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Old 12-03-2012, 06:52 PM   #21
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How about green and yellow stamps given out by grocery stores and gas stations? Collect enough stamps and you could send away for stuff. Mom got me a guitar that way. I never did learn to play it though.
Yeah, and Betty Crocker coupons on the box tops of cereals, cake mixes and a host of other products. I have four place settings of stainless tableware in the Brahms pattern that I got mostly with the coupons. The "Twin Star" forks, knives & spoons m siblings and I used growing up came from the same source, as did the different set my mom has now--but I don't know the name of that pattern.
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:25 PM   #22
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Making model airplane from balsa. Cutting each rib for the wings with a saw. Using paper to cover wings. Making glue by hacking up toothbrush handles and soaking them in acetone.

Making my own scooter using bearings for wheels, which I scrounged from motorcycle shops. Using door hinge to connect the platform to the steering bar.

Building a kayak, making the rivets to hold the planks in place from brass wire.
Build radio like in above above photo but with galena crystal.

Make ice sled, using old skates bolted to a pice of board, add handle to the front to hang onto. Sit on it, legs outstretched, leaning back for minimal air friction. Used on a long ditch along the dirt road by our house, runing water int the ditch so it will freeze. And ride at breakneck speeds down on the frozen ditch. We lived on steep hill.

Using the cellar steps a as crude refrigeration, 15 steps down where we kept milk and other perishables. I did not know what a refrigrator was unti age 17 when I got to the USA.

Radio tuning with the "magic eye"

Learning to tune in radio stations like Deutche Welle, Radio free Europe, BBC, Voice of America, and trying to minimize the jamming buzz of those stations by the communist governments.

Trying to listen to Chanson D'amour music from Paris. On shortwave radio, fidelity really sucks.

Knowing the model and make of a car just by the sound it makes. Trabant, Warburg, Moskvitch, Volga, Citroen, the rare Mercedes.

Dumper, now that was a beast. It was used for hauling dirt, rocks etc. a dump body with open driver area. Dual steering wheels o a column and two sets of brake, clutch and accelerator pedals. 180 degrees from each other. For driving in reverse the driver's seat would swivel around 180 degres. Divers would get filthy as all get out. Wore goggles to cover the eyes. Not too bad in the summer, sucked in the rain, or in th ewinter at subzero temps.

The Hoffer one cylinder diesl tractors for farming. The horizontal frame was also the cylinder. Great big flywheel on the side used for strating cranking and power takeff to drive via belt thereshers. No muffler. Godawful noisy. SHook the kidneys out of you if rode on it loong enough.

Oh yea, the good old days.
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:58 PM   #23
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sheesh... you guys are fantastic!

lovin' every word... a few years apart, but seems like you could've lived in Fairlawn with me...

inkwells, and balsa wood, and the toothbrush melting.. (we never thought of that) ... yeah... long before school busses.

... and home was a 2 story 800 s.f. house that had 8 rooms plus a bath that was on the second floor... no hot water. (kettle on oil stove). $7 wk rent.

we dug caves and tunnels in the vacant lot between houses... forts and foxholes and sheds and fireworks that we bought from a black marketeer on Federal Hill...

and went home when the street lights came on.
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Old 12-04-2012, 06:55 AM   #24
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Making my own scooter using bearings for wheels, which I scrounged from motorcycle shops. Using door hinge to connect the platform to the steering bar.

My brother and I built one with baby carriage wheels and won the neighborhood soap box race. Our greatest joy was beating out the doctor's kid who's dad bought expensive components and assembled his cart for him. We never had Estes rockets but we did make rockets from CO2 cartridges filled with match heads (the cardboard ones, not self lighting). Anybody else pull that stupid stunt?

Another interesting pass-time was walking a couple of miles to the swamps along the railroad tracks. We would walk around in the shin deep muck and catch tadpoles which we kept in jars. Snakes too occasionally. This was in the city on the south side Chicago, not in Walden Pond. Nature rules. Oh, yeah, and riding bikes 10 miles west to Maple Lake with another kid on the handlebars -- must be why I still like cycling.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:33 AM   #25
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We never had Estes rockets but we did make rockets from CO2 cartridges filled with match heads (the cardboard ones, not self lighting). Anybody else pull that stupid stunt?
Even dumber--when I was about 8 or 9 I saw a simplified schematic of how a space rocket was designed (this was when the Apollo missions were on everyone's mind) and decided to make my own small model. The "fuel" was paper match heads kept in the fuel tank (an Alpo can). The fuel was to drop through a hole into the combustion chamber (a tuna fish can) to be burned and the gasses expelled through the nozzle I'd fashioned from a cut-up aluminum can. Don't ask me why I thought the flames wouldn't go right up into the Alpo can--maybe because that wasn't the designated combustion chamber? Anyway, this project was not a success. I somehow retained my appendages and gained a new respect for match heads. Don't try this at home, kids.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:59 AM   #26
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Great stories!

Walking to school without being afraid.

New red leather shoes that I almost ruined when I broke a frozen mud puddle.

Spaghetti from scratch cooked all day in Mom's dutch oven - by Mom.

Playing kick the can, hide & go seek, and freeze tag. Running as fast as I could!

Galloping to school, pretending to be a horse.

Skating to the grocery store for candy.

Finding a huge pile of comic books one summer that kept my siblings & I busy...Donald Duck, Richie Rich, Uncle Scrooge, Archie, Superman, plus....

Nancy Drew

Summer days at the park

Blackberry pickin'...and selling them to the neighbors to earn money for swimming at the town pool.

I'd say, the 50's and 60's were pretty much a golden age for America.
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:06 AM   #27
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Great stories!


Galloping to school, pretending to be a horse.
For me, the galloping was done on the way home
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:24 AM   #28
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I remember my HS chemistry professor showing us how to make "polish cannons" witjh Pringles cans and tennis balls and gas from the Bunsen burner..........
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This Thread is USELESS without pics.........:)
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:43 AM   #29
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My brother and I built one with baby carriage wheels and won the neighborhood soap box race. Our greatest joy was beating out the doctor's kid who's dad bought expensive components and assembled his cart for him. We never had Estes rockets but we did make rockets from CO2 cartridges filled with match heads (the cardboard ones, not self lighting). Anybody else pull that stupid stunt?

Another interesting pass-time was walking a couple of miles to the swamps along the railroad tracks. We would walk around in the shin deep muck and catch tadpoles which we kept in jars. Snakes too occasionally. This was in the city on the south side Chicago, not in Walden Pond. Nature rules. Oh, yeah, and riding bikes 10 miles west to Maple Lake with another kid on the handlebars -- must be why I still like cycling.
Ah, the rr tracks on the southside of Chicago - knew them well. Nabisco hill area swamps were great for a bike trip (took a bagged lunch with us). Under the rock/logs in the swamps would catch crayfish (or something resembling).

Fishing/picnics at Maple Lake was excellent! Remember one 4th of July when I was probably 12 yrs old along with my brother who was 8 and a friend who was 11 when our parents took us to the foresrt preserve to blow off crackers. Alll of a sudden, a cook county sheriff squad car comes by and us kids run into forest (our parents stayed put on a bench). When we thought the coast was clear, we scurried back to the car only to have the sheriffs intercept us. They took our crackers and told us to be on our way.

Made our own baseball/football field at the rr property at 55th/St. Louis. Had black bits of charcoal under our skin for years!

Fishing at Marquette park and later golfing there as well! Fond memories.
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:10 PM   #30
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Fishing at Marquette park and later golfing there as well! Fond memories.
Never tried the fishing but we golfed there in high school.
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