10 OkieBoomer Memories: Dip-Tops to Sonic Giraffes

diptop cone

In no particular order…

1. Dip-Tops — Back in 1964, the Tastee-Freeze at Main and Berry Road had some kind of magic that allowed them to violate all known laws of physics. They could “draw” an ice cream cone, turn it upside down, dip it into molten chocolate, and then hand it to you, without anything melting or exploding. Don’t ask me how they did it. I was just thrilled beyond measure that they could do it, because it was the best thing in the whole universe. Fast forward 50 years. On the way back from having a tumor the size of a baseball removed from his head, my Buddy’s grown son stopped at a Tastee-Freeze to celebrate. He told the lady, and I quote, “I want the biggest Dip-Top Cone you have ever made in your whole, entire life, and I don’t care what it costs.” The lady produced a monster Dip-Top Cone and charged him $10. Tradition is an awesome thing, huh?

2. Dirt Clods — Whatever happened to dirt clods? I must have thrown 10 billion of them; at trees, at fire hydrants, at Steve Madden and the occasional girl (yes, that got me in big trouble). Some of the softer dirt clods would disintegrate because of the force of the throw. Some were so hard that they might as well have been rocks. The best dirt clods, held together with Bermuda grass roots, would explode on impact, like a snowball made of dirt. It was a beautiful thing to see. Where have the dirt clods gone?

3. Okie “Medcin” — Whatever happened to miracle-cure “medcins”: Merthiolate (for cuts), Campho-Phenique (for mosquito bites), Bluing (for nasty bee stings), Faultless starch (for jock rash, sorry ladies), Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (for pretty much everything), charcoal tablets (bad tummies), Apple vinegar, Calamine lotion and oatmeal baths (rashes and Chicken Pox), Vick’s VapoRub (on your chest for croop and on the bottom of your feet at bedtime, along with thick socks, to stop coughs and help you sleep), and cure-all vaporizers filled with Vicks and Oil of Eucalyptus, that kept your nasal passages moist and warped all your furniture). Seriously, why did we stop using all that wonderful, cheap, stuff?

4. Half-Baths — When we bought our brand new, three-bedroom, brick house on Nebraska Street in 1962 for $12,700 (which was almost a bazillion dollars back then), it came with a half-bath (toilet and sink), attached to the master bedroom. You would have thought it made my Dad a King. The Sunday paper, a pack of Winstons, and no kids banging on the toilet door? He was in hog heaven.

5. Garage Shops — My Dad had 10,000 tools that he inherited from my Grandpa and Great Grandpa, plus 10,000 that he bought or made himself, plus all the gear he had from the Norman Fire Department. It was all carefully arranged above his huge work bench in the garage. But when Mom decided to work from home as a seamstress, instead of at One Hour Martinizing on the OU Campus, Dad turned the garage into a lovely, carpeted shop for Mom and her “power machines” (industrial Singer sewing machines that probably could have sewn bricks together). Ours was the first garage that I recall being turned into a “room”. Wait. Check that fact. No, Greg’s Dad built one with wood paneling, plush carpet and a pool table. Obviously Greg’s Dad was a bazillionaire.

6. BB Guns — Somewhere along the way, my Dad found an old, lever-action BB gun. I’m sure he had trepidation about giving it to me, but it was free, and free was good back then. So after promising to never shoot at birds or dogs or kids or anything glass, I started shooting at the shoe box target that Dad gave me, which, after about 10 minutes, was boring as dirt. So I started shooting at birds and dogs and kids and glass. But in my defense, when I was being a “jungle sniper”, propping my rifle on the picnic table and shooting at our gas meter (an enemy tank) way at the back of the yard, I had no idea the glass over the gauges was not sniper proof. When I realized I’d broken it, and that several BBs were still inside, I thought about running away and joining the Army. But after a few days, when I had not been caught or killed, I relaxed and decided to never, ever shoot at bad things again. Until the day I shot at, and, sadly killed, a robin that was wayyyyyy out the back on the telephone wire. It made me feel really bad. But when a policeman knocked on our door and told my Mom “it’s about your son”, and she had a heart attack, thinking I’d been run over and killed, but she then heard it was about me shooting a bird with a BB gun… Well, that’s when the pain really set in.

7. Newspaper Cartoons — Who had the bright idea of dropping cartoons from the back of the Sports Section? That highly educated, super-braniac did not understand that by depriving children of the “funnies” — not only to read but, on Sundays, when the funnies were in COLOR, to copy them onto Big Chief Notebook Paper using Playdough, ala the Gutenberg Printing Press method — he would turn generation of young people against the printed word. (You may think the Internet and iPhone had something to do with it, but I am Old School, and I believe in the power of Playdough).

8. Principal Fear — From what I observe, modern day parents are so hurried and stressed that they barely have time to pick up their kids after school. They have lost the concept of a child having to stay after school as punishment, which, way back when, included emptying trash cans (humiliating), pounding chalkboard erasers until you were white as a ghost (awesome), and, for offenses that involved making girls cry, going to the Principal’s Office. Even today, after five decades, the thought of being sent to Mr. Sullivan’s office at Cleveland Elementary School still makes my stomach turn over. Mr. Sullivan was scary and huge. He used to turn over his big class ring and thunk you on the head when you did stupid things on the playground, or if he thought you just needed it. Everyone “knew” that Big Bill had been a marine and killed hundreds of men in the war. And we’d heard he killed a grizzly bear with his bare hands. So you did NOT want to be sent to his office for making girls cry. Trust me, if every school in America had a principal like Mr. Sullivan, and teachers who had the authority to send misbehaving kids to his office, America would be a much better place

9. Tiger Legends — Because my Big Sisters were in the NHS Pep Club, and two of my cousins were macho stud Norman High Tiger football players, we spent Fall Friday nights watching games at Owens Stadium. It was awesomeness that I have written about ad nauseam on this blog. When we were little, my buddies and I idolized NHS football players because they were beasts. The biggest, baddest of the NHS beasts, according to legend, had been Randy King. Some years ago, he was said to have been so huge that his jersey had three numbers. He was able to destroy entire offensive lines, despite having nine broken legs and a sucking chest wound. And fast? And mean? As the story went, his little sister screamed from the bathtub after seeing a Peeping Tom looking in the window. Randy caught the guy half-way down the block and, well, you don’t even want to know. (Hmmm. I wonder if Randy grew up to be Mr. Sullivan. That’s something to ponder).

10. Death By Giraffe — This has nothing to do with Lincoln Park Zoo, which was awesome. It has everything to do with the Sonic Drive-in on Lindsey Street. In the Sixties, the huge limeades with oh-so-crunchable ice came in huge styrofoam cups that had at least one plastic animal clipped on the rim. All the animals, and mermaids (below), were cool to collect. But I was a giraffe kind of guy. Every time my tall, gorgeous, older sister Cathy went on a “car date” (and there were thousands… did I mention she was tall and gorgeous?), she would return home and bribe me with give me a Sonic animal not to mention anything to Mom that may have involved boy-smooching. When I got a giraffe, I’d promise myself that I would never, ever bend it or chew on it, lest its fragile legs or neck snap and choke me to death. Alas,much like my promises about the BB gun, I would invariably chew on the giraffe. They were irresistible. And every time, the neck would break off, go halfway down my throat and get stuck in my goozle, totally choking me to death. Well, okay, not totally. If I’d totally choked, Cathy would’ve had to tell Mom and Dad about her car-date, the Sonic, and Boy Smoochies. That would not have gone down well because she was supposed to have been babysitting her angelic little brother, rather than going on car-dates, with boys no less. She would have been grounded for about 900 years. And for that, she would have killed me dead, dead, dead. I bet she would have blamed my death on the giraffe and gotten away with it. Because my mean old sisters always got away with it. Click here to find out how mean they were. After you go to the Sonic. Because you know you want to…

Sonic animals

And click HERE for a whole bunch of OkieBoomer memories.


2 Responses to “10 OkieBoomer Memories: Dip-Tops to Sonic Giraffes”

  1. Lillian L.. says:

    Half baths are now called powder rooms in the McMansions.

    The good old cheap medicines are still around, and I still use them. Sadly many don’t have a clue what the hell they are.

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