The way things were

Published 11:17 am Thursday, April 6, 2023

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By C.Y. Peters
Children today believe it was a rough time growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, without remotes, cell phones, microwaves, internet and so forth. Our Google was the Elizabethton Star or WJHL. We listened to the local radio, WIDD or WBEJ.
The pleasures we have today, but we really grew up in the best of times. We had skating rinks, a bowling alley, go kart tracks, and putt-putt courses.
We played cards and board games each night with our parents and we were happy. We took rides to parks, Underwood, Doe River Gorge and trips to the top of the Roan.
We had beauty pageants, watched real football on TV and laughed out loud at Lucy, Gomer Pyle, Gilligan’s Island and of course Archie Bunker.
We had a pet rock and ate at local restaurants like Rolfe’s and Bonanza, while we never visited a Walmart or Sam’s Club. Downtown was full on Saturdays and we could go to the Bonnie Kate for 10 pop-lids.
We had the greatest music of all time, (WQUT still plays it), Rock, Country, hip-hop, etc… and we understood all the words. We had the greatest love songs, Country and Rock, along with gospel songs. We listened to music on records or eight tracks, played Pong on the TV that got only two channels, and laid on the floor with shag carpet. We all attended church three times a week and we listened to what the preacher had to say in person.
We opened doors for ladies, wore tube socks, idolized Fonzie and went to the beach with our family on summer vacations. (Until Jaws was released and scared the heck out of us and we never went back into the ocean.)
Everyone used Tupperware, worked in a garden (a place where you grow your own food), put up hay and grew tobacco. We knew how to can and store food in basements and in a freezer.
Saturday night live was the greatest show, Sesame Street, Captain Kangaroo and Scooby-Doo along with cartoons on Saturday morning, and a teacher looking through a fake mirror saying “I see all my friends out there,” and she knew our names.
We wore a ring that told everyone what mood we were in, we had two balls on a string that we just beat together, and Tiger Beat was the in-magazine.
If we got sick Grandma had the cure, maybe legal or not, but anything a Grandma did back then was legal, cops didn’t mess with Grandmas. They would put snuff on a bee sting or make Rock Candy (with liquor) for a cough.
The most important thing I miss about the 1970s was when you were on a call and someone made you mad you could slam down the receiver, time and time again, and you felt better. If it broke, “Jarfly” would come and fix it.
We could go outside all day and play until dark, we ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and bologna came on a big cracker. Peanuts in your Coke was the best lunch and sometimes an RC with a moon pie hit the spot.
You could pick up pop bottles alongside the road and take them to the store, cash them in for money and buy one of those big bologna sandwiches. We all learned how to spell bologna from a commercial and the three little pigs were on the TV screen playing that song we would all go around singing. Captain Crunch, Boo Berry and Fruit Loops were good cereals.
Most of us had a bracelet with our names on it. We picked beans, shucked corn and loaded hay in pick-up trucks. We used to Christmas Carol in December. We mowed our own yards, and would weed-eat with a metal cutter on a wooden handle you swung.
Kool-Aid was the top drink, most of the time with little or no sugar. We bought ice cream, milk and vitamins from trucks that came back every afternoon playing music. At Christmas we watched the “Wizard of Oz” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” and we never got tired of it.
Terry Jacks made us cry with “Seasons in the Sun,” Jim Stafford always talked about “Spiders and Snakes,” and Charlie Pride had all of us “Kissing an Angel Good Morning.”
Everyone had a car that if they owned it today, they would be rich. We hung speakers on our car windows at the drive-in, which most of us sneaked in by hiding in the trunk of the car.  You could buy a Volkswagen for two or three hundred dollars. We made money by selling the Grit, delivering newspapers, or picking beans.
There is more I could mention, but this is long enough. Thanks for taking a walk down memory lane……..

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