Its a crisp fall day on a Saturday in 1971. My brother and I are sitting with our feet tucked up under us on kitchen chairs in front of a small TV on the kitchen counter. In our hands are big bowls of cereal in milk. I have Cheerios with enough sugar added that I can scrape up a teaspoon of sugar with every bite and my brother is eating Cap’n Crunch which has a teaspoon of sugar in each crunchy shape. Jacked up on sugar, we squeal when we hear the first strains of, “Scooby Dooby Do, where are you? We got some work to do now.” Saturday was the special cartoon day when cartoons played from early morning till twelve noon on the big channels (ABC, NBC, and CBS), the little channels were PBS and UHF. After, we played outside all day till we heard my mother’s two finger whistle you could hear through the neighborhood calling us in for dinner and later to come in at night time. We did eat badly in those days. Dinner was probably shake and bake chicken with mashed potatoes and canned corn in cream, lunch would’ve been sandwiches on Wonder bread or Campbells soup, my favorite was chicken and stars with saltines. In between snacks might be apples, Fudge-0 cookies, or Lays potato chips.
What we did better back then was play. We only marathon watched TV Saturday mornings, otherwise we were outside playing. Our neighborhood had a call we’d make that any kid from our neighborhood knew and would echo the call back. We’d meet up in the direction we heard the call. We played hard, baseball, tackle games at night, tag, running, biking, sledding, swimming, climbing trees and walking all over the neighborhood. We didn’t make appointments to visit each other, we just showed up at each other’s doors. It was the norm to do that. Late at night before bed was TV time. Which amounted usually to one hour. We’d watch the Brady Bunch or The Partridge Family or Walt Disney World on Sunday nights on the big console TV with our mother, (Dad was working nights and days). As young children, none of us had special interest classes after school. That would start with maybe one thing like Little League baseball, Scouts or for me it was gymnastics. I started that at ten years old and attended class once a week for two hours. We had homework, but not a ton of it. My homework in Grammar school was done in thirty minutes or less, if we had any at all. We had our chores we had to do, like dishes, cleaning my bedroom and dusting on Saturday. Otherwise, we were outside most of the time.
Aside from that, we spent a lot of time with family and our parents. They rarely went anywhere without us. For example, if we went to an adult house party, we went in our pajamas and played with the other kids in their pajamas. These were not falling down drunk parties. These were normal social occasions. My father was a musician and so a lot of these were “guitar” parties. I loved sitting with the adults at the kitchen table because they were so funny. A lot of laughter, lot of humor. We took vacation for two weeks in the summer and stayed in a cottage on the beach. Vacation was spent together. My parents would jump waves with us, we went to the movies on a rainy day and the amusement park at least once. Summer outings were drive in’s, ice cream and on really special occasions, we’d go to a restaurant. Winter outings were, ice skating and once a year a special show like the Ice Capades or Ringling Bros and Bailey Circus.
Family visits were on the weekend. My mother entertained the family at our house often, mostly summer picnics, usually if we did this it was on Saturdays. We had a big yard and a pool. Most Sunday’s we visited family for four hours or more. Holidays were fun. My mother made sure of that. My family on both sides are funny, loud and laid back. No strict morays, no shaming, no sarcasm. They’re mostly dead now, mostly from various addictions, but, they were not mean spirited people. My brother resides these days in Ohio, we don’t talk much anymore, he’s a busy guy. I am in Canada. My son lives near me, my daughter on the other side of the country, but we are in touch weekly. I’m spending the day with my son tomorrow.
But, I will always feel fondly about those days.
What does any of this have to do with the Wahls Protocol? Absolutely nothing. I just wanted to take a moment and meditate on the happiest days of my childhood just because it feels good. This is my way of dealing with my recent homesickness. I find that the best way for me to deal with that is to embrace it and celebrate it by sharing it with others.
Picture of my brother and me on the steps of a cottage we rented for two weeks near Horseneck Beach in Massachusetts. Picture taken around 1968.