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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 22, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta argument going on whether The Shadow laughed with a French or English accent. We always sold our worms to the Fishermen a family who lived on the street and made much of their living on the river. The big thing about them was that nobody knew their fishing spots, and they would never tell- Nobody ever saw them on the river and yet they always came home with bags of perch and mudpout and it was always nice on a spring night to go over to their veranda and listen to their stories as they cleaned their fish. Today kids think you have to get three weeks with pay and go to Prince Edward Island to see things like that but we had it all right on our street for free. The man who loved wakes was another of our favorites. No matter where the wake was he was always there with a smile..Half your family could be wiped out but you could always count on a nice big friendly smile and a handshake from the man who loved wakes. Everybody said he went for the sandwiches but nobody knew for sure. Some of the older guys used to say lhat if a black dog howled in front of your house in the middle of the night and the man who loved wakes showed up on the street the next day, something not too terrific was going to happen at your house. But they were always telling us things like that. We didn't go in for organized sports much on our street; none of the parents ever had to get up at dawn on Saturday to drive their kids out to an arena in the suburbs for some ice time. Even the Boy Scouls didn't hit it off with the guys. The only scout we had was about 21 and we all thought he looked funny in the short pants. Once in a while somebody would decide to join the OCOT cubs (Our Citizens Of Tomorrow) but we'd always drop out as soon as the knots got tricky. Nothing could compete with the fun we had on the street. Take our ticktacks and screechers for instance. Now, a ticktack is when you tie a strong thread or string and a bolt to Ihe window of someone you think is a pretty good runner. Then you hide in the dark on the other side of the street and start pulling the string causing the bolt to bounce on his window. I'm not sure why it was called a ticktack because sometimes the bolt was pretty big and the noise it made as it cracked ihe window wasn't licktack at all. The screecher was more complex: with it you tied the same string to the window and then rubbed it with some violin rosin. You couldn't hear anything outside but word was that inside they were tearing their hair out over the awful screeching sounds. But nothing worked as well as the Earthquake. We had had a real earlhquake a few years earlier and people were still edgy about any sudden rumblings. So what you would do, eh, is get about 10 guys with heavy overshoes this was a winter sport and you'd all climb to the top of somebody's back stairs very, very quietly. And then on a given signal we would all tome down the stairs at once, only not nearly so quietly. If it was a chase you were looking for, the Earthquake never let you down. One man chased us more than any other and of course we loved him for it. He had no kids of his own at the time and we believed he really hated us so we put a lot of bolts on his window, until we caught on that he was having as much fun as we were. Seems he didn't hate kids at all it came as quite a disappointment and we never ticktacked him again. One of the nicest things about being chased on our street were the really terrific places we had to hide in. There were no finished rec rooms then but there were lots of sheds, garages, even a chicken coop. And of course there were the cellars. But mostly the action was on or under the veran- das. All our secret meetings were held under Clifford's veranda which we always had decorated with Corn Flakes and Kotex boxes. Once, we turned the clubhouse into a wild animal zoo and raised 14 baby crows under the veranda. Somebody's father said we'd never find enough food to feed them but they were coming along just fine until somebody left the flap open and the cat got in. I think it was right after the crows went that one guy's sister stumbled into the clubhouse and we invented Show The Doctor one of the best games of all as I remember... There were four kinds of verandas uppers, lowers, fronts and backs and there were things you could do on one that were not allowed on the other. You couldn't count worms on the front veranda, for instance. Or eat peanut butter and raw onion sand- wiches those were strictly, back veranda things. (One of the guys loved peanut butter and wild garlic sand- wiches and the funny thing about him was that all the dogs on the street growled at him actually, even the dogs on other streets growled at him.) But verandas were at their best for spitting, especially when you remem- bered to make sure Clifford's folks i weren't sitting out on their veranda downstairs. Ours was an upper and most of the kids on the street learned to spit on my front veranda I mean really .spit. All our big spitting contests were held at my place. You never knew when a spitting contest would develop they were a lot more impromptu than you might imagine. You'd be sitting there, eh, carving or reading a comic and drinking Freshie and one of the guys would Psshhhhhtt one out over the railing. Then somebody else would let fly and maybe get a bit more distance imp it, and then the first guy would put down his comic'and say he hadn't even been trying but if anybody was in the mood for a duel he was game. Before you knew it would be hanging out over the railing taking aim on the other side of the street. Our best spitter was a guy called Skin from the next street over who had a terrific little hole between his two upper front teeth. On a good day when the wind was right he could make it right out to the crack in the middle of the street. He was the champ right up until his voice changed and he got the hole filled. The other terrific thing about him was the way he could touch his nose with the tip of his tongue and wiggle his ears at the same time. I've heard he went into banking. During the winter, when it was too cold for spitting, we used the veran- das for jumping. That's another thing you don't see a lot anymore kids jumping off garage roofs and veran- das into snowpiles. Things, I'd say, are a lot tougher for kids today. In our day we used to be able to do so many things on our own without being driven there by our parents like going to the Roxy alone on Satur- day afternoons, skipping into the arena without paving for the wrestling matches... and jumping off roofs. "Where ire you going, "lust over to Freddie's to jump oft the roof, Mom." "Have fun, dear." The other thing we did a lot was hang around the comer store. That's where we first learned about Continued Warning. Ite fepartmnt of National Health and Weekend Magazine, Feb. 27, 1975 79 ;