By Dennis Richardson, Magic Valley Publishing
Sometimes it seems healthy and refreshing to take a moment and reflect on where we come from and what we have gone through to get a better feeling of what lies ahead.
The idea for my column this week originated from a social media post that brought back some good memories.
My family lived out in the “country” on a 10-acre mini farm 15 minutes north of Nashville. Our home sat on a ridge and on clear nights the distant sky was aglow with lights from downtown.
Our community did not have a big name restaurant, and likewise did not have the chain-style fast foods that now sprinkle the landscape in most small towns. It was a huge deal to eat at a restaurant. It only happened once in a blue moon, like when we would take the Greyhound bus down Clarksville Pike into town to Harvey’s in August for school clothes and then to Woolworth’s, and then a good lunch and a movie at the Loew’s Crescent theater.
My older sister worked downtown and I remember once we caught a ride in with her to check things out. On that memorable trip a nephew of mine (her son who was close to my age) and I helped a guy carry a stack of boxes into a store building. He seemed really happy for the help and in return gave us a pair of tickets to the top of the L&C tower. On top we could look through binoculars and try to find our house way out there on the horizon. Those were good times. We didn’t have any money and didn’t need any.
Most days at home a good lunch consisted of a sandwich that we took outside in the yard. You took your school clothes off as soon as you got home and put on your play/work clothes. We had to do our homework before being allowed outside to play. We ate dinner together at the table.
Our phone was attached to the wall in the living room and had a cord. It was a “party line” which meant seven other households shared the line, each having custom rings: two short ones or a long ring, or a long and a short. Conversations were not private and we had no cell phones! TVs didn’t have a remote. To change the channel required getting up to turn the knob to one of just a few stations. With “rabbit ears” we could pick up channels 2, 4, 5 and 8.
We played football with a walnut. Who could afford a real football? Footballs and basketballs were items to put on the Christmas “wish list”. We ran track in the street, played wood tag, baseball, kick ball, dodge ball, rode bikes or fished. Staying in the house was a punishment and the only thing we knew about being “bored”—- “You better find something to do before I find it for you!”
When we were kids we walked the quarter mile to the highway and picked up soft drink bottles along the way to trade in for three cents each. We would scrounge up enough to buy a nickel Coke and a candy bar.
We ate what mom made for dinner or we ate nothing at all.
There was no bottled water; we drank from the tap or the water hose. We watched family shows like My Favorite Martian, Bonanza, The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, Dukes of Hazzard, HEE-HAW, I Love Lucy, Andy Griffith, Gunsmoke, cartoons every Saturday morning and wrestling. We rode our bikes for hours. If someone had a fight, that’s what it was and we were friends again a week later, if not SOONER. We played outside until dark.
We watched our mouths, especially around our elders because all of our aunts, uncles, grandpas and grandmas AND our parents’ best friends were also our parents.
Sunday mornings before church we read the newspaper.
These were the good ole days.
Dennis Richardson is the CEO of Magic Valley Publishing, Inc., which owns the Chester County Independent.