Amazing stories of the '50s and '60s

TVs that had to warm up! Free towels in soap boxes! Adults disciplining kids!

June 20, 1999|By Ernest Murray

LUFKIN, TEXAS -- Kids today see reruns of "The Andy Griffith Show" and probably think life in Mayberry was no more real than what the Clampett family experienced in Beverly Hills. But, for many of us who grew up in the 1950s and '60s, life did imitate art -- we just didn't know it at the time.

A friend sent me this list of remembrances that kids today just might not believe existed except in a TV sitcom.

Being sent to the drugstore to test vacuum tubes for the TV or radio.

When Kool-Aid was the only drink for kids, other than milk and sodas.

When boys couldn't wear anything but leather shoes to school.

When it took five minutes for the TV to warm up.

When all your friends got their hair cut at the kitchen table.

When nearly everyone's mom was at home when the kids got there.

When nobody owned a purebred dog.

When a dime was a decent allowance, and a quarter a huge bonus.

When you'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny.

When girls neither dated nor kissed until late high school, if then.

When your mom wore nylons that came in two pieces.

When all your teachers wore neckties or had their hair done.

When Bible reading and prayer started every school day.

When you got your windshield cleaned, oil checked and gas pumped, without asking, for free. And you got trading stamps, to boot!

When laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels inside the box.

When any parent could discipline any child or use him to carry groceries, and nobody, not even the kid, thought a thing of it.

When it was considered a great privilege when your parents took you out for dinner at a restaurant.

When school officials threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed -- and followed through with the threat.

When women were called, say, "Mrs. John Smith," instead of being known by their birth names.

When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited a misbehaving student at home.

Ernest Murray is managing editor of the Lufkin (Texas) Daily News. This article was distributed by Cox News Service.

Pub Date: 06/20/99

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