Hugh Hefner and "Playboy" magazine are synonymous. The Playboy Magazine empire of Hugh Hefner was at its peak, when I and other males born in 1958, were Coming Of Age. It was during the times of the true "Madmen" of Madison Avenue, and Joe Willie Namath played quarterback and the lyrics of Todd Rundgren, "men were tough, and women were toys" were still an acceptable mindset.

'Playboy' magazine was a titillating, tempting taboo for an adolescent boy

Finding a "Playboy" was gold for a 10 to 12-year-old back in those days. Our neighbor and sometimes boarding house manager must have just finished doing a spring cleaning one year.

One day I noticed she had neatly stacked at least 2 dozen Playboy magazines on the curb at the end of her driveway. They were wrapped in twine, both ways - for stability, and were just sitting there, waiting to be taken away by the garbage men. I guess the adolescent radar of me and my friend Charlie, sniffed them out because I'm sure all one could see clearly was the front cover of the top one!

Hugh Hefner's lifestyle was worth pursuing

Sean Connery was teaching boys how to be suave and sophisticated from the movie screen in the mid to late 1960s. And, "Playboy" was teaching us what a woman should look like (after airbrush) from the newsstands. Of course, Hugh Hefner was the male manifestation of what he was selling in "Playboy." Hugh had it all it seemed.

He had the girls, the wealth and the leisure to enjoy both. How did a boy know this? Well, he was always photographed with two beautiful women on his arms, a pipe in his mouth, and silk smoking jacket and pajamas! Come on!

When Charlie and I decided the coast was clear, we made off with the bundle into the U shaped cutout of a hundred-year-old evergreen tree, on the N.E.

corner of my parent's property. There, we were joined by Doug and Frankie. Word had spread fast. There were enough spoils for all of us, as I recall. Somehow I negotiated my way free and clear of half a dozen "Playboy" playmate's of the month centerfolds - Miss April, May, June etc., etc. With this leg of the heist completed, the next obstacle was how to recycle these Hugh Hefner designed 'treasures,' to be of some use and yet not so obvious as to be confiscated.

The 'Playboy' bunny, what did it mean?

Later on, as a young up and coming professional, commuting into the city from the suburban enclave of Bronxville, NY., I would glance at the bustling newsstands in Grand Central Station and notice the iconic "Playboy" bunny logo. I could pick one up anytime. I was of age, I was of age to enjoy some of the fruits that Hugh Hefner was packaging and selling if I could negotiate the landscape well enough. However, I didn't feel a need to buy the "Playboy" magazine that I once stumbled upon in my dad's room while looking for shoe shine polish or some such thing.

No, some 10 years after I had placed the neighbor-derived treasures on the wall of my bedroom, cleverly taped-up behind my NFL posters of notables like Ben Hawkins, Ron Johnson, Lem Barney, and co.

- "Playboy" magazine and Hugh Hefner had served their purpose. Playboy served a much different purpose for my father's generation, I believe. However, by the end of the 1970s, it was clear. "Playboy" magazine and Hugh Hefner would forever be iconic, coming of age symbols, and part of the lexicon for male baby-boomers.