can find the non-working robots listed on ebay, without the “Junior” plastic robot that always seems to have disappeared.

 

The moving and the Morse Code function of the robot “amazed me.” I always had to show my aunts and uncles this nifty toy when they came by to visit.

 

Everyone always laughed at the ugly little robot with the flashing Morse Code eyes. Even the adults thought it was “swell” because of the Morse Code function.

 

The Space Race Is On

 

The “simplistic technology” of this robot in the Cold War years of America and “The Space Race” always served to remind you that the Russians may have beat the Americans into space with Sputnik, but the “Race For The Moon Is On.”

 

By 1960, it is impossible to imagine a boy in America from age four to 13 that wasn’t ready to pack his bags and report to NASA to become an astronaut. Robots and space toys were all the rage from the date Sputnik launched in 1957 until Man Walked On The Moon in 1969.

 

Battalions Of Boy Astronauts Downsized

 

America could have been and should have been the nation that made Gene Roddenberry’s United Federation of Planet’s Star Trek future a reality.

 

Alas, the 1970s and “lily-liveried politicians” decided to choose” wallets and worry” or intelligence, imagination, creativity, desire, drive and ambition. Generations of America’s “Battalions Of Boy Astronauts” grew up to become “clock punching peasant taxpayers.”

 

While the future rests in the ether of time, I rip through the paper and become surrounded by a science fiction lunar landscape of discarded boxes and strange paper trees, the floor under the tree would disappear under the revealed toy inventory.

 

My

Marx Three Keys To Treasure Bagatelle Machine

 

 

December 25, 1961

The Home of Samuel E. and Opal M. DeLong Warren

313th East 26th Street

Houston, Texas

 

I rush to the Christmas Tree in the living room and began ripping into the brightly wrapped packages. I ripped into the Christmas paper on the oblong box and unleashed “The Future.”

 

Walk into an American bowling alley, cafe, restaurant, hamburger joint, drive in, bar, or beer joint and you would almost always find one and sometimes several bagatelle machines.

 

They were loud, noisy, gaudy and they mesmerized generations of people until the 1980s when the coin-operated video game industry began to install their annoying game machines.

 

Everyone seemed to love the bagatelle machines. You could even buy smaller versions in toy stores and the toy sections of drug stores and grocery stores.

 

America loved her pinball machines.

 

My Marx Three Keys To Treasure Bagatelle Machine was a child’s version of “The Wheel Of Fortune” television game show.

 

Inside the large maroon dial of the wheel were shiny, bright, gumball machine novelty prizes. At least, one marble has to align in the three spaces of the maroon plastic selection device. Then, you move the peg, which activates the contraption that opens the door on the wheel to reveal your “treasure.”

 

Momma, daddy, Aunt Bill, Uncle Audrey, and I would crowd around the kitchen table on a Friday or Saturday evening and play the game. The adults seemed to enjoy the game as much as any kid.

 

There were spaces printed with points listed, which meant if you got a pen and notepad, you could keep track of your points and figure out who had the most skill with the game.

 

One trip to Texas and the game got loaded in the Impala for the trip back to Missouri. In Missouri, whenever the game was placed on the kitchen table, adults and kids always crowded around the machine and the evening passed with people laughing.

 

There was a few years in the 1970s, when the toy occupied a space in the living room closet, but, even in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, the toy would appear on the kitchen table and people would crowd around for a game of pinball.

 

In December 2011, the toy was packed into our household goods for shipment to the Republic of the Philippines. Travel turned the pristine, but dusty box into a pathetic version of it’s former glory.

 

The toy survived the trip, with a minor amount of damage. Nonetheless, when the machine is set up on the kitchen table, the kids crowd around for an afternoon of pinball.

 

I salute the Marx toy company workers because any company that can create a product that from 1961 until 2012 is still standing the test of time is a company that had a “great idea.”

 

And, 51 years later, the bagatelle machine is still bringing smiles and keeping kids and adults entertained for an afternoon or an evening to create a “Treasure Trove Of Memories.” – “What A Toy !”

 

My Immortal “ Kodak Moment ”

 

Christmas morning in Houston, I would look up from the rising sea of discarded Christmas wrapping paper. I radiated, joy, happiness, excitement, like a new sun sending light and energy through space.

 

Mom and Dad would heard the commotion of my childish exaltations.

 

Yes !” “Gee whiz !” “Alright !” “Oh, boy !” “Swell !.” “Neat !” “Neato !”

 

They would step into the room, smiling, wearing pajamas and bulky red Christmas bath robes. Each had a cup of piping hot coffee that they sipped on.

 

The camera in my mind snapped the picture of Mom and Dad standing there smiling at me sipping their coffee. Click ! That “Kodak Moment” is forever framed in the photographic gallery of my memory.

 

I was a blessed little boy. I was a spoiled little boy.

 

Back in the 21st Century, One Warren Way, Barangay Baras, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines. I watched Christy and the kids cut out the letters for a holiday banner like a New York City jeweler facets a diamond. They were meticulous and precise in their use of the scissors on the paper.

 

As the days until Christmas Day pass, the kids talk about and look forward to their school Christmas parties.

 

My wish is Christmas morning, the kids notice Uncle Sam and Aunt Christy stroll out on the porch to watch them release their “inner kid” on the brightly wrapped boxes under the Christmas Tree.

 

I hope they pause only long enough to capture a “Kodak Moment” that they can place in the photo folders of their minds to hang on to in the years to come.

 

Early in the morning, Christy and I will both be sipping from hot cups of coffee. Of course, Uncle Sam with his camera will be ready to take a few family snapshots.

Sam

Texas Logo

 

Sidebar

 

Rubber Toys of the 1960s

 

The nice thing about being a kid in the 1950s is you got tin and metal toys at Christmas to play with.

 

I had a collection of Auburn hard rubber cars and trucks to play with. They were fun toys to play with.

 

I didn’t like the plastic toys because they broke too easily.

 

I loved the metal and tin toys because they were durable and could take whatever you through at them. Usually the worst thing that happen would be you might knock off some paint from the toy.

 

You could leave a tin or metal toy out in the rain or snow and it would still be where you left it. And, even in the salt air of Texas, the toy didn’t “rust out” that quickly.

 

In the mid to late 1960s, parents began to complain to Congress that the tin and metal toys had sharp edges that might hurt the child.

 

Then, in the 1970s, some kids had put the metal toys in their mouth. Parents complained to Congress because many of the metal toys were coated in lead based paint, which was suppose to create health problems and lower the child’s I.Q.

 

Congress, of course, passed the laws.

 

No one , apparently, ever had the common sense idea to remind parents : “They are your kids. You are suppose to look in on your kids every so often to make sure they aren’t misusing, abusing or destroying their toys. Parents are suppose to check on their kids to make sure they are not using their toys in a manner that will hurt or injure the child.”

 

Kids aren’t born knowing how to play with toys; you have to show toddlers and three-year – olds how to play with toys. It only takes a couple of minutes to sit down on the floor and show a kid how to roll a car on the floor. It only takes a moment to remind a child that you don’t throw the toy at people or furniture.”

 

The rubber toys were fun and would last for generations.

 

The metal and tin toys were durable and would last for generations.

 

The plastic toys were cheap. Accidentally, drop a plastic toy and it could smash to smithereens. Usually, a plastic toy lasted only a few minutes.

 

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 21, 2012 at 3:55 AM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Editorial, Family, Holidays, Money, Observances, Opinion

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