The Times Journal & Russell County News
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Cruisin': Remembering the 50s & 60s
In Sept. 25 Issue
Russell County News
By Ron Cowell, Columnist

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of providing music for the Ol Boys Toys Car Club's last Car Show of the year. As usual it was a wonderful time and a really great show. The weather was perfect and the people were friendly. There were a lot of conversations going on. Maybe I'm just nosey but when I heard someone talking about something I was interested in I just tune in and listen.

At these events you always hear about the old cars and the old days. One conversation I heard got me to thinking also. These people were talking about growing up in the late 50's and 60's and what a better time it was. Compared to today life was simple back then.

A loaf of bread was twenty six cents, a gallon of gas was twenty three cents and I can remember going to the store with a quarter and getting a 16oz. bottle of RC Cola and a bag of chips out of that quarter. It came to a total of eighteen cents so we still had seven cents left. After we drank the cola we took the bottle back for a refund of two cents and our cash flow was back up to nine cents. Don't sound like much does it? But back then a dime was a lot of money.

There were some bad times back in the 60's also, the Hippie days, Viet Nam, protest marches and the post-mortem-power-to-the-people existence that ear marked the mid to late 60's. A President was assassinated and many more things. Let's forget about all those bad times and focus on the more fun times and pleasant memories of the 60's.

As I said it was a much more simple time. What fun we had we usually made ourselves. Our play times were creative. We invented games and things to do. No IPods or video games. We actually played outside and didn't have to be told to so. Our Moms didn't worry about us getting sunburn or if we got a scrape. The great thing was if you did fall or get hurt every mother on the block would run out to see what happened. All the windows were open so when a Mom did hear a scream or someone crying they came running. Not many people lived in air condition homes.

I can remember getting up in the morning and doing my chores and out the door I went. I didn't have to be home until supper time, although sometimes about noon I would head home for lunch. Did Mom's worry? I'm sure they did but even though they didn't know for sure what we were doing, they pretty much knew where we were at. We were out in the field playing baseball or at Heckies Pond fishing. I had to be home when Dad did though and supper was on the table. If I missed supper I missed supper! Supper was at 4:30 and if I wasn't there before the meal was over, the table was cleaned and stuff put away.

Mom didn't fix extra Mac & Cheese for me either. What was put on the table was supper.  Eat it or wait till breakfast to eat again. Sounds cruel doesn't it? But think about that. Most of the people my age eat about anything. It isn't like today where you hear constantly "I don't like that" and if I was at someone's house to eat, I better not say "I don't like that". If I did I hate to even think what Dad would do to me when we got home.

Our toys were something also. Today you go to someone's house that has kids and you are lucky you can walk through for all the toys they have. Remember when we played Cowboys and Indians, Army.. Heck my best rifle was a tree branch that dropped off a tree. All my toys fit in one toy box. Today we need two rooms for the toys and the overflow goes in the living room.

I remember of Friday nights Dad would pop a bowl full of Popcorn and we got a glass of pop. That was a special thing for the week.

Neighbors left their doors unlocked at night, in fact I remember getting up in the morning and the front door was open and the screen door unlocked.

TV was great back then also, Sky King, Twilight Zone, Howdy Doody, 77 Sunset Strip, I could go on and on. Hey and do you remember when the soap operas went scary with the daily soap "Dark Shadows". Good Stuff! Then on Sunday night the whole family would gather around the TV and watch Ed Sullivan.

The Music was better back then. It was the birth of Rock and Roll. What a hornets nest that was for a while! From Elvis and Buddy Holly up into the 60's with the Four Seasons and Beatles and the whole British Invasion of groups and singers.

And most important things were the cars of the 50's and 60's. All class!! You could tell a Ford from a Chevy and a Pontiac and they all had lines of their own. Ahhhh, what memories.

I hope this took you back in time and put a smile on your face and brought a few of those memories that were buried in the back of your mind out to the front.

 I could go on with pages of memories and better times but space limits that. I'll leave that up to you to set back, relax and remember. Try it, you'll enjoy it.

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The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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