March 12, 2009

H is for Headlights and 'Happy Days'


Americana. Rusted old reminders of our not so distant past. They take me back to time spent with my grandparents and the stories they told me of more carefree days when Americans were trusting of each other and mostly trusting of their government. Some of those days I even got to experience starting in the early 70's, but life had already began to adopt a much busier pace by then.

Back when my grandparents were kids, doors were left unlocked. People still traded things at the markets in town from their farms. Barber shops were full of good friends and family. Picnics seemed to happen a lot more often. Newspaper and news stations weren't biased and truly represented the public's best interest. Gangsters and thugs were criminals, not government representatives or heroes on TV. Men had guns and didn't use them on each other. Women knew how to cook and didn't begrudge raising their children... and most of them were at home in the afternoons when the yellow school bus let out, making a snack or mending a pair of blue-jeans. It was a different time. A slower time; some might say a happier time in our history.

There were no computers, cell phones, or Ipods. Grocery store clerks knew you by name and didn't mind if you were short a few dollars - they would get it from you next time. Kids could play outside without supervision until dark. Sticks and rocks were just as cool as any gadget you can get at the toy stores. Dinner was served at home around the table. Prayer and church were normal. Radio was the major media. Movies were clean enough for the whole family to enjoy.


Remember the drive-in movie theaters? This one has been enchanting me since I was a small kid - every time I drive by it. Amazingly, it still stands as a reminder of a part of our American past.

I remember my grandma and grandpa's stories of their youth and childhood... the Depression, their school years, the hardships and trails they endured... and the good old-fashioned fun they had in easier, less busy times. Even the hard work they were expected to do (which kids nowadays would be shocked at). It helped to made them who they ended up to be. There weren't movies on demand, video games, Webkins and calling-plans with text messaging for kids. They didn't even get sweets more than once a week or so.

Just last night my mom asked my kids if they had ever had home-made ice cream. They shook their heads, "no". Shame on me! I have failed to give them what little parts of the past that I still can. This summer we're going to make home made ice cream and eat it on the porch with our watermelon we're growing in the garden.

In a world as crazy as we live in, I think it's important to look back and find the good things that we can still give to our kids that are uniquely American... and share them as a heritage of simple joys from our past. We should talk about the people and times that came before. It's good to remember the 'Happy Days' so our kids will get a little taste of them now.

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JodyJ said...

What a good post and one that is so close to my heart as well. Many days I long to go back to a simpler time, one where you could leave your doors unlocked, kids are free to ride their bikes and you don't have to worry. This is the way I grew up, now mind you that was the 80's and the time you are describing was before that but things really have changed.
We can't restore our safety ,sadly, but I agree we can teach our children some of the delights of a simpler time and hope it builds memories that they too will pass on.

KarenW said...

The simpler days gone by. . . I can remember staying outside until the very last streetlight came on.

Great pictures! My dd loves to take pics of old things.

SaraMinerva said...

*sigh* I miss them.

We received an ice cream maker as a wedding gift, and it has gotten its fair share of use. Me and ice cream, we're like "this".

One of my most fondest memories from the last years with PawPaw...the summer before my sr yr of hs, I went with them to an ice cream social at church. There were 6 or 7 different flavors of homemade ice cream, and PawPaw made his way back multiple times with his cane and bad knees to sample every single one and get seconds (and thirds, and fourths) of his favorites. We didn't know where he was putting it all LOL I gave him a hard time about it as he got up from the picnic table after we thought that he was surely finished, and I'll never forget the smirky grin he gave me. SHAMELESS, he was.

Leslie M. said...

I really do pine for day gone by. I remember laying in the grass looking up at the skies in the summer.

Walking in the mornings wet grass.

Eating a my little half a sandwich on the front steps.

It was a more innocent time.

I do make home made ice cream, but I am going to make it more often!

gina said...

This post and some of the points made me think of thelist of 150 + activites for family summer fun I compiled last summer:

So many of the ideas are good ol' fashioned fun. My daughters and I carried around a printed out copy and crossed things off all summer! Can't wait to keep working on it this summer. (Homemade ice cream is on there)

Kari said...

This is so true. It's amazing how the country has changed just since I was a kid in the 70s. I wish we could go back to a simpler time. I'm new to your blog. A friend recommended it, and I really enjoyed reading this.



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