Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Back In My Day

Back In My Day
By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, October 17, 2017

I can vividly remember some of the older people in my family telling us kids, “Back in my day we…..” and you could fill in the blank.  I also remember making fun of some of their comments.  Now it is my turn to be old enough to remember days that today’s youth are unaware of or simply don’t care about.  When you understand where a person came from, you might be understand why the “older folks” find some of the accepted traits of people today offensive and contrary to what civil people are expected to do.  For example, back in my day:

  • Men opened doors for women
  • Not many men would wear sandals but no man would ever wear sandals with socks
  • Only prisoners had tattoos
  • Men did not wear earrings or body piercings of any kind
  • You may not like something but engaging in violent protesting was simply not even considered
  • We all could read and write in cursive
  • When you entered a building, any building, you removed your hat
  • We did not have to decide whether to talk on the phone when we were with people or pay attention to the people we were with; imagine that for a moment.
  • Few if any of my neighbors ever overly concerned about locking their doors when they were in their homes
  • We actually did walk to school, in my case about a mile, in all types of weather
  • Students served as crossing guards and it was an honor to be selected to do so
  • We could not understand why our parents did not like the music we listened to; some things never change
  • We had to be home when the street lights came on; staying in our rooms for any reason was out of the question
  • Our newspapers were rolled and sealed into themselves; I rolled them myself
  • We/I actually walked the streets with a huge canvas bag delivering the newspapers we rolled
  • We would not think of addressing an older person by their first name
  • We considered talking back to a teacher a capital offense; it just wasn’t done
  • Foul language was ONLY heard when someone hit their finger with a hammer
  • Drugs?  What drugs? They may have existed but I was unaware of them
  • We would walk to the corner drug store to test the tubes in our television sets and repair them ourselves
  • We could not wait to get home from school to go play sports at the local park
  • Most meals were eaten together as a family
  • I played on sport teams where only the best players would be guaranteed to play
  • We learned quickly how to both win and lose a sporting event; we obviously wanted to win
  • No one would ever think of wearing flip-flops into a restaurant
  • No one would ever think of wearing a tank top into a restaurant
  • We often took the bus to where we were going and that often required us to change buses
  • It was much easier to get a date when you had a driver’s license; that was when you became important
  • A lot of us had part time jobs starting at the age of 12 before the government made it illegal to do so
  • Every kid I knew had a bike and would ride it miles from home
  • When someone came down with measles, chicken pox and/or mumps, the city would be a large orange QUARENTEENED sign on your home
  • We had Nuclear Bomb drills at school where we would all climb under our paper thin student desks; as if that was going to protect us
  • Most of us, probably all of us, were deathly afraid of the “iron lung” polio patients, mostly young kids, spent their days and nights in
  • Every kid knew how to play “kick-the-can”; now that is a political sport
  • We actually knew who are neighbors were and could name everyone in their families
  • We considered the police our friends and they would often times stop and play baseball with us
  • Growing up we were extremely fortunate to never have heard of child abuse, spouse abuse, child abduction, drug overdosing; not that these things did not exist, we just never heard of them like you do today
  • No one would ever think of stealing something from the corner store because we all knew who owned and worked at the corner store aside from it just being wrong and illegal
  • We didn’t say prayers in the schools I attended but we did have moments of silence and no one to my knowledge ever objected; imagine that
  • One of the proudest moments at least in my life was getting my first pair of Converse All-Star Basketball shoes
  • I made a considerable amount of money caddying at the local golf club; golf carts were just coming out and only a few used them.  I would make double and get double tips carrying two bags
  • We could shoot marbles, play cut the pie with a pocket knife (it was still legal to carry one then), play cut the pie on ice skates, play washers at the local park and pitch nickels
  • We collected baseball and football cards and traded them
  • Kids in my neighborhood, including me, would turn the radio on late at night and listen to the Cleveland Indians play night games long after we were supposed to be sleeping
  • We, or at least I, would Blue Coral was my parents cars for nothing
  • We did not have to watch a steady diet of war, death, destruction, murder on our television sets; heck half the time they didn’t work anyway
  • We would watch television programs through the “snow” on the screen; some who read this will have no idea about what I just meant
  • Making a 60 mile road trip on two lane roads to Lake Erie was more like a cross country trip today
  • We could actually swim in Lake Erie BEFORE it became polluted, green and dangerous
  • We had great music until the Beach Boys sang Good Vibrations; it all changed shortly after that, at least for me
  • I really did like Country Music before it became cool to like Country Music
  • We use to think Universities were places of learning that just happened to also play football games
  • A “sleeper” was a 1962 Pontiac Ventura with no outward visible signs of what lie beneath the hood, a 455 CU IN (7.5 Liter) GIANT; no one ever knew until of course when you hit the gas pedal
  • On Friday Nights we watched Submarines race
  • Your best friend would disconnect one of the headlights on his car and drive around the block while you sat on the front porch with your girlfriend and played Padiddle or Popeye. (Look it up.)
  • We would roast marsh mellows over the lamp inside the movie projector in chemistry class during movies
  • We would spray Newskin” on our hands to make them sticky so we could palm basketballs
  • A tall basketball player was 6’5” tall and there was only one in town and you were indeed lucky if he played on YOUR team
  • You weren’t cool if your steering wheel didn’t have a suicide knob unless of course the car you drove belonged to your Dad
  • You weren’t cool if you didn’t have a pair of dice hanging from your rear view mirror
  • Also, you weren’t cool if you didn’t install a reverberater on your car’s radio
  • No one was worth anything if he didn’t drive a car without Baby Moon Hubcaps or Spinners

You know I could go on and on.  These things happened “back in my day.”  What will happen TODAY that will eventually become “back in YOUR day?”  The one thing I CAN say with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY is that a lot of “things” we worried about or fretted over in our lives back then that we all thought were horrible and maybe even the end of our days as we knew them – MOST NEVER HAPPENED!  A valuable lesson for today if you are paying attention.

When I first thought about writing “back in my day” I was afraid that I could not think of many things to write about.  Then I became afraid the list might so long no one will want to read them all.  Maybe they won’t read long enough to even get this far.  Kind of like all of our fears is it not?  Most of them never happen.

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