Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

December 15, 2012

DAY: Hard love didn’t hurt even a bit

By Ray Day
Tribune columnist

— I know there are times when some do not want to remember the past, but I love to go back in my memory bank and pick out some of those wonderful memories of my younger days.

The music today cannot compete with the music of yesterday. When the singer would dig way down with his mellow voice and produce the pretty sounds, you could go right along with the singer and sing to your heart’s content.

Singers sort of told stories with their music. You felt like you were right there with them, and the music stayed with you all day long. Writers back then had a way of putting words down on paper so that you felt like you might have written it.

Mothers were mostly stay-at-home angels who knew all they needed to know about the family, which was sparkled with love. Fathers went outside the family confines to find work. And grocery stores let you buy on time and then pay when payday came.

Neighbors were close. Many times one mother would watch her kids and those of the other mothers. Games were played right at the house or in an empty lot close to where children could be watched and yet not be bothered by someone watching over them.

Just about all children had some chores to be done, and that built responsibility. Children had curfews set by their parents, and they had to be followed to the letter. It was a fact that if you bent the rules just once, it left a weak link that kept getting weaker.

There were churches just about everywhere, and most of the families went at least on Sundays. Children were taught they were a gift from God, and to honor him was part of the daily life.

Oh, there were times when an old drunk would be staggering around in the streets, but the people in that area kept a close watch. Policemen were part of the neighborhood, and they walked the areas several times and kept peace in the neighborhood. They were there to maybe play a little catch while keeping their eyes on what was happening.

The Amish were out there every day to bring eggs and baked goods to sell to those who wanted them. I don’t think I have ever seen the Amish in anything but the horse and wagon. They were so nice to everyone.

The iceman came with blocks of ice carried by tongs over his shoulder, and he always had small pieces to give to the youngsters. The newspaper was delivered in the evenings, and the holiday paper was delivered at about 1 a.m.

Movies were plentiful as we had a choice of going to the Fox or the Woods, where we followed the tales of our favorite cowboys. The Isis showed a lot of movies for the whole family, as did the Indiana, Sipe and Colonial. You could stop at McCelland’s to get a big sack of popcorn and then go down to Hill’s Snappy Service to get the best burgers and shakes, as well as a nice amount of french fries.

After the shows were over, we liked to walk around, looking in all the store windows at the clothes we wish we had. Up by the Indiana Theatre there was a wagon where they sold hot peanuts, and up north of that you could smell the great aroma of fresh bread at Dietzen’s Bakery.

Yes, it was a great time to be from, and my memory bank is full of things we used to do on our Saturdays after all our chores were done. And when Mom or Dad gave us a time to be back home safely in their arms, we’d better be walking in that door at that time or sooner.

Our parents always felt that many times hard love went a long way in making children more responsible. And it did not hurt one bit.

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