In Sunnyside, there were only two reasons during Autumn worthy of porch sittin’ for Bonnie and Cookie. The first of such worthy causes would be to compare the contents of their bags full of the most spectacular results from their efforts at tricking neighbors from sugary treats. The second most worthy event for porch sittn’, was a well-earned rest after an epic and successful attempt at eating their way to the top of Potato Mountain and facing the plunge down Gravy Falls.
Halloween was the highlight of Bonnie and Cookie’s autumn every year. With four siblings all out trick or treating, that meant four times the goodies to divvy up. You can’t imagine the heap of treats the Sullivan pack came home with. Makes one wonder, was there anything left for the other neighborhood children?
In the U.S., this pastime of Halloween Trick or Treating where children would dress up and go door to door begging for candy was actually just gaining popularity in the 50’s and it was no exception in Sunnyside. What an amazing concept to don homemade costumes fashioned from everyday household items. To be transformed into a ghostly ghoul, or possibly your favorite television hero and step out after dark, paper grocery sack in hand, only to return home with what would amount to six months’ worth of a dentist’s nightmare? Other than Christmas morning, it couldn’t have gotten any better for a kid than that.
Racing each other home to Grandma Della’s front porch, Bonnie and Cookie can’t wait to take inventory of their booty. Last one there is a Rotten Egg!!! The two girls sit together with their two younger siblings sorting through all the delectable treats by degree of yumminess. Crazy how that is still the ritual today. The first thing removed from the pile? Fruit!!! Not for fear of tampering as would be the case in today’s society, but because…Ewww… who wants an apple when you have Baby Ruths and Atomic Fireballs to choose from. Satisfied all has been properly sifted and allocated, Bonnie leans back to take in the wonder of the night. Cookie is taking one final count to make sure all piles are of equal measure, Colleen has chocolate smeared ear to ear, and Rodney, the baby giggles at the sight while his tiny cowboy bandana droops miserably from baby drool …yuck!
Bonnie smells the strong and spicy black coffee Grandma Della has made for herself and Grandma Ann as the Halloween Porch Sittin’ winds down for the evening. A favorite recipe that includes cinnamon and clove buds giving the coffee just the right amount of kick. If she concentrates, there’s pumpkin there however faintly. A sweetness lingers from just a whisper of coconut and vanilla that seems to smooth out the punch of the spicy aroma. Another successful endeavor onto worthy cause number two.
The perfect finale to any Autumn in Sunnyside, is after the Thanksgiving meal where you could always find Bonnie and Cookie along with their siblings out on the porch… sittin’. It’s sibling meeting time and there are two main topics of conversation. The wonders they saw on television during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade earlier that morning, and who gets first dibs to the Sears Catalog Christmas Book for Christmas present choices. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was a big deal as it had only started being televised just that previous year in 1953 and what an amazement it was. Until now, children only saw pictures of the parade in magazines and newspapers. Again, the smell of Grandma Della’s strong spicy sweet coffee permeates the air as Bonnie, the president of this sibling summit calls for the votes of best floats… Cinderella’s Coach, and the votes of best giant balloon… Tin Soldier. They praise the appearance of Howdy Doody and of course the man himself, Santa Claus. Now, finally, onto the most important decision of the night, who goes first with the Christmas Book? Hey! Don’t everybody all shout at once!
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