Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Summer of 74

I was ten years old in the Summer of 74, sheltered and oblivious to the war, peace movements - most any news that wasn't pleasant.   I spent those months free from school, riding my purple bicycle with my most prized possessions in the flowered basket.  I took my comics books and Highlights magazines everywhere I went, which was really only three houses in either direction of my own. My mother was somewhat overprotective, so it seemed anyway.   If I close my eyes, that summer comes rushing back so easily. 


I discovered music that year and begged for a radio of my own. We had so little money that a radio of any kind was a sacrifice for my parents. But I was very specific and asked for this one:







   
SMILE
Holy smokes, I got it!!  Picnicking at Lake Thunderbird, I listened the whole day long, carrying that little ball on a chain until the battery died. I didn't realize batteries had a very limited lifespan.  With this little radio by my ear, there were many songs I waited for: Band on the Run, I Shot the Sheriff, Billy Don't Be a Hero {I was ten...} The Show Must Go On.   Oh, how I still love this music!

But the one song that takes me back to that muddy red lake every single time is Rikki Don't Lose That Number.  Why that song in particular,  I don't know.  The bass line and chimes hold me spellbound.  Even now,  when hearing it on the radio I find myself at the lake - drinking Shasta cola, listening to Steely Dan on KOMA.   That was innocence.  My mom would die the following April.  The next year would leave my life forever changed and 1974 would be the last real summer of my childhood.  My father would make the first of many poor decisions that would eventually destroy our family.

When I came upon the blog Summer of 74, it was a magnet.  I can't see this blog's name without feeling the emotions associated with 1974.  Author and Brewers' fan,  Matt Prigge began his blog in February 2017 focusing on the quest to have as many of his 74 Topps cards signed as  possible.  He's become an active trader, hosting contests, and winning over readers with his charm - and pictures of his pet rats.  Matt initiated a  trade with me, dropping a Tiger friendly package my way.

Autos: 2002 Total, 1998 Studio

I have over one hundred Catalanottos cards and two autographed, cracked game-used bats.  I plan to scale down the card collection.  If anyone else collects Frank, speak up.  Most show him in the Rangers uni.  Studio was great in 98!  This card stays with me!



Matt included a nice mix of Verlanders and Miggs.   Red foil parallels from 2014 Topps are always appreciated.   I have very few 2016 Flakes, all from trades.  I managed to resist the virtually non-existent temptation to purchase this holiday release.


Let it be known - I'm a gold-digger.  Sensing this, Matt included a nice array of Topps Gold from 92, 94, 14, 15 and 17.   Wow!  What?  Mumbling in my ear - not real gold?   Yet another disappointment from Topps.  Doesn't Panini put real gems in their cards?  What?? Man-made?  NOOOOOOO!


Matt, thanks for reaching out!  I will enjoy these cards!!  Give the rats a chin scratch for me!

As for my little radio, it's long gone.  In attempts to piece my childhood together again, I found an identical, new-in-box Panapet on ebay a few years ago.  I still haven't put a battery in it.  As long as my radio is safe in the box, it's still 1974 and life is perfect.


                       

25 comments:

  1. OMG! I had the very same purple bike. I loved it! It was my first bike to use air in the tires.

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    1. that's so cool! The flowered banana seat was so 70s!

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  2. I am looking at that radio for the first time. ... I thought I knew every single '70s kid obsession.

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    1. Not easy to slip one past the N.O.! Success!!!

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  3. Glad I found something you liked! Thanks for sharing the stories!

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    1. I hope I sent something you liked as well! Thanks for your blog!

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  4. When I saw the Panapet ads, I LAUGHED OUT LOUD! (Somehow, "LOL" doesn't do it justice in this case). Holy smokes, I haven't thought about one of those in who knows how long.

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    1. happy little radios they were. I really should stick a battery in it. There's a great station up here -580am- that plays 60s and 70s.

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  5. Ahh Frank Catalanotto... Seemed as though all he ever did as a Jay was hit grounders to the second baseman...

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    1. i liked him with the Rangers. Always seemed to be on base. Not a home guy for sure but a reliable hitter. Thanks for commenting!

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  6. Great post, albeit a bit sad. Some really great cards too! And dang, those Panapet radios are amazing. I hadn't ever seen them before, but now I really want one.

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    1. thanks Jon. Life has been more happy than sad. We all have those moments in our lives. Yeah, I can see you wanting one of these. :)

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  7. I like Catalanotto, interviewed him for my blog

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    1. He seems like a nice guy. You must have a lot of fun!

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  8. Love reading blog posts that talk about the writer's childhood. I don't remember the ball radios, but I remember looking through Sears catalogs looking for bikes.

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    1. Thanks Fuji. I'd like to write more story centered posts - so why don't I?? I'll get there. :) I love those old catalogs. Hard to believe these are now valuable!

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  9. Thanks a lot for sticking that song in my head ALL FRIGGING DAY.

    jerk

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    1. I do it for you Jeff. It's always about you, JJ.

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  10. I was 14 in 1974...I lived for the Tigers and baseball cards. I am also Happy that I found this awesome blog.

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    1. Thanks John! It took me too long to discover baseball cards but I already loved the game. You grew up watching those Tigers with an 84 WS Championship to remember. I wasn't following them yet and missed it all. They need another one in my lifetime!

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  11. I always wanted a bike like that but alas my parents were practical and bought me a 26" bike...at age 6! I did however score one of those groovy flowered baskets! I also say find some batteries for the radio and enjoy it...make new memories next summer while listening to baseball on the transistor!

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  12. Thanks - I should do just that - display the little Panapet in my hobby room! As for your bike, 26” is pretty big for a six year old! What does a bike that size look like with training wheels anyway??

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    1. No training wheels allowed...my dad taught he how to ride on the sidewalks in the first few minutes. Now the unicycle, that should have had come with training wheels...

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    2. So…Tiger Pride has revealed her true identity: Circus Entertainer (clown)

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  13. I too was 10 in the Summer of 74. Great memories.

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