A Summertime Glitter………….#22 (the 50’s)

The selection with a ? always a favorite

In the summertime the boy would shed the shrouding of his feet,  even if it meant enduring the pain of a stubbed big toe.   He had contemplated that because the big toe protruded the furthest on the foot absorbing all the blunt damage,  acknowledging the unsaid lesson of going shoeless. He did foster exceptions to  journeying barefoot, especially  while on treks across Mountain Blvd and journeying up towards Skyline or whenever his Mother insisted footwear be worn.

Every Wednesday during the summer months was a matinée day at the Eastmont Theatre on MacArthur Blvd  starting at 11:00 a.m. and for the sum of 20 cents admission.  One would be rewarded with the matinée special feature, a serial, newsreel,  cartoon and then the advertised double feature.  A typical show time Wednesday morning found Mike, his sisters Kay and Nancy, next door neighbors Babe and Sis on their way, their destination the Eastmont about 3/4 hour walking distance.   Up the path at Keller and Greenly Drive to Crest, then over to the Field St. then down the vacant hill to Sunkist and 75th Ave. to MacArthur Blvd.  Mike never asked if any of the others knew this zig zag shorter route to the the theatre at 74th and MacArthur but accepted the responsibility.  Once inside,  Candy was a nickel,  popcorn and fountain drinks ten cents, Mike preferring the candy machine, the candy choices were  different from the ones at the counter,  plus the vending machine had a special selection named Chance.  The Chance designated slot didn’t display a candy bar like the other slots, but displayed a Question Mark and an unknown selection would be dispensed, Mike having a suspicion it was the slot used by the concessionaire for a variety of leftover selections.   The youth for some reason liking the suspense of the unknown even if it was just purchasing a candy bar at the movies.  Another given being Mike and Babe would have no part of sitting with their sisters, meeting them after the show for the walk home.

The Granda - requiring a ride to and from

The Granada – requiring a ride to and from

The Fairfax Theatre at 51 Ave & Foothill Blvd.

The Capitol theatre 58th & Foothill Blvd.








Unlike the adults, Mike and sister when attending a normal feature other than a matinée  never  paid attention to starting times, entering in the middle of a movie,  staying  until they realized that this is where they came in.  Mike’s Dad on weekends would drive them to the Granada on E. 14th,  the Capitol or Fairfax on Foothill,  Mike checking at the ticket window on how long before the double feature started over again so his dad knew what time to return.  There were other east Oakland theaters, the Laurel,  Hopkins,  Foothill, Fruitvale and was aware of the much larger downtown cinemas,  the Grand Lake, Paramount,  T&D and Fox Oakland.  The latter wasn’t in his  Dad’s driving radius when it came to transporting kids to the movie, but he was usually obliging for the others.

An attendance design rather than a learning destination

An attendance design rather than a learning destination

Den Meetings at Gordon’s house on Greenly drive

Mike discovering Cub Scouts wasn’t as exciting or adventurous as his own cavalcades.   Most generally the after school den meetings were drab and dull, even when involving  special  projects, finding the snacks were normally the highlight of the meetings.  This being his  last year of participation he did give some thought to going on into Scouting, but there were two obstacles.  The Scout meeting were in the evenings on Outlook Ave which meant going down 73rd Ave,  a little far to be riding a bike at night.  Mike interest began to change when the Den meetings moved to the basement of  Gordon Grabe’s house at the corner of Greenly Drive and Circle Hill Drive holding something that was of interest. Stationed against the wall was an old player piano and on top of the piano were stacks of boxes containing the perforated music rolls.  The meetings suddenly took on a new light as he called upon himself to provide the group with music,  courtesy of a new-found duet,  himself and the player piano.  Still his interest in scouting was waning, others didn’t realize, Mikes Mother was a proficient Camp Fire Girl sponsored leader, Mike having been talked into helping with many of their outings,  loading  and unload supplies, attending far more adventurous outings than presented by the Cub Scouts.  He did fulfill his cub scouting commitment securing the rank of Den Leader as a Webelos.

His world was in transition,  noticing that an additional  portable building was delivered to the school, but this one was different.  It was a double wide portable,  placed next to the main building, soon discovering It would serve  as a cafeteria.  Analyzing  the portables proximity to the main building, it made sense because of the utility hook-up necessary for it to function.  The days of eating in your room when it rained and spending the lunch time outside on benches on clear days for the most part were over.  No more eating lunch hidden between the portables, but the largest divergence caused by the cafeteria was to the little corner store,  a substantial amount of their business was providing snack addition for sack lunches.  For some reason he was concerned, maybe because many of the before and after school events that were generated there.   Mike watched as the neighborhood began to change, the new home construction on Shone Ave. and Sterling Dr. was finally completed and  to his astonishment, first one boy about his age named Don Bryant and then another, a year old Hank Ball moved in.  The young man reasoned from the events of the summer,  that accumulating knowledge is like collecting stepping-stones, the more you have the further you can go.  He also discerned  from Scouting, it was more of an event than a challenge and for his part more of an attendance design rather than a learning destination.


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