My brothers reminded me the other day of some of our good times back when we were just kids in the fifties.
Both of my brothers rode bikes delivering newspapers all over our city every day. The name of the paper was the Chatham Daily News. They would just happen to be riding their bikes over by where one of our aunts worked at Silverwood Dairy every day and get a free ice cream cone. I actually did not know about these freebies until just the other day. We were also talking about one of our uncles that delivered milk for the same company by horse and wagon. There was no refrigeration, just blocks of ice that would melt and run down onto the street along with the horse droppings. We also talked about our mother. She worked at a grocery store a few blocks from our house and every day my sister and I would go there after school to help unload boxes and stack shelves and other stuff. I remember the store had a wooden screen door that had a spring attached to it that would slam shut every time someone came in or out. It kind of got on our nerves after a while. We had one at home just like it but flies would somehow get in all the time, so out came the fly paper someone invented. It came in a tube that had to be unwound so the tacky fly paper could be hung up on ceiling hooks and catch those pesty bugs. In the corner of the grocery store there would be these fly papers hanging from the ceiling. Once in awhile, if there were too many flies or other creepy bugs on them, we’d have to take them down and put new ones up. The floors were wooden with pieces of worn out linoleum here and there that my sister and I would sweep as best we could and dodge the fly papers so they wouldn’t stick in our hair.
In those days back in the fifties there was no such thing as an expiration date on any of the canned food or baked goods so it was anyone’s guess how old the stuff was and actually I don’t believe anyone really cared. There was sawdust behind the meat counter to soak up whatever might drip from hamburger meat, roasts or pork. Eggs came in from local farmers fresh out of the hens and my sister and I would give each egg a quick wash and look for any bad ones. I remember my mother had a saying about some folks that would come along—they were either a bad egg or a good egg. We knew lots and lots of good eggs back then and yes, even a few bad ones too, but we loved our little city.
Mother always rewarded my sister and I with what used to be called a “grab bag.” It was a small paper bag with some goodies inside—maybe a piece of bubblegum, a piece of licorice maybe some jellybeans or a piece of chocolate. It was always a surprise and we loved it. We’d walk down the street headed for home joking about the loud screen door and the fly paper while feasting on our goodies, maybe even swapping with each other.
I’ll be forever grateful for those precious moments. There were no expiration dates on all our food, no air conditioning, no mega super markets, no delivery trucks and no internet, just down home fun. The moral of this story is bloom where you’re planted and enjoy the blessing that God sends your way.
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