-We had two cars, but both were more than a couple of years old
-There were televisions in all the bedrooms, even though they were a bit small and black and white.
-We never went hungry--although a lot of nights our bellies were full of fish sticks and Tater Tots rather than steak.
-I got a car when I turned sixteen, although it was my mom's hand-me-down beat-to-hell-Buick.
Being a member of the high school's concert choir proved to be a great equalizer. It was mostly about the music and the camaraderie and not who got a new Camero or TransAm for their birthday.
Another interest shared by a bunch of my fellow choirboys was basketball. Lots of them were on the basketball team and when they weren't tied up by some choir event they were either practicing or playing in a school game. I always liked shooting baskets with the kids in my neighbor. The Sivaks had a hoop on their garage and we wasted countless hours playing HORSE. I was a pretty good shot and almost six foot, but there was no way I dream of trying out for the team at school. I was so intimidated that I never even played with my fellow choirboys.
But then a strange plague struck the team. I first noticed the tallest drink of water on the team, Bruce Fredbloom, started hobbling around with a bum knee. Then soon afterward a few others were doing the same thing. The first one who went to the doctor came back with the diagnosis of water-on-the-knee. It didn't sound like a big thing to me; I got water in my ear and up my nose all the time after swimming, but getting water on the knee and having to have it removed turned out to be a badge of honor with these guys. If you didn't have it, well, you didn't have it.
Hey, look at me. some thirty-six years after the fact, I have it. Fred Schiller has water on the knee. I'm thinking of cruising past the local high school and letting the word out.
A few years ago, back when I was still working for Stan Lee, my right knee locked up on me. I saw a specialist who told me the joint was breaking down and would have to be replaced one of these days. The other day when my left knee started doing the same thing I thought the prognosis would be the same. I saw the doctor and it was, sort of the same thing as before, only instead of a stray chip of bone causing me the pain this time, it was fluid. A lot of it. He stuck a needle in (I was already in so much pain that I didn't even feel the poke) and proceeded to drain out a hypodermic needle (the size of a fat cigar) worth of sick yellow gunk. No water. It looked more like the gravy that the high school cafeteria ladies used to ladle on our country fried steak. The doctor then filled the void in my knee with some nice clear hydro cortisone.
It's been four days and it's finally starting to feel better. Thanks for asking.