If You Don't Laugh, You'll Cry - Laughing's Better!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Memories - Dang Old Ones, Too!

Recently , daughter Dee wrote a cute blog about how she grew up. Since I was there too, I’d say her memories were mostly accurate.Then I started thinking about my own childhood [1930’s and 40’s] and all the many‘’ likes and differences’’. So we decided I’d give it a shot.

Well, my goodness, everyone loved clowns ! Down deep, I knew they were just people, in funny clothes. Why even oldest brother Bobby had a clown costume and carried a small pig on a leash, at brother Don’s 6th birthday party. It was a circus party, held in our big front yard.I was not quite 3 yrs old so that’s about all I remember. Later years, it was great fun to watch all the clowns pile out of the tiny car at the big Barnum and Bailey circus.

Halloween was no big deal, at all.I am certain that my mom never spent a red cent on candy to give away nor do I recall anyone at the door asking for any. She might have made a pumpkin pie but that was more for Thanksgiving.The1930’s were post Depression years and money was tight.

There was one Halloween that really stands out. We had neighbors, the Cooks, who were good friends.Mother and Mrs. Cook dressed up in their husband’s old work clothes and old felt hats to cover their hair.Don’t recall much about makeup except eyebrow pencil freckles. Mr.Cook and my dad were tall men with five ft.tall, little plump wives.Dad had to work that night so our house was the base of operations. After dinner it was dark enough for 5 boys and one little girl … and 2 very odd looking Charlie Chaplin tramps to walk around and pull tricks on folks. I do remember one where they filled an old, long stocking with sand. We got behind bushes and pulled the fat snake across the sidewalk just as people got to it. Another trick was to knock on front doors and ask people for food. There were plenty of tramps roaming around in those days so this was not so unusual.No one recognized the tramps and they only knocked on doors where they knew folks.Some shared apples, etc. and some threatened with shot guns.

The greatest story of the night tho’ was at the Cooks’ house. Mrs. Cook rang the doorbell at her own home and her husband came to the door. Changing her voice, she asked for food. He went back to the kitchen and returned with sandwiches, fruit etc., very kind.He did not recognize his own clothes!

Christmas was about the Baby Jesus, a real pine tree, mostly homemade decorations, and mostly mom-made presents which we wrapped in thin, colored tissue stuck together with seals of Santa and angels. [The seals had a heavy glue on the backs that I got to lick.] We sang carols and had a big meal and lots of cakes. I got one of the last baby dolls made during WW2 ,which Dee keeps in a glass case, so beautiful.

Both my parents came from huge families so my brothers and cousins were my playmates. I had one girl cousin, Judy , who was 18 mos older, my favorite and, often only playmate. Most of the time, I was the boys’ tag-a-long. I played cowboys and Indians, army, little cars, and board games. I can neither throw or catch very well. As time went on, I had my music, my books, and my dog but neither dog nor I ever had a cotton picking Play Date!

I ate peanuts and peanut butter all my life and like all nuts actually, even a few human ones. My aunt Hazel and Uncle Gan [Orlando] Awtrey pretty much kept me alive with their CARE boxes when I was at UGA. They always sent soups, peanut butter, jelly, tuna fish, coffee etc.

We said, Sir and Mam. and Mr. or Mrs. or sometimes, Sister, Aunt or Uncle. I called the dear, family friend for whom I am named, Mrs. Elva MacEachern, “Sister.” Dad called her Mrs. Mac. The folks, going back to the grandparents, were long time Marietta friends.

Not sure but think I was in college before my parents bought a secondhand, small TV that my uncle got rid of.

We did have a radio that I listened to a lot. There were some great programs and excellent music and later WW2 news [our man in London], Mayor of the Town, Judy Canova, Hit Parade, Bell Telephone Hour, Henry Aldrich, Lone Ranger etc etc…

Of course they played records. Dad loved Bing Crosby and we listened to Gene Awtrey, and rarely The Grand Ol' Opry [mother didn’t care for that] on Sat. night.

It was a different world, seems like. We minded our parents, teachers and other adults. We did not "talk back’’ and telling a “bad story” [lie] was a sin. Dad gave the spankings tho’ I only got one which was well deserved. He only used the “hand to bottom” method but Mother preferred switches.

We each had a 6th birthday party as did my two kids. Other times, birthdays were just family and a delicious cake. Also, we sometimes got socks and undies. Toys were for Santa to bring.

Yes, our growing up years were different but all things considered, we had good parents who loved us and we all turned out just fine.

1 comment:

  1. Elva--I was born in 1943 so most of my growing up memories are based in the 1950s in rural and very small town north Florida. Many of my Halloween & Christmas memories, radio programs, and cousin playmates memories are very similar to yours. Thanks for your column. It brought to mind some special memories.
    Donna Warlick