Those Were The Days: A Meme


The Reason I Get Up In The Morning and I had a great morning and early afternoon out together today and one of our stops was getting her faithful steed washed (not that it does much good with all the falling pollen, but I digress). As I watched the Santa Fe disappear into the maw of the wash bay, I thought about when I was little and how I used to ride the car through the bay and marvel at the water slapping against the windshield. Alas, those days are no more. Our litigation-happy culture has rendered many things once quite fun to a child, or at least interesting, completely off limits as business owners try to protect themselves from business ending lawsuits.

So I got to thinking some more about bygone past times that are off-limits today, but at one time were quite common. I’m going to list my few rememberences and tag three of you to do the same 🙂

#1) Sneaking a carload of people into the drive-in movies by riding in the trunk.

Actually, this one wasn’t just litigious, it was illegal, but in that “pesky teenagers” realm of illegality. Today, though, no one is sneaking into drive-in anymore, mainly because drive-ins have gone the way of the Great Auk and the Tasmanian Tiger. That’s a real shame, too. I still remember summer of 1977 being six and a half (remember when being “and a half” was REALLY important!) and sitting on the vinyl roof of Mama’s 1976 Gran Prix watching a cheap flick that no one expected much of. I can still see “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away . . . ” crawling in fuzzy blue letters up the screen at the old Augusta Road Drive-In. The movie turned out to be fairly successful. Unfortunately, that drive in is now paved and buried underneath the Augusta Road on / off ramp of I-85.

#2) Going up on the repair shop hydraulic lift while inside the car.

So maybe I’m the only one who ever did this, but I used to LOVE going with Papa (either Papa) to get the oil changed or the tires rotated on one of their cars. If I asked nicely and remembered my manners (and promised not to tell Granny or Mama) I could stay in the car while it went up on the lift. The view was pretty good for a short kid. I know the repair shops have pretty good reasons not to allow this “ride” anymore, but it was fun. You have to remember, I was from a dinky town. We had to have fun where we could.

#3) Riding on the “back shelf” in the rear car window.

Okay, this is another one of those things we can chalk up to “not being around anymore.” After all, a 1969 Buick Electra 225 (“Deuce and a Quarter” for those “in the know”) had enough room to lay down in. Shoot, Mrs. Catherine’s gold 225 had more room in the rear window than some single beds I’ve slept in. A 2005 Toyota Camry? Not so much. Add to the lack of room a seat-belt law attaching a $50 fine for the pleasure and, well, it’s just not as much fun as it used to be.

#4) Jumping off the High Dive at public swimming pools.

Now I never did this one, but I had the option. The neighborhood pool where my Aunt Cathy and Uncle Larry lived for the first 20 years of their marriage had like a 20′ deep section with a 15′ diving board. It was a test of mettle to climb up the ladder and just jump, much less attempt any sort of real dive. Since, as I’ve stated before, I swim as well as a ’59 Cadillac, I never even attempted to go over there, but I had a lot of fun when I was eight and nine watching the teenage boys try to impress the teenage girl lifeguards. Now though, I can’t recall the last time I saw any diving board at a public pool, much less a real high dive. I blame the lawyers.

And finally #5) BB Gun Wars

Anyone who’s ever watched “A Christmas Story” for 24 hours on TNT on Christmas Eve knows what a genuine “Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-Shot, Range Model Air Rifle with this thingy that tells time and a compass in the stock” is. Now, we used to take those BB guns, put on motorcycle helmets with face guards, and shoot at each other in what can only be described as pre-pubescent chaos. Now, getting shot at close range with a BB gun doesn’t feel very good, but it isn’t fatal either. As the largest target in the kill zone, I can attest to both statements. Yes, when I was around nine or ten and got my first BB gun, my buddies and I used to try to shoot each other. Our mothers thought us insane and our fathers thought it was hilarious. Just as the story goes, it really all was great fun until a new guy moved in and busted up the game with a real pump up air rifle that would shoot right through a face shield, as a friend of mine found out one summer day. We call him “One Eye” Johnny now. Looking back, maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. Now, though, between gun control and sue-happy people, it’s hard to even get BB guns in some places, much less shoot them at each other.

So there you have it, five memories from my childhood that can’t be relieved by today’s youth. Now, what can y’all add to the pot? To get things rolling I tag my buddy Cathy-Jo Nelson, my other buddy Doug Johnson, and finally, that Georgia Peach, the Unquiet Librarian.

Y’all give me some good ones, okay? Love y’all, and remember to wash your feet 🙂

12 responses »

  1. Pingback: Successful Teaching » Blog Archive » Those Were The Days: A Meme

  2. I enjoy your post and find that we share similar memories about vehicles in particular. Your BB gun memory also brings back associations that I didn’t write about in my post. All the best.

  3. Pingback: Those Were The Days: A Meme | Tech Tips & Timely Tidbits

  4. For all of you Augusta Drive-In fans, just keep going south on Hwy. 25 this summer. Fifty-five miles or so should bring you to the Auto Drive-In, a landmark of my misspent youth, which is reopening soon those of us here in Greenwood have been told.

  5. GSF–I see you noticed I responded. First meme for me in quite a while…

    Oh yeah, to say that I was an experienced driver when I finally got my learner’s permit at 15 was a huge understatement. We mowed down our fair share of trees to be sure. That’s why I waited until I was 17 to actually get my license–I could drive anywhere I wanted–and did, just without proper paperwork and insurance.

    Yes that was a real fork in my upbringing, and I probably could have gone either way, life long criminal or what I am today. I’m glad I decided to go this way. Happy to report all my brothers and sisters developed into moral upstanding citizens too.

    Thanks for bringing some new traffic my way via your blog.

  6. Oh Kate! I’m so glad you mentioned glass bottles. My daddy worked at the Ball-Incon glass factory for 25 years making Mt. Olive Pickle Jars, the small Coca-cola bottles, and of course, Mason jars. He taught me how to turn over the coke bottle and look at the mark on the bottom to tell how old it was and where it had been made.

    Fran, there is no way you were 22 in 1977! You look way too young.

    Heather, um. . . hon . . . you were right. Those movies were, shall we say, “Biologically educational” in nature, lol 🙂

    Cathy-Jo, you little burgler! So, how many cars and trucks did you and the pack run into trees?

    Janice, you are so right about the Popsicle sticks! I remember the first time I saw a bag of Popsicle sticks for sale. I was like, “Who ate all the ice off those!”

    Good times, y’all, good times. Our kids have no idea, do they?

  7. Hmmm, let’s see – drive-ins, yes; cap guns, yes; back shelf of the car, yes; high dive, yes; so…

    Riding my bike from one end of town to the other without a parent worrying and without a helmet. I had a purple-to-pink stingray with a multicolored banana seat. Wind in my hair, one gear, with a dime in my pocket for ice cream. Now it’s, “Wear a helmet!”

    Walking the alleys with my red wagon collecting glass pop bottles to turn in for money at Midway Grocery. Few glass bottles with deposits now, at least in our state.

    Sledding down giant piles of snow pushed up in parking lots and other places. Where I live now used to have a sledding hill created over landfill – now closed because the cit can’t afford to insure it for liability.

  8. Pingback: Cathy Nelson’s Professional Thoughts » Blog Archive » Days Gone By…

  9. FYI, The “Big Mo” – Monetta Drive-In – is still open on the weekends if you ever want to take a trip down State! Two movies for your entrance fee!

    That said, I’ve never been to it, or any drive-in before – there was one in Columbia that we’d pass when I was a kid. I’d cran my neck to catch a glimpse of the screen, but Mom would never take us there to actually see a movie – I believe the movies they showed weren’t kid friendly!

  10. Thanks for the memories. I have three to add.

    1. Cap guns. (Mine was in the shape of a very realistic looking pistol, and it was painted a beautiful blue and silver colour.

    2. Firecrackers. I vividly remember going with my big brother, and throwing firecrackers into the lake, timing it perfectly so the firecracker would explode just as it went under the water, making a muffled PLURP kind of noise that delighted me every single time.
    3. The other thing we did for hours when we were kids was collect popsicle sticks from the ground, and then use them to build crafts of various kinds. Now, with the worry of germs from the residual saliva, I’m certain that no one collects used popsicle sticks, and most people don’t throw them on the ground anymore either.

  11. Wonder if we were at the Augusta Road Drive-In watching “Star Wars” at the same time? Of course, I was 22, not 6 1/2 (and, yes, I remember when a half year was VERY important!), but I loved those drive-in movies.

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