Remember When

  • Remember When: Country stores really haven’t changed much

    America is akin to an old-fashioned scale. On one side is all the modern technology and the folks with all the answers, and on the other end keeping everything in balance and on an even keel are country stores and the people who operate them.
    My son Blake has a delivery route from the N.C. mountains to the S.C. low lands. He distributes tobacco products where folks still puff away and ignore the cautions.

  • Remember When: The Fixers: Boys club for school’s oddest jobs

    Not all school clubs back in my youth were havens of snobbery where feelings were trampled on. Out in my little cave where I have the freedom to sit and recall stuff that happened years ago, I keep copies of the 1950 and 1951 Lancaster High School yearbook, the Rambler.
    There was one club that we called the Fixers Club, with unofficial advisors Mr. W.C. Hawkins, Mr. C.B. Alexander and Mr. C.W. Reece.

  • Remember When: Itching to see Lancaster, the old mill from the air

    Mama always said I was too much in a hurry and didn’t read directions. Shucks, most stuff didn’t need directions anyway.
    Some of the local boys were home from the war and a few of them had been pilots. Out at Coulbourne airport were several little Piper Cub airplanes. Single engine and lightweight, mostly for joy riding and picture taking, I’d say.

  • Remember When: Solving world’s ills under shade trees in downtown park

    Bet there are a few of you old codgers who can still recall the clang of a heavy metal horseshoe striking an iron rod.
    I remember those games of horseshoes between mostly grown men in shirts with rolled up sleeves. Usually, the crowd standing around the dusty ground roared after each throw. The winner got no shiny trophy, just the pleasure of being recognized by his peers as a pretty good horseshoe thrower.

  • Remember When: Driver’s permit: Is there a more joyous moment?

    What a grand day, that day I got my driver’s permit.  My daddy being sheriff didn’t help one iota.
    I had to climb those old back steps at the courthouse, take a written test and give the highway patrolman a ride, making sure I did all the stuff expected. Parallel parking, which took place in a marked-off space out behind the police station and almost under the big old water tower, made me nervous, but I passed with flying colors. 

  • Remember When: Telephones have evolved, and I haven’t

    My first recollections of a telephone were as a child.  The instrument was black and stood like an old outside water spigot, with a large round head that you spoke into. To listen, there was a round cylinder hooked to a black cord attached to a hook, which you jiggled to make contact with the operator, also known as “central.”

  • Remember When: Depression was ending, and I plotted to get a bike

    I wasn’t the dumbest kid on my block, because I had been taught to read the newspapers at an early age. Maybe I didn’t grasp everything in print, but I could tell that America was getting back on her feet at the end of the Great Depression.

  • Jaw drops open: Available funds are not available

    On my 83rd birthday, I was knee deep in banking problems. At my age, I should be running (make that hopping along) after pretty girls and checking out new  sports cars. But not this day.
    Some years ago, my bank convinced me to move into the computer age. You’ll no longer be bogged down with reams of bank statements and canceled checks, they told me. With just a few strokes on the keyboard and remembering the proper passwords, I had all my banking stuff at my fingertips.

  • Icy weather was more complicated in old days

    Recently I described my Chesterfield Avenue neighborhood as two-story wooden framed homes with wide, breezy porches. Well, that’s not the whole picture.
    The television variety of weather folks didn’t exist back in the days of my youth. In fact, television didn’t exist. We got our weather predications from the Esso Weatherman on WBT radio out of Charlotte.

  • Black window shades, tin-can drives, meals for passing soldiers

    Do you recall school auditoriums where speakers came and told us all kinds of stuff?
    At Chesterfield Avenue Grammar School, we had touring magic shows, the dental show where we all got a new toothbrush and a  tube of Ipana Toothpaste. We had morning chapel, sang “Onward, Christian Soldiers” and closed our eyes for a fast prayer to help get us off the hook for the evil we had done, were doing or maybe were about to do. Seems like the third grade always had a class play filled with silly songs and tap dancing.