Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Way Back Machine


The Time: Summer 1963
The Place: Grandpa's House - Rice Lake, Wisconsin

It's Sunday, and that means another trip in the Way Back Machine.

Aren't you amazed by the detailed memories that one single photo can jog?

That's my mom on the left in the colorful cotton shift. I am wearing a colorless combination of shorts and sleeveless shirt, combined with not-so-white tennis shoes. Oh, and let's not forget the cute cat's eye glasses. Very 1963.

That's my grandpa's big Cadillac. He always drove Caddie's, the bigger the better. He would drive us up and down the hills - FAST. Fast enough to make our stomachs dip like being on a roller coaster. My step-grandmother was the tiniest little woman. She never had a driver's license. It's a good thing because she never would have been able to see over the steering wheel.

Behind us is the one room schoolhouse that my grandfather converted to a home for their retirement. It must have been a larger schoolhouse because he carved two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and bathroom out of the space. The basement served as the garage and since my grandfather was a big fisherman he kept large tanks of minnows downstairs.

Can you imagine being a kid and having a chance to ring the school bell whenever you wished? Well, only as much as grandma could stand.

If you wanted to spend time with grandpa, you learned to fish. Plain and simple. The mosquitos in northern Wisconsin were the size of Volkswagens but we wore our repellent and swatted our way through hours of fishing. I never forgot his lesson which was to have the patience of a fisherman.

NOTE: While on the phone with my mom this afternoon, trying to discern the exact location of the old schoolhouse, my mom reminded me that my grandfather also kept a big old Buick at the farmhouse. It was his fishing car. He was mad as heck when some hunters shot the Buick, having mistakened it for a deer! There was probably alcohol involved. They also shot the neighbors cow and killed it dead!


Bobbi said...

Wow - love the glasses! This could actually be a picture of me and my mom!

Amy said...

I've recently been sorting thru old photos and DO plan to blog about lots of old memories later on.
I had some cat eye glasses just like those, but I was very little when I wore them, too funny!

GemStateMom said...

great photo! We used leeches usually, instead of minnows. Minnows slip out, but leeches like to curl around your finger. Thank goodness they were quite small.

My dad was willing to bait hooks, but I figured if I'm gonna do this...I'm gonna do ALL of it, so I have experience wrestling leeches off my fingers.

I'm sure there's a life lesson lurking in there somewhere too...I just haven't spotted it yet. :)

Mom Taxi Julie said...

What a fun picture!

Simple Answer said...

I'll take both the glasses and the colorful shift!

linda said...

What wonderful memories! And hey, I had those cateye glasses too!

Heidi said...

I CAN NOT BELIEVE - that your grandparents lived in Rice Lake.... I live about 30 miles south of there - OMG!!! Its fun to remember days gone by!

Suzanne Bellerive said...

Why is it that I seem to be the only person who ever reports that I never felt anything in my stomach when going fast down a hill? No! The strange feeling I get is always in my ... my ... my gigi! My twat! My ... coochie-snifter, as Eve Ensler would say.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Very fashionable then and very fashionable you have a pair of those knee shorts today? I am seriously considering it — not! (Some women can still do it past teen years and I am not one of them.)

The one-room schoolhouse sounds like a dream of a home. What a thrill for a kid to ring the bell!

Jill said...

I'm a big fan of old photos - they bring back great memories. I LOVE the glasses... Isn't amazing that style really comes around full circle!

The Cadillac is very similar to my grandfathers - though his had the suicide doors. For some reason I still like them.

Karen said...

I remember having a pair of thse glasses...and the knee lengh shorts. Wished I'd kept them as I saw a whole table of them at Costco last time I was in. Apparently they are back in fashion!

Beverly said...

What a fond memory. I recognize that era. My grandfather had a Cadillac, too. And, my mother had a car that looked that color.

Suzanne said...

Bobbi - This is my second pair of cat's eye glasses. The first pair had a pink and white checkerboard pattern.

Amy - Oh yeah. Pouring over old photos is called "photo therapy".

Paula - Leeches!!! We encountered those when we went swimming in someone's watering hole. The bottom was all mud and we emerged covered with leeches. My grandmother was screaming for a full 20 minutes. You would have thought it was a horror flick.

Julie - It was always fun at grandpa's house.

SA - Isn't it funny what we called some of the clothing back then....shifts and muumuu's.

Linda - I skip the fashions (eyeglass or otherwise) the second or third time they come around.

Heidi - The schoolhouse was somewhere outside of Rice Lake. I think it was somewhere in the Wisconsin's version of the Bermuda triangle..between Rice Lake, Barronet and Shell Lake. We went to Rice Lake for restaurants, Shell Lake to swim and I have no idea what Barronet is known for.

Oh Suzanne! Nope I never felt that.

Vee - I wear those shorts in a pinch, but try to stick to long pants.

Jill - My grandfather kept an old Buick in addition to the Cadillac. The Buick was his fishing car. He got plenty mad when the crazy hunters shot the Buick......mistakening it for a deer. There was probably some alcohol involved.

Karen - If we wait long enough everything comes back in fashion. Unfortunately.

Thanks for going along in the Way Back Machine!

- Suzanne

Alaura said...

AWWWWWWWWWWWWW what a great story of your youth. It must have been grand when you went to visit your grand parents. I would love to see more photos of the school house, if you have any. And your poor grand pa's Buick,they must have been tipsy to mistake a car for a deer, and then the cow. Sure hope they are not hunting any more. lol;

Anonymous said...

I'm definitely a fan of the Way Back Machine. And speaking of nostalgia and bygone summers, Suzanne, I just finished rereading the last page of Bradbury's DANDELION WINE last night, as promised. That book never fails to take me back to childhood summers and visiting my grandparents in Indiana. Those were sweeter, slower days. Your Way Back Machine captures that essence too...

restyled home said...

Fun story! I would have loved to explore that school house...lucky you!!

By the way, you were "workin' those glasses"...!!


Deanna said...

"Killed it dead." Ha! Ha! Can you kill it any other way?


The 'blush' fashion look is in again. Very Parisian. (good for a farmer's wife wouldn't you agree). My word, you've got to write that novel/screenplay soon. It's all so dang funny. Your life reminds me of Fried Green Tomatoes. Am I far off?

Marie Reed said...

This is just priceless! I see too that you've always had quite the soft spot for wonderful glases!

Rue said...

Good morning Suzanne :)

You and your mom are so darn cute!! I love those glasses :)

Those cars were somethin' else. Did you find out where the school house is? I can't believe they shot his car and killed a cow. Yes, I do believe there was alcohol involved LOL


KatKit13 said...

I love love love the way back machine.

And hey, that patience is serving you well on that tile flooring. bwahahahaha