The Good Old
I have always suspected that the "good old days"
may not have been so good. When I was a kid, our family didnít
have a car. Daddy walked to work and we children walked to
school. Of course, a lot of people walked in small-town America,
even my playmate whose family owned a brand new Frazier and
thought that they were "big shots."
Eventually, my family joined the ranks of the "better
off" and we were really proud of our shiny, black
Studebaker. We often went for rides, not to go any place in
particular, but just to ride. Cars didnít have automatic
transmissions or air conditioning in the good old days. We
rolled down the windows and let the wind keep us cool.
Of course, houses didnít have air conditioning either in
the good old days. If you were lucky, you might have a window
fan. We were often hot and sweaty during the summer, but we
didnít know the difference. At night after supper, people
would set on their porches to cool off, and kids would play tag
under the corner streetlight.
Progress came to our small southern town when the local
department store installed air conditioning. Everyone went to
shop and check out the cool air, but we could not imagine
that living in refrigeration would ever become a popular thing.
Pleased with their innovation, the same store later installed
an elevator. Again, everyone came to see and to shop on the
second floor without even having to climb the stairs. The
elevator had a driver who opened and closed the door and pulled
the lever that made the elevator go up or down. We would
sometimes use the stairs anyhow just to keep from bothering the
The local movie also had refrigerated air. Every Saturday a
western movie was shown after a short serial feature, a cartoon,
the news, and the previews of coming attractions. This occupied
children on Saturday afternoon for the immense sum of 12 cents.
For another nickel, you could get a roll of Lifesavers, a Sugar
Daddy, or a box of popcorn in the good old days.
Our favorite stores were the two cheap variety stores
downtown, which were called 5 & 10ís or "dime
stores." Yes, you could actually go shopping and buy
something for a dime in the good old days. A kid could always
find a yo-yo, rubber ball, or a comic book, if we were lucky
enough to have a dime.
I spent many happy hours reading comic books and listening to
the Lone Ranger on the radio. Radio was not only for music or
news in the good old days; it also had entertainment
programming. Of course, it was not long until television came
along and changed the world. We scarcely knew what to make of
the magic boxes that were just like movies at home. The pictures
were black and white, but so were most movies so it didnít
It was a while before our family could save the money for a
down payment on a television set. In the meantime, I continued
to watch the radio and wish that it had a screen instead of a
dial. When we finally acquired a new television set in a
blond wood cabinet, the good old days were really good. It had
only one channel and so we watched whatever came on. In the
early days there were frequent technical difficulties so often
we had only snowy screens and test patterns to watch.
Life was simple and more basic in years past, but life was
harder too. I wonder what kids nowadays will remember as being
the good old days. My kids once thought things were really rough
because we didnít have a microwave or cable TV. Now that I
think of it, that does seem pretty difficult. I really donít
know how we made it though the good old days.
Copyright 2004 Sheila Moss