Wednesday, October 19, 2005

This is going down hill, fast.

Did you have a sled when you were a kid? Before we moved to Pennsylvania, we would take our kids to the snow in the mountains in Southern California. They loved to play in the snow.

Our son Nivek was seven years old when he found out we were moving to PA. That was 1972 and Sears, Roebuck and Company still put out a catalog. Without my knowing it, he got my catalog and ordered a sled for himself. When I saw the Sears delivery truck stop outside and the deliveryman start up our side walk to the house, I wondered what the heck was going on. Nivek sped by me to reach the door first. He knew exactly how much he needed to pay to collect his COD delivery, and he had that exact amount in his little hand. The kid was smart.

If you live where it snows you might remember snowy evenings as a kid. Several inches of snow would fall through the night and you couldn't wait to get up the next morning figuring that school was going to be canceled and you would be able to play in the snow, and go sledding.

On Saturday, Niks and I went a few miles up the river to a town named Duncannon. It's the home of The Old Sled Works. The place was first called Standard Novelty Works and opened in 1904. They made the famous Lightning Guider sleds from 1904-1990. Before 1904 when the Flexible Flyer was invented, sleds didn't steer. "The sled that steers," ushered in the modern sledding age, and finally enabled kids to control their downhill destiny. The Old Sled Works has a small museum of old sleds and the equipment used to make them.

We actually have two old sleds hanging in our garage: the one that was Nivek's and one that was my husband Niks' when he was a boy. When we moved here we discovered Niks' old sled in his mother's garage. Of course no one uses the old wood and steel sleds anymore.

The Old Sled Works now mainly is home to antique and craft vendors. It's a trip back in time for sure. I love looking at the antiques. I have almost no interest in buying antiques, but I have fun looking at them. A lot of it is pure junk of course, white elephants and off-white elephants in my judgment. I got a kick out of an early dentist chair. It looks like some kinda old torture device. Who would buy a medal dentist chair? No padding of any kind, anywhere on it. It's comparatively tiny too. In fact, looking at a lot of this stuff points out how much smaller folks used to be.

The old factory building now has a working old-time penny arcade and a soda fountain. Jimmy's Old-Fashioned Soda Fountain is an authentic 1950's fountain that once operated as a drugstore counter in Harrisburg. At Jimmy's you can get a real phosphate soda, and the best milkshakes and floats, made using vintage equipment. You get to watch The Three Stooges on old Philco Predicta TV there too. Columbia Pictures rented several items from Jimmy as props for Girl Interrupted.

I bought two souvenir spoons there. I collect souvenir spoons. Not on purpose. I had a coupla spoons that my mother-in-law gave me. You can't get rid of something your MIL gave you, right? So anyway, one day two or three years ago, my friend Chris shows up, just as pleased as punch with herself. She had scored a coup with a yard sale purchase of vintage, still-in-their-boxes souvenir spoons. Musta been 20 or more. She had seen the two spoons that I had and decided that I collect them. Sooooo, of course, I had to smile, say thanks, and keep them forever. Just recently, I met her for coffee -- remember the don't-answer-the-door-for-Owen caper?

That Chris. That day. Anyway, she had gone to an auction. The woman has too much time on her hands.

Maybe too much money too, 'cause she had bought me more spoons. This batch included a Dennis the Menace spoon. Never knew they made sterling silver Dennis the Menace spoons. OooKKKaayy. Now I officially collect souvenir spoons. Question is, do I hafta display them?

Maybe a better question is, do I ever tell Chris that I didn't really collect these darn spoons?

21 comments:

Doug said...

Much more wholesome post. Thank you. Maybe you can soften the blow by saying you do coke.

When we lived in the North I had a plastic toboggan. I loved the daring-do of streaking down one of those high, high Illinois hills. You know the really, really high, steep hills. The ones in the prairie. Wish I'd never gone back and looked at them as an adult.

Libby said...

well...i guess you DO collect spoons, don't you? and maybe you and chris should take up tennis together or something?
BoUnCeS!! LibbY!

lula said...

I'm new at this blog stuff. You sure do write interesting things. I hope I can learn to write like you do. Were you a teacher or a writer? This is so cool.

Amber said...

The only time I got that "sled" feeling is when the hills around here in NorCal would dry up and we'd flatten out cardboard boxes and slid down the yellowed grass on those.

You didn't want to crash, though. Oh no. Not good.

I've been around snow maybe five times in my life. I'm snow-deprived. :-O

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Doug, such shy folk you all are. You guys. Yeah, I've seen them tar hills. Not much.

LibbY, Chris weighs over 300 lbs. and has bad knees. Tennis for her is out. Walking is out. But we do coffee together like champs.

Lula, you say such nice things that at first I was sure you were spam! Welcome. Please come again.

Amber, you have been deprived indeed. Snow is wonderful stuff. It's wonderful when you are a kid, and wonderful again when you are retired and have a yard man who comes to clear your driveway and walk as soon as it stops snowing. I think maybe I loved it less before I could afford to have that done for me.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Thar hills THAR not tar. *sigh* I useta could type.

AP3 said...

I NEVER heard this Nivek story, can you believe it? How funny!

actonbell said...

Me too: it's the first I heard this Nivek tale. Spoons are a nice thing to collect, like salt&pepper shakers.

Mary said...

Great post! I learn so much from you. :) I guess I'm going to have to start making sure my daughter doesn't start ordering things from the internet. That thought hadn't crossed my mind until your story.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Acton and AP3: I'm amazed you don't remember this one! Well, AP3 was only 3, but Acton, you were old enough to see it. Huh!

He thought there would be snow when we got to PA. I told him, no, there would not be since it was October. That he'd have to wait until winter. When we crossed the state line and got on the PA Turnpike, there was snow. He thought I was dumb.

Jamie Dawn said...

Display the spoons? I'd say no, but what do I know?

I love the story about your son ordering the sled without your knowledge. The excitement he must have felt had been bottled up and kept secret until he spotted the delivery truck. That is just precious!

Monique said...

That's hilarious about your son ordering the sled from Sears. My daughter is 7, I'd better start monitoring!

The Lazy Iguana said...

I remember the Sears catalog. It was not that long ago that they quit putting that thing out.

But more importantly, where can I get a real phosphate soda here in Miami? Before Wilma blows everything into the sea?

Tom & Icy said...

I remember sliding down on hubcaps and paper boxes in the snow. And in shopping carts when there was no snow.

Libby said...

lucy...once my uncle took the hood off an old car & we all went sledding down my grandma's big hill on it!!
BoUnCeS!! LibbY!

Minka said...

I love snow. We already had a bit :)
she said beaming with pride.
I love to sled and still do it, when nobody is looking. Soon I´ll have a kid and a good excuse to be on those hill with all the other dare devils.
I think collecting spoons is one of the most sane announcement you have made so far about your family :)

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Oh, you never want to display them. They go all tarnishy, then you get to clean them up, only to see them go all tarnishy again. No, the thing is you tell Chris you sold the lot for $5,000 because she had such a sharp eye, and thanks a lot. Next thing you know, SHE will have a souvenir spoon collection....

Mildred Garfield said...

My dad nailed down the steerer on my sled because he thought it was not right to have them move.

This goes back to the early 30's when they made sleds that you could not steer. I never knew that.

Live and Learn!!

Millie

Saur♥Kraut said...

My mom collected spoons for a while. But pretty ones, out of sterling and enamel. If anyone ever got her an ugly one, she would sweetly put it away and explain that there was no more room on her spoon rack. The only time one was replaced was when a superior one was acquired. That was mom's attitude toward knicknacks, too. If only her daughter had such restraint. My house is a jumble of cool whatnots.

Hearing stories of snow and sledding is as alien to me as the surface of the moon. I've seen snow only a couple times, and never liked it at all. I'll stick to the sun and sand, thank you very much.

Bela said...

The first time I went somewhere with a lot of snow around I got an ear infection - in both ears. Very painful. Traumatized me. I've stayed clear of very cold places since then.

QueenB369 said...

Never gets that cold in North Louisiana. Wish it did though. The times that it has, (and those times are VERY rare) and there was snow on the ground, we'd use cardboard or a slice of plywood for a sled...how creative kids can be when it comes to having fun!
Oh, and down here, they close down everything when snow comes....