One of the great moments of being a kid was having 12 cents in your pocket and choosing which comic book you were going to buy!
Reflections of the Summer of 1964
By Richard Mabey Jr.
Lately, I’ve been thinking of a simpler time. A time of innocence. A time of finding joy in the very simple things of life. There was a very specific time in my life, when that feeling of joy in the simplest things of life abounded. It was during the Summer of 1964, between fifth and sixth grade. I was 10 years old.
Batman #166 presented one of the coolest traps that Batman ever escaped from. Even though the cover stated “September,” this comic book hit the stands in July!
The Summer of 1964, was the summer I discovered super hero comic books. My favorite super heroes were Batman, Superman and Spiderman. It was such a great feeling, no school! Waking up in the morning, eating breakfast, then taking 12 cents from my piggy bank and walking down to the corner sweet shop to buy a comic book.
The Lincoln Park Sweet Shop was a great place to buy comic books!
The sweet shop was on the very same street that I lived on, Main Street. It was about a mile down the road. And, if you got there before 10 o’clock in the morning, you would get there before the older, wise guys who stood outside the sweet shop, smoking cigarettes.
Spider-Man #15 hit the news stands during the Summer of 1964. I had this comic book. Sadly, I sold it during the time that I was between jobs, between working for the phone company and then working at the ad agency.
The array of comic book in the Lincoln Park Sweet Shop was out of this world. There were a few dozen Dell Comics that featured Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Tweety and Sylvester, Little Lulu and of course Bugs Bunny. Then there was a variety of at least a dozen Archie Comics. Then there were the Harvey Comics: Wendy the Witch, Little Lotta, Little Dot, Casper, Hot Stuff, Stumbo the Giant and my favorite Richie Rich! Then there were the Hot Rod Comics, they were mostly published by Charlton Comics. There were at least a half-dozen different Hot Rod titles. Then, there was my favorite, the super hero comic books.
A side view of the iconic Lincoln Park Sweet Shop, where I would buy comic books!
For 12 cents, a kid could read 32 brightly colored pages of action-filled tales of Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Atom, Green Lantern, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Captain America, and the list could go on and on and on. It was truly a magical time!
Cradled in the branches of the big, old maple tree in my backyard was one of my favorite places to read a comic book!
Sometimes I would down to the sweet shop, sometimes I would ride my bike. Looking back, I think I walked half the time and rode my bike half the time. I thought I was a real hot shot that summer, riding my bicycle all the way down to the sweet shop, buying a comic book and then riding my bicycle home. I don’t know why. It always made me feel like a big shot, to do that.
A rare photo of my old tree fort in the big, old maple tree in my back yard. This picture shows the main planking of my old tree fort. I read dozens of comic books in my old tree fort.
I think I’d give my right eye tooth to relive just one of those magical summer days. But alas, they’re gone. Gone forever. Still, a man can look back. Look back and imagine for a few minutes, what it would be like to go back in time to spend just one summer day as a 10 year old, in my little Mayberry in New Jersey.