Adolescence begins: Endwell through a teen lens #AtoZChallenge

A is for Adolescence begins. First of 26 posts in the April 2021 Blogging From #AtoZChallenge. Theme: “Endwell: My Early Teen Years”— adding my story to the family history mix. Please join me on the journey.

During #AtoZChallenge 2020, I blogged about Endwell: My Elementary Years — touring around my second childhood hometown near Binghamton, N.Y., and reminiscing about childhood experiences from ages 7-12 on my street, at school and during visits to relatives.

The hubbub of Baby Boom children on my suburban Endwell street contrasted to my earlier childhood at Whispering Chimneys, my family’s Altamont, N.Y., farm, which I wrote about in #AtoZChallenge 2017 — and more contrasts emerged as I entered my early teens.

Endwell through a teen lens

By 1963, when I turned 13, my Endwell address was the same — but my point of view began to gradually change as I inched toward young adulthood over the next couple of years.

For one thing, I began to draw a sharper distinction between my life in the neighborhood, my life at school and my life when visiting my maternal grandparents, who still lived on the farm.

On my block, I started to leave behind group activities like kickball games, pre- Halloween mayhem and summer camp at the elementary school in favor of hanging out one-on-one or in smaller groups with girls close to my age.

My family all dressed up for Easter (1964). At 14, I was all decked out in my white hat and gloves. Within a few years, I was tie-dying psychedelic t-shirts on the kitchen stove. In front from left, my brother Jeff, sister Amy and brother Mark. In back from left, Gramps (my maternal grandfather Tony Laurence), me, my dad Norm Charboneau and Boom (my ever-fashionable maternal grandmother Liz Stoutner Laurence). Behind us is my Endwell, N.Y., neighborhood. Photo: Peg (Laurence) Charboneau

Because I was the block’s only public-school student in my grade (one other girl went to parochial school), I had a completely different set of friends when I arrived at the Junior High school. There, we Hooper School students merged with those who went to Homer Brink (the other elementary school across town) — and a whole new mix and match of friendships developed.

My early teen universe

At home, my brothers and sisters were younger and moved in their own circle of friends — so the “Molly, the boys, and the girls” demarcation became more pronounced. Meanwhile, my parents seemed stuck in the 1950s as the freer 1960s dawned.

Then there were visits to my maternal grandparents — known to us a Boom and Gramps — where I connected with my early childhood friends from Altamont, who were now teens like me. That became my “away” world — kept alive with letters between visits in those days of costly “toll calls” and no Internet.

In short, I learned to blend my various worlds into a sort of early teen universe as the 1960s unfolded  — learning and growing from each environment I traveled in.

Up next: B is for Boys, Braces and Babysitting. Please leave a comment, then join me as Endwell: My Early Teen Years unfolds one letter at a time!

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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24 thoughts on “Adolescence begins: Endwell through a teen lens #AtoZChallenge”

  1. I don’t dive into my teenaged memories all that much. You give me a glimpse into what it was like to live in the Endwell area years before I arrived in the area (1986). My late next door neighbor was the school librarian at the Westover elementary school off Main Street, but I can’t even seem to find any information about it – I’m thinking I have the name wrong. Part of the building still survives as the current Johnson City Y (not the Y that would have been in JC at the time you grew up). I look forward to reading more of your posts (as I did last year).

    1. Glad you are participating again this year, Alana. I love your contemporary posts about the Binghamton area where I grew up. Looking forward to reading more during A to Z.

  2. Looking back adolescence was quite a challenge. You navigated your different worlds well. The 60s were certainly a lively time. I had a hat like yours too 😉

    1. Thanks, Pauleen. Yes — many changes happened in those few teen years in the 1960s. Trying to hit the high points during A to Z.

  3. It’s always fun to reminisce snd remember those early teens years. I find some of my friends remember more than I do… then I wonder why I don’t. It’s nice to document your own history for future generations

  4. Hi Molly – thank you for coming by my blog. I think this is such an interesting meme. We forget to record these memories sometimes don’t we. You have reminded me that I had a very strong group of girlfriends who lived in my suburb when I was a teenager and how important they were to me during those tricky years navigating school dances and parental restrictions. We still keep in touch via Facebook.

    1. Yes, teen girlfriends were invaluable — and I also keep in touch with some of my friends from those days on Facebook and in general. Next to our families, these friends know the most about us — and having them in our lives is fantastic.

  5. Molly,

    This morning I’m attempting to catch up with those who came by later in the day and I appreciate you checking out my Looney Tunes A-Z Art Sketch…ACME Mail Order Catalog. 🙂

    Those adolescences years are an awakening moving from childhood into a young adult. Hormones are high and emotions are every where. Nowadays my hormones are medically adjusted thanks to post menopausal symptoms. A contrast in some ways but in others the same. Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed reading it. Happy A2Zing, my dear!

  6. I love the family photo. There were so many changes in the 60s. I’m looking forward to reading about your experiences. This is a great start.

  7. I love this picture and the contrast of the white hat and gloves with the eventual transition into tie-dying psychedelic t-shirts. The teen years really are transformative.

    1. Thanks, Anne. This A-to-Z covers the Junior High half of the decade. High School had it’s own set of changes, which I hope to write about next year.

  8. This is so interesting! I’m a first time visitor to your blog, so will definitely check some of your other posts. It must have been interesting growing up in the 1960s.

    1. I am trying to remember back then. In 1960 I was 14 and started highschool. It was better than junior high, but barely. Wondering what I wore to church that Easter Sunday. I don’t think I had a Sunday hat after 12? Could that be? I will have to check with my sister.

      1. Yes, delving into memories is tricky…my teen diary helps, but I find I need to double check big events to be sure I’m remembering correctly. Luckily, my Dad and maternal grandmother were bit photo buffs and there are years — and sometimes dates — on many of their photos.

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