|List goes on with the local merchants,
most of which were under $20 except for the $96 charge to the lumber company.
Dad must have been building something...he was mighty handy with a ShopSmith.
Anyway, it sure put things in perspective.
The folks ran a conservative budget and the only borrowing they did was
for the house and car.
If they wanted something, they saved
for it and bought it after they accumulated what they needed. What
Another item that caught my eye was
the very inexpensive cost of electricity. In August of 1966,
the electric bill was only $17, cheaper than the $23 phone bill!
And that was in Oklahoma where your A/C runs almost constantly!
We had come back to Bartlesville in
summer of '65 and had lived in a rented house in town for a few months.
Dad designed the floor plan and found a local builder to build the
house (and he built quite a few others with some of Dad's ideas).
We did have central heat and air and I know we had a cooling tower outside
in the back . it circulated water from the tower back to some cooling
coils, but I don't think it was a swamp cooler. I think the condenser
must have been water cooled. In the spring and fall, when the heat
wasn't too oppressive, the attic fan and open windows worked very well
in the evening.
Dad had a David Bradley unit with a
Briggs and Stratton engine on it. You could swap the mower unit with
a rototiller unit and in the spring, Dad would till a large section of
the yard and we'd have a sizable garden, with a number of types of beans,
carrots, radishes, tomatoes, quite a few rows of sweet corn, a section
for cantelope, watermelons, lettuce, cucumbers and whatever else grabbed
I remember him coming home at about
5:30, he'd change his clothes, and go harvest food for the evening meal.
I remember the salads Mom would make and how she would fry up some bacon
finely chopped and pour that over the lettuce. I remember the smells
of the fresh cucumbers as Mom sliced them up. When the season was
over, Dad had me pull up all the cornstalks...that was a bitch. We
left any carrots in the ground. Mom had a love for carrots that spent
the winter in the soil!
However, I do recall that many restaurants,
theaters, motels, etc. used neon signs boasting of their air conditioning.
Even in the late 50's the old Phillips building was not air conditioned
and I have heard horror stories about the draftsmen trying to keep from
sweating on their drawings which could have had to be redrawn....a big
disaster for piping diagrams.
Somehow, I remember the hot summer days,
the temperatures staying at 100 or above for a couple weeks at a time,
going barefoot and shirtless, and not minding it....except that first sunburn
of the season! When you left your yard, though, you had to have shoes
or the asphalt streets (at least where we lived) would burn the bottom
of your feet, even if they had the better part of the summer to get calloused
During the summer, we explored creeks,
rode our bikes on section lines, looking for farm ponds to fish, keeping
our eyes out for the ranchers who didn't like us climbing over the fences,
shooting tin cans with our daisy bb guns, shooting at rabbits with our
bows and arrows....mostly unsucessfully, playing baseball if we could scare
up enough kids out of the neighborhood, or just playing workup if we couldn't.
We played kick the can, hide-n-seek,
Spud, Horse, basketball, tennis. We caught snakes, lizards, horny
toads, lightning bugs, and other assorted animals, most of which Mom wouldn't
let in the house, though Dad didn't seem to mind.
We had our share of fights, which
usually started with a disagreement as to who was up to bat, etc, and after
a bloody nose or two, things went back to normal and we were all best buddies
I know there were crimes, a few fatal
car accidents, but can't remember but one or two murders, and they were
Well, enough of this...............
How did you all spend your youthful
|(Follow-up response by
Life WAS simpler then. Your behavior
was based on what your parents taught you, and most teachers, at least
the ones I had held pretty much the same moral tenets as my folks.
You attended Sunday school and Church every week, put on your "Sunday go
to meeting" clothes, and were respectful to all adults. I never witnessed
any disrespect towards adults until I got to boarding school my junior
year. Cub Scout and Boy Scout oaths were taken seriously. Your
word meant something and once someone broke your trust, you never ever
really trusted him again, but you knew who you could count on .
Folks used to go on vacations and leave
their house unlocked. We used to start the day in grade school with
the pledge of allegiance and a prayer and on one complained. My neighbor
and classmate was a jew and she never complained, nor did her folks.
Life was simple...and your behavior
was based on the golden rule....you considered how your actions affected
others and generally didn't do things that would offend them....simply
because you didn't want to be treated that way either. Serious arguments,
as I have said before were settled behind the bus barn or on someone's
lawn, and after 10 or 15 minutes of punching each other, things returned
With respect to inflation, I think buying
power is a key. I outpaced my Dad in what I could afford relative
to our time from being hired. Of course technology had a big part
to play in the cost of the doodad, but still, our standard of living was
much higher than my folks.
This is not in the pigpen, so I'll not
comment on why we are going to lose all of the economic advantages we have
so long enjoyed and maybe not appreciated as much as we should. What
a great country we live in. It's worth fighting for.
We learned how to entertain ourselves
by all manner of things. You think kids today would be interested
in learning how to spin a top? When was the last time you saw a Duncan
Yo-Yo salesman make his pitch on a grade school campus?
Sex ed? We only heard that somewhere
in the 7th grade that the girls were called in and given some sort of secret
message about "the changes" they were experiencing. Never heard anything
about sex in the classrooms I was in... and the teenage pregnancy rate
was very low.