Trick or Treat

Yeah, I know I’m getting up in the years now and our country is struggling, but things weren’t always this way.

Usually, about this time of year, I am harkened back to my youth and a world that no longer exists… Hyde Park Elementary School in Hyde Park, NY, and three of the best years of my life… 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades. Hyde Park is a sleepy little village on the Hudson River about 70 miles north of NYC bordered on the south by the Franklin Roosevelt estate and the north by the Vanderbilt estate.

In those days (the ’50s) during Halloween, kids from the grade school were allowed to file down to the village where we could paint, on store windows, goblins, ghosts, cats, and anything Halloween that came to mind. Upstate New York was getting rather chilly about this time of year, but never enough to keep kids from trick or treating. There were no store-bought costumes available then, so we had to make our own… with the help from Mom, of course. Each of those years, I dressed as Captain Hook, a character from my favorite Disney story, Peter Pan. Mom and I would get cardboard and cut out the hook from several pieces which we taped together and I would wear an old jacket of hers that was big on me, but it buttoned in the middle and I could raise the collar around my neck. Then we would make the big buckles that we would somehow attach to my boots. I think I wore a top hat or a bandanna and an eye patch as well. That’s when I learned to say “Arg” with the intensity and integrity that I now do so well. And then… that fabulous night when about fifteen of us would meet up at Billy and Bobby Tripp’s house and begin our crusade. Back then, there weren’t prepared bags of candy that folks could buy, so much of our loot was homemade goodies like, cookies and things… even money.

The crispness of the air, the joy in my heart, the sweetness of folks during that timeframe reiterates over and again how wonderful my life was and the loving parents that made it all happen. Sadly, leaving Hyde Park as I began the 4th grade left a hole in my heart that has never been filled. Only the memory and fleeting moments of those days gone by coupled with the spirit of the holiday bring it all back to me again.

 

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