The Richmond Register

March 17, 2014

I’m still remembering when I was young

By Dick Ham
Register Columnist


I was just thinking the other day about how different things were when I was young. I was puzzled about why that has been on my mind so much lately.

This is the third column I’ve written on this same subject, one in January and one in February.

I can’t help wondering if the fact that I’ve been confined to home for nearly six months is partly to blame. Hour after hour, in my recliner, with TV on but not really concentrating on it gave me so much time to remember.

When I was young, the feminine and masculine roles were much more defined. Only those of the female gender would have ever worn earrings. Only women and girls wore hair long. The only time you might see a man with hair long enough to touch the collar of his shirt would have been a man or boy who simply couldn’t afford a haircut.

Men held their chairs for women. Men always opened doors for ladies and stood back and allowed the lady to enter first. It also was a very solid custom that when a man and woman were walking together alongside a street or road, the man walked on the outside, the side next to the road. The reason for that was to act as her protector.

Coffee was a nickel per cup in almost every restaurant, and that was with unlimited refills.

Although we didn’t eat out often, I remember a time when we were traveling, we went into a roadside eatery and the first thing Dad noticed was coffee cost a dime per cup. That infuriated Dad, and we got up and left and found another place to eat.

My mother worked outside our home a good bit. In the mid-forties she worked in Margie’s Apparel Shop. This was a very nice lady’s clothing store, located just a few blocks from our home.

Dad always got home before Mom, and he would drive to her store and pick her up. One evening, he knew nothing had been planned for supper, so he got my brother and me in the car to go get Mom.

There was a nice little Diner, The Padre Grill, located just around the corner from Margie’s. We ate there on that particular night, and I had what was called a plate lunch. It consisted of roast beef, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn sticks and milk. The cost of that was 79 cents, with a dime for the milk. Today, just the glass of milk would be more than 79 cents.

I remember in the early 1940s when automatic transmissions were first introduced in automobiles. Dad said, “That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of. When I get to the point I can’t even shift the gears, I’ll quit driving.”

Kids were taught manners of all kinds, and especially to respect their elders. I would never have failed to say yes ma’am, no ma’am, yes sir, no sir. If I failed to do so, there was a price to pay.

I went to a neighborhood cinema, the Cozy, for the Saturday matinee. There was always a double feature. There would be a western, a murder mystery and a cartoon. On rare occasions there would be 12 cartoons, called a cartoon carnival. The cost was 9 cents. The theatre would have had to pay a penny tax if they had charged a dime and they said they would rather give that penny to the kids.

Am I the only one who wonders what has happened to “global warming?” If it is happening, it certainly is not evident. I heard a day or two ago that there are lakes all over the world, and especially in the U.S. that have a record amount of ice.


In 1987, the new name given to those who watch TV for long periods was: couch potato.


What institution of higher learning was founded in Madison County in 1853?


Good morning: It’s a good morning for kids when they wake up early and watch cartoons. It’s a good morning for teens when they wake up in the middle of the afternoon. It’s a good morning for adults when they wake up and realize it’s Saturday. It’s a good morning for old folks when they wake up.