Remembering.....and wondering

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Smitty37

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I remember going home from fishing by hopping a slow moving freight train. We grabbed the ladder that went up the side of box cars, held on and rode for about a mile....we dropped off when the train started to pick up speed. I wonder how many others have done something like that.

I remember when the school bus got back after basketball games it dropped us off at the school and my buddy and I hitchhiked (or walked if no car happened to pick us up) the 5 miles from the school to our home. And nobody (neither our parents or the school) was a bit concerned about it. I wonder how many others experienced the same thing. --- To be honest, if we got back to the school before 11pm we would catch a ride with a man who worked the 3 to 11 trick at the Lackawanna Railroad Tower in the town where we went to school. Maybe half the time we made that ride.

I remember when my buddy and I used to hitchhike to the movie in a town 12 miles from where we lived...and nobody was concerned or worried about it. In the summer we'd do it a couple of times a week.
I wonder how many others experienced things like that.

I remember when just about every boy in our school older than 11 carried a boy scout pocket knife to school every day. And we played 'mumble-the-peg' at lunch time in the school yard. No body was concerned. I wonder how many others had similar experience.

I remember a couple of deer seasons when I wanted to hunt with a friend or relative after school, I carried my hunting rifle to school on the school bus and stood it in the corner of the coat closet in my home room all day then went hunting after school. I wonder how many others had similar experiences.

We had 7 man made private lakes in my home town and I remember when the kids in town were welcome to go swimming, fishing, row boating and ice skating in all of them. I wonder how many others had the same kind of experiences.

I remember when if walking along the road and someone offered us a ride, we took it without hesitation or fear. Even when we were only 8 or 9 years old. I wonder if others did that also.

I remember when "go outside and play" was my mother's watch word when I was pestering her. Winter, summer, spring or fall....the rule was to stay withing hearing distance or be home for supper (lunch).

I remember when we didn't ask our parents if it was "okay" to climb trees - we just climbed them. Most of us even had a favorite. I don't think I knew anybody who never fell out of a tree. I was one of the lucky ones who never broke a bone falling out of a tree.

I remember walking along the railroad track to find partially burned flares (called fusee's) that we would pick up to take fishing to keep the mosquitoes at bay when we went night fishing for bullheads.

I remember going "dump picking" to find returnable soda or beer bottles that we'd gather and take back to the stores to get the deposit - 2 cents on small bottles and 5 cents on quart bottles. I wonder if others had the same experiences.

I remember going to the "picnic grounds" on the 5th of July looking for change that got dropped at the American Legion 4th of July Picnic...I wonder if others did likewise.

I remember when we played baseball when we felt like playing and could get a bunch of kids together. Our rules, no umpires, no coaches, no adults at all....and to keep things moving 4 foul balls andf your out. Ditto with football....tackle with no pads, no helmets, no referees, no coaches, no adults. our rules. 4 downs to make the field from where ever you started and the field was seldome more than 70 yards and often was only about 50.

Can you even imagine giving a kid today that much latitude? If you did, the police would be coming after you with a list of charges as long as your arm. Yet my generation grew up that way...this really was the land of the free. And to be honest you had to be pretty brave to try some of the things we did or tried to do.
 
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Paul in OKC

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Didn't do quite that much, but climbing trees, taking off on my bike for a ride to.......... Only time I got in trouble was a time when my little brother was riding with me and crashed. Had a gash on his forehead, and I went on while he walked his bike several blocks home. About 15 minutes later my dad came looking for me. :) but yeah, ran through neighbors back yards, mowed barefooted (there was one man that wouldn't let me, but...) went shooting once in high school with some friends in a remote area. Guys car broke down and there we were walking with rifles. Got offered a ride no problem.
 

Smitty37

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Walking through town with out .22 rifles was very common, many of us had them and we went to certain spots for target practice or if we went to shoot ''water snakes" which were common around all the lakes but were very common in a few places. Hunting season also saw people walking through town with guns. The way out town was laid out a 5 - 6 minute walk from anywhere in town could have you on legal hunting ground.
 

Bob Wemm

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Mar 9, 2012
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Kalbarri, Western Australia
Oh, the good old days, I remember them well.
Some of the things my brother and I did would surely have made Mum and Dad very nervous, but we survived and we lived, not like the kids of today.
We used to walk out of the house after breakfast and would not be seen again until it was dark, almost every weekend.
Thanks Smitty.

Bob.
 

Skie_M

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Lawton, Ok
I remember growing up with a lot of that stuff going on in my life ... :)


I never hopped a train, but hitching to the next town to go fishing? sure ...


Carried a 4 1/2" folding lockback pocketknife to school with me every single day just because it was useful... I can't recall how many times I laughed at the look on the teacher's face when I pulled that thing out, flipped it open, and cleaned my dirty nails ...

Or the times she walked up to the chalkboard (yeah, they used real chalk, once upon a time), and found that I had carefully carved all her remaining chalk pieces to have nice little points to make it easier to write with...


"pick up" games of hoops and football ... I certainly remember a lot of those! :)


How the times change ... the years go by .... The only thing that stays the same is, "everything changes".
 

studioseven

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May 6, 2014
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Wisconsin
I lived about 6 miles from the high school. There was bus service but had to find my own way home when staying after for activities. I relied on my thumb. One of my early adventures was hitchhiking form Florida to South Carolina and back. I picked up highway maps for free from the local gas station to plot my route. I find wheat pennies in my change now more than I see hitchhikers and those are rare. Growing up in Florida, we would scour the highways looking for empty pop bottle. I could buy a bottle of soda, candy bar and a bag of chips and still have change back from a quarter. They raised the deposit to three cents and I felt like I won the lottery. Speaking of change back from a quarter, I used to mow a lot of the neighbors lawns. I used to take my one gallon gas can and fill it up and get change back from a quarter. Didn't have all night TV back then. Local stations would usually go off the air sometime around 2am. We had an antenna but could only get one station. Listened to a lot of radio.. AM of course. WMMB. They carried Atlanta Braves games. Fla didn't have any professional baseball teams then except for spring training. What are your adventures growing up?
 

randyrls

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Harrisburg, PA 17112
Yep; Recently told a young person about taking my rifle to school on the school bus on Gun Club nights. Nobody batted an eyelash! On fall gun club nights, some brought their deer rifles to sight-in. The 22 range was in the basement of the local "Hunters and Anglers". Prof Good was the Gun Club adviser.

The TV Stations would play the national anthem when shutting down for the night and starting up in the morning.
 

stonepecker

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central Minnesota
Getting up at 5 am to feed and water the animals.

Doing chores around the house and no allowance.

Yelling at the top os my voice to be heard a quater of a mile away.

Cutting grass every week.

Trapping gophers with a string around the hole.

Having a 5 dollar bill......getting a hair cut, picking up a loaf of bread and gallon of milk and bringing the change home.

Shooting squirrels for something different to eat. Helping to 'clean' the rabbits we raised, for food.

We raised ducks and geese. Ate Goose like most people eat turkey. Had duck like others ate chicken. Killed them with a handaxe and helped pick the pin feathers.

Helping hang laundry on a line. 'Weeding' the garden. Picking strawberries.

Shoveling snow by hand. A blizzard would close school down for a week.

Riding the calves in the pasture......come-ing in covered in dung.

A gallon of 'root beer' cost a quater at the Dairy Queen. 5 cent ice cream cones.

Stepping on nails in boards and Mom taking care of all medical needs as we didn't have money for doctors and dentists.

Saturday nights baths. Sunday morning church.
Walking ever where I wanted to go.
Listening to my parents and doing what I was told.
 
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Paul in OKC

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Yeah, forgot about collecting the pop bottles. Used to go digging for them. And remember dad sending me to the gas station around the corner with the can and a quarter, brought back change. Building ramps for our bikes, and having friends lay down under them to jump over. When they started the 'new' hiway in town, the mounds of dirt were where we hung out. Climbing, riding.........
 

MikeG

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Sep 6, 2010
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Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA
Used to stand in the bed of the pickup truck and scan the ditch for bottles as we drove along the back roads. When I saw one I would rap on the roof, and dad would pull over and stop. I collected the bottles for the return deposit at the grocery store. Saved up enough to buy the car or plane model kits I would build on rainy days.
 

Skeleton2014

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Lynnwood, WA. USA
I remember the "pop bottle raids" to raise money for our high school sports teams. Hit up people right after the holidays and new year. People were more than willing to help clean out the pantry with all those empties. Raised quite a bit of money.
I remember my mom handing me a $20 bill when I was six or so to go down to the supermarket and pick up a carton of Lucky Strikes... She called ahead of course to alert the store manager.
Jeff
LSMFT
 

Smitty37

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Clarification... a carton of Lucky Strikes for her... Never did pick up the habit even though everyone in the family smoked like "chimneys".
Jeff
When I was young cigarette smoking was so wide spread it was difficult to find people who did not smoke...some of the Ad's.
"More doctors smoke Camels than any other brand"

"Old Gold - not a cough in a car load"

"Lucky Strike - means fine tobacco"

Johnny was famous in his "call for Phillip Morris" ads.

ABC - "Always Buy Chesterfields" in the Chesterfield ads - also Arthur, Bing and Como (who were sponsored by Chesterfields on ABC.

Pall Mall Famous Cigarettes "and they are mild"

The Winston Cowboy...

When I joined the Navy in 1955 in a company of 64 17 to 20 year old men, there were no more than a dozen who did not smoke.

A while back, a man was killed in NY during his arrest for selling single cigarettes - I remember when the Owner of the sweet shop kept open packs of all the popular brands and would sell a cigarette for a penny (later on it became 2 cents when cigarettes went to 18 cents a pack).

I could not go into any of the stores and buy a pack of cigarettes because every owner knew my mother did not smoke, my dad smoked only a pipe and my brother & sister-in-law bought them by the carton.....so until I was 16 they wouldn't sell them to me. When I turned 16 my mother sent them a note saying I was allowed to smoke. (I had been smoking for 4 years).
 

Jgrden

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hOUSTON, Texas
I remember when I wanted a pocket knife real bad. I bugged the heck out of overtone until some body finally broke down an let me have one. While the back seat of our car, coming home from mass and playing the with knife ( I had it for one day ) I cut myself. this was something everyone warned me about and was the reason for not letting my have a knife.The embarrassment would have been too great and I did everything possible t hide the tell tail blood. Not sure how this turned out, too long ago.
 

Jgrden

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And then getting p at 5:00 a.m. to go fetch the cows for milking. It would be dark and I would have a flashlight calling out :hey Bess". While in the woods and using the flash light, all of a sudden BIG BRIGHT GLOWING EYES about ten feet away. They just looked at me like I was imposing on their sleep time. Scared the heck out of me.
 

Jgrden

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I remember gas at .19 cents a gallon in Buffalo, New York.

My dad lost his arm in a corn chopper on the farm. The family sent him to Syracuse, New York to become an accountant. He did all the tax work for his three sisters, three brothers and the farm. My dad did not know his arm was missing. He built our home, a two car garage, fixed his two sons automobiles, and refused to wear a prosthesis. Now ask yourself, how does a one arm man pound nails? He did.
One time, as a teenager, a bunch of us guys went to beat up a guy from a neighboring town for asking one of our girls to his prom. The thing tuned out to be a mess with the mom chasing us with a shot gun. I remember Jimmy jumping into the back window of Brice's .56 Chevy as we escaped. The next morning my dad came into the bedroom, sat on the edge of the bed and said only this; "I know where you were last night". That is all he said as he left the room, that is all he needed to say.
 

Skie_M

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Lawton, Ok
I remember gas at .19 cents a gallon in Buffalo, New York.

My dad lost his arm in a corn chopper on the farm. The family sent him to Syracuse, New York to become an accountant. He did all the tax work for his three sisters, three brothers and the farm. My dad did not know his arm was missing. He built our home, a two car garage, fixed his two sons automobiles, and refused to wear a prosthesis. Now ask yourself, how does a one arm man pound nails? He did.
One time, as a teenager, a bunch of us guys went to beat up a guy from a neighboring town for asking one of our girls to his prom. The thing tuned out to be a mess with the mom chasing us with a shot gun. I remember Jimmy jumping into the back window of Brice's .56 Chevy as we escaped. The next morning my dad came into the bedroom, sat on the edge of the bed and said only this; "I know where you were last night". That is all he said as he left the room, that is all he needed to say.


Seen someone in his situation recently. Everybody kept telling him he should use the air nailer, since he only had the one hand ... he looked at them like they were just STUPID and grabbed some nails to put in his pouch ... He grabbed one nail between 2 fingers and palmed the hammer so that the head was up against the head of the nail ... tacked the nail where he wanted it, gave the hammer a little toss so that he had it by the handle, and sent it home in one shot. They shut up after that.
 

oneleggimp

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I remember going home from fishing by hopping a slow moving freight train. We grabbed the ladder that went up the side of box cars, held on and rode for about a mile....we dropped off when the train started to pick up speed. I wonder how many others have done something like that.

I remember when the school bus got back after basketball games it dropped us off at the school and my buddy and I hitchhiked (or walked if no car happened to pick us up) the 5 miles from the school to our home. And nobody (neither our parents or the school) was a bit concerned about it. I wonder how many others experienced the same thing. --- To be honest, if we got back to the school before 11pm we would catch a ride with a man who worked the 3 to 11 trick at the Lackawanna Railroad Tower in the town where we went to school. Maybe half the time we made that ride.

I remember when my buddy and I used to hitchhike to the movie in a town 12 miles from where we lived...and nobody was concerned or worried about it. In the summer we'd do it a couple of times a week.
I wonder how many others experienced things like that.

I remember when just about every boy in our school older than 11 carried a boy scout pocket knife to school every day. And we played 'mumble-the-peg' at lunch time in the school yard. No body was concerned. I wonder how many others had similar experience.

I remember a couple of deer seasons when I wanted to hunt with a friend or relative after school, I carried my hunting rifle to school on the school bus and stood it in the corner of the coat closet in my home room all day then went hunting after school. I wonder how many others had similar experiences.

We had 7 man made private lakes in my home town and I remember when the kids in town were welcome to go swimming, fishing, row boating and ice skating in all of them. I wonder how many others had the same kind of experiences.

I remember when if walking along the road and someone offered us a ride, we took it without hesitation or fear. Even when we were only 8 or 9 years old. I wonder if others did that also.

I remember when "go outside and play" was my mother's watch word when I was pestering her. Winter, summer, spring or fall....the rule was to stay withing hearing distance or be home for supper (lunch).

I remember when we didn't ask our parents if it was "okay" to climb trees - we just climbed them. Most of us even had a favorite. I don't think I knew anybody who never fell out of a tree. I was one of the lucky ones who never broke a bone falling out of a tree.

I remember walking along the railroad track to find partially burned flares (called fusee's) that we would pick up to take fishing to keep the mosquitoes at bay when we went night fishing for bullheads.

I remember going "dump picking" to find returnable soda or beer bottles that we'd gather and take back to the stores to get the deposit - 2 cents on small bottles and 5 cents on quart bottles. I wonder if others had the same experiences.

I remember going to the "picnic grounds" on the 5th of July looking for change that got dropped at the American Legion 4th of July Picnic...I wonder if others did likewise.

I remember when we played baseball when we felt like playing and could get a bunch of kids together. Our rules, no umpires, no coaches, no adults at all....and to keep things moving 4 foul balls andf your out. Ditto with football....tackle with no pads, no helmets, no referees, no coaches, no adults. our rules. 4 downs to make the field from where ever you started and the field was seldome more than 70 yards and often was only about 50.

Can you even imagine giving a kid today that much latitude? If you did, the police would be coming after you with a list of charges as long as your arm. Yet my generation grew up that way...this really was the land of the free. And to be honest you had to be pretty brave to try some of the things we did or tried to do.

I did most all of those things. I had a boy scout knife in my pocket all the time. Walked nine blocks one way to school from Kindergarten onward - by myself. I was a "latch key kid" before the term became popular. I went to the playground with my friends and no parents in sight. Swam out into the Detroit River with no adult supervision or life guards. Ice skated on Lake St. Clair or on canals - no adults in sight. Sometimes walked six miles to my high school. Drove a pickup around my Uncle's farm at age nine. Same for driving a Tractor. Rode a combine after I learned how to tie a miller's knot (combine had a bager - not a grain tank). Milked cows by age ten. Didn't think anything of it. If kids did that today the parents would be called bad parents. I just had a normal childhood in the day. I loved every minute of it. With respect to the trains, I had a friend who also hopped on a box car in the way you describe - he wasn't so lucky getting off when the train started to speed up. He tried to jump off and ended up becoming a double amputee. A lot of things kids did in the day would be considered dangerous or unacceptable today but they were a normal part of growing up in the day and most all of us grew up with no major injuries on the way- a few cuts and scrapes maybe but that was considered part of a normal boyhood.
 
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Smitty37

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I did most all of those things. Walked nine blocks one way to school from Kindergarten onward - by myself. I was a "latch key kid" before the term became popular. I went to the playground with my friends and no parents in sight. Swam out into the Detroit River with no adult supervision or life guards. Ice skated on Lake St. Clair or on canals - no adults in sight. If kids did that today the parents would be called bad parents. I just ha a normal childhood in the day. I loved every minute of it. With respect to the trains, I had a friend who also hopped on a box car in the way you describe - he wasn't so lucky getting off when the train started to speed up. He tried to jump off and ended up becoming a double amputee. Today none of t.
Had a near miss on that kind of thing myself only I just got the daylights scared out of me.....
 

Cwalker935

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You left out riding in the back window of the car and piling numerous kids into the bed of a pickup truck. We did not need no stinking seat belts back then.
 

Smitty37

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You left out riding in the back window of the car and piling numerous kids into the bed of a pickup truck. We did not need no stinking seat belts back then.
I did both of those with my kids, went to the junk yard got two old car seats and put them in the bed of the pickup - the kids rode back there. Also had 6 kids and 2 adults that rode in a '75 Vega youngest kids rode in the back window.
 

Smitty37

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You left out riding in the back window of the car and piling numerous kids into the bed of a pickup truck. We did not need no stinking seat belts back then.
I also left out riding on the running board holding on through an open window....riding in a rumble seat of a 1932 Model A Ford Coupe and engaging the clutch and turning off the ignition and coasting down long hills to save gas and "catching it in gear" by popping the clutch when you go to the bottom of the hill.
 

Jgrden

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I can remember my first automobile, a '49 Pontiac Chieftain straight 8. Four of us would take two quarts of oil with us to cruise for a day. Boy did it smoke.
 

Smitty37

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I can remember my first automobile, a '49 Pontiac Chieftain straight 8. Four of us would take two quarts of oil with us to cruise for a day. Boy did it smoke.
One of my buddies had a Pontiac like that...only it was probably about a '40 or '41 but it drank oil like a Newport Destroyer man drank beer.....
 

OLDMAN5050

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"I remember going "dump picking" to find returnable soda or beer bottles that we'd gather and take back to the stores to get the deposit - 2 cents on small bottles and 5 cents on quart bottles. I wonder if others had the same experiences."

I bought many a candy bar with my money from bottles....
 

oneleggimp

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You left out riding in the back window of the car and piling numerous kids into the bed of a pickup truck. We did not need no stinking seat belts back then.
An Assistant Scout Master for my Boy Scout Troop was a teacher in that school and in those days, teacher did not make a salary commensurate with their Education/teaching skills so he was penurious and couldn't afford a good vehicle. He wanted something that would allow him to take a bunch of Scouts places (among other things we had a drum and bugle corps and played for Detroit Lions Football games) so he bought a used hearse. You be surprised how many boys can be jammed into the back of a hearse. Troop 244 became famous (or infamous) as being the troop where a bunch of scouts arrived in an old hearse. Great times. The pickup thing too.
 

oneleggimp

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I did both of those with my kids, went to the junk yard got two old car seats and put them in the bed of the pickup - the kids rode back there. Also had 6 kids and 2 adults that rode in a '75 Vega youngest kids rode in the back window.
Did it for my son as well. I got a couple of bucket seats from the Ford Test Tracks (cars that had been in an accident - I worked for Ford at the time) and since I had a "Camper Cap with a door rather than a lift gate" I made it nice back there with a radio/tape player and carpet and a toy box. He and a friend could ride there and still communicate with us (sliding window in the front of the cap and the back of the pickup cab so could talk back and forth when we were going "Camping" (we had a 28 foot travel trailer)..
 

oneleggimp

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When I was young cigarette smoking was so wide spread it was difficult to find people who did not smoke...some of the Ad's.
"More doctors smoke Camels than any other brand"

"Old Gold - not a cough in a car load"

"Lucky Strike - means fine tobacco"

Johnny was famous in his "call for Phillip Morris" ads.

ABC - "Always Buy Chesterfields" in the Chesterfield ads - also Arthur, Bing and Como (who were sponsored by Chesterfields on ABC.

Pall Mall Famous Cigarettes "and they are mild"

The Winston Cowboy...

When I joined the Navy in 1955 in a company of 64 17 to 20 year old men, there were no more than a dozen who did not smoke.

A while back, a man was killed in NY during his arrest for selling single cigarettes - I remember when the Owner of the sweet shop kept open packs of all the popular brands and would sell a cigarette for a penny (later on it became 2 cents when cigarettes went to 18 cents a pack).

I could not go into any of the stores and buy a pack of cigarettes because every owner knew my mother did not smoke, my dad smoked only a pipe and my brother & sister-in-law bought them by the carton.....so until I was 16 they wouldn't sell them to me. When I turned 16 my mother sent them a note saying I was allowed to smoke. (I had been smoking for 4 years).
"LSMFT - Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco."
 

Sabaharr

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Well I never picked up railroad flares or brought a gun into the school room (we kept them in the truck) but the rest I can identify with. My first wife and I met when I was 14 so our earliest visits started with me sticking out my thumb and hitching the 27 miles to her house. Dad realized I was gone when it got dark and knew where to look for me. First few times I got me azz tore up but once he realized that the draw of girls was stronger than his belt he just came and got me. We were together 26 years and married for 22 of that.
 

Skie_M

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When I was young cigarette smoking was so wide spread it was difficult to find people who did not smoke...some of the Ad's.
"More doctors smoke Camels than any other brand"

"Old Gold - not a cough in a car load"

"Lucky Strike - means fine tobacco"

Johnny was famous in his "call for Phillip Morris" ads.

ABC - "Always Buy Chesterfields" in the Chesterfield ads - also Arthur, Bing and Como (who were sponsored by Chesterfields on ABC.

Pall Mall Famous Cigarettes "and they are mild"

The Winston Cowboy...

When I joined the Navy in 1955 in a company of 64 17 to 20 year old men, there were no more than a dozen who did not smoke.

A while back, a man was killed in NY during his arrest for selling single cigarettes - I remember when the Owner of the sweet shop kept open packs of all the popular brands and would sell a cigarette for a penny (later on it became 2 cents when cigarettes went to 18 cents a pack).

I could not go into any of the stores and buy a pack of cigarettes because every owner knew my mother did not smoke, my dad smoked only a pipe and my brother & sister-in-law bought them by the carton.....so until I was 16 they wouldn't sell them to me. When I turned 16 my mother sent them a note saying I was allowed to smoke. (I had been smoking for 4 years).
"LSMFT - Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco."

Camel - "I'ld walk a mile, to smoke a camel..."
 
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When we moved to west Texas, my family had a 2 seater model A... no rumble seat... there was 3 kids and my parents, pulling a home made trailer with all our worldly goods... we sat 4 in the seat, dad driving, little sister between him and mom with the gear shift between her feet, then mom and my older sister on the edge next to the door.... I rode laying across the back seat behind everyone -- for 300 miles.

We moved back to East Texas a few years later to a house that literally sat at the end of the road... the road ended in front of our house at a wire gap that opened into the woods... I spent many a day off in those woods with the neighbor boys... parents never knew where we were, what direction we headed off in... rule was to be home by supper time.

We listened to our parents and if they forbid something, we didn't do it. I was in my late teens or early 20's before my dad every used my name... he just said "boy" and if he used the right tone, my body automatically snapped to attention. First time he ever bought me a beer, I was home from the navy, over 21, at his local hang out... I ordered a Budweiser as it was the brand I had drunk in the navy... his comment was, "you like the expensive stuff"... think it was $0.35 vs his Pabst at $0.25

Saturday afternoon at the movies the price of a ticket was 12 cents for children under 12...and a quarter for adults, popcorn was 10 cents a bag and a soda was a nickel. I looked young enough that I lied and paid the child ticket price until I was almost 14... my cousin who was 11 months younger than me had to pay adult price at 11 since he was so much bigger than me. And his father was a deacon in the church and wouldn't let him lie.
 
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