Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

September 22, 2012

Would kids today get by with less?

By Ray Day
For the Kokomo Tribune

— Remembering the things we had and did to survive, I feel good being brought up in my time. Without having the advantages of today’s youth, I would think that everything is free or given to you without any repay from you or me.

In today’s world, even though we are going through some hard times, all most have to do is ask for help. Most of the time they receive that assistance, even though they do nothing later to give back.

In the world I knew as a child, everyone did their part in doing the chores of the house and the outside. Think about having to sit in a washtub to take a bath; most of the time it was done in the kitchen, where the water was heated on the cook stove and poured in the tub.

Outside toilets were part of the household and were about 50 feet away. The door had a half moon on it and many times you sat there in the dark.

Clothes were cleaned with a washboard to get the grime out and hung on the clothes line. Wash day did not depend on the weather. If it was raining, you left it out until the rain stopped and the sun returned.

If the clothes were brought in to dry, Mom would use everything she had to hang them.

Most of the families had an icebox to keep the perishables in, but it had to have ice put in it to keep it cold. Many times the iceman would chip off a small piece of ice for us to let melt in our mouths. That icebox usually was kept on the back porch, making it accessible for the iceman to fill.

In my younger years we used the radio to listen to the great shows on the air. But in 1950, Dad brought home a new television bought at Knofts. It was put in the front room, and we could even sit outside and watch it with out friends.

Needless to say, we had lots of good friends in our neighborhood. It was like having more brothers and sisters in the family. Playing all sorts of games outside made our day (after we had finished doing our daily chores). It was lots of fun playing kick the can; captain, may I; softball; basketball; skating or just splashing in the water in the street after a big rain.

But many times when Mom had all her work caught up, she would sit at the piano and play. She knew several songs, and we loved to hear her perform.

We only saw Dad when he wasn’t working or sleeping after a hard day’s work. When he had time, we would sit with him while the radio was on and listen to the Friday night fights, or another of his favorite shows. There were times when he had time to play some catch with us or go fishing.

We did have some great movie houses to go to on the weekend, but that depended on whether we had the money to go. Our money had some first things to use it for, and sometimes there wasn’t any extra. At the age of 12, I took a paper route and made money to save for clothes, school books and some other goodies.

Would the youngsters of today be able to get by and do the things that we did? Could they live without computers and cellphones that most have today? Would they do without those things that they receive so freely today?

I like to think they can, because even though there are so many spoiled kids out there, there are many more youngsters who have been trained enough by parents and grandparents to value the things given to them.

• Ray “Uncle Ray” Day is a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at uncleray@earthlink.net.