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Monday, March 30, 2015

Go-Karts and Doodlebugs - a cranky re-run

Go-Karts and Doodlebugs
This re-run from March 2013 was popular with us old folks.  If you are up for a little nostalgia...enjoy!

I watched an episode of “Leave it to Beaver” today that I’d never seen before.  This is my favorite old TV show as it captures life in the 50’s that many people today would not believe existed.  These were times of six year olds roaming around town without parents knowing where they were.  These were days of stickball and touch football in the streets.  These were days of sex education taught by older kids and finding out that girls could get pregnant if you both used the same tooth brush.


In the 50’s mom vacuumed in a dress and had her hair done once a week at the Beauty Parlor.  Dad ate dinner in his suit and tie, and the children ate whatever was put on their plate. 


There was lots of bad stuff in the fifties.  People of color were treated as less than equal and faced fire hoses, dogs, and cattle prods if they tried to change the system.  Women had few opportunities other than teaching or secretarial work if they chose to not be a housewife.  Gay people did not exist…well not in the open anyway.  Instead of gay people there were spinsters and confirmed bachelors.


“Leave it to Beaver" only showed the fun side of the fifties.  It was all about carefree young boys growing up, getting in trouble and learning life lessons through experiences that today’s children learn in a more structured sterile environment.


Today’s episode was “The Beaver” getting in trouble for driving his home- built “Go Kart” in the street.  Farfetched?  My two older brothers built a similar vehicle when they were fourteen and twelve.  Their Go-Kart consisted of an old lawnmower engine, some boards, and wheels from a wagon.  It was steered with your feet turning the front axle.
 
This “Go Kart” traveled at about 20 mph.  My brothers did not drive it on the sneak; they were proudly watched by my dad who did far crazier things in his youth. 

When we moved back east from California, we did not bring the go kart.  Instead my brothers bought a small motor scooter called a “Doodlebug.”  No helmet, no license, no problem.   They sold it years later to my cousin.
 
We had lots of vehicles in those days, most were homemade.  A board and some roller-skates made a skateboard.  They did not turn very well, but most of the fun was in the building.

 


My friends and I once built a “Sail Car.”  It was basically a go kart powered by a sail hung from the mast of an old sail boat.  It worked, but was not very practical on streets which did not want to go in the same direction that the wind would allow the car to travel.
 
 


Fort building and tree houses were popular even into the eighties.  My son and his friend Ray built a fort in Ray's back yard from wood scraps and nails they “borrowed” from a construction site.
 
 
Today, parents do not allow such foolish activities from their boys.  This is probably a good idea, as there were lots of accidents in the past.  Kids crashed their cars, skateboards and sail cars, and were hurt.  Some tree houses were constructed poorly and children fell out.  A little boy around the block from us was killed playing “chicken” with his brother who was on a moped when he leaped in the same direction as his brother turned.

We did unsafe stupid things as boys back in the day, but we kept busy.  We didn’t do drugs or alcohol, we didn’t shoplift (nothing big anyway); we stayed out of trouble…most times.


What is my point you ask?  I have no point.  I merely got wrapped up in an old “Leave it to Beaver” episode and just had to wax nostalgically.


Does every post have to have a point?

19 comments:

  1. My younger brother got a motorised go-kart for Christmas when he was five, cried all day because he wanted a chain driven trike like my sister received. Dad exchanged the go-kart as soon as the shops were open. I hated my gift too, but didn't bother complaining, since my other gift was a very acceptable book to read.

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  2. I think your blog made a point; you were nostalgic for your younger years :)

    betty

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  3. sad about the boy dying. cannot imagine how heavily that weighs on his brother. yes, we did foolish things as kids that nowadays folks would never allow.

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  4. I never personally had a doodlebug or a go-kart, but enough acquaintances did.
    So I had many, maybe all, of the same experiences as you.

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  5. I think back on my youth and wonder how I survived all those unsafe things I did. I did though as you did. There were some fun times and then there were a lot of not so fun times. I didn't have a leave it to beaver family.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  6. I grew up on "Leave it to Beaver" and share your nostalgia for this period of time. You've reminded me of the time my two neighbors, both older than me, crafted a fantastic push cart in their garage. It was a thing of beauty, and even had a roof on it. Unfortunately, they made it from 2x4s and an army of Israelites couldn't push the thing. It was fun to sit in, but nearly impossible to push.

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  7. Sometimes the point is just reliving the wonderful memories. And we played outdoors and built a fort and had fun, and i let my kids run to the creek and learn about snakes and frogs and build a teepee in the "woods", and all children should have fun running around and exploring.

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  8. That was a wonderful time--before the invention of not obeying your parents, fatal diseases, child molesters or serious accidents!!

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  9. The 60s were lovely as well. And thank you for not remembering those days with just the rose-colored lens -- I tired of people who do not remember how dangerous it could be. In one town I lived in we lost a whole family of children - five of them, plus the mother -- to a drunk driver, and yet I know people who don't understand why drinking and driving don't mix. "It didn't used to be illegal!" people say.

    But we both know. People can be kinda dumb.

    :-)

    Pearl

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  10. I love these stories because they allow me to revisit my past - and it was a friendly one like yours. For some reason, my sisters and I decided to build a swing set for ourselves. We used broom sticks to start and then had no idea where to go from there. Grandpa came over and offered to pay for a "real" one for us, worried that we'd kill ourselves. That was the only "boy" adventure we had. Guess we just weren't built to be engineers like you and your brothers!

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  11. Fine memories from "back in the day."

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  12. Nice trip back in time and yes we do tend to focus on the fun and freedom.and gloss over the cracked skulls. Beaver is a favorite of mine also. Except for the mom in pearls and dad in a suit, it is pretty representative of that period when families actually ate meals together. The thing I like the most about it is that the kids weren't smart mouthed. I really hate that about today's "family" shows.
    My brother had a doodlebug but that was OK, I had a pony.

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  13. My grandpa next door took me and my sister up on the roof with him while he was putting down shingles. We were probably about 7 and 5 years old. My mom looked out the window and screamed. Then she came over and made us climb down the ladder. Now I'm afraid of heights. It didn't occur to me on the roof.

    Nowadays, Grandpa would be slapped with child endangerment charges. He was only trying to teach us how to put on a new roof, I think. In case we needed a career to fall back on.

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  14. Sometimes posts--like some shows--that are about "nothing" are quite entertaining.

    I was a child of the 1950's too. It was wonderful to be able to roam the neighborhood all summer day, and explore and swim and wade in the creek and walk to the store.

    I miss that era...

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  15. Great memories...and I, too, am glad you didn't just put the rose-colored glasses on. It's OK to fondly remember the fun times, as long as you realize that it wasn't all fun and games. I remember a baby in the neighborhood dying during an afternoon nap because of carbon monoxide poisoning, and a young child falling off a tractor and getting rolled over.

    Before my father had a car, my parents would ride a motorcycle to visit my mother's parents in a town about 20 miles away. They'd put me on the motorcycle behind my Dad and in front of my Mom, and would throw a blanket over me, so any cops couldn't see that there was a one-year-old on the motorcycle...LOL.

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    Replies
    1. Your parents just won the "Most irresponsible ever" Award! I'll bet everyone used to just joke about it. Glad you survived.

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  16. The more antiseptic and armored you make the world the harder poor kids have to work to get a thrill. Make a better helmet, they make a bigger jump. Add some more pads and maybe body armor, they add more horsepower. We jumped off 5 foot ramps because we didn't have a helmet to make 20 foot jumps safer. Measured stupidity remains no matter the safeguards ...

    I remember jumping out of a 20 foot high tree fort into a 15 foot high pile of leaves. Took us 3 weeks to collect the leaves.

    I remember jumping off the roof into the snowbank we spent all day piling up.

    My mini-bike went almost 30 mph, no helmet

    My go-kart went 25, no brakes and no clutch.

    I ate lunch on top of a silo every day one su,,er to get away from an annoying cousin.

    We rode in the back of pickup trucks and rode the neighborhood on the tailgate of the station wagon.

    I'm not saying it was good, bad, or ugly. It just was what we did 'round here.

    And my best friend choked to death on a simple piece of chicken bone. So, you know, treasure it. Helmet optional.

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  17. I also did most of those things you mentioned. A neighbor kid and I built a doodlebug, only we didn't have a name for it back then. It was a hoot, we somehow survived, and was one more tiny part of making me a well rounded person. I think some of the kids today would do well if they gave it a try, too.

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  18. I really enjoy the blog.Much thanks again. Really Great.

    Skore Condoms Online

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