Mixsonian Morrs and Barbara

Oh Thank Heaven for 7-11

In 1960 a new 7-11 convenience store opened across University Avenue from 36th Drive which we lived on.  The 7-11 was a wonder with such stapes as milk and bread and many other items and they were opened from 7 in the morning to 11 at night.  On the radio there were commercials with the jingle “Oh, thank heaven for 7-11”.   Mom loved it, for she would send me and my brother over to get a gallon of milk or a loaf of Wonder Bread or both.  The 7-11 was situated directly across from our street which where 2nd avenue and University merge so it was a little tricky to cross University, pause in the medium then cross 2nd Avenue to the 7-11.  Our house was the third house from University Avenue so it wasn’t all that far to the 7-11 but it was a long way for a little kid to carry a gallon of milk which I found to be quite heavy.  I had nightmares years later about crossing intersection to get milk.  But there were some good things about the 7-11, one, it was airconditioned which we didn’t have at home, so it was really go there in the hot summer and spend a half hour looking around in the coolness of the store and perhaps buying some candy with my 10 cent allowance I got that week.  One of the things we kids really liked was the Icy machine which had two flavors each week.  The flavors might have had names but we knew them as red, blue, green, yellow and brown which was root beer. Blue was my favorite flavor.  Every once in a while, they would give away a small Icy one day of the week and we would always go. 

Tube Tester

Another thing at the 7-11 was a TV tube tester.  TV’s at the time had a dozen or more vacuum tubes in them and it seems one was always failing.  Larger TV’s were quite large and heavy so to take one into a TV repair shop was quite a struggle and may take a week or more to get your TV back.  Having a TV repair man come to your house was and option if one could afford it which we could not.  Dad, being quite handy, would open up the back of the TV and look at the schematic and then pull out a tube or two which he thought was the problem.  I was fascinated but such things and would watch over Dad’s shoulder as he pulled the tubes and say something like “it’s the horizontal or the vertical control tube”. After gathering the suspected tube we would go to the 7-11 to test them.  The TV tester was a large console with rows of sockets for tubes and many switches and dials.  Dad would look up the tube number on a chart which would tell you which socket to plug the suspect tube into and then what to set the various dials at.  A large meter then tell you if the tube was bad or not.  Sometimes Dad got lucky and found the faulty tube the first time but other times we had to go back to the house and Dad would pull a few more tubes to test.  If we were lucky, there would be new replacement tubes in the bottom of the tester but sometimes they were out and we would then go to another store to see if they had one. 

Kite Flying

One of the things the 7-11 had every year was kites.  There would be a cardboard display box of Hi-Flyer kites which had a picture at the top of a boy flying a kite and in the box were the standard diamond shape kites of all different colors.  Also in the stand were balls of string the size of a baseball.  Kites fascinated me so one summer day I took 20 cents from my savings obtained from my hard earned allowance of 10 cents a week and went to the 7-11 store and bought a green Hi-Flyer Strat-O-Flyer kite and a ball of string.

The kite came rolled up with the paper of the kite wrapped around the two cross sticks. I would put them together, unrolling them, spreading the sticks into a cross shape, putting the paper on the sticks, bending it just the right amount by attaching a string across the two ends of the horizontal cross stick, and then attaching the bridle on the front which the kite string attached to. We would then get some rags and tear them into narrow strips and tie them together to make a tail. We would fly the kites usually in the front yard letting the fly high up above the houses. Sometimes the string would break and we would run as fast as we could chasing the kite as it fell to the ground. One of the other boys in the neighborhood, GooGoo was his nickname, would sometimes fly kites with us but he never was able to get his to fly as well. I remember one time he asked what he was doing wrong and I said that he had the wrong brand of kite so he went to the store and bought a new kite of the same brand as mine. He still couldn't get it to work so I told him it had to be the same color and off he went to get one of the same color which the 7-11 was out of so he had his mother take him to another store to get one.  Well it didn't fly very well either. I was joking with him about the color, but he believed me and I felt a little bad about it but I did everything to his kite I did to mine and really didn’t know why his kite didn’t fly as well. 

Delta Kite

In later years they came out with the delta wing kite. These were a big improvement over the old triangle kites for they flew much easier and higher although they cost more. One time we set out beat the "record" for height. I used four balls of string and it was still going up so until the kite was little more than a dot in the sky. Another time we wanted to set the record for how long we flew the kite. We started in the morning, and it flew it all afternoon. When evening came we decided to tie the string to a stake in the ground and leave it up all night. When we got up the next morning, it was gone. We traced the string over the house, across some trees, out into the field but it ended there, the kite never to be found.

I once made a parachute dropping invention which attached to the string a few feet from the kite. I could then attach a parachute with a toy soldier to it then fly the kite up into the sky with the right movement of the string, my invention would drop the parachute.

Updated: 06-06-2022

1960 Fall