Rushville Republican

Columns

March 21, 2013

Ward: We had fun in my youth

RUSHVILLE — I have wondered recently just how I managed to got through my first 75 years without a lot of things that the youngsters of today believe they just cannot get along without. Heck, I used to say my day was complete if I had just been able to be with friends all day long. Today, the youngsters have all kinds of entertainment. I believe at times they feel that they are to be entertained all the time. When I was young we had to make our own fun, not rely on a gadget to do it for us. We didn’t play video games, we didn’t have any. We would play Monopoly, cards, slips and anything else that might come to mind.

We made a lot of our own toys, such as rubber guns, skate boards of sorts or numerous other things that we found we could make and play with. I had a ball, as did most of my friends, when dad would have a refrigerator box we could play with. That cardboard box became whatever our minds made it. It was a train, car, house, shop; anything we wanted it to be. And it lasted for some time. When it wore out or we lost interest the flattened box made a great sled, summer or winter. In the summer we would wet down the grass and that made the cardboard slide quite well. We even used the container as a fort with our BB guns, something our parents were not aware of nor did any of us care to inform them of.

Hodges Branch ran all the time back then and even had small fish and huge numbers of crawdads in it. We would make homemade boats out of scrap wood and float them down the water all the way to Memorial Park and watch them go underground out to the other end of town. We had baseball leagues in the summer, but if we had a mitt we were happy. Now, my grandsons have a huge bag full that they lug to each and every game and practice. Heck, not all of us even had a baseball let along a baseball mitt. Now, everyone has their own bat, mitt, head gear (which we would never have used, too sissy for us) gloves, balls and numerous other items it is felt needed to play baseball.

If any of us had a dime in our pockets at any one time we felt pretty well heeled. We could get a soft drink, one scoop ice cream cone or even a candy bar for that dime. Our favorite place to shop was Danners Five and Ten or Ben Franklin Five and Ten. They had numerous items that cost a dime or nickel and we knew just what we wanted and could afford; so, we were never in debt. If we couldn’t pay for it we just didn’t get it. No charging or anything like that; cash and carry only in most places. I saved for a couple of weeks to buy my yearly bamboo fishing pole from Fishers Hardware downtown and a new bobber and some hooks from Western Auto.

When I lived on Second Street right by Metzger Lumber Company I would go to their shop and con Bob Fudge into some boards for a boat. He would find a small piece of wood that was not big enough to use and then saw a front and back of a boat, put on a dowel for a sail, even help me find a sail to put on the dowel. Bob was a nice guy and enjoyed the youngsters who stood at the door and dreamed big dreams as they watched him cut those big boards up. It was fun just to stand and watch. We enjoyed the same thing by watching the local Coca Cola Bottling Plant doing their thing on a weekly or even daily basis. We would stand on the sidewalk in front of the plant and watch through large glass windows as they bottled everyone’s favorite drink.

At night, our parents might take us to the bowling alley above the Coke plant. There were only four lanes and some teens got jobs as pin boys. They would pick up the downed pins and put them in a machine that would, when they wanted, drop down and put the pins upright in the correct spot. They also sent the bowling ball back to the player. Some managed to get hurt by being hit with a tossed bowling ball, but it paid fairly well so there was no lack of takers for the job. Everyone had to keep score by hand, too; no computers that did it for you.

To me, the biggest difference between my youth and today’s is we actually talked back and forth. I have seen teens today sitting right across from each other and looking each other in the eye and texting back and forth. This is realistic how? We made do with so little I can’t help but think our youth of today are spoiled with computers. iPads, iPods, Kindles, all kinds of stuff that has come along within the last 30 years or so. Frankly, I am not too sure it is for the best for our future generations.

 

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
Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' '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
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.