Every year right about this time, the Sun Gazette’s local-history column makes a stop in the early part of April 1973, and one of my all-time favorite items.
In an edition of the Northern Virginia Sun back those 48 years ago, it was noted that the Sun was sending some of its best-performing news-boys on a trip to Florida, with stops in Daytona Beach, Walt Disney World and the Kennedy Space Center.
Now, maybe I’m overthinking it, but when you combine “1973” with “Northern Virginia Sun news-boys” (sorry, I do not think there were news-girls then), you’ve got the makings of an epic trip. Adult supervisor was probably right up there on a level of “Bad News Bears” (AKA, little to none) and people were so much nonchalant about letting kids be kids.
The 1970s (early, middle or late) were a fun time to be a kid, although I wasn’t quite old enough (or living in the local area) to be a hawker of Northern Virginia Sun editions in that era. But as a kindergartner around that time, I vividly recall being sent by my mother to the corner store in Waukegan, Ill., to purchase either cigarettes or beer for the adults in the family. Nobody in the store batted an eye; they knew it wasn’t for me, so they let me buy it and take it home.
I feel obliged to note here that, to her dying day, my mother swore on stacks of Bibles that this send-Scotty-for-smokes-or-brew episode NEVER happened. Perhaps her recollection was correct; it wasn’t like she wouldn’t admit to some of the more, mmmm, interesting moments in 1970s living, like the time she hurled a glass bowl of mashed potatoes at my father during a squabble. He ducked and was not hit, although there may have been some subsequent nights spent in the guest room. The potato-smeared carpet, however, may have needed professional assistance to restore it to its normal level of cleanliness.
Anyway, math tells us those early-teens of 1973 are now about 63 or so. As I do every time I relate this Florida-trip story each year, if anyone knows of anyone who took that trip, send them my way. I want to hear the rest of the story ….
LEAVING A LEGACY: We launched this ol’ new Website about a month ago, and by far the most hits on any story was for the one, penned by Dave Facinoli, about the life and unfortunately early death of Antuon Townsend, who touched so many in the Arlington education and sports scenes.
If by chance you haven’t seen it, it is well worth a read.
- Scott McCaffrey