Do You Remember?



Close your eyes...and go back...way...way back.

–Before the Internet, or the PC and the Mac.

–Before Playstation, Sega, Super Nintendo...even before Atari. –Before cell phones, CDs, DVDs, voicemail and e-mail.

I’m talking about hide and seek at dusk, Red Rover, Red Rover, Ring around the Rosie, London Bridge, hot potato, hop scotch, jump rope, you’re it!, and playing kick-ball and dodge-ball until the first streetlight came on, or (if you lived in the country) until Dad and big brothers came in from the fields at dusk.

Parents stood on the front porch and yelled (or whistled) for you to come pagers or cell phones then. This was also a time when one could sometimes spend hours seeing shapes in the clouds, or picking out some of the various constellations in the night sky while lying on one’s back in the grass.

Do you remember how much fun it was to run through the sprinklers, or play in the irrigation ditch on the farm, or of standing face up to the sky during a brisk summer shower?

How about cereal boxes and Cracker Jacks with a prize in the bottom...and remember the ice pops with two sticks one could break apart and share with a friend?

Time passed rapidly while listening to the Cisco Kid, the Lone Ranger, Boston Blackie and the Green Hornet on the family radio (no TV yet).


Think back…It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were:

Climbing trees...

Catching lightening bugs in a jar…

Getting a million mosquito bites...

Dreading the first day of school…

Jumping (running) down the front steps…

Getting skinned knees…

Jumping on the bed…

Having pillow fights…

Laughing so hard our stomachs hurt...

Anticipating Christmas morning…


How about:

Getting tired from just playing…

Your first crush…in the first grade…

Your first kiss (I mean the one where you kept your mouth closed and your eyes open...

Rainey days at school and the smell of damp concrete and chalk erasers…

Summer Kool Aid (no one worried about all that sugar)…

Giving a friend a ride on the handle bars of your bike…

Attaching baseball cards to the frame of your bike to make motor noises (who knew that some day they would be valuable)…

Wearing new shoes on the first day of school (after going bare foot all summer)…

When moms were at home when children got home from school…


Way back then…

A quarter seemed like a fair allowance, and another quarter seemed like a miracle.

When any parent could discipline any kid, or feed him, or have him carry groceries, and no one, least of all the kid, thought anything about it.

When being sent to the principal’s office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited at home.

Decisions were made by going “Eeny-meeny-miny-mo…”

“Race” issues meant arguing about who ran the fastest.

Mistakes were corrected by doing it over.

Catching fireflies could occupy an entire evening.

It wasn’t odd to have two or more “best” friends.

No one was prettier than Mom.

Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better by Mom.

Getting a foot of snow was a dream come true.

Abilities were discovered as a result of “double-dog-dare.”

Spinning around, getting dizzy and falling down was cause for giggles.

The worst possible embarrassment was being picked last for a team.

Water balloons were the ultimate weapon. 

If you can remember most or all of the above, then you have lived during a more simpler time, and are richer for it. But, truth be said, most of us would not really wish to go back to the “good old days.”

We take for granted our PCs, microwaves, air conditioning, fast food eateries, and two hundred TV channels. We really couldn’t do without eight-way seats, power windows, and a five-speed automatic transmission in our automobiles, as well as a navigation system that can direct us to a point within a few feet of our destination. And a four-hour coast-to-coast flight sure beats a transcontinental four-day rail trip of about sixty years ago.

Nevertheless, we are proud, and tend to brag, about “how it was.”


I received the following poem via e-mail, with no title and no author, but I enjoyed the long read. Many of you will enjoy it as well. Our children will have fond remembrances, and those who are under fifty will only wonder. As I enter my twilight years I remember, and reflect on, the many stories my parents told me about “how it was.”

My mother, who was born in 1889 in southeastern Kansas, told me about seeing her first automobile, and how they used to pump water, and about her reluctance about their first “indoor privy.” She was concerned that it wouldn’t be sanitary.

My father was born 1888 in Carroll County, Arkansas. He was a storyteller from the old school. It seemed as if he had thousands of stories, but he did have a few favorites. I wish that I could remember more of them. With each telling they seemed to get more and more interesting. And so it is that each generation will have it’s own memories, and stories about how it once was, and we shall cherish all of them. 

Anyway— reflect on the following...


The Land That Made Me Me

Long ago and far away,
In a land that time forgot,
Before the days of Dylan
Or the dawn of Camelot.

There lived a race of innocents,
And they were you and me,
Long ago and far away
In the Land That Made Me Me.

Oh, there was truth and goodness
In that land where we were born,
Where navels were for oranges,
And Peyton Place was porn.

For Ike was in the White House,
And Hoss was on TV,
And God was in his heaven
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We learned to gut a muffler,
We washed our hair at dawn,
We spread our crinolines to dry
In circles on the lawn.

And they could hear us coming
All the way to Tennessee,
All starched and sprayed and rumbling
in the Land That Made Me Me.

We longed for love and romance,
And waited for the prince,
And Eddie Fisher married Liz,
And no one's seen him since.

We danced to "Little Darlin'",
And sang to "Stagger Lee"
And cried for Buddy Holly
In the Land That Made Me Me.

Only girls wore earrings then,
And three was one too many,
And only boys wore flat-top cuts,
Except for Jean McKinney.

And only in our wildest dreams
Did we expect to see
A boy named George with Lipstick
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We fell for Frankie Avalon,
Annette was oh, so nice,
And when they made a movie,
They never made it twice.

We didn't have a Star Trek Five,
Or Psycho Two and Three,
Or Rockey-Rambo Twenty
In the Land That Made Me Me.

Miss Kitty had a heart of gold,
And Chester had a limp,
And Reagan was a Democrat
Whose co-star was a chimp.

We had a Mr Wizard,
But not a Mr T,
And Oprah couldn't talk yet
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We had our share of heroes,
We never thought they'd go,
At least not Bobby Darin,
Or Marilyn Monroe.

For youth was still eternal,
And life was yet to be,
And Elvis was forever,
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We'd never seen the rock band
That was Grateful to be Dead,
And Airplanes weren't named Jefferson ,
And Zeppelins were not Led.

And Beatles lived in gardens then,
And Monkees in a tree,
Madonna was a virgin
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We'd never heard of Microwaves,
Or telephones in cars,
And babies might be bottle-fed,
But they weren't grown in jars.

And pumping iron got wrinkles out,
And "gay" meant fancy-free,
And dorms were never coed
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We hadn't seen enough of jets
To talk about the lag,
And microchips were what
was left at
The bottom of the bag.

And Hardware was a box of nails,
And bytes came from a flea,
And rocket ships were fiction
In the Land That Made Me Me.