X-bedroom: I have to move! #AtoZChallenge

X is for X-bedroom: I have to move! Twenty-fourth 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.

When we first moved to our Endwell, N.Y., home in 1957, I had a big bedroom upstairs, with a small built-in closet — and my brothers shared a room opposite mine.

But within a couple of years, changes were in the wind.

My parents’ first brainstorm, in my elementary years, was to build a big clothes closet inside my bedroom — turning my floor plan from a large rectangle to an L-shape. I was beside myself over the loss of square footage — so furious I made my first and only threat to run away from home.

But it was the middle of winter, I was just a kid — and when I got outside I thought better of it (Where would I go? What would I eat? Who would take me in?). So I slunk back inside, defeated — and up went the closet.

I leave my X-bedroom

My second-floor dormer bedroom, built in 1965. To make room for our growing family, my dad built me a small, dormer bedroom in my early teens that stuck straight out from our back roof. Photo: Molly Charboneau (1993)

By the time I was 15, however, my two younger sisters had come along — and even I realized they needed a room of their own.

So I prepared to relinquish my X-bedroom to them and move into a little dormer room that Dad constructed — which stuck straight out our back roof, as shown above.

Smaller, yes, but with some teen essentials: a real wooden door I could slam shut and lock, plus a new half-bath Dad built in the hallway for us kids.

My tiny teen room

My tiny teen room was just big enough for a cot-sized bed (smaller than a twin), a flip down secretary-desk (which I still use) and a small chair. My dresser was built into the wall and a hall closet just outside held my hanging clothes.

In my tiny teen room in 1967. My parents left the decor up to me — so I went wild 1960s style. Photo by Norm Charboneau

My parents, who probably recalled the running away episode, left the decor up to me — and I went wild 1960s style. I chose textured mustard-gold wallpaper, a matching wicker hanging lamp, an orange ribcord bedspread and drapes, and avocado green paint for the secretary.

I also hung a fuzzy, green footprint rug on the wall, next to a big Chiquita Banana ad — and reveled in the expansive view of the back yard and willow tree through a larger window than in my old X-bedroom.

My high-school friend Marilyn recently recalled it as, “A really cool room.” But years back another Endwell girlfriend, who visited when I lived in a studio apartment, took a look around and quipped, “Well, it’s bigger than your high school bedroom.”

Either way, it was was my new private space as I entered my later teens — and I made the most of it.

Up next, Youth job at the Altamont Fair. 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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World’s Fair 1964: I fall in love! #AtoZChallenge

W is for World’s Fair 1964: I fall in love! Twenty-third 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.

A big event in my early teens was the opening of the 1964-1965 World’s Fair in New York City’s borough of Queens — with the optimistic theme “Peace Through Understanding.”

Laid out on 684 acres in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park — with 140 pavilions, 110 restaurants, a lake, fountains and amusements — the fair was an immense experience. And at 14, I got to go twice!

1964/1965 World Fair. Laid out on 684 acres in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park,with 140 pavilions, 110 restaurants, a lake, fountains and amusements, the fair was an immense experience. And I got to go twice! Photo: Wikipedia

First visit: August 1964

Boom, my maternal grandmother, was the first to take me. We went by charter bus (from the Altamont, N.Y., area ) during my summer visit to my grandparents’ farm.

Of course I had high hopes of meeting boys – but mostly I remember being in awe of the fair’s sheer size. There were so many people – so much to do and see in just one day!

Aug. 25, 1964. Goin’ to World’s Fair tomorrow! Hope I meet some guys!

At the New York State Tent of Tomorrow in Oct. 1964. Laid out on 684 acres in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park — with 140 pavilions, 110 restaurants, a lake, fountains and amusements — the fair was an immense experience. And at 14, I got to go twice! Photo by Norm Charboneau

There were celebrities, too. At one point, as we walked between pavilions, my grandmother gabbed my arm. “Look, there’s Gloria Swanson!” she said — and from a distance, we watched an elegantly dressed woman debark from a limousine and enter a pavilion.

Swanson was a silent movie star from my grandmother’s era — who later played Norma Desmond in the 1950 noir classic “Sunset Boulevard” about the rise of talking pictures. What fun to see Boom as awestruck as I was over celebrity sightings!

Return to the fair: Oct. 1964

My second trip was a family affair – my dad taking me and my brothers during a three-day school holiday. (My mom stayed home with my sisters, who were too little to go.)

There was, of course, more flirting.

Oct. 21, 1964. Went to the World’s Fair on Oct. 12! Panic!!! I was flirting with this guy…He worked at the GE Pavilion! Flirted with another guy at the Chrysler Futurama!…[He was] saying to “keep moving”…When I passed him, he said, “Keep moving and keep smiling.” I looked up and he smiled and so did I!…The dear!

Oct. 1964: Thinking of home at the 1965-1965 World’s Fair. From left, my brothers Mark, Jeff and me posing by Endwell on the giant map in the New York State Tent of Tomorrow. Photo by Norm Charboneau

Focus on technology

My techno-Dad took us to different places than Boom took me — like the Chrysler Futurama with its moving panorama of an automated future and, of course, the General Electric Pavilion sponsored by the company where Dad worked. I even hooked up with a new English pen pal!

Oct. 16, 1964. Got an English pen pal out of a computer at the Parker Pen Pavilion at the World’s Fair. Her name is Sue Horton and she lives in Stafford, England. Have to write her tomorrow.

We walked all over — more walking than we ever did at home! And at one point Dad and Jeff rode an overhead ski-lift while Mark and I strolled along underneath — all of us in awe of the monumental fair.

NYC: I fall in love!

Yet the single image that stayed with me — and changed my life — was the breathtaking view of the New York City skyline at the end of my first World’s Fair visit.

New York City skyline at dusk. The single, life-changing image that stayed with me from the 1964-1965 World’s Fair was the breathtaking view of the New York City skyline at the end of my first trip to the fair. Photo: Pixabay

The sun was setting when Boom and I boarded the charter bus. As we headed north, the view of the dazzling urban skyline — with the sun setting behind it and lights twinkling in a million windows — was truly spectacular.

Aug. 26, 1964. Went to N.Y.C.! It’s the most thrilling city! I never imagined how beautiful it was! Now that I’ve seen it, it’ll be hard to go back to little Endwell! Someday, I’m gonna go back loaded & live it up!

And that was it — I was in love! Not with my teen crushes — not with the World’s Fair guys I flirted with — not even with the pop stars I idolized. No, it was New York City that stole my heart.

Ten years later, at 24, I moved there for good. And now I live in Queens, not far from the World’s Fair grounds — where out my window I have a panoramic view of the sparkling New York City skyline that captured my heart all those years ago.

Up next, X-Bedroom: I have to move. 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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Various other teen interests: From “Twilight Zone” to RFK #AtoZChallenge

V is for Various other teen interests: From Rod Serling to RFK. Twenty-second 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.

Apart from engaging with my family, neighborhood, classmates and popular culture, I also peripherally kept up with current events in my early teens.

Thus various other teen interests made cameo appearances in my diaries. Here are a few examples.

Arts and culture

Press and Sun-Bulletin, Jan. 29, 1963.

At 13, I was interested in literature and mourned the passing of poet Robert Frost.

Jan. 29, 1963. Robert Frost of “The Road Not Taken” died today at 86 years…He will always be remembered by his fellow countrymen.

I was also a huge fan of “The Day the Earth Stood Still” — the 1951 film starring Michael Rennie, in which he and a robot named Gort arrive from space to warn Earth to end its warlike ways.

So imagine my thrill at seeing him in person!

June 26, 1963. I’m going tomorrow to see “Unsinkable Molly Brown.” June 27, 1963. Saw Michael Rennie today IN PERSON! He was sooo…well…WOW! We were sittin’ there & he came walking in & sat about 5 rows in front of us. Then, when the intermission came, he went downstairs & we saw him in the lobby! I’ll always remember!

And let’s not forget the annual Academy Awards, where history was made in 1964.

Press and Sun-Bulletin, Apr 14, 1964.

April 13, 1964. Sidney Poitier best actor! I just love him!

Finally, there was local celebrity Rod Serling, creator of the popular “Twilight Zone” TV series.

Serling was from Binghamton, N.Y., and regularly made public appearances in  our area. When I was 14, my dad took me to hear him speak.

April 24, 1964. Went to Broome Tech -n- heard Rod Serling give a lecture! He’s real handsome!

Press and Sun Bulletin, Apr 25, 1964.

Remembering JFK

The 1963 assassination of Pres. John F. Kennedy when I was 13 made a big impact, which I blogged about last year — and I was still journaling about JFK during 1964.

Jan. 2, 1964. B. gave me a card with a picture of JFK & a prayer! It’s sharp!

June 12, 1964. Saw “The Making of a President 1960.” [A documentary.] It had a great deal about John F. Kennedy! I cried the whole way through it! I don’t think I will ever admire any man as much as I admire him.

Eternal flame on John F. Kennedy’s  grave. “One year since it happened! It doesn’t seem possible! Went to see the grave! I cried just looking at it!!” I wrote in my diary on Nov. 23, 1964. Photo: Wikipedia

Nov. 20, 1964. It’s now 6:00 AM! Jim Scott show is on! Goin’ to Wash, D.C., bye!

Nov. 23, 1964. One year since it happened! It doesn’t seem possible! Went to see the grave! I cried just looking at it!!

Other political observations

Other political observations also popped up in my diary, amid the usual entries about school, my block, pop stars and boys.

April 13, 1964. It was reported that Premier Khrushchev had died, but it was a hoax!

Sept. 5, 1964. Melvin Belli is trying to get Goldwater out of the presidential race. He says [he] isn’t a born citizen of the U.S. because when he was born in Arizona it wasn’t a state but a territory! Which is something to think about!

Press and Sun Bulletin, Sept. 9, 1964. At 14, I was among the young people who turned out in Binghamton, N.Y., to cheer Robert F. Kennedy when he ran for U.S. Senator from N.Y.

Then, at 14, I went to see Robert F. Kennedy in person when he came to Binghamton while running for U.S. Senator from New York.

Sept. 10, 1964. I went up and saw Bob Kennedy! He’s reallll sharp!

Kennedy had a huge youth following, and that day he told a local reporter, “I want to lower the voting age to 6. I’ve really sewn up the vote between 6 and 16.” (Press and Sun Bulletin, Sept. 9, 1964.)

Early teens: Not entirely frivolous

In short, my early teens were not entirely frivolous — although the bulk of my diary entries might imply otherwise.

Hidden there among my day-to-day teen concerns were also more serious topics — and those gradually moved onto center stage as my teen years progressed.

Up next, World’s Fair 1964: I fall in love with NYC! 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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Growing family trees one leaf at a time