Summer sounds of the 1970s

August 31, 2012 – It’s hard to believe that this weekend, we will celebrate Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer.

For me, it means that Autumn, my favorite of the seasons, is almost here. The end of summer doesn’t make me feel melancholy as it may for many others.

Still, there are things I will miss once the warmest season is gone; less traffic in the morning for one, as the streets become crowded again now that vacations are over and the school year is in session.

Most of all, I miss the sounds of summer that bring back my fondest childhood memories.

From the echoes of the seagulls at the Jersey shore, to the ice cream vendor and newspaper man who walked the beach with their cries of “Fudgie Wudgies,” and “Philadelphia Daily News, Daily News here”, these sounds are ingrained in my memory, just like the scent of Coppertone.

On the boardwalk in Wildwood, N.J., I also became accustomed to the recorded, nondescript voice that warned me to, “Watch the tram-car please.” That was always followed by a little embarrassment since I rarely watched where I was going.

Even at home, the clatter of summer played a significant role in my life. I recall Jersey farmers and their trucks driving slowly down our street, while the hucksters cried, “Jersey Tomatoes for sale”. Nothing compares to a freshly grown Jersey tomato.

Likewise, the Mister Softee or Good Humor jingle sent many kids in my neighborhood into a frenzied delight. And hearing the roar of lawn mowers in the background meant the smell of freshly cut grass would soon bring another racket to light – plenty of sneezing!

An orchestra of crickets on a summer night takes me back to sitting on the front porch listening to baseball on the radio, the crack of the bat ringing in my ears, and also to catching fire flies (which is undoubtedly a poetic way of saying lightning bugs, as we called them in the city).

I miss those summer sounds of childhood.

Thankfully, fallen leaves crunching under my feet, the crackle of a fireplace and football game cheers were always close behind.

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4 thoughts on “Summer sounds of the 1970s

  1. “Jersey…Tomatoes…Five for a dollar” (or some price like that) and who can ever forget the traveling whip truck in Northeast Philly? I miss my Harry Kalas voice.

  2. There is one which may be exclusive to Port Richmond which could be heard
    in the late morning hours before lunchtime, “Fresh Pretzels, yo ready?,
    Fresh Pretzels”. These were the small, individual soft pretzels which
    sold for a penny each (yes, one cent) and were sold by young boys (no
    girls, heaven forbid) who carried the pretzels in a small basket and walked the neighborhood.
    BTW, the voice of the WW tramcar “watch the tram car, please”, is that
    of a woman from Wildwood, I forget her name, who is still alive and
    lives in Wildwood.
    Later–I’m OUTTA HERE!

    • Thanks for commenting, Jane! I appreciate it.

      The city had such unique sounds, that’s for sure. And thanks for letting me know about the tramcar woman.

      Enjoy the holiday weekend. I’m sure you’ll be at the shore!

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