A post by writer Doreen Frick:
Cleaning out boxes last month netted me some old memories: stashed away photos from my childhood. Me in short bangs and sun suits. Mom pregnant, again trying to hide the whole thing from the camera with a big birthday cake or baby still in diapers. The stuff of my youth.
But what I was really looking for, the one thing I really miss from back then and don’t know what happened to, was my old luggage. The mod orange and black and green fabric with a wildness that screamed a fun trip was coming. The zipper on the side pocket angled just right for candy, gum, pens, diaries.
And then I remembered my sturdy pink train case with mirror and frilly elastic to hold my special beauty products, (like a brush), a case so perfect that when the push button popped it open, the soft insides smelled like talcum and lady-like things.
Armed with my baseball card and comic book collection, my patent leather Sunday shoes, and my trusty Keds, there was nothing I couldn’t squeeze into those two travel cases. Mom always let me pack myself, God love her. One unforgettable week at camp I left home without any fresh underwear. Never again would I make that mistake! Mom showed up the next afternoon with a week’s supply and a hearty second hug goodbye.
Those were the days of September school bags with straps and buckles. We carried them like a briefcase, hauling home a desk full of books and assignments. They were always brown, like the paper bags we cut and taped and covered our school books in and though we always got new clothes, new ankle socks, and a new pencil case, seems we always carried the same worn-out school bag with no personality. A sorry-looking bag filled with paper-sack covered science and history and math books.
When I was fifteen my dad let my sister and I redecorate our bedroom. I chose the same motif I’d picked for my luggage, my beloved luggage. The headboard of my bed was fit for a queen, contoured in plush deep pink velvet; our walls, Dad papered psychedelic with a new slick vinyl feel to them.
My sister says our windowsills were the only calm thing in the room. Maybe we ran out of colors, because we painted them a powder blue. In one short summer I’d stepped out of my Mary Janes and into moccasins. And love beads. And the Moody Blues.
And when we returned to school, Dad took us to a stationery store where we picked out book covers that were colorful and striped and flower-printed. We were happy, so so happy to be stepping into a new era. Even my mother got into the act and re-did her kitchen, the living room, in fact the whole house grew more colorful.
Gone were the dark depressing brown walls and practical gray carpets. One day we woke to a pink fireplace (yes pink!) and deep purple rugs. The sixties were screaming into our little house in Huntingdon Valley, and I think it all started with my crazy luggage.
Doreen Frick is very happy to re-live her sixties. She loved the peasant blouses and the bell bottoms, and the cars her brother used to drive (GTO’s), and the simple things like everybody enjoying the same television show and watching together after dinner. . .