I want to be a boy again when I felt secure and taken care of and all I had to worry about was doing what I was told, trying my best at school and trying not to break anything.
I want to be a boy again when I spent hours playing outside. I would pretend I was a cowboy or a soldier or just about anything I wanted to be. I want to ride my sled down the back alley that sloped enough to get you going so fast you worried about a car coming in at the very end.
I want to be a boy again when I was dropped off at the Saturday matinee and there was a Duncan Yo-yo contest before the movie got started. Sometimes the winner got a Schwinn bike which was a pretty big deal. Then we watched Looney Tune cartoons and a feature movie like a space adventure with Flash Gordon. And then we had to wait a whole week to find out if Flash escaped from the Martians.
I want to be a boy again when TV was a wonder and only a few families on the block actually had one. The hour before dinner they showed the Howdy Doody Show and Clarabell the Clown always soaked somebody with a seltzer bottle. And after that was Stagecoach Theater and you hoped dinner wasn’t ready early or else you’d never find out if the bank robbers got away and what about the rancher who had all his cattle stolen and rebranded so he couldn’t prove they were his. But then, you knew Hopalong Cassidy would figure it all out and the bad guys would be hauled off to jail.
I want be a boy again when things weren’t already built up, but being built. It was when we’d get our wagon out of the garage and go up and down the blocks above us where the new houses were being built. All the workers had gone home so we could go through the wood framed rooms and look for empty soda bottles. Each one was worth two cents. If we were lucky, we’d find a quart bottle. Those were good for a nickle. We’d take the bottles to the Acme supermarket and rake in our haul, then spend it on candy before we left.
I want to be a boy again when I came down stairs on my birthday and there was always something colossal like a new bike or a trip to New York. One year among the presents was a white shirt with all the airlines’ logos on it. I wanted to be an airline pilot and this shirt was the first article of clothing I ever gave a hoot about and when I wore it I was an airline pilot.
I want to be a boy again and go to summer camp and ride a horse, sail a boat and learn to swim. On Friday night we’d watch a movie while sitting on a blanket in a grassy area and have a Hershey bar with almonds. We watched an old movie projected on a stretched out bed sheet. When the movie was over, we marched back to our cabin in single file holding a flashlight to light the path.
I want to be a boy again and look at the big pictures in Life Magazine when it arrived each week. I also watched the mail slot in the front door for whatever prize I got for sending in the box tops from breakfast cereals. At Christmas time there were a half dozen toy catalogs that came in he mail and you’d spend hours going through them, circling the toys you wanted. Then every August, Popular Science Magazine would have the coolest of the new cars on its cover and the car was always loaded with the latest technology. The mail came in the morning and during Christmas it came twice a day to keep up with the greeting cards everyone sent to each other.
I want to be a boy again when we always did something on the weekends as a family, whether it was a road trip to some farmer’s market or shopping at the new and only enclosed mall where every fall we got new clothes for school. Or we’d go to a museum and I was bored or to the zoo where I wasn’t.
And I want to be a boy again so I can be with my parents once more, in their prime when I thought they were the smartest people on earth. Just about everything they did was for the benefit of my brother and me, although we had no idea at the time. They made sure we got the basics and more and when we didn’t appreciate it and acted out they taught us about guilt and discipline. We learned to balanced the two. I remember rare occasions being spanked when I really did something major, like dropping the F-bomb when I was eleven. I had no idea what the word meant except the older boys playing basketball in the schoolyard said it a lot so I wanted to be cool like them…but not after I said it once to my Dad. But mostly, I want to be a boy again so I can tell my parents how much I loved them, how much I miss them and just once more could we have dinner together.
I want to be a boy again so I have no responsibilities except to follow a few rules, share, and don’t hit anybody. It was when I didn’t have to worry about money or my children or my wife and a bunch of other grownup stuff. It was when peace of mind was more present than it would ever be for the rest of my life and I had no idea at the time how cherished that would be.
I want to be a boy again so in a few years I can fall in love with my Rosemarie all over again. Young love is a stage of life like no other in that it consumes your whole being and your emotions will be at a level of sensitivity never to be experienced again.
I want to be a boy again when life was simple, life was easy, life was happy and thoughts of it all being over were somewhere else far, far off in the future.