Friday, April 13, 2007

Kid's Transition

I read a blog today that reminded me of my youth, and this one was about the Cleaver family. And things like this bring back all sorts of good memories. Mostly when Jerry Mathers was 'the Beav', my family lived in New York City, more specifically 203-11 42'nd Avenue in Bayside, Queens. We were in a nice 3 Bedroom apartment in a neighborhood of apartments and single family houses on 1/4 or 1/8 acre lots. What do I remember?

- There were lots of TV stations to watch on our honey-blond, swivel base DuMont TV: Channels 2-4-5-7-9-11-13. And the TV repair guy to fix it about once a month.
- Towering suspension bridges like the Throgs Neck (opened in 1961), Whitestone and G.Washington
- Long vehicular tunnels.
- My mother let us (in pairs) go around the neighborhood. We'd get a nickel from our parents, and we could walk to a candy store/ soda fountain at 202nd St and Northern Boulevard to buy candy. The only hard rule was that we were forbidden to cross Northern Blvd., a terribly busy thoroughfare. Even at age 6, I agreed with that good rule.
- And of course, the subway. When I was 5, I had a skin condition that required me to see a specialist in Manhattan. My mother and I took the express subway from Flushing and I still remember the stops: Corona, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights (remember that one from the Car 54 Where are You theme?), and Astoria before we got to the City.

My father got a better job at United Aircraft and we moved into the burbs in E. Hartford, CT in early 1963. Besides the second bathroom, which was an improvement over the apartment with six kids, it started out differently:

- There were only 2 TV Stations (3 and 8)...Unless you had an UHF converter box or a TV with UHF
- Forget about great suspension bridges and tunnels, the CT River wasn't wide enough
- Being in the burbs meant you had to get driven to any retail..too far to walk
- No subways!

This didn't mean life was bad, far from it. I had my own un-shared bedroom at least until my brother was born in 1964. And it was great having a brother after 5 sisters. It's just that at age 5-6, growing up in New York everything was so immense it was impressive to a little kid.

Later after we moved, I started listening to WDRC-AM 1360 and acquired a taste for top-40 radio in 3rd grade. Oddly enough, today we listen to WDRC-FM 102.9, an oldies station, and it is remarkable that I hear songs that remind me of 1963-64. I recently heard California Sun by the Rivieras, Glad All Over by DC5 and any early Beatles songs like I want to Hold Your Hand. Is my memory too good? I remember so much from an early age from Bayside...I should probably write it all down before I get too old and forget! I'm not really a fogey at (almost) 52.


Joan said...

OMG...we were practically neighbors. We also grew up in Bayside, Queens...73-26 Springfield Blvd...just across the street from Alley Pond Park in the Windsor Oaks Garden Apartments. We still refer to ourselves as the "Bayside Girls" and even have a little song we sing occasionally for oldtimes sake. What a small world this truly is!

Lynn said...

I'll second Joan's OMG! I'm do you remember so much from when you were so little?

Ralph said...

Wow...our apartment was between 203 and 204th Streets...Our neighborhood was bordered by the LIRR, Francis Lewis Blvd, Northern Blvd. and the newly opened Clearview Expressway.

I checked Mapquest, and noted your building. I have seen the area as a 'grown-up' and think yhat Queens near the Nassau line is actually a very nice part of NYC.

As for my memory, I don't know why I remember Bayside like I do. I remenber cars my friend's parents drove, this in from 1960-1963 (scary, isn't it?!). Maybe being in NYC, even Queens when little seemed more impressive. When I went to that doctor in Manhattan, I was only 5 and little...maybe the big buildings really impresed me.

I think that I might have been a little sad to move to the burbs.

sari said...

I remember when I was young, my mom would send us out to ride our bikes or explore the local little creek and park by my school.

Nowadays I feel sad that I don't feel so comfortable doing that with my kids. I guess as they get older, they will increase the things they do, but for right now, they can only (sometimes! ha ha) go around the block.