I've been thinking a lot about the way things were growing up. Life in a small town. I couldn't wait to get away from there, and now after visiting Don in his small town, I'd give anything to be back in one.
The town I grew up in was so small that you knew everyone. Of course, this wasn't always an advantage for a kid.
The discipline. If you got into trouble chances are that you'd get a spanking before you ever got home by one of the neighborhood mothers. Then your mother would be waiting at the door for you because she'd been given advanced warning of your misdeed. Two spankings for whatever it was you did. When I was 15, I got a speeding ticket about two blocks from the house (by one of the two cops in Sulphur) and Mom was waiting at the door for me. Heck, I didn't even have time to develop a good excuse!
Curfews. I never had a curfew, or I can never remember Mom and Dad saying to be home at a certain time. That's because every other kid in town had one. Or maybe it was because there was absolutely nothing to do after about 8:30 at night so you just went home. We had a movie theater in town for a few years, but the latest show ended about 6:00 at night. The Dairy Queen closed down about 30 minutes later. It think Kentucky Fried Chicken and a couple of gas stations were open a little later but there's only so much chicken you can eat while spending less than five bucks filling up your car.
Friday night. That was football night. We were the Golden Tornadoes. We had awesome football teams, nearly always getting in the state finals. I was in the band and was a majorette during football season. Yep, that's right, I was a band geek. Of course, back then most of the kids in our town were in the band, or the marching-dancing group, or on the football team. There probably weren't too many kids sitting in the student section because we were all participants in one way or another. Go, Tors!
Saturday night. Date night. If there wasn't a party at one kid's house or another, we went to a movie in Lake Charles. Those movies ran a little later. The problem with that was there was hardly any time to get home before the curfew. But there was usually food waiting when we got home. A quick phone call to parents to let them know at whose house we were eating, and then home 30 minutes later.
Sunday. Church. Of course, we attended for the right reasons, but it was also a time to see everyone in town. Most of the churches were within a few blocks of each other, so you'd practically see everyone in town on Sunday. This is why you hoped you were real good during the week because moms would stand around on the church steps talking after the service. Home to dinner. I grew up calling lunch "dinner" and dinner "supper." Being with Don and Gail a few weeks back reminded me of that. The largest meal of the day on the weekends was eaten at noontime or shortly after.
Visiting. Another thing I was reminded of at Don and Gail's. People just dropped by to chat for a few minutes. The coffee pot was always on; something sweet to eat was always around. I wonder if that went on everywhere or if it was just a Southern thing. You know, "calling" on folks. When Mom-the-nurse was working on the weekend, Dad and I went calling. When she was home, folks called on us. Kids sat around politely in the living room taking part in the visit. We didn't vanish to our rooms to play video games or watch TV or talk on the phone because those things either didn't exist then or weren't in our rooms. These visits were another reason all the kids hoped they were good that week.
Shopping. There were a couple of dress stores in my town and a couple of shoe stores. One dress store in particular was my favorite because I'd go in and try on things and she'd hold them for me. She'd call my mother, and Mom would swing by and get whatever she thought I needed. If Dad went, I'd get everything!! :) :) :) Shoes were a bit more of a problem. I had this real skinny foot and most stores didn't carry quad-A widths. Mom hated shoe shopping with me. She hated it so much that she'd even bribe friends and family to take me shoe shopping. Don remembered that!
Graduation. That was a fun night. First, I think the whole class went out to eat in Lake Charles. We were good because there were about a gazillion parents there. Then the city pool in Sulphur opened up for us and we swam until the wee hours, with a LOT of parents sitting around watching the shenanigans. Then back to Lake Charles to the beach to watch the sunrise. Were parents there? You betcha. I think I got home around 7:00 a.m. and slept for a couple of hours before folks started showing up to call. Exciting, huh? Senior picture. ROFLOL. Remember sleeping in curlers and Dippity-Do and teasing that hair?
College. LSU. Go Tigers. I was totally flabbergasted being in a huge town at a huge school. And there were hippies - genuine hippies. They wore bell bottoms and their hair was parted down the middle. At Christmas break I found a pair of bell-bottomed slacks, a shirt that tied up and exposed belly, and parted my hair down the middle. I really really wanted to be a hippie ... but Mom wouldn't let me! So my hippie stage lasted for two weeks.in Sulphur.on Christmas break. Oh, well, I tried! But the really neat thing was having that LSU ID card. That was heady stuff. The first time I went home for the holidays, I got together with a bunch of high school friends and we went to a college bar in Lake Charles by the McNeese campus. They were checking IDs at the door. When they saw my LSU student card, they let me right in! Didn't even check my birth date. I was still underage but I went to LSU so I got in! Of course, I didn't drink - couldn't stand the stuff; still can't - but it was exciting all the same!
I was just thinking about these things last night and wanted to get them down. Don graduated 10 years before me, the late '50s - so I'm sure his stories of high school are much more exciting. Man, he's old!!!!!!!!!