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 violated 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 world.  

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 even the occasional girl (yes, that got me in big trouble).  Some of the softer dirt clods would disintegrate in your hand when you threw them.  Some were so hard 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.

3.  Okie “Medcin” — Whatever happened to Mom’s miracle “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 vaporizers filled with Vicks that kept your nasal passages moist and warped all the wooden furniture in the room).  Seriously, why did we stop using all that wonderful, cheap, stuff?

4.  Half-Baths — When we bought our brand new, three-bedroom, brick house at 1332 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 Fire Marshal Dad a King.  With the Sunday paper, a pack of Winstons, a cup of strong coffee, and no kids banging on the toilet door for an hour, he was in hog heaven.

5.  Garage Shops —  Our new house had a big garage. It was big enough for the Ford, Dad’s workbench and three generations’ worth of tools. But when Mom decided to work from home as a seamstress, instead of at One Hour Martinizing on Campus Corner, Dad turned the garage into a lovely, carpeted shop for Mom and her “power machines” (industrial Singer sewing machines so powerful I bet they could have sewn bricks together).
I think ours was one of the first garages turned into a “room”.  Does anyone do that anymore? Does anyone put a car in a garage anymore, except when it’s hailing softballs?

6.  BB Guns — Somewhere along the way, my Dad found an old, lever-action BB gun.  It didn’t have much power.  Even so, I’m sure Dad 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, he gave me the gun and pretty soon, of course, I started shooting at birds and dogs and kids and glass.  Sadly, I shot at, and somehow killed a robin, that was wayyyyyy out the back on the telephone wire.  It made me feel terrible, but it got much worse when the neighbor kid dobbed me in.  A policeman knocked on our door and said this to my Mom: “It’s about your son…”  Mom thought I’d been run over by a car.  It probably would have been better if I had been. 

7.  Newspaper Cartoons — Who had the bright idea of dropping cartoons from the back of the Sports Section?  We spent countless hours copying the Sunday funnies onto Big Chief Notebook Paper using Playdough.  I’m convinced that dropping the Funnies turned future generations against newspapers.  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.  NHS Tiger Legends — Because my Big Sisters were in the NHS Pep Club in the sixties, and two of my cousins were stud Norman High Tiger football players, we spent most Fall Friday nights at Owens Stadium.  My buddies and I idolized NHS football players.  The biggest, baddest of them all, according to legend, was so big his jersey had three numbers on it.  He  is said to have destroyed entire offensive lines by himself.  He was fast and mean, on and off the football field.  It was told that one night his little sister screamed from her bathtub after seeing a Peeping Tom looking in the window.  Her brother, “Randy”, caught the guy half-way down the block and dispensed justice.

9.  Sonic Giraffes — Who didn’t love the Sonic Drive-in on Lindsey Street?  Limeades had oh-so-crunchable ice that came in huge styrofoam cups. Mermaids and plastic animals were clipped on the cup rim.  But I especially loved the giraffes that my tall, gorgeous sister would bring home from car dates.  She gave them to me as an incentive for not telling our parents where she’d been, so shhhh.  Each time I promised myself that I wouldn’t chew on them, so I could build up a collection.  But I could not resist.  I’d always chew off the neck, accidentally swallow it, and almost die…

Sonic animals


10. Principal Fear  — Modern parents today don’t understand the value of a child having to stay after school as punishment.  Back in the day, we had to empty trash cans (humiliating) and pound chalkboard erasers until we were white as a ghost (awesome). And for capital offenses that involved making girls cry, we had to go to the Principal’s Office. Even today, after more than five decades, the thought of being sent to Mr. Sullivan’s office at Cleveland Elementary School still makes my stomach hurt.  Mr. Sullivan was huge and scary.  He’d turn over his big class ring and thunk you on the head when you did stupid things on the playground. (Note: I did a lot of stupid things and deserved every thunk).  We were pretty sure that “Big Bill” had killed dozens of men in the war and probably strangled a grizzly bear with his bare hands.  We did NOT want to be sent to his office for making girls cry, so we quit doing that.  If every school in America had a principal like Mr. Sullivan, who I am proud to say is now my friend, America would be a much better place.  Trust me on this. 

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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