Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my little hometown. The place I knew died in the 1960’s. My best memories are during the war and the few years after. In a recent blog I described the courthouse. Right off the square was a little newsstand filled with comic books. That’s were I learned to read. The owner was very kind to me and never made me leave as I sat around and read his merchandise. He seemed content for me to just buy one comic for 10 cents. I was also big into trading comics with friends. Wish I had hung on to some of those first editions of Superman and Batman. I would now be a wealthy guy.
Around the square, and extending for several blocks in all directions, were the most beautiful sidewalks in the world. They were lined with crepe myrtles and were great bike riding paths. We never stepped on a crack for fear it would break your mothers back.
We had two movie theaters. One showed mostly westerns, Tarzan movies and the like. That movie had the great serials, cartoons and a newsreel showing war scenes. Some of the fantastic serials shown each week were: Batman, The Lone Ranger, Red Ryder, Captain Marvel, Superman, Zorro, Dick Tracy and Nyoka the Jungle Girl. The other movie theater showed love stories, musicals and that kind of stuff. We called them picture shows rather than movies. It only cost 9 cents for admission and there were no times posted about when the feature stared. You just went in when it was convenient, and sat through the movie as long as you liked. There was a place in front of the theaters where you parked your bike and never thought about locking it.
It was a time when people seemed to care more for one another. Doctors even made house calls. Preachers would actually visit in your home. We had porches, that were mainly a place for visiting the neighbors and friends, and to escape to a cooler place because there was no air conditioning.
It was also a time when most of the stores had the most recent funeral notice at the cash register. These notices were a sheet of paper with a short obituary and notification of the death and funeral arrangements for one of our citizens. Often, stores would even close at the time of the funeral. Most of the time I didn’t even know the person, but we always honored the dead.
It’s a sad thing to see the hometown today. Most of the stores are boarded up and the movies have been closed for years. They now have these multiple theater complexes with 12 or more movies going at once. You wouldn’t dare let a kid ride a bike to the movie. The bike would be stolen and the kid molested. At least I now have my porch, but the neighbors are all shut in their houses, watching TV or staying cool, and we never get to visit. I’m glad some of the old movies are now out on DVD. I’ll just plug one of those in and ride my exercise bike.