item 1 >>> I actually wanted the Yankees to beat Texas and go on to the World Series….that way I could root against them longer…

item 2 >>> Reading thru North Shore newspapers, 1950-1970, I noticed 2 things about Hallowe’en. It’s never been a bigger deal than it is today, and not just for children. Some retailers are now calling it “The Second Christmas.”  Back in the day, decorations were limited to a pumpkin or 2 on the porch. And it lasted an evening, not a month. This year, the Simpsons annual “Tree-House of Horror” episode is on Nov. 7th.

item 3 >>> The other thing about Baby Boomers’ Hallowe’en is donuts. Man, did the bakeries push donuts. One announced: “It’s not Hallowe’en without donuts from [us].” Another proclaimed October as Donut Month. Yeah, cider and donuts certainly hit the spot. And not big fancy ones, just those plain chewy doughy ones.

item 4 >>> To give you an idea of how times have changed for professional sports, I counted up the pages devoted to each in the 1960 edition of The World Almanac and Book of Facts…any wonder baseball was the National Pastime?

MLB & minors……14 1/2
Horse Racing…………14
Boxing…………..….……6 1/2
Golf……………..….…… 3
NHL & minor….….1 1/2
Auto Racing……………1

item 5 >>> So whatever happened to the First National/Finast supermarkets? Well, I’ll tell ya…in 1978, the chain was purchased by Pick-N-Pay of Cleveland. Finast thus became a northern Ohio fixture, as Finast and Edwards stores continued in New England. When Dutch grocery giant Ahold bought the company in the early 90s, the Ohio Finasts were converted to Tops, the remaining New England Finasts becoming Edwards. Ahold later purchased Stop & Shop, which absorbed the Edwards locations. One spooky connection: First National is mentioned in H. P. Lovecraft’s story “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” as that town’s only connection to the outside world.

item 6 >>> Youse guys must remember when Stop & Shop merged with A & P…they called it Stop & P.

item 7 >>> One hallowed Hallowe’en tradition that’s bit the dust is unwrapped candy. I recall one year, the whole family got the runs on All Saints’ Day, and we had to take these little red pills with breakfast every morning. After that, Mom banned unwrapped candy from the trick-or-treat bag. And you’d get money, too, well pennies, but remember, 10¢ bought 10 baseball cards. And gum…

Item 8 >>> Except in 1963…when Fleer attempted a runaround of the Topps monopoly. They came out with some lackluster cards, mostly stars, only 66 in the whole set, plus an un-numbered checklist. And they figured they were OK so long as there was no gum, so Fleer gave you a hard cookie, remember? There was even a card, white on one side, brown on the other, that separated the baseball cards from the cookie, I guess so they wouldn’t get stained. The story goes, Topps sued, the series stalled, and the next year, Fleer was gone. I bought a couple of packs…still have ’em of course. Even saved the separator cards.

item 9 >>> Interesting thing is, Maury Wills’ first year with the Dodgers was 1959, but Topps didn’t think he was important enough for a card, and he took umbrage and wouldn’t sign with them until 1967. Most collectors thus consider the 1963 Fleer his rookie card …altho he was on Post cereal box cards earlier than that.

item 10 >>> Harry Houdini died on Hallowe’en, 1926. Our parents probably remembered, but we may not have known, that he had a younger brother…as the poster explained: “Hardeen Inherits his Brother’s Secrets….I give, devise and bequeath to my brother, Theodore, professionally known as Hardeen, all my theatrical effects, new mysteries and accompanying paraphernalia, to be burnt and destroyed upon his death. Houdini’s Will Makes Possible the Continuance of Houdini’s Master Mysteries.” And so it was, until Hardeen died in 1946.

Wicked Ballsy

Noisemakers! There were all different kinds, but these are the ones I remember…

shameless plug-o-lanterns

Podcasts at http://stolfpod.podbean.com and   http://thewholething.podbean.com

Daily blogs at http://stolf.wordpress.com and  https://deepfriedhoodsiecups.wordpress.com

More bloggage at http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com and  http://www.examiner.com/retro-pop-culture-in-watertown/mark-john-astolfi

Resume and audio samples at http://home.rr.com/mastolfi

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