Your references to those good old days put my mind into instant recall mode.
Travelling on the weekends from our farm in Lewisville to visit my great grandparents
in Stephenville (my folks pronounced it Stephensville as they were early day settlers)
during the 30's and early '40's. My dad could always come up with the extra
to make the trip since he had connections as an airraid warden and worked at Ford as a
Fast food in Stephensville was getting hamburgers up the street at a little cafe, six
for a dollar, along with real Coca Colas!
Most enjoyable was going to visit the family farm near the Acrea community, then going
on a picnic down on the Palaxy creek on Sunday afternoons. (I still have small black
and white photos of those days) We tend only to remember only the good times, not those
of the many sacrifices people made during this time and those we lost in the war to end
Tom Rogers wrote:
Hi, Erath Fans,
Here is one of those internet stories about the good old days. It isn't
exactly the way I remember it. See my inserted comments.
Those were the good, old days
Hey Dad," one of my kids asked the other day, "what was your favorite
food when you were growing up?"
"We didn't have fast food when I was growing up," I informed
food was slow."
"C'mon, seriously. Where did you eat?"
"It was a place called 'at home,'" I explained.
"Grandma cooked every day and when Grandpa got home from work, we sat down
together at the dining room table, and if I didn't like what she put on my
plate I was allowed to sit there until I did like it."
****From TRR: My parents both worked downtown most of the time. We would
close the photograph studio at 6 pm (8 on Saturday), go to the grocery store
and buy some meat, then go home and fry it. While one parent cooked the meat
and gravy, the other would peel potatoes and boil them and open a can of
vegetables. After supper, my father would play checkers or another game with
me while my mother washed dishes, and then he would go back to town to
develop film while we listened to radio programs like "Fibber McGee and
Molly" or "Mr. District Attorney".
Before gasoline was rationed, sometimes on Sunday afternoon we would drive
40 miles over to Big Spring, which was the nearest place we could get pit
barbecue, and get sandwiches at a drive-in restaurant. That was fast food.
By this time, the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to
suffer serious internal damage, so I didn't tell him the part about how I
had to have permission to leave the table.
But here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood if
I figured his system could have handled it:
Some parents NEVER owned their own house, wore Levis, set foot on a golf
course, traveled out of the country or had a credit card.
***From TRR: My parents bought their first (and last) house, with cash, when
I was 11. I still own it. People who lived on farms or ranches wore blue
jeans (Levis) or overalls; men and boys who lived in town wore khakis if
they could afford them. Businessmen wore dress shirt and tie, even in the
summer when the temperature was 100. Nobody had air conditioning. My first
air-conditioned car was a 1967 Dodge. My father thought knocking a little
ball around a pasture was a silly game.
In their later years they had something called a revolving charge card. The
card was good only at Sears Roebuck. Or maybe it was Sears AND Roebuck.
Either way, there is no Roebuck anymore. Maybe he died.
*****From TRR: My parents never had a credit card of any kind. When I got
out of college, got a job, and bought a car, several oil companies sent me
credit cards. Several years later, when VISA cards were invented, my bank
sent me one. I never filled out an application for one.
My parents never drove me to soccer practice. This was mostly because we
never had heard of soccer.
I had a bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds, and only had one speed,
****From TRR: I never had a bicycle. When I was in grade school, we had a
war and there was no good steel for bicycles. The only new bicycles were
"victory bikes". They were flimsy, light weight, and cost $25. That was the
price of 70 haircuts, postage for 833 first-class letters, or one semester's
tuition at The University of Texas.
We didn't have a television in our house until I was 11, but my
grandparents had one before that.
****From TRR: Nobody in the state of Texas had a television until I was 17.
I didn't buy one until I was 29. My parents got one several years after
It was, of course, black and white, but they bought a piece of colored
plastic to cover the screen. The top third was blue, like the sky, and the
bottom third was green, like grass. The middle third was red. It was
perfect for programs that had scenes of fire trucks riding across someone's
lawn on a sunny day. Some people had a lens taped to the front of the TV to
make the picture look larger.
****From TRR: We never tried any of those enhancements.
I was 13 before I tasted my first pizza. it was called "pizza pie."
bit into it, I burned the roof of my mouth and the cheese slid off, swung
down, plastered itself against my chin and burned that, too. It's still the
best pizza I ever had.
****From TRR: I was 22 before I had pizza pie.
We didn't have a car until I was 15. Before that, the only car in our
family was my grandfather's Ford. He called it a "machine."
******From TRR: My father had a 1928 Essex when I was born, but the first
car I remember was a 1932 Chevrolet coupe. I slept on the ledge behind the
seat. Then we had a 1935 Studebaker and then a 1937 Studebaker. I learned to
drive our 1940 Nash, which we kept until I went away to college.
I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone in the house was in the
living room and it was on a party line. Before you could dial, you had to
listen and make sure some people you didn't know weren't already using the
****From TRR: Our telephone was on the wall in the hall. It had no dial.
When we lifted the receiver off the hook, the operator would say, "Number,
please". I don't remember when my parents got a dial phone, but it was after
I left home. My mother's parents' telephone had a crank. You would crank one
ring to get the operator. Grandma's telephone number was 9029-F2. That meant
her ring was two shorts. F12 would be a long and two shorts. If there was
one ring late at night, it was probably an emergency, and everybody on the
party line would go to the phone to see if someone needed help.
Pizzas were not delivered to our home. But milk and ice were.
***From TRR: We had a card to put in the window with 25, 50, 75, and 100 on
the four sides. The side turned right-side-up told how big a block of ice to
deliver. We left the back door unlocked for the ice man. We bought milk on
the way home from work when we bought the meat. We got an electric
refrigerator in 1940 and had no more deliveries, but my grandmother didn't
get REA until after the war (1945), when copper became available again.
All newspapers were delivered by boys and all boys delivered newspapers. I
delivered a newspaper, six days a week. It cost 7 cents a paper, of which I
got to keep 2 cents. I had to get up at 4 AM every morning. On Saturday, I
had to collect the 42 cents from my customers. My favorite customers were
the ones who gave me 50 cents and told me to keep the change. My least
favorite customers were the ones who seemed to never be home on collection
***From TRR: I sold Collier's Magazine (weekly) for ten cents.
Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut. At least, they did in the
movies. Touching someone else's tongue with yours was called French kissing
and they didn't do that in movies. I don't know what they did in French
movies. French movies were dirty and we weren't allowed to see them.
***From TRR: We were allowed to see any movies that were shown in Lamesa or
Dublin, Texas. "Gone With the Wind" was the only one that had a cuss word in
it. (Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.") When a man and woman were on a
bed at the same time, they had their feet on the floor.
If you grew up in a generation before there was fast food, you may want to
share some of these memories with your children or grandchildren. Just don't
blame me if they bust a gut laughing.
Growing up isn't what it used to be, is it?
****From TRR: I am thankful for that!
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