summer of 1965

The Summer of 1965...

Thinking back now on the Summer of 1965, 5 cent candy barsI can remember so many places that have long since disappeared that were so important to me then. That summer resurrects one of my favorite memories because so much seemed to be happening. As a kid, the summers were important to us all; after a year of being shut up in the house, or playing in frigid temperatures, or rain, it was good to get out into the sun.

1965 was the first summer that I can recall where girls became acceptable and I often hung out with them. I was only ten, so this wasn't the boy-girl attraction thing, but rather an acceptance where we learned to interact with each other on meaningful levels. Some of the girls were good at sports, and were therefore likely candidates for team games.

ice cream coneIn general, the world was a big beautiful safe place where the days went on forever and the nights were spent outdoors until the late hours. By this time, we lived just off 88th and Holgate. Eastport plaza was just down a steep dirt hill, well within walking distance. There was an Albertson's there that had an ice cream shop where you could get cones in the summertime. I really loved the raspberry cones, and the chocolate chip served on one of those waffle cone types-not the sugar cones-but the regular cones shaped like waffle cones.

5 cent candy bars were more than an urban myth, and I remember buying some of my favorites for a nickel each. Hollywood, Big Time, and Zero bars were the ones I used to buy. Milk Shake bars were also my favorites long before it was popular to put them in the freezer and eat them frozen.


The Beatles' "Help!"

45sThe songs from the new Beatle's album "Help!" were, as usual, highly important and influential, not only to me, but everybody I knew. The songs "Help!", "Ticket to Ride", and "You're Gonna Lose that Girl" were my favorites during this period.

The only way to describe this period of time with The Beatles, and their new "Help!" album, is to say "you just had to be there." Out of all the records that played on the local record players in my neighborhood, this one got by far more plays than anything else that summer.

The movie "Help!" was something I really wanted to see, but like the James Bond movies, my mom had seen some of the advertisements that showed girls in bikinis and her answer was a firm "no." Probably my favorite drive-in movie memory is when My brother Kenny took me to see it. The second feature was "Mister Moses" starring Robert Mitchum. 82nd street drive-in adI always considered that to be a wonderful thing for Kenny to do since he hated the Beatles. Kenny is an Elvis fan and could never understand the attraction of The Beatles, yet he went out of his way to take me to this movie because he knew I was just dying to see it. He gave her some story about where we were going, and in secret, we went to the 82nd Street Drive-In to see it.


My Favorite Songs of 1965

45s Skateboards and music were more and more popular. The best songs were emerging, and I was getting old enough that the music actually mattered and made a huge difference in me, and in the way that I observed my world. There is not one song that will bring back that scorching summer of '65 better than The Byrds' version of "Mr. Tambourine Man".

california girls 45 "California Girls" by the Beach Boys was also one of the best songs ever to come out of that beautiful summer.Herman's Hermits had a big hit with "I'm Henry the VIII, I Am" and Freddie and the Dreamers had everyone on the block doing "The Freddie".

Considering that The Beatles had managed to churn out several hits a year, sharing the pop charts with them was a relatively difficult feat for many. A monstrously huge hit song came out of left field, and pulled the rug out from everybody. The song wasby The Rolling Stones and it was called "Satisfaction". That song had everybody in my neighborhood doing backflips! Whenever it came on the radio-which was often-it got cranked up loud until moms screamed for it to be turned back down. I still acquaint "Satisfaction" with that summer of '65, and the heat in the streets, the games, the flavors, the people, and the fun times we had. Later, the Stones hit us again with "The Last Time".

By summer's end, there were 4 songs on my block that were important enough to cease all activity until they ended. They were: "Mr. Tambourine Man", "Ticket to Ride", "California Girls", and "Satisfaction".


First Girlfriend

girl


In late July of 1965, I had a special friend who was the dictionary definition of "tomboy". I liked her tremendously, and she liked me as well. We had a very special bond that I don't think anyone else would have understood. She mostly took interest in games that boys played and didn't play with dolls. Her interests were sports, mysteries, monsters, and adventure. She also had a younger brother, but he wasn't my age, so he and I never played together.

I noticed that some of the other girls weren't as friendly with her undoubtedly owing to her tomboyish ways. She was also taller than most of them which I'm sure didn't help. I remember a particular day when a bunch of us kids were playing baseball.

tomboy

She hit a home run that sent the ball clear out beyond centerfield. I always considered myself a good hitter, and that one was a monster slam. Another time she skinned her leg sliding into home but just kept going.

This girl was also far more interesting than most of my guy friends, and often more inventive. She could be unpredictable in her sense of adventure-which I liked tremendously-and her honesty really threw me for a loop. She didn't make up whopper stories, but rather told the truth. What we had in common the most were games like football, baseball, daredevil bike riding, skateboarding, monsters, adventures, and music.

At the time, we'd both pretty much agreed that aside from The Byrds' "Mr.Tambourine Man", The Beach Boys' "California Girls" was probably the greatest song that summer. I sure miss that time, and that summer of 1965.


Skateboards & Sidewalk Surfing

skateboards 1965
Skateboards were getting to be more commonplace, and the old Roller Derby board I used to have in 1964 got upgraded to one of the newer, sleeker, and more colorful models. Soon, every kid on the block was putting roller wheels on their own slab of wood to create their own unique boards. One of the things I loved most about those days were the fact that we were always inventing, re-inventing, building, creating, and making the absolute best out of what we had. Customizing our stingrays, building forts, and "modding" up our skateboards were the best things ever.

I recall one summer evening after having created our own skateboards out of plywood, heavy planking, and skateboard wheels, a bunch of us kids were out because it was so hot. homemade skateboardWe'd just hit the corner store for candy and pop, and were 60's-socializing out under the saffron glow of the corner street light. Sometimes my oldest brother would go out and smoke cigarettes and turn on his car radio while waiting for his friends to come over. It was pure Heaven when those muscle cars rolled up. We'd hear these great tunes that were new and fresh for the times. My other brother Pat, (the creative one), figured out how to open up the fire hydrants with a special wrench. Such fun that all was. My house crested a small, but steep slope that led to the backside of Marshall High School. Many of us would ride our new boards to the bottom, then make a hard spin out turn. None of us were skateboard champs, but we had a blast regardless.


The G.I. Joe Deep Sea Diver

g.i. joe deep sea diver Serious toys were coming out, but the most powerfully influential toy for me was the infamous G.I. Joe Deep Sea Diver. I was a nut on underwater stuff anyway. Sea Hunt was one of my favorite shows, and anything to do with scuba diving, or being underwater was wildly fascinating to me. Therefore, having a new toy-a cross between a WWII solider-and someone who goes way deep into the ocean-was too good to be true. A neighbor kid whose parents had lots of money had just purchased it for him. As for myself, I didn't get this set right away; it came to me on Christmas Eve of 1965.

I remember blowing on the whistle-type "depth gauge" while the diver was submerged in a big barrel of water. Watching the bubbles rise, and just imagining this awesome diver in my own backyard was too much! In my mind, I lived and breathed this new invention known as "G.I. Joe". Even the box was amazing, and the painting depicted the diver in the great depths of blue-green searching out some new adventure. G.I.Joe became a source of my most steadfast dedication in toys, and I later collected many versions, gear, and action toys related to him.