Good Old Days Newsletter

In the Good Old Days Antiques Corner This Week in History
In the Good Old Days

Trivia Question

In 1938, a historic horse race was run. Which two horses competed and which one won?

Red Riding Hood's Hood

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Richard Peterson/

It's the season of ghosts and goblins and ghouls -- and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Disney princesses and Power Rangers. If you live in a city, suburb or a simple neighborhood of houses, you are bound to see some of these beloved-by-youngsters characters parading down your sidewalks on community trick-or-treat night.

When I was of the age of begging for goodies on Halloween, costumes weren't quite that fancy. We grabbed whatever we could pin, tape or staple together, or simply found an old sheet and cut holes in it for eyes -- the way Charlie Brown and his friends did. Add a brown grocery bag to hold all the sweets, and we were all set. Who cared? It was all about the candy to us. That is, it was until my mother weighed in.

Being the creative type, she enjoyed adding some flair to our plain costumes. One year, when I was about 5 or 6, I wanted to be Red Riding Hood. I figured a basket and a small red cape was all I needed. Mom's imagination took over, however, and I found myself fully draped with an old red chenille bedspread -- queen size, mind you -- that was cinched under my chin to form something like a hood in back. It was heavy and unwieldy, and the red pompoms dangling from the edges did not add to the cool factor I was after. I protested, but I was sent out the door with my brothers for two hours of struggling with all the excess material. At one house down the street, my hood got caught in the plunger of the storm door, and I was hopelessly entangled. Fearing I would end up as a permanent fixture in my neighbor's doorway while other kids came and went (and laughed), I frantically pulled at the material, ripping it nearly in half, and ran down the street, a fraction of my former Red Riding Hood self.

One would think that I would have learned my lesson and never let my mom have a hand in my costume-creating again. But the very next year, I was seen going door to door as ... a humiliated chicken: red rubber boots, yellow rain coat, red glove strapped to my head and a hot plastic chicken mask I'm certain my mom purchased on a clearance table somewhere.

Good thing it was all about the candy.

'Til next time,

Mary Beth Weisenburger,
Good Old Days® magazine

PS. What was your favorite (or most memorable) costume? Send a brief response to me at and it could appear in a future newsletter or in Good Old Days magazine! Here are several email responses from the Sep. 17, 2014, newsletter question: Did someone take you fishing when you were young? What was it like? Keep your replies coming!

Peggy L. told us: "I will never forget my first fishing expedition with my grandfather and cousin when I was around 8 or 9 years old. My cousin Sherry hollered out, 'I got one!' and pulled out a big one. Was I surprised and terrified when it appeared that she had caught a monster! But my granddaddy just started laughing and explained that the 'monster' was just a crawfish hanging on her pole by one of his big claws."
Mary M. shared: "I loved to go fishing with my dad. Not so much to see how many fish we could catch, but to just be out and enjoy nature. All of the beauty to see and the feel of the air -- it was wonderful. The bonus was to see who could catch the biggest bass or catfish. In later years, my dad retired to a place just a mile from a large lake, and he would be out at the crack of dawn to see the sunrise as it burst onto the lake. When we came to visit, we were up with him at that time too. We went out to the lake and were awestruck by the beauty. Dad would take us for a boat ride at the end of fishing time, which was my girls' greatest joy. The last time we went out on the lake it was as if the fish were wishing us goodbye and practically jumping into the boat. We were moving my dad to live with us as he could no longer care for himself, and he never was able to make it back to that lake. Hope there's fishing in heaven!"

Mary Beth Weisenburger has been with Annie's since April 2011. She has 25 years of experience in the marketing, advertising and publishing fields. In addition to her job as editor of Good Old Days, she has been writing a family humor column for over a decade. She and her husband, two college-age kids, two dogs and various other critters live on five acres in the country, where she enjoys reading on the back porch, refinishing furniture, feeding the birds and digging in the dirt of her perennial gardens.

Fill out the easy feedback form and let me know your thoughts, questions and ideas.

Trivia Answer

On Nov. 1, 1938, Seabiscuit met Triple Crown winner War Admiral for a one-on-one race that was being called the "Match of the Century" at Pimlico Race Course. People came from all over the country to witness this single race between two of the most popular horses of the time. When the bell rang, Seabiscuit broke in front by over a length after only 20 seconds. Halfway down the backstretch, War Admiral started to cut into Seabiscuit's lead, but Seabiscuit did what he was known for and began to pull away from War Admiral two hundred yards from the finish line. Seabiscuit won by four lengths; he became the American Horse of the Year for 1938.

Find out more about the fashion, events and popular culture of America in the Live It Again book series at, featuring the best of The Saturday Evening Post!

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