Those Summer Days

A new month? Or, just another day in the astrological sense? 

Which one I choose pretty much depends on the mood I’m in. I choose to be happy today so I’m going to tell you about a happy time in my life’s Odyssey when it seemed like every summer’s day was a new adventure. If this article had a title, it would be Bobby, Ritchie, and Erv. Thinking back to the summer of 1957 it seems like every day Ritchie and Erv would come calling for me to join them in the day’s adventure. When I say “calling” I mean it literally. At that time, in our neighborhood it was not just customary, it was required that if you wanted a friend to come out of their house, you had to stand an appropriate distance from their screen door and holler loudly,

“Oh, for Ritchie”, or “Oh, for Erv”

I believe that the intent of the custom was to avoid having someone look through your screen door and observe someone less than fully clothed. Whatever, the reason, it was a hard and fast rule. 

Our initial destination was usually the baseball field for a pick-up game of “hardball”. We usually managed to round up enough kids for 2 teams with 5 to 8 players. Every kid thought they could pitch. None of us had a curveball, just a high pitch which we hoped would drop near home plate. 

We played for hours, and broke for lunch at what then, in Milwaukee, was called the “custard stand”. (Not to be confused with the other infamous Custer’s stand). With our paper route money we enjoyed great burgers, fries and a Strawberry shake. As I write, I haven’t eaten yet. I know where I’m going (check out Culvers) and what I’m ordering.

Back to Bobby, Ritchie, and 
Erv. ————- So, we played, usually until we lost too many players to field 2 teams. Mid-afternoon — time to bother the pharmacist at the corner drugstore. Most of you will need to Google “phosphates” to appreciate our favorite drink. Lemon/Lime was my favorite flavor. We would nurse our drinks while we read the latest comic books while seated at the bar —- Yes! The pharmacy had a bar and barstools for soft drink sippers. The longest loitering experience centered around the arrival of the new addition of “Mad Magazine”. Our current U.S. Secretary of Transportation was the stunt double for Alfred E. Neuman. 

Bobby, Ritchie, and Erv only had good times, as I recall it. It seems to me that it never rained. 

“Those were the Days My Friends” as sung beautifully by Mary Hopkin in 1968. Listen to it if you feel like reminiscing.

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