Think about a cold glass of apple cider. It is sweet and unexpected. Not an every day drink. I can remember my very first glass of apple cider.

In grade school, in the fall, we celebrated Fire Prevention Week with plastic fire hats and badges. The pinnacle of Fire Prevention Week was the annual visit to the Spring Street Fire Station, which is now the parking lot on Museum Street.

My first trip there was awe inspiring. Great big red fire engines, lots of equipment to look at and everything was spotless. We got to see where the firemen lived! We got to eat a “fireman’s breakfast” — ice cold apple cider — for the very first time in my young life.

I think about it every time I have cider. Along with the cider were Willow Street donuts. We all assumed firemen had this to start the day, every day. I was thinking the life of a fireman was pretty sweet!

Can you remember the lessons of Fire Prevention Week? Stop, drop and roll? I remember a comic book image of the Dad of the family rolling across the floor wrapped up inside a rug. Never play with matches. I am sure there were more.

Slot car racing

When I was 10 or 12, the Congregational Church at the corner of Main and Summer was empty for some time.

A man named Carl Bublack (I do not know why I remember his name) opened a place for kids called The Rockland Raceway in the basement.

It was a giant slot car race track for 1/24th scale electric race cars. It was, at this time, the hobby. Slot cars were very popular all across the country. The track was wide enough for up to six cars to race at a time. You could rent slot cars and track time.

Most kids brought their own cars to race. The cars were highly customizable. You could interchange different plastic shells or bodies, select different tires, hard or soft, to suit the track surface. The controllers that modulated the speed could be brought from home, too. These also could be modified to make the cars go faster.

I did not have a car in the race, so to speak; I had my own race set at home. My cars were the much smaller H.O. scale cars, about the size of matchbox cars, and would not run on the big track. But I would go and watch. The older kids would arrive with travel cases with cars, parts and controllers to race on the big track. It was my destination for Saturday mornings.

It was one of those short-lived things, and it was gone after a year or two.

Lost in the fog

In my North End neighborhood was Little’s Egg Farm on Broadway, the farmhouse is still there. The large hen house sat where Eliza Steele Drive is today.

When I walked to North School from Lawn Avenue, I walked through the field behind our house. My path would take me behind the hen house. It was a good size operation.

One day, a little white building appeared right there on Broadway. It looked like a school bus stop shelter. Inside was an Egg-O-Mat, a coin operated vending machine that dispensed eggs by the dozen.

I remember this vividly. However, I am the only one who remembers it. I have been asking the old timers for years. Not one of them remembers it, and there are no images here at the Courier archives.

If anyone has a picture of the Egg-O-Mat, send me a copy and we will print it in The Courier-Gazette.

Glenn Billington is a lifelong resident of Rockland and has worked for The Courier-Gazette and The Free Press since 1989.