Unbagging the Cats 1

Unbagging the Cats 1

Friday, August 12, 2011

Feelin' Meeley

In my travels about the internet today, I found out that Arlee Bird had a childhood fondness for colorful Cowboys & Indians. I, too, enjoyed a good bag of plastic combatants back in the day. Cowboys, Indians, army men, Frito dinosaurs...all provided a pleasant interlude from running around the neighborhood barefoot, playing kick the can.

But my most favorite toy was a Johnny West collection. I had Johnny, Jane, Jay, and Josie. They had clothes and horses and tack and guns and cooking utensils and dogs and a Jeep with a trailer and a buckboard wagon and a cardboard ranch. Everything a plastic poseable family could want. Here's a family photo I found on the internet:

 And their method of transportation when they didn't want to saddle up:

When they wanted to rough it:

And the old homestead:

When I wasn't riding the range with the Wests, I loved a rousing game of Feeley Meeley. The object of the game was to reach into a hole in the box and grab the item that you needed for the card that you drew. No fair peeking, either. It's called Feeley Meeley, not Lookey Mookey. The box looked like this:

And you had to find these items:

Yeah. That's what kids played with back in the day. Not Nintendos. Not X-Boxes. Not phone apps. It was a simpler time. We read books from the library, or ordered at school through Scholastic. Books like Trixie Belden and the Bobbsey Twins and the Boxcar Children and the Black Stallion mysteries and Misty of Chincoteague. A Kindle or Nook? Bwah, ha, ha! We would have laughed ourselves silly at that thought. We listened to our music on transistor radios. I had a little red rectangular one in a brown leather case, with a strap. And later, I had a ball-shaped Panasonic that was the epitome of coolness. We could buy albums to play on our stereos, or hit singles, for which you needed a little round plastic dealybobber to get your turntable to play it at the right speed. Because singles were 45s, not 78s. That stood for rpm. How many revolutions per minute your vinyl disc made.

Calculators cost a fortune, and Texas Instruments cornered the market. Kids would not be caught dead carrying a backpack. Everybody had a blue cloth-covered ring binder with loose-leaf paper, yellow #2 pencils with Frito Bandito erasers, and called each other on party lines by first dialing a two-letter/one-number exchange. For example, PL6-4983. The lunch ladies served up real home-cookin' in the cafeteria, like beans and ham, or chicken pot pie, or beef stew, or fried chicken. Sides were lima beans or stewed tomatoes or spinach (with vinegar dispensers on the tables). Dessert was gingerbread or cake or vanilla ice cream in plastic cups with cardboard lids and flat wooden spoons. We ran around on our two recesses playing tag and kickball, and had P.E. every day where we did calisthenics and played dodgeball and suffered through interminable tumbling units. Every so often, we had a drill that had something to do with those yellow hazard triangles placed all around the school. And in the summer, school was the place to go eat a sugar cube with some kind of vaccine on it.

Funny, the things you start to remember without even trying.


BECKY said...

Ahhh, thanks for the trip down memory lane, even if it did have a couple of detours. I never heard of Johnny West and his family, but I had a similar looking set (that I guess I shared with my brother, even though I was quite a tomboy)anyway, I had a set of Roy Rogers and pals...and a jeep...and Trigger of course. I never heard of Feeley Meeley, either! Isn't that funny? But I don't think you knew about Video Village, either! Just about everything else you described, I remember...I lived it! I have one little thing to mention, though. If you played your albums on a stereo, weren't most of them 33-1/3 RPM? The 78s were the REALLY old ones! :)

Linda O'Connell said...

wow! You have me jogging down memory lane.

Val Thevictorian said...

You might have something there with the 78 or 33 1/3 discrepancy. My memory must be faulty, what with me being a mere toddler during that era. !) I remember my mom playing her Eddie Arnold albums nonstop.

Don't overdo it. Consult a physician before you start a memory lane jogging program.

Sioux said...

Dodgeball...Those were the good ol' days.

Tammy said...

Funny you really brought back my memory of running around the neighborhood barefoot playing kick the can. Guess my times were a little too simple....

labbie1 said...

Fun! I do remember Johnny West! I always LOVED horses!!!!

I loved the army men (handed down from my brothers) and my 6 shooter guns..

Never heard of Meely Neely, but it looks like it would have been fun trying to find the right just by touch.

I was thinking the same thing about the 78's. Mine were 33 1/3 or put the big middle thing in for the 45's. We did have a victrola that played 78's though.

BTW, if you have a bunch of 78's that you don't want, they were made out of the same material as Shellac rather than the vinyl of the 33's and 45's. If you got tired of your 78, you just broke it up, put it in denatured alcohol until it melted down and you could put a nice shine on your dinette! LOL

And I LOVE your new kitten bag...

Val Thevictorian said...

Yeah. It toughened us up for life.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. We also slept outside on the patio, without fear that somebody might abduct us. And rode on the tailgate of the truck, WITH NO SEATBELT!

Maybe I was exposed to both 78s and 33 1/3s. Because I remember that if you dropped one, it shattered. And the 33s can bend.

My old bag kitten disappeared last night. It took a while to find suitable cuteness to replace him.