Stroll with me… close your eyes… and go back… before the Internet… before bombings, aids, herpes. Before semiautomatics and crack… before SEGA or Super Nintendo … way back! I’m talking about sitting on the curb, sitting on the stoop… about hide-and-go-seek, Simon Says and red-light-green-light. Lunch boxes with a thermos … chocolate milk, going home for lunch, penny candy from the store, hopscotch, butterscotch, skates with keys, jacks and Cracker Jacks, hula hoops and sunflower seeds, wax lips and mustaches, Mary Janes, saddle shoes and Coke bottles with the names of cities on the bottom.
- Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers.
- Party lines.
- Newsreels before the movie.
- Butch wax and duck tails.
- Poodle skirts and pedal pushers.
- Telephone numbers with a word prefix (Olive – 6933)
- 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 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 every day and wore high heels.
- Running through the sprinkler; circle pins; bobby pins; Mickey Mouse Club; Rocky & Bullwinkle; Kookla, Fran & Ollie; Spin & Marty;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.
- Remember when a ’57 Chevy was everyone’s dream car — used to cruise, peel out, lay rubber, scratch off or watch the submarine races?
- 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 wish that just once you could slip back in time and savor the slower pace… and share it with the children of today? So send this on to someone who can still remember Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Laurel and Hardy, Howdy Dowdy and The Peanut Gallery, The Lone Ranger and Tonto, The Shadow Knows, Nellie Belle, Roy and Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk. As well as the sound of a real mower on Saturday morning, and summers filled with bike rides, baseball games, bowling, visits to the pooland 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…”
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