Randy’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun Challenge asks us to think about the Summer when we were 12 years old and write about one memory.
For me, 12 years old was the Summer of freedom. I had graduated from elementary school. This was the Summer when my best friend and I were allowed to roam the “city” (um…very small for a city) with having to be chaperoned.
Summer in the San Francisco Bay Area is never too hot and never too cold, though it can be on the extremes of both. This was during the drought of the 1970s and the Summer seemed very harsh, very dry.
My best friend and I would walk up to the shopping mall where a kid could find a few things to do. There was the skating rink a block over, a bowling alley across the street, a few restraurants, and Dreyer’s Ice Cream Parlor.
We’d go bowling for less that $5 (including shoe rental!). We weren’t very good at it, but we sure did enjoy it. The place was air conditioned–something that wasn’t widespread in the 1970s. Then we’d walk over to Dreyer’s and have lunch, finishing it off with Petit Parfaits. No whipped cream and alot of extra chocolate syrup.
After we would roam the mall, sometimes meeting up with friends. I’d always have to stop at Montgomery Wards or Woolworth’s to see what albums came out. A kid with an allowance could get an album for about $3 and a 45 for 50 cents. We’d wander up to Hotai, our local “trippy” store. Incense, photos of rock stars, a side room with a black light and posters. I was always looking for something on Kiss and Peter Frampton.
On our way out, we’d head back to Montgomery Wards. We just had to play Pong, that new electronic game that was the rage. Then we’d get a Slurpee, with purchases in hand we’d head out the Garden Center, and be on our way home.
I felt old, grown up, out on my own. Little did I know what grown up met. I sure felt big in that Summer of 1976.