Ahhh, the Good Old Days

posted June 14th, 2018 by

I grew up in (what was then) a small town in the Central Valley of California. Back then it was a quiet farm town… except for one weekend every summer…but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Even though we were approximately 3 hours from Lake Tahoe, 2 hours from the beach, and about an hour and a half east of San Francisco — as teens we moaned about having nothing to do locallyAnd then just in time, age 16 arrived and catapulted us into a social life. 

Because now we could drive!

No matter that we were rolling in my parents Oldsmobile, the crucial thing is that we could now join the hundreds of kids cruising McHenry on the weekends. 

Yes, I grew up in the very town that inspired the movie ‘American Graffiti’and was raised on stories of my dad and his friends “dragging 10th” in the 60’s.

(No, really, go watch the movie & you’ll get it.) 

Every June since then, my little town throws open its doors and welcomes cars of all kinds to “Graffiti Night.”

But really, we teens celebrated that heritage every summertime weekend, making smooth, slow drives from Long’s on McHenry Ave. to ‘five points’ and back. And then we did it all over again, until curfew hit or we ran out of gas…whatever came first.

The adult in me cringes over the wasted gas and miles put on the car, but back then, spending several hours in bumper to bumper traffic on one big loop through downtown on a hot summer night was nothing short of glorious.

Because this was clearly a see and be seen opportunity, you drove with all the windows down and your favorite music blasting while breathlessly hoping the car with the cute boys stopped at the same light as you.

Until one night when my cousin and I could not get rid of some boys who seemed intent on following us despite our best efforts otherwise. We rolled up the windows and stared straight ahead, one of us risking a glance sideways and yup, they were still there.

To this day I don’t know who came up with the idea but we both quickly agreed it was The Only Way to be rid of these pesky boys. We had been nibbling on Oreo cookies during our cruise that night and decided that we’d chew up a bunch, leave them in our teeth, and then wave at these boys with the biggest grins we could produce.

Ladies and gents, the Oreo Cookie Wave was a wild success! Those boys peeled off on the first available side street and were never seen again. Our family still talks about it to this day.

My June Fun Freebie is this:
Go do something unexpected! It doesn’t have to be the O.C. Wave, but it certainly can be. 🙂

Whatever you do should be something slightly out of your comfort zone. For instance, in an elevator, turn and face the people in it with you and smile. Strike up a conversation with someone about the weather while you are putting gas in your car. If you have a security desk in your building, why not stop and ask the name of the person on duty and wish them a good day.

Just take a couple steps out of your comfort zone, you won’t regret it.
You may even end up with a story to tell!