A 1953 High School Graduate Remembers When !
Young folks may understand us older folks a little better if they could absorb these memories.   We really did live in "the good old days" and I wish they could have enjoyed them too.  It was a wonderful time to be alive, even though we had more to learn about life than is made available to them now !   Every item described below happened to me.....Vern

Stroll with me.... close your eyes.... and go back... before Jet planes...before the Internet... before bombings, aids, herpes before semiautomatics and crack... before SEGA or Super Nintendo... way back!

I'm talking about ...swimming at the lake ...hide-and-go-seek ...Simon says ... Anti Anti I Over ...red-light; green-light ...lunch boxes with a thermos ...or going home for lunch ...or even running three blocks to work at the Drug Store for lunch and get back to class on time ...chocolate milk ...penny candy from the 5 and 10 store ...hopscotch ...marshmallow over chocolate icecream ...Cracker Jacks ...skates with keys ...jacks ...marbels  ...hula hoops ...wax lips and mustaches ...Mary Jane's saddle shoes ...and Coke bottles with the names of cities on the bottom.

Remember when it took five minutes for the TV to warm up. When nearly everyone's Mom was at home when the kids arrived home from school.

When I walked the whole town to deliver news-papers in the morning, before going to school - rain or shine or snow, getting around the mean dogs, with collecting on Saturday and knowing the right time to get at Mrs. Rassmussen's to get fresh baked bread.

When nobody owned a purebred dog. When a quarter was a decent allowance. When you'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny.

When your Mom wore nylons that came in two pieces. When all of your male teachers wore neckties and female teachers had their hair done everyday and wore high heels.

Remember running through the sprinkler, circle pins, bobby pins, Mickey Mouse Club, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Kookla, Fran and Ollie, ...Dick Clark's American Bandstand ... all in black and white and your Mom made you turn it off when a storm came.

When around the corner seemed far away, and going downtown seemed like going somewhere. Climbing trees, making forts, backyard shows, lemonade stands, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, staring at clouds, jumping on the bed, pillow fights, ribbon candy, angel hair on the Christmas tree, Jackie Gleason, white gloves, walking to the movie theater, running till you were out of breath, laughing so hard that your stomach hurt...remember that?

Not stepping on a crack or you'd break your mother's back....paper-chains at Christmas, silhouettes of Lincoln and Washington, the smells of school, of paste and Evening in Paris.

What about the girl who dotted her i's with hearts? (that was before that stupid smiley face)!

The Stroll, popcorn balls and sock hops?

Remember when there were just two types of sneakers for girls and boys - Keds and PF Flyers, and the only time you wore them at school was for gym. And the girls had those ugly gym uniforms.

When you got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking -- all for free -- every time! And, you didn't pay for air either, and you got trading stamps to boot!

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

When it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents. When the worst thing you could do at school was flunk a test or chew gum. And the prom was in the gym or the lunchroom and you danced to a real orchestra. When they threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed -- and did!

When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited the student at home, not me.

Basically, we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat!

But we survived because their love was so much greater than the threat.

Remember when a '53 Chevy was everyone's dream car -- used to cruise, peel out, lay rubber? - not me, but I did wrap my dad's Plymouth around a tree. My 1st new car was the 57 Chevy and wished I had kept it.

When people went steady; and girls wore a class ring with an inch of wrapped Band-Aids, dental floss, or yarn coated with pastel-frost nail polish so it would fit their finger.

When no one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the ignition, and the car and house doors were never locked!  Remember lying on your back on the grass with your friends and saying things like "That cloud looks like a..." And playing baseball with no adults needed to enforce the rules of the game.

Remember when stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic seals, because no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger.

And, with all our progress, don't you just wish, that just once you could slip back in time and savor the slower pace...and share it with the children of today?

As an 18 year old of the Class of 1953, I can still remember Saturday movies Serials that were played week after week, each ending with a flash across the screen - "continued - find out what happens next week". There were titles like "Sky King", "The Hardy Boys", "Nancy Drew", "The Shadow", "Green Hornet", "The Lone Ranger and Tonto",  "Roy and Dale with Trigger and Nellie Belle". As well as the sound of a push mower on Saturday morning, and Summers filled with bike rides - miles long on county roads, Legion baseball games, bowling with human pin setters, and eating Kool- Aid powder with sugar from the palm of your hand.

There, didn't that feel good? Just to lean back and say: "Yeah...I remember......."

A lot of the children activities still happen, at least they happened with our kids and they do with or grandchildren but a little more guarding goes on.