I can remember how I feared those large search lights that would circle in the night's sky during World War II. To me, it meant that someone I didn't even know was coming in a plane to bomb my house and kill me. After the war, they meant something fun was going on; a new store opening, a movie premiere or maybe free goodies.

Another fun memory was holding a skein of yarn in my outstretched hands, keeping my thumbs out of the way as my mother turned it into a ball of yarn. I don't know if boys had to do that for their moms, but girls sure did. It was an easy job, and I didn't mind doing that at all.

Remember how careful we were not to step on any cracks in the sidewalk or pavement? That was due to the saying, "Step on a crack and break your mother's back." There were some old superstitions that thought the cracks led straight to the underworld, and stepping on them could release evil spirits. Sounds really silly now, but back in our childhood we believed it.

Something that isn't used now is that wonderful perfumed stationary that you used to write to someone special with. I still have a box of it that I take out every so often to look at the pretty pink paper with roses and its light sweet scent. Don't know why I'm still saving it, but I just can't bring myself to throw it away.


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I don't remember any talk about head lice when I was growing up. I have no idea if it was a problem back then or not. No one I knew had them, and I'd never heard of them until I was an adult living in Southern California.

Another thing I don't hear much about now is someone having a goiter. I guess with us having iodine in our salt, there are less of them here in the United States. There seems to be a lot of reasons that someone can have one other than a lack of iodine. But I still don't know anyone that had one of them.

I've always wondered why doctors have such awful handwriting when it comes to writing out orders for medicines. Maybe they just want to make sure that no one can copy their style of writing. It's amazing that the pharmacists can even decipher what they ordered.

Because of the fact that my mother divorced my father when I was about 2½, I never got to spend much time with him. That being the case, my Uncle Glen became my pretend father, for we lived in the same house he did.

He was the one that swung me around by my arms in the front yard until I got dizzy. That was so much fun, and girls had to wear dresses back then except when walking outside in the winter time. He also gave me piggyback rides and other things that dads would do.

I never did get the hang of doing cartwheels like some of my playmates. Perhaps I just didn't feel comfortable being upside down and my underwear showing. Now leapfrog was something else, and I played that with my friends with no problem. We had so many games that kept us outside in the fresh air and didn't require any equipment.

We also had things we did inside like embroidering pillowcases, hankies and table runners. Maybe we did that stuff when the weather was bad and we couldn't go out to play. There was also a wooden frame that we used to make potholders with. I loved to make them for gifts, and I got to use up old yarn from my mom and grandmother. I still have some of those old handmade potholders and treasure them.

Both my mother and grandmother made items out of clay that they baked and glazed. I only made ashtrays back then because they were easy to make and everyone used them in those days. Of course, I have a few of the items my mom made and often wonder whether they have a value other than sentimental ones.

I know there are a lot of ladies out there who have saved things that came from our childhood. Sweet memories indeed for us.

A native of Minnesota, Carol Olson grew up in South Dakota and Walnut Creek and now lives in Pittsburg. She can be reached at carolleeolson@aol.com.