The Opening night of the Olympics was the conversation this noon when Amelia and I had lunch. I know, she is on vacation and could come any day in the week… almost, but last week we had our weekly lunch on Friday instead of Saturday. Then I stayed home sewing and almost moping:I miss my Saturday routine.
This was announced as the third Olympics in London, which prompted Amelia to ask if I remembered hearing about it when I was young. I wasn’t around in 1908, the first one. In fact, my parents were barely around back then.
I had to look up the dates for the three times London was host. I know there wasn’t one in 1944 because of the war. I was living in Haverford Pa. that year because my dad was stationed at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia. Though I was 10 years old, Olympic events were not in my world. I do recall listening to Roosevelt on the radio and hearing about war events.
In 1948 I was 15, or would be 15 in September, and, I reminded my daughter, there was no TV back in those days. Or at least, we didn’t have a TV. I recall going to New York City on a trip once where we saw a TV image, but my parents, wisely, alas, did not get a TV until I went off to college. I recall coming home and seeing the TV in the living room. A door from the front hall with a mirror was aimed at the TV so it could be seen in the dining room. My dad would have the baseball or football game on the radio and a different game on the TV. Gotta keep track of them all.
I have watched beginning ceremonies fairly recently, but when I was young, I had my own personal Olympic event occurring at my house every day. Four kids within five years was enough for me. They were all named “Not Me” “She did it” or “He did it” and “I don’t know.” The gold medals awarded were smiles and hugs when things were going well.
We were living on the west coast one spring when a cousin rode his bike across the country and came for a visit. It was an Olympic year so the awarding of medals was in the news. We set up a game of horseshoes in the back yard and awarded medals. The gold medals were the emblems from Gold Medal flour bags. Sia must have been 10 or 11 that year and from that time on, she wanted to ride her bike across the country the way Steve did. It was years later, when we were living on the Cape, that Sia and a friend rode their bikes down the hill to our house on the Cape. From west to east coast. She made it! The gold medal then was the usual smiles and hugs but she was very proud of herself – as were we.
As we were finishing lunch Amelia and I decided to reward ourselves with mini sundaes. It was then that my ice cream story came to mind. Back in the war days, many people had victory gardens and grew vegetables for themselves. My mother would can some food but when she was able to get a freezer, it opened up more chances to store food. My dad bought a huge container of raspberry royal ice cream to add to our new freezer. We were on the Cape when word came that there had been a power outage in Winchester where we lived in the winter. The first thing we kids thought of was that raspberry royal ice cream. My mother, of course, having preserved all the vegetables, was more concerned about that. We drove up from the Cape to see what could be salvaged. I have a very clear memory of all the kids in the neighborhood eating raspberry royal soup. To this day I can’t tolerate any berry ice cream. My mini sundae was vanilla with chocolate sauce. Amelia’s had strawberries.