Maybe my memory has failed me because my high school days were a whirlwind of activities (no wonder my grades weren’t better), but I believe that I have blocked out a lot as well. I was hardly home, except over summer break when I took care of everyone. I had my last bout with the measles in January of my junior year and was sick for six days. As marked on my 1965 calendar, I missed four days of school.
Typical small town talk prevailed, and I felt as though I couldn’t go to the bathroom downtown without it causing gossip. A town rest room/lounge just off Main Street was a favorite place to seek privacy after school. Girlfriends and I went across the street to Corner Drug (Goodwin) after our chats. We drank cherry Cokes at the soda fountain for 10 cents and gobbled candy bars, three times the size of today’s, also a dime. Snickers is still my favorite.
Teens cruised Main on Friday nights before and after sporting events, and especially on Saturday nights. Drivers of hot cars, and not-so-hot cars, joined the circuitous route, meandered the curve of Highway 275 to the Hilltop rest room. We girls entered the tiny room by twos and threes and giggled over recent conversations as we relived which boys had said what to whom, and who “turned us on.” A toot of the horn called us running back, unless it was one of the girls who drove. We piled into the car and cut through the parking lot of the Hilltop. Jiving and singing to the radio, crossed the highway, coasted down “N”—the big Hospital Hill—turned onto Main, drove by the nuns’ home, past the library and courthouse, and all the way through Main, rolling windows down and stopping in the middle of the street if we met someone to talk to. We ended up at Uncle Ted’s Sinclair gas station at the entrance to Riverside Park.
Then we’d turn north on 275 for only a block and head east on Third, testing the shocks along “Washboard Avenue.” We passed Grandma and Grandpa Reikofski’s and Uncle Ted’s—across the street from one another. Made a right turn on “D,” bumped through the bowling alley parking lot. One of our teen hangouts, we often hopped in for another rest room chat and/or a burger and Coke. We circled back up Third, sometimes turning north to make a swing by the high school on Fifth, or went east on 275, but not much further than the Star Lite Drive-in.
And then we repeated the cruise, often our only Saturday night entertainment. Or, if on a date, we circled through town before and after a movie. I’d love to know if teens still cruise the streets in small towns. I’m guessing not. The world has changed so drastically, especially with the advent of cell phones and social media. Do kids even know what innocent teen fun really is? ☺