Beginning at about this time, bizarre fads began to surface among youngsters. For examples, beginning in fifth grade in elementary school and beyond a child would be ostracized by peers for wearing white sneakers and/or white socks. If the white sneakers were dirty, that was accepted. By high school, using an umbrella to shield oneself from the rain inspired the ridicule of peers. Later and by the year 2000, children were likely persecuted by others for wearing a jacket or coat in cold weather as many students were seen not wearing this essential article of clothing in winter.
An interesting and popular toy that brother and I liked playing with on occasion was a red and clear plastic rocket ship that we filled half way with water. The rocket ship set included a launch pad air pump combination piece that the partially filled water rocket attached to prior to launching. Brother or I would pump air into this rocket and then push a button attached to the air pump launch pad combination piece and watch the rocket soar into the air sometimes releasing water along the way. I often thought, even as a child that there was an important energy source available, but yet to be developed based on the concept of this toy. The releasing of air from a balloon is similar to this idea.
Mother had suggested that I learn to play a musical instrument. Objecting to this suggestion due to an uncomfortable experience contending with a belligerent instructor of violin a year earlier, I expressed a protest to her suggestion. Later there was a reconsideration of thought and so mother enrolled me in desired lessons of accordion. After months of study and practice, the accordion teacher encouraged me to enter a musical contest where young musicians were invited to compete at a hotel in the city. At the contest two judges were assigned to my performance. The selection of instrumental played was accomplished without error and the judges complimented me on this performance. The judges then asked me to replay the musical piece at a quicker pace where one, then two, then many errors were made due to nervous anxiety. A merit trophy was the result of this performance.
In the summer of this year, mother suggested that I attend an all girls’ overnight camp for two weeks. I was hesitant about attending, but after reviewing the activities through a camp information guide, I decided that this might be a fun experience. The girls in the camp were assigned to specific areas based on age. Further assignments by college age counselors were to tents containing four girls to each tent. All of the girls in the tent of my assignment were compatible. We talked incessantly and were constantly punished through loss of privileges and activities for speaking after “lights out”. One girl in our tent, who attended the camp in a prior year, discussed a panty raid that took place during each camp session. We asked this girl to explain the event more thoroughly. She stated that the older girls raided the camp section of the younger girls, taking their underwear, sometimes from their luggage, or sometimes from their bodies. All of us in that tent were terrified and began to dread this event. Fortunately, it rained for about twelve days, causing most of the activities and events to be cancelled. I returned home with a moldy sleeping bag and a vow to never attend overnight camp again.
Great grandmother, great aunt, and her husband paid frequent visits to mother during week day afternoons. When arriving at the top of our street on the walk home from school and viewing their car in our driveway, I would happily race home to speak with these loved relatives. Great uncle was an