Searching for Japanese lanterns that don’t exist

I don’t know if the 1950’s were great…but in my mind they sure seem that way.

Catholics with no meat Fridays got to eat pizza..which almost didn’t exist then (or fish sticks, which still suck).

Driving around Orange County to my brother’s high school basketball games was exciting. Packed gyms with hundreds of sweaty, screaming fans cheering on wildly for their hometown boys.

Looking ahead to the summer when the city Jewish kids would come up with their families to Mrs. Tompkin’s boarding house next door…see the amazement in their eyes when I gave them the tour of the land of rabbits, turtles, wood chuck holes, polliwogs, and puff balls.

Cars, which mean nothing to me now, meant everything then. At the age of five, I knew every make and model…and sat on a bench overlooking Route 17k to watch them all do a thirty mile an hour purr toward their destination. Which was the best? Buick Roadmaster, of course

Watching my older sisters dance with their friends to American Bandstand. I was never allowed to participate, unless their were an odd number of girls. Then, and only then, was I invited in…to be told to leave immediately when the dancing was over.

For some reason, the evening adult cocktail parties grab my imagination more then anything. Most of the adults were relatives on my mom’s side. They were a depression toughened Irish brood that had a gift of gab, a sense of humor, and for some, a taste for the whiskey. A lot of high balls were mixed.

And every evening party was lit up by strings of Japanese lanterns. I loved those lanterns..they were gorgeous.

And I cannot find one picture on google that is an exact match for my mom’s 1957 era lanterns. I will put up a picture that comes close…but when you write a story like this, close doesn’t cut it.

The following has been written in a previous story, and now will be written again. During the twilight, dads would pop open their hoods, exposing a gigantic V8 engine, and in special cases, something no one else had. Mr. Fleischmann’s power steering unit comes to mind.

I don’t remember anyone having air conditioning.

After 9, the kids would go out in search of lightning bugs, and capture them in a mason jar with a wax paper cover.

The real magic came at the end of the night, when everyone loaded into the cars, with a ‘loaded dad’ at the wheel. Their was nothing like the quiet power of a 1950’s V8 auto working its way up the driveway, tossing stones into the wheel well…most cars turning left and heading in the Newburgh direction.

Those who still had a standard transmission shifted twice before hitting Mrs. Tompkins driveway…the newer automatic transmissions shifted sooner.

The only ‘adults’ left alive are Uncle Paul, and his wife, Aunt Marie. Paul was a Ford guy….and he drank the most and chain smoked.

And he is 95.

There is a very big part of me that wants Paul and Marie to stay alive forever.

I mean, there does have to be a first for everything.

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