Rushville Republican

Columns

May 16, 2013

Ward: My early years

RUSHVILLE — There are a lot of things from my youth that I treasure and would not be unhappy to have them back again. Don’t laugh, but BB Bats are one thing I loved as a child. They were a taffy like substance stuck on a stick. They cost a whole one cent each and came in vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavors. They were delicious and, best of all, hard as all get out. My favorite procurement place was Bussell’s Grocery on 11th Street. Bussell’s had the best candy selection in town. The next best was the grocery on Seventh and Main. I forget the older husband and wife that ran it. The Durbin for dinner or lunch was also high on my list. When I was with Dad during the summer we would have breakfast at the Arcade and they had the best pancakes around. For lunch a lot of the time Dad and I would go to the Elks Club, which was right behind his shop. We would order a sandwich and Dad would give me a handful of nickels. He would then go with his buddies and I would proceed to lose all his nickels in the closest slot machine, of which there were many available.

Wilhelms was another good eating place at First Street and Main. They were a lot like the Park Restaurant of the day. My favorite store downtown was Ben Franklin or Danners, both five and ten stores. I loved fountain Cokes and especially enjoyed just drinking the carbonated water used to make those fountain drinks. Ice cream was a dime a scoop and if I managed to get Dad to pop for a two scoop cone I was in heaven. Cokes were usually from a vendor which were all over town and cost a dime for a 9 ounce bottle of the beverage. Cigarettes were in vending machines everywhere you went and the cost was a quarter a pack. Most restrooms had cigarette vendors readily available. I remember the Durbin had one in the area used for the bus depot. All the gas stations and restaurants had machines too. It was not only fashionable to smoke but the cigarettes were more than readily available. Of course, being caught in school smoking or by your parents at home was sudden death from C J Sellers or my parents.

It seemed we had a gas station on every corner downtown and around town. There was Bill Caldwell’s Sinclair at Eighth and Main, Pure, Sonoco, Hoosier Pete, Standard, Shell, Phillip’s 66 and Green tire are some that come to mind. I loved the two summers we had a bus service in Rushville. I could ride all day for a quarter and got to know the driver quite well. I would get on downtown and ride with him all around town for the whole day. Things were considerably quieter and less stressful at this time.

Thinking about gas stations, all were full service; they cleaned your windows, checked tire pressure, checked your oil and filled your tank for you. And the best part of all, this was gas at a quarter a gallon (not enough for the local tax per gallon today). Gas stations in my later years were also where one could purchase condoms, from under the counter, when needed. Machines again were available next to the cigarette machine in the men’s rest room. I always thought that the combination was rather interesting. In the summer, Gibson Grocery on Main around Seventh and Eighth had a huge galvanized cattle watering tank out front filled with water, ice (huge chunks of ice), Cokes and the most delicious watermelons around. I always felt ice made cokes and watermelons much cooler than anything mechanical.

Ice, when I was really young, was still a commodity used by many. My grandmother Abernathy had a true ice box. She would place the cardboard sign signifying the amount of ice she needed in the window and the ice truck would stop, chip out the amount and then take the cube of 25, 50, 75 or 100 pounds to the house. The delivery man had a leather vest like garment that fit over his shoulders and down his front. He would take a huge pair of tongs and an ice pick so he could chop up the ice cube further if needed. All the huge ice cubes were usually 100 pounds and were scored to show where to use the ice pick to get the correct size. This is also where I gained my habit of eating ice and enjoying it. The delivery guy would give the children of the neighborhood the chips of ice from his chopping away on the large block. Each truck had a door in the top and they would, at the ice plant (Old White Felt Co.) make the ice, store it until needed then drop the large blocks through the door in the top of the closed, insulated bed of the delivery truck.

I truly miss the good old days of neighborliness, less stress and  less complication of my youth. Sure, things were not easy; they weren’t meant to be. The hugely cheaper prices and lower wages just seemed to go together. You make more, it costs you more to live, so why worry? I miss a lot of my old friends, now gone but still remembered. I am amazed at the number of my old buddies that have passed away. Guess this just goes to show that I am getting old (and not too gracefully).

 

1
Text Only
Columns
  • There's something about Maryland My family unit has just returned from a death march – oops, make that, “vacation” – in Annapolis, Maryland. In spite of constant 96-degree temps (though it dropped as low as 95.7 at night), and the stifling humidity, we had lots of dolgurn fun. Mainl

    July 22, 2014

  • Learning to say goodbye From as far back as I can remember, saying hello has been a part of nearly each day.During my youth, it was used when I met new people my parents introduced me to and was frequently followed by a handshake. I couldn’t count the number of times I used

    July 18, 2014

  • Lessons from the largely forgotten war As we approach the official date on which the First World War started, July 28, 1914, when the first shots were fired by the Austro-Hungarians who invaded Serbia, it’s appropriate to think about the lessons that catastrophic event has taught us one h

    July 15, 2014

  • Please go away My wife is planning our summer vacation, which we will take in the fall. We took our spring vacation this summer. We got behind in 1984 and still haven’t caught up. I don’t have much input into the planning of these trips, but Mary Ellen did assign m

    July 15, 2014

  • Soothing '60's Surf Sounds I’m sitting in my home office enjoying a serenade of rhythmic pulsations emanating from the outside wall. It’s coming from our water spigot. No. 5 son (age 13) and his buddies are using it to fill water balloons. 1,500 water balloons to be exact. 1,5

    July 15, 2014

  • Soccer-stopping Storm a Lousy Treat What a great way to spend a Saturday morning in July: I’m sitting in my car with rain cascading on the roof, lightning skittering all over the sky, and thunder sockin’ it to the atmosphere with such force that I feel a rumbling in my bum.I’m staring

    July 8, 2014

  • Only in America - Top 10 As we move into the glorious months of summer, I thought you might be amused by reading the Top Ten List of what Canadians supposedly think of how things are going in this country. It’s a lot like David Letterman’s “top ten list.”Number 10: Only in A

    July 8, 2014

  • Government today is way too intrusive What ever happened to the America of my youth? That great country that was indeed the jewel of the common person of the world. The country where one could actually, through hard work and industry, make a good living and actually have the OPPORTUNITY

    July 8, 2014

  • Gone in the blink of an eye Over the holiday weekend I was able to enjoy three days, (somewhat) off work. Three day weekends are always a highlight for me and I am sure most of you will agree.I went fishing to wrap up my Sunday evening. While sitting in the old John boat castin

    July 8, 2014

  • Mum Mum If my grandmother were alive today, she would be 125, and she would still, no doubt, be walking around in her six-inch-high heels, the ones she asked to be buried in—and she’d have a Marlboro in her fingers. She demanded to be called Mum Mum because

    July 3, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.