When I was a kid . . .

I knew the day would come. I just didn’t think it would happen this soon. I am now, officially, peppering my conversation with references to how it was when I was a kid. Here are some of my more common, I-remember-whens:

  • Gas was less than $1. Bought it at Village Hardware in French Creek for 95 cents. Had to scrape together ten bucks to do it.
  • Everyone got spanked. Or switched. And it didn’t seem to damage us emotionally in the long run.
  • We ate meat that had been defrosting on the counter all day. Though we did throw it out when the cat got into it that one time.
  • There were winners and losers. Not everyone got a gold star.
  • We didn’t have a computer or cell phones or e-mail and there were only three channels on TV (four if the wind was right).
  • You didn’t know who was calling until you answered the phone. Or not. It was okay to ignore the ringing during dinner and no, there wasn’t an answering machine. They’d call back if it was important.
  • Kids sat through the ENTIRE church service. No children’s church. No playground. Just “the look” if you got too rowdy.
  • We didn’t have video games, but we did have a barn and woods and fields and climbing trees and that old American chestnut stump that was big enough to play house in.child dangling from branch

Now, I’m not saying it was better. I’m saying it was different. And . . . I miss it.

So what do you miss that’s been lost to your childhood, lo these many years ago?

8 thoughts on “When I was a kid . . .

  1. LOVE this post and I’m tweeting it around. Yes, ye old good ol’ days…hey, I still defrost my meat that way! And my kids got spankings too.

    And I played video games w/my brothers, but I also remember lots of time to read, walk in the woods, and play Barbies. I had a great childhood, but I’m trying to give my kiddos more chores than I had so they’re a little more ready to hit college someday. Regardless of the adjustment, I did just fine there.

    Ah, brings back memories. I think my fave were hanging upside down from my jungle-gym set.

  2. Steve

    It gets a little tiresome when you youngsters continue bragging about how young you are. 95 cent gasoline? Heck, I remember getting five gallons for a dollar and driving on those five gallons all weekend. I remember nickle Cokes, nickle candy bars, and playing golf all day (not just 18 holes) during the week at the public course for 25 cents. I still defrost meat on the counter, but it doesn’t take all day. I remember the days before we had those three channels; all we had was a big piece of furniture that housed a radio and we listened to wonderful dramatic and musical programs. We had to imagine what the characters looked like.

    And I remember some of those radio shows becoming some of the early TV shows, like Fibber McGee & Molly, Amos and Andy, Superman, Bob Hope, Hopalong Cassidy, Arthur Godfrey and his talent scouts, Gene Autry, Gunsmoke, Red Skelton, Bing Crosby, Roy Rogers, and Death Valley Days to name only a few. There was even an old radio show set in a bar that was called Duffy’s Tavern. It was the forerunner of Cheers. I can still remember the classic opening of every radio show. In the familiar opening, “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,” performed either solo on an old-sounding piano or by a larger orchestra, was interrupted by the ring of a telephone and Gardner’s New Yorkese accent as he answered, “Hello, Duffy’s Tavern, where the elite meet to eat. Archie the manager speakin’. Duffy ain’t here—oh, hello, Duffy.” The program often featured celebrity guest stars but always hooked them around the misadventures, get-rich-quick schemes and romantic missteps of the title establishment’s malaprop-prone, metaphor-mixing manager, Archie, portrayed by Ed Gardner whose first wife was Shirley Booth), the writer/actor who co-created the series.

    Ah, old time radio, cheap gas, and cars you could actually repair with baling wire and duct tape. Those truly were the good old days. And they were my days!

    I remember holiday dinners on an old gate leg table that mom always told me came to Indiana from North Carolina on a covered wagon. I didn’t hear the rest of the story about that table until after I moved to North Carolina. Yes, I still have that table.

    Not only was there no children’s church, I was taken to the big Presbyterian Church downtown where an outstanding, old school orator was the pastor who preached very intelligent and yet understandable sermons in a mesmerizing stentorian voice that commanded attention. “The look” was not necessary.

    Sorry, but you “kids” missed out on the really good times. 😉

  3. Pat Maruca

    My favorite was to be able to walk to the movies every Saturday and get in plus buy popcorn or candy for a quarter. The movies were serial westerns and Tarzan… you didn’t dare miss an episode or you’d be ‘out og the loop.’ There was always a bunch of cartoons (Little Lulu was my favorite). On Sunday afternoons we’d lie on the floor in front of the giant radio and listen to someone read the funnies to you.

  4. My kids got spanked, but one of them is 6’2 now. So, umm, no spankings now!
    I grew up on a farm, then a city tenement, then a housing project, then a house with a yard and a cherry tree.
    So, I miss some parts and I DO NOT miss others.

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