Strict//EN" ""> EAGLES' REST: July 2015

Monday, July 27, 2015


For a message from the dude that blogs here. Occasionally.

I've been toying with a post, which I'll complete one of these days, for nearly a month. But something just struck me that I need to write about. Now.

We were watching TV and searching the U-Verse menu for something worth the time, and I noticed that one channel was showing "The Sweet Smell of Success". It was released in 1957, with a bunch of name stars, and was about the Newspaper business and competition among columnists.

I think.

I say that because I remember when newspapers were an important part of daily life. I grew up during world War II ... well, as grown up as I ever got to be ... and most of the news we got about the progress of the war, was via our daily newspaper. That and the weekly newsreels at the Hohman Theater in Hammond, In. Where my brother & I got in for 14 cents on Saturday afternoons.

Sure, we'd occasionally listen to news radio, but there weren't News Radio stations like there now, and newscasts were few & far between.

Well, anyhow, that got me to thinking how blessed I am, me and folks around my same age, to have grown up during the time we did. Just think of some of the changes we've seen. (Hint .. here comes a bunch of random reminisces ... whatever comes to mind). 

First, here's my Class Picture from my 8th grade class:

I'm against the blackboard to the left, in the dark shirt. I look like a sort of together normal kid, but I sure didn't feel like one at the time. I don't know  .... maybe none of them did. But there are a couple of really notable people in the class ... the girl in the #2 seat in the middle row founded the Crate & Barrel store chain, with her husband, shortly after their honeymoon. And, one of the girls in the back, next to the teacher, was one of the Tehran Embassy hostages, all those years ago.

Notice, if you will, all the girls are wearing skirts. And there's not a knee in sight. Frankly, those days are pretty easy to miss.

I recall our telephones. They weren't push button or dial-tone phones. They weren't even dial phones. You just picked up the handset and when the Operator said "Number, please...", you told her the number you wanted to call. Our number was 4568. And we lived in a town of about 14,000 folks, a distant suburb of Chicago.

If you wanted to call somewhere outside Calumet City, you asked for the Long Distance Operator. If you didn't know the number, you asked for "Information, please", or "Long distance information". And tell them the city you were calling.

That was not "Direct Distance Dialing" easy, but getting the info was always free.

And you could call collect, which led to all sorts of trickery to get messages to folks half the country away, without paying a long distance toll.

Sure hope the Statute of Limitations has expired on all that stuff.......  

Speaking of movies, my brother and I did go to the Hohman Theater for the bargain Saturday matinees, nearly every week. The didn't have cartoons, but we did get one of the short "Serials', like Rad Ryder, Hopalong Cassidy, or maybe Buck Rogers. Occasionally, mom would give Art an extra 50 cents and we'd stop on the way home and get a haircut. I recall him crouching in somebody's front yard about halfway to the movies on Saturday, showing the shiny half dollar to a friendly squirrel, who came over and nibbled on it, for a while.

It was maybe a mile to the theater .. in Hammond, which was in Indiana, as opposed to Illinois, the location of our house in Calumet City. And we walked it alone.

We walked to school, too. It was about six blocks and rain, snow, whatever, we walked. The exception was storms, when the lightning was a danger, so mom would take dad to the office, and then drive us to school.

Calumet City had concrete streets with curbs, and sidewalks on all the streets. in the evenings, us kids with bikes (read: ALL) used to gather in the streets, on our bikes, and play a sort of junior daredevil game of survivor ... we'd mark off 3 sections of the street ... between the tar divider strips, and the goal was to be the last man riding. Objective: force the other guys into the curb and make them touch the ground with their foot. That put you out of the game.

Or maybe we'd to down the street to the corner of Waltham & Lincoln, and play baseball at the intersection. The curbs on the corners made good bases. We'd play until mom would whistle for us, at which point we'd all go home.

Friday nights were fun. We'd all sit around dad's Zenith Trans-Oceanic console radio and listen to the Friday night fights. Can you imagine a family sitting around a radio listening to a verbal description of a boxing match, today? Other nights we'd listen to "The FBI In Peace and War", or maybe "Racketbusters", "The Shadow", or "Gunsmoke". Side note: William Conrad, who played the fat man on "Jake and the Fat Man" on TV was Matt Dillon on the radio version. He was REALLY good.....

Trains were pulled by smoke-belching steam engines. When the Monon railroad put a Diesel engine on one of its trains that ran from Indianapolis to Chicago, through Hammond, we went over to Hammond on many evenings just to see "The Diesel" come by.

Now, folks take vacations and travel great distances to see an operating steam engine.

Even in later times, the early  1960's, dad and I used to go to the Indianapolis airport now and then on a summer evening, just to see the Jet Airliner land .. and subsequently take off. It was a TWA Convair 880, and the only jet we'd ever seen; the only one flying into Indianapolis.

I could go on and on. Lots and lots of memories of a simpler, safer, less cluttered time when we didn't need all that much to entertain us. I miss those old days. It might well be that ignorance played a big part in the contented atmosphere I recall ... news wasn't so pervasive, then, and we got news in small occasional doses. If someone had told us there'd be, one day, a TV channel that broadcast weather 24 hours a day, we'd have called them lunatics!

But whatever the reason, I somehow long for the times when ladies' undergarments were called "unmentionables", and actually were. And invisible, too. When the movies mom let Art & me go to, every week, never threatened to show anything inappropriate for anybody to see. And propriety in general.

It's a privilege to have lived in an era that saw such monumental changes in the world, even if one might wish they'd gone in the other direction. From what it is now, to what it was, then.

I recall distinctly the feeling that the worst thing I could think of, to do, would be to embarrass my mother and father. To bring any shame to their household.

I think we could use a huge dose of whatever it was the brought that feeling around, in me.

Come to think of it, God mentioned that in His book too....