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PROBE: March 25, 2002

March 25, 2002

QUESTION: My husband says they are going to make it illegal to smoke in parks. How far are they going to go with this smoking vendetta? — Smoker, Niland

Very far, because the goal is not to protect non-smokers but to make smokers quit smoking!

You can still smoke in parks in most places, although you can't sit and smoke while you watch your grandchildren romp on the playground. A new California law makes smoking illegal in playground areas in public parks.

If you decide to sneak a puff or two while the kids go down the slide, you'd better have a portable ashtray to stash your butts. The same law makes it illegal to throw away cigarettes, cigars or any tobacco product in playground areas.

A PLACE TO SNOOZE — I love all those drive-in movie stories. They bring back memories of getting lost returning from the snack bar and trying to climb in the wrong car. I think a Mr. McGoo cartoon was playing at the time.

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They never allowed enough time for a refreshment break and cut the lights while you were juggling Cokes, popcorn and Bon Bons.

All of us kids slept on the ground, on the hood and even on the top of the car. We had a friend drive off with one of his kids still asleep on top of the car. We honked and flashed lights and the kid came to no harm.

I remember a "Suicide" as a Coke with a shot of cherry syrup. Thanks for the memories. — A '50s Kid, E-mail

In those days our child-raising techniques were relaxed. We knew that if you lost a kid, there was always more where that one came from. Or, as some parents threatened, "You can be replaced."

We'll never forget the day we left our brother at a gas station. It was the day Japan surrendered, ending World War II. Sure that gasoline rationing was over, we jumped in our 1935 Ford V8 to go see our uncle in Livingston about 40 miles away.

Just before we got to Livingston, we stopped at a gas station for gasoline and a round of cold drinks to celebrate the end of the war. Lo and behold our uncle drove by with his eight kids, saw our car and stopped.

Half his kids piled in our car, and we assumed a third of us (our brother) got in his car. It must have been an hour later when Mama's anxious query, "Where's Jerry?" stirred everybody into motion. Nobody had seen Jerry since the gasoline station 10 miles back.

He was still there sitting on a tire, his 7-year-old face glowering like an angry troll with a herd of goats walking on his bridge.

By the way, a Coke with a shot of cherry syrup was a Cherry Coke, not a suicide.

A PROBE SURPRISE — I was surprised when I read in PROBE about the old open air Spanish-language theater in Holtville. It brought back a lot of memories. I was about 7-years-old when my dad (John A. DePaoli) built the Aerodrome.

Most of the time the weather was clear. I remember one day it rained but the audience stayed in their seats watching the movie in the rain. — Tom DePaoli, Holtville

Forty cents didn't grow on trees — and you didn't get to the movies every day. In those days folks really got into a movie.

It was a different experience then. We recall feeling dazed when we stepped out into the real world after an afternoon in the old Holtville Theater, and later the Alamo, immersed in the smell of popcorn and movie magic. Movies expanded our world. Thank you, John A. DePaoli.

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