Friday, September 30, 2011

When I Was Young

Ruth Ann, Buddy, Craig, Me, David, Irene Jenny Jump 1967
I received the following poem in an email.  I just had to share it because it is the absolute truth of what life was like in my home town when I was a child.

Our first house only had two bedrooms, and my parents had four kids and a grandfather living in it.  Then we moved to Alpha where we had four bedrooms.  We had a huge kitchen and always ate dinner together.  I can remember when we had half day sessions in school we walked home, to have our grandfather make us lunch.  He made us egg bread and didn't call it French Toast.  That was the best egg bread I have ever eaten  in my life.  It was wonderful to have had the extended family all under one roof.  Our Pappy, and my parents had never ended up in a nursing home. 

When my mother passed away in 1992, she still had the same phone number that we were given with our very first telephone in 1958, GL(Glencort)4-9514, only they changed the GL to 45.

Our idea of fun on a hot summer evening was either taking a ride with our mother through Springtown, and Carpentersville, or a game of "Pies" on our front porch steps with the Gara girls.  When we played baseball, my mother bought me the ball and my sister Irene the bat, so we had to get along in order to have a game.  We jumped rope in the street, and when someone spotted a car they yelled, "Car!" and we all quickly scattered to the side of the street until the car passed through.  Each family only had one car back then, and that is if we were lucky enough to have one at all. 

Sometimes when we wanted a snack my mother would melt butter and pour it over cheerious, and add a little salt.  She was always baking, and we not only had a milk man, but "Charlie The Baker", came around and he sold Tastykakes off the back of his panel truck.

 Our family doctor was Herman Smith, MD and he was a family friend, actually more like family.  He not only made house calls, but had his own pharmaceutical room where he supplied the meds, and there was no need for a pharmacy.  The cost was $6.00 at the office, $10.00 at the home, and he charged  $3.00 extra for each medication.   I will never forget the sound of joy in his voice the day he told me I was pregnant with my first child Jennifer.  It was as if he were my father.  He brought all five of my mother's children, and three of my nephews into this world.  When he was called out to deliver my nephews Craig and Mark, he was there to deliver them on his very own birthday. Not only was May the second their birthday, but my dad's as well.

When I Was Young

A little house with three bedrooms,

One bathroom and one car on the street.

A mower that you had to push

To make the grass look neat.

In the kitchen on the wall

We only had one phone,

And no need for recording things,

Someone was always home.

We only had a living room

Where we would congregate,

Unless it was at mealtime

In the kitchen where we ate.

We had no need for family rooms

Or extra rooms to dine.

When meeting as a family

Those two rooms would work out fine.

We only had one TV set

And channels maybe two,

But always there was one of them

With something worth the view.

For snacks we had potato chips

That tasted like a chip.

And if you wanted flavor

There was Lipton's onion dip.

Store-bought snacks were rare because

My mother liked to cook

And nothing can compare to snacks

In Betty Crocker's book.

Weekends were for family trips

Or staying home to play.

We all did things together --

Even go to church to pray.

When we did our weekend trips

Depending on the weather,

No one stayed at home because

We liked to be together.

Sometimes we would separate

To do things on our own,

But we knew where the others were

Without our own cell phone.

Then there were the movies

With your favorite movie star,

And nothing can compare

To watching movies in your car.

Then there were the picnics

At the peak of summer season,

Pack a lunch and find some trees

And never need a reason.

Get a baseball game together

With all the friends you know,

Have real action playing ball --

And no game video.

Remember when the doctor

Used to be the family friend,

And didn't need insurance

Or a lawyer to defend?

The way that he took care of you

Or what he had to do,

Because he took an oath and strived

To do the best for you.

Remember going to the store

And shopping casually,

And when you went to pay for it

You used your own money?

Nothing that you had to swipe

Or punch in some amount,

And remember when the cashier person

Had to really count?

The milkman used to go

From door to door,

And it was just a few cents more

Than going to the store.

There was a time when mailed letters

Came right to your door,

Without a lot of junk mail ads

Sent out by every store...

The mailman knew each house by name

And knew where it was sent;

There were not loads of mail addressed

To "present occupant."

There was a time when just one glance

Was all that it would take,

And you would know the kind of car,

The model and the make.

They didn't look like turtles

Trying to squeeze out every mile;

They were streamlined, white walls, fins

And really had some style.

One time the music that you played

Whenever you would jive,

Was from a vinyl, big-holed record

Called a forty-five.

The record player had a post

To keep them all in line

And then the records would drop down

And play one at a time.

Oh sure, we had our problems then,

Just like we do today

And always we were striving,

Trying for a better way.

Oh, the simple life we lived

Still seems like so much fun,

How can you explain a game,

Just kick the can and run?

And why would boys put baseball cards

Between bicycle spokes

And for a nickel, red machines

Had little bottled Cokes?

This life seemed so much easier

And slower in some ways.

I love the new technology

But I sure do miss those days.

So time moves on and so do we

and nothing stays the same,

but I sure love to reminisce

and walk down memory lane.

God Bless Always,

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