Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Those Were the Good Old Days

Something I read today in Mimi's blog reminded me of my grandmother. Her post gave me a little nudge down memory lane and I started thinking about random things in my childhood and adolescence that I really miss and, some of which could be considered blessings - even though I might not have recognized them at the time. I know that I am looking at the past with some rose tint in my glasses, but humor me.

  1. Sitting down to dinner every night as a family-Dinner always included a meat, a starch, and a green vegetable and was served on pottery plates, not paper. Sometimes we had dessert. The table was set by one of us girls and we knew on which side to place each piece of silverware. We actually had conversation while we ate.
  2. Saying the Lord's Prayer followed by the Pledge of Allegiance every morning at school. Why did we allow this to be removed from the school day?
  3. Singing hymns from the hymnal-There is just something about sharing a hymnal (with which you can actually see the notes and read the words) with a person next to you that connects you in the worship experience. It is hard to be connected to a big screen at the front of the church. There are many choruses and pieces of contemporary music that I love, but could we please sing more of the old hymns that speak to our hearts? Have you ever noticed that when we do, the singing is much more enthusiastic?
  4. Dressing up to go to church-Does anyone remember the little white gloves with a pearl button that we used to wear? How about the starched petticoats and the lady's hats? (Sometimes I think that we have become way too laid back and casual about meeting with God. If the Bible says that people were supposed to offer Him the first fruits and the unblemished calf, wouldn't we want to look our best when we come before His throne in reverance and worship. Just a thought...)
  5. Waking up to the birds singing or the farm report on the radio-Every summer we always spent several weeks with my grandmother. She lived in a little town in central Texas in a two bedroom house with a big front porch. The house was not air conditioned so we slept with the windows open. Our alarm clock was the birds singing and the farm report or gospel music playing on the radio. The first words out of our mouths each morning were "Can we have biscuits for breakfast?" We were so disappointed when canned biscuits were invented!
  6. Sitting on the front porch at grandmother's playing dominoes, snapping peas from the garden, or eating watermelon while waving at all the people who drive by.
  7. Sleeping on pallets on the floor with all the cousins because there weren't enough beds.
  8. Manners and courteous treatment of others-'nough said
  9. Real heroes/movie stars like John Wayne, Elvis Presley, and Jimmy Stewart, and movies the whole family could see together like "Sound of Music," "Gone With the Wind," etc.
  10. Saturday afternoon matinees-Parents felt safe in dropping you off and picking you off at a neighborhood theater. I still remember seeing "Sleeping Beauty" and "Old Yeller" with cousins.
  11. Drive-in theaters
  12. Homecoming at the cemetery-(This is one of the ones that I didn't think was so special at the time!) My grandparents and almost all of my ancestors are buried at a little country cemetery in Dale, Texas. In order to maintain the cemetery, every June there would be a homecoming when all the relatives would come to the old school and bring every kind of comfort food imaginable. This would be laid out on planks set over sawhorses. We would eat and visit and eat some more. Each family would donate some money to help care for the gravesites and the cemetery grounds. It was an opportunity for you to see extended family and relatives you didn't know you had.
  13. Catching fireflies in a glass jar. This goes with playing outside till the streetlights came on-which goes with playing kickball in the cul-de-sac.
  14. Road trips with breakfast at a roadside park over a Coleman stove and vienna sausages and crackers for lunch.
  15. Shopping, as well as dining out were real occasions and we did both infrequently. We dressed up and rode the bus downtown to buy Easter shoes, Christmas dresses, and school clothes.
  16. Sewing your own clothes
  17. Belief in personal responsibility and that hard work paid
  18. Leaving the doors unlocked at night
  19. Buying watermelon at the watermelon stand and eating the slices at picnic tables over sawdust on the ground
  20. Saving our money to get one of the first Barbie dolls
  21. Coke was not a staple in the pantry, but a treat that you went to the drug store to get
  22. Sunday lunch was always roast beef, rice or mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, fruit with cottage cheese, and dessert. This was followed by an afternoon nap. Ahhh...
  23. At grandmother's in the summer we always had our big meal of meat, fresh vegetables, and iced tea at lunch time, before the heat of the day. The meal was timed so that it would be complete by 12:30 because that was when "As the World Turns," grandmother's "story" came on. So we watched Bob and Lisa and the gang until it was over at 1:30. Then Judy and I had to take a nap. We laid on a pillow on the living room floor with the fan whirring over us. That's why I like sleeping under a fan today...because it reminds me of those sweet times at grandmother's.
  24. Duke & Ayres, the five and dime where you could get paper dolls for a dollar
  25. Singings-(this is another of the category of not recognizing the blessing and charm of the experience when you were going through it!) On Friday nights in the country with grandmother we would sometimes drive to little churches or community centers where they were having a singing. People from all denominations would meet to sing from a variety of hymnals or sheet music that they would bring. After the singing was over, we would have some of the homemade desserts the ladies brought.
  26. Gospel quartets
  27. Christmas was Christmas and not the Winter Holidays.
  28. Driving down the road to the cemetery in a funeral cortege and having everyone pull off the side of the road and park or stop their work in the fields to stand in silent respect for the loved one who had passed away.
  29. Writing and receiving letters on pretty stationary
  30. Thank you notes
  31. Nancy Drew mysteries and library cards
  32. The Pig Stand drive-in (onion rings and root beer floats!!)
  33. Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Fury, My Friend Flicka, The Mouseketeers, Woody Woodpecker, etc.
  34. Queen for a Day, I Love Lucy, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Twilight Zone, Wierd, The Outer Linits, Alfred Hitchcock movies, etc.
  35. Sleeping with your sister in a full-sized bed daring each other to cross "the line." This also applied to riding in the back seat of the car.
  36. The smell of burning leaves from the pile that was just raked in the backyard
  37. Gingerbread, wassail, and caroling at the Bank of the Southwest in downtown Houston on Christmas Eve
  38. The ponies at Playland Park
  39. Birthdays at Peppermint Park
  40. Sleeping in the back window of the Chrysler DeSoto
  41. The rodeo at the Sam Houston Coliseum

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