From the Parsonage…
Have you ever wished you could move the clock
back to what you remember as a better time? You know,
like the years you were growing up…when life was
simpler and moved at a slower pace, especially if you
lived in a small town like I did. Most neighborhoods
were free of crime, and people didn’t worry much about
locking their doors. Neighbors took leisurely walks in
the evening, stopping often to visit with folks sitting out on their porches,
and parents watched out for each other’s children, including disciplining them when they needed it.
In the Middletown of the fifties, I was perfectly safe walking several blocks to school and taking my younger sister and brother to the Saturday morning movies on the city bus. After the show, we’d stop at the local drug store for a root beer float and then board the bus again for the trip home. If we had a little extra money, we could take advantage of being downtown to stop in at Murphy’s for a comic book or an extra treat.
Summer days were spent swimming at the city pool, playing softball on a vacant lot down the road, competing in basketball games of HORSE, and riding bikes to Armco Park or friends’ houses. In the evenings, we’d stay outside late playing Ghost and catching lightening bugs in the dark. Winter meant sled rides down a neighbor’s hill, long walks in the snow, good books, and endless games of Monopoly. As teens, sleepovers and Bandstand became rituals, and we danced our hearts out at the weekly Sock Hops that were offered year round.
Weekends were family times with Saturday reserved for chores, shopping, and special television shows that everyone watched together. Sunday consisted of church in the morning, lunch at a favorite restaurant, and rides in the country that usually ended with visits to family or friends. Remember, we didn’t have internet, smart phones, or electronic games, so actual conversations took place!
Holidays were extra special with parades down Central Avenue and celebrations geared to the occasion. On July 4, picnics, barbecues, and games followed the parade, and the day ended with fireworks at the high school football field. What an amazing spectacle that was! And it seemed like the whole town was part of it, dressed in red, white, and blue and waving American flags!
I miss those days, and it makes me sad that so many children today don’t have the opportunity to experience that lifestyle. That’s why I love recreating it for my grandkids at Cottage Park! I’ve heard many people say that the “Good Old Days” weren’t all that good. That may be true for them, but, for many of us, they really were!
“You who are young, be happy while you are young,
and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth."