The Good Old Days

  "A Nebraska Poem" - Courtesy of Phil Swaim

Smack in the mid of our great nation        
Is a state that requires some explanation. 
To east and west coasters who'll come right out and ask ya, 
'Is there anything of interest in the State of Nebraska ?' 
It' s true we don't have mountains all decked out in snow,     
But we do have the world's biggest live chicken show. 
We're the makers of Spam. We invented Kool-Aid,

And this is where the first Reuben sandwich was made. 
Our insect, the Honeybee. Our bird, the Meadowlark.
The strobe light, our creation, works best in the dark. 
Governmentally speaking, we're a freak of nature. 
Since we have the only one-house  legislature. 
On Arbor Day, when you plant a tree,       
Remember that it started in Nebraska City . 
We were once called a desert, but that name didn't take,      
Since we have the country's largest underground lake. 
We have the world's largest forest planted by hand,       
And more miles of rivers than any state in the land. 
The College World Series calls Omaha 'home,'      
And yes, this is where the buffalo used to roam.  
We were the first state in the nation to finish our Interstate section,      
And the first to run two women in the gubernatorial election. 
We invented 9-1-1 emergency communication, 
And we're the number one producer of center pivot irrigation. 
Our woolly mammoth fossil is the largest ever found,       
And our monumental 'Carhenge' is certain to abound. 
We have several museums that could be called odd, 
Dedicated to Chevy's, fur trading, roller skates and sod.  
Blue Hill , Nebraska , no woman wearing a hat,       
Can eat onions in public. Imagine that! 
We built the largest porch swing and indoor rain forest,      
And anyone who visits is sure to adore us. 
So pack up the kiddies, the pets and the wife,       
And see why Nebraska is called 'THE GOOD LIFE.'   

Oh, it doesn't even once mention Husker football???  
That the yellow color of the school bus originated in Franklin, NE.


It was interesting to learn that Havelock, at one time, had trolley service.





Nadine Turner Jordan's Poem: 


 "The Ballad of Charlie Starkweather" 


Once upon a time Charlie Starkweather met Caril Fugate. 
And so began the story of their terrible fate.
Soon Charlie loved Caril with all of his heart,
Although their relationship was doomed from the start.
Together Charlie and his young girlfriend Caril 
Put the entire state of Nebraska in extreme peril.
They became the most notorious couple since Bonnie and Clyde. 
And the newly earned title gave Charlie a sense of pride.
Caril was 13 and Charlie six years more.
Both of their families were incredibly poor.
First Charlie robbed a gas station for an extra buck, 
But by killing the attendant, he began his string of bad luck.
No body saw him and no body knew.
So he discreetly dumped the body into a slough.
In his lifetime Charlie had never been accepted. 
Then Caril’s mother and step dad him too rejected.
They forbade her to see him ever again.
“Oh, we’ll see about that,” Charlie said with a sly grin.
He shot both her parents and little sister too. 
That was the first of Charlie that most people knew.
The pair drove to a small town nearby in search of a car. 
They stole a truck and killed a farmer, but didn’t go far.
Near Bennett they stopped a young couple still in high school. 
To these young people they were incredibly cruel.
They returned to Lincoln to an area Charlie well knew. 
On a garbage route there he was part of the crew.
They hid overnight in a house in the rich part of town. 
“What are your plans?” asked the homeowner with a frown.
In the morning Charlie killed both the husband and wife. 
Then hunting down the maid he also took her life.
With another new car they were again on their way. 
It was much too dangerous in one spot to stay.
Charlie killed one more man - just for good measure. 
In the violence Charlie seemed to take perverse pleasure.
Everyone locked their garages and bolted their doors. 
No one hardly even ventured out to shop at the stores.
He established a pattern of plunder and killing. 
Which didn’t stop until he was captured in Wyoming.
Eventually the bodies totaled eleven
Who Charlie and Caril sent early to Heaven.
Was Caril an accomplice or a young girl too frightened to leave.
Of course, it depends on whose story you choose to believe.
Charlie was condemned with a sentence of death.

Years later Caril was paroled for behaving her best.


Lincoln Northeast High School Class of 1959-By Marjean Larson

Reflecting on our high school class as we approach our fiftieth reunion, I have been thinking a lot about us. First, this group of eighteen year olds was, in many ways, the end of an era.   We were among the last of a  group of young people be raised by parents who had struggled and even starved during the great depression, and then sacrificed and rationed during World War ll. 

They gave us values that have served us well through the years, and which the children who came after us often did not get. We were born the year that World War Il began and started to kindergarten the year it ended. Kindergarten was at Bethany, Hartley , Havelock, and Huntington elementary schools. Many who started kindergarten together were still classmates in May of 1959. Those bonds were strong, and each elementary school has its core group to this day.

The President when we were growing up was one of the last great generals of World War II. He was followed by a president who represented a new generation—our generation, “born in this century tempered by war, and disciplined by a cold and bitter peace.” He called upon us to lead and to discover what we could do for America. He was for many of us a new hope, for some, a feeling that politics could be a high calling.

And we all remember when this new hope died. For many of us, mothers caring for new babies, college students looking forward to graduation in the spring, or successful sales clerks at Gold’s of Nebraska, that day in Dallas was the end of our youth. We had to think of our classmates on board Navy ships, flying Air Force planes, and fighting a ground war in Southeast Asia; these were the classmates who had grown up. The rest of us had some catching up to do, and some gratitude to show.

 But, we were fortunate. We had been well prepared for where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do. Who were those people that launched us on our ways: some of our teachers followed us to Northeast Junior High, where most of us gathered as eighth graders. Pearl Lowell taught us to read music, carry a tune, and sing in harmony. Clare Thoren taught us to read and appreciate literature, and Hank Willemsen taught civics like no one had before or since . I still remember the cabinet members from Eisenhower’s term—Ezra Taft Benson, Secretary of Agriculture. And who could forget R. L. Johnson and algebra 1 and 2.

In high school our music education was taken over by Velma Snook and David Fowler. There we were in mixed chorus, choir, and for the talented ones, triple trio and the annual musicals. With Mr.Fowler as director, Northeast always had one of the best marching bands in  the state. Remember band day at the University of Nebraska?

John McCormick taught us American history using a method that left most of us knowing the most important dates of American history, to this day, even though we may no longer associate the right event with that date.   Miss Dunlap taught us to determine whether or not two triangles were congruent.  We may not remember the theorems, but most of us can write a grocery list on a quarter page of unlined manila paper, without erasing a hole in the paper. 

For Algebra three and four, analytic geometry, and trig, there was Myrtle Clark. Some years later she said she taught math to 5000 Northeast high school students, that she couldn’t remember their names, but she loved them all. For chemistry and biology there were Mr. Jeffrey and Mr. Grosheme—remember those biology notebooks? Ed Johnson was varsity basket ball coach extraordinaire—best in the state.

Jack Mueller taught American history and was the best debate coach around for twenty years of more. There were so many more outstanding teachers it is hard to count.   Almost as much as our parents, these are the people who shaped our lives and got us ready, in fact gave us a head start, on furthering our education.   Sometimes I wonder how many of us ever went back to say thanks.

I feel true affection for the members of this class, and much pride at having been a member of it. When I look at the list of names, I have a good memory of almost every person on the list. When I attend the reunions, I am always struck by how well everyone in the class has done, in both personal and professional lives, how much I love my classmates, and how clear it is to me that they love one another.

Who are we?   We are a young army lieutenant, killed in a helicopter crash in Viet Nam, whose son became one of the finest orthopedic surgeons in the region. We are a young woman who fell from scaffolding and never again walked without mechanical assistance, but who served two terms on the Lincoln City Council from the Northeast District, got her PhD. and became a college professor. We are an Administrative Law Judge in Colorado, a pharmacist, church secretaries, teachers, doctors, nurses, lawyers, and counselors.  We have testified before Congress and played the role of the mayor in The Music Man. We are the Lincoln Northeast High School class of 1959. 



Proposals to close schools nothing new

By MARGARET REIST / Lincoln Journal Star

Sunday, Aug 19, 2007 - 04:14:01 pm CDT

More than two decades ago, the prospect of a neighborhood school closing pushed Marian Price into action. Years later, she would serve 14 years on the Lincoln Board of Education and another eight as a state senator. But it was the Lincoln Public Schools superintendent’s recommendation in the late 1970s to close Bethany Elementary School, the school her kids had attended and a cornerstone of her neighborhood, that whet her appetite for political advocacy.

“That was probably my first act of activism,” Price said. Newspaper files are full of the anger over closing Bethany and Havelock schools, as well as Whittier Junior High. “It was a real uprising here in Bethany,” Price recalled. “They were really passionate about saving our school. It’s exactly what they are going through with Hawthorne and Dawes. You form a strong bond (with the school).”

As part of proposed districtwide boundary changes to accommodate new schools and additions being built with a $250 million bond issue, a board subcommittee has suggested closing Dawes Middle School and Hawthorne Elementary. Both buildings would be used by LPS for other purposes, possibly alternative middle and high schools. The proposals — as well as opposition to them — are not new. Peruse the landscape of Lincoln’s education system over the past century or so and you’ll find recurring themes: Schools are closed, torn down, moved to make way for a shifting population and a growing city.

Half a century ago, before the University of Nebraska’s Bancroft Hall was full of college students, it was overrun with grade-schoolers. Look back to the early 1900s, and there, on the corner of 26th and O streets, is an elementary school. And there, where Pershing Center stands. And Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital. And the fire department’s headquarters.

A history of Lincoln schools compiled by LPS Media Services lists more than 30 schools or LPS programs that have closed since the late 1800s. In some cases, the district used buildings for alternative schools or special programs or even storage before selling them. But in the past 27 years, just two schools have closed and the district has sold the buildings that were home to Whittier Junior High and Hayward Elementary.

And like recent public meetings on the proposed closing of Hawthorne and Dawes, those nearly three decades earlier drew families arguing for their schools. Then — and now — the district cited low enrollment and the proximity of other elementary schools that could absorb students. If anything, controversy surrounding the closings of Havelock, Bethany and Whittier were more heated. They came at a time when the post-baby boom student population dipped.

Then-Mayor Helen Boosalis weighed in, calling Bethany’s closing shortsighted. A community-based group called the Lincoln Alliance opposed closing both Havelock and Bethany. The late Larry Price, Marian Price’s brother-in-law, was among residents who sued the school district to try to keep Bethany open. The district prevailed, and soon after the school closed, Price bought it and converted it into Cotner Center for Living.

In Havelock, more than 300 opponents crowded into the school media center. Herb Pickard, whose kids went to Havelock Elementary just like he did, remembers worrying about what losing their school would do to the community. “That was always one of the points we tried to make. When you take a school you also take part of the community with it,” he said. In the end, Goodyear bought the building and turned it into a rec center, which played a big part in keeping the neighborhood vital. And having two nearby schools helped, he said. “I guess the effect on the neighborhood wasn’t as dramatic as what we thought it might have been,” Pickard said. “As a neighborhood Havelock is still a wonderful community inside a larger one.”

Marian Price said preserving the Bethany School also was key to keeping the neighborhood healthy. Whittier has not suffered such a positive fate, although things may finally be looking up. After it was sold to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, it was underused and in desperate need of renovation. Last year, UNL announced multi-million dollar plans to use the building for child care and research.
Hayward Elementary, a landmark in the North Bottoms district of Lincoln, is now condominiums. That’s been good for the neighborhood, said Becky Schenaman.

Loss of the elementary, in the late ’60s, wasn’t so good, recalled the vice president of the North Bottoms Neighborhood Association. At the time, many parents thought being bused to a new school — Clare McPhee — sounded good, especially since it was connected to the university.  “But it sure ruined the neighborhood,” Schenaman said. “Families with young children moved where there were better schools. I hated to see it close, even though those apartments are nice.”

Kathy Danek, a school board member representing northeast Lincoln, wasn’t part of the opposition, but she remembers how passionate people were about it. And she doesn’t think it’s a good idea to close yet another northeast Lincoln school. Previous closings happened within a few years of a new school being built, she said. She said she thinks moving Dawes students to Mickle and Culler would fill those schools, and keep portable classrooms at an already full Goodrich. She wants the board to work on redrawing the boundaries to make use of all existing schools. “If we have one portable on site at a middle school we shouldn’t be closing schools,” she said. She’s most concerned for Dawes students, many of whom are on free or reduced lunch, who don’t have ransportation to school. “These parents got their homes so the kids could get to school,” she said “We (would make) that really difficult for a lot of families.”

Meetings planned

The Lincoln Board of Education will hold two meetings to gather input on proposed boundary changes and school closings:

  • Sept. 4, 7 p.m., Hawthorne Elementary, 300 S. 48th St.
  • Sept. 10, 7p.m., Dawes Middle School, 5130 Colfax Ave.

Most recent LPS school closings

Over the years, Lincoln Public Schools buildings have opened and closed for a variety of reasons. Some were used for different purposes by the district, others sold and redeveloped, some torn down. In the past three decades the district has closed just four.

Bethany Elementary

1526 N. Cotner Blvd.

Years of operation: 1889-1981

Uses: K-12 school annexed into the city in 1926. The original building was replaced in 1915. The high school closed when Northeast opened in 1941; Bethany continued as a grade school.

Why closed: Declining student population

Students: Went to Brownell, Kahoa, Meadowlane

Building: Sold for $285,000, converted to Cotner Center Retirement Community

Havelock Elementary

6224 Logan Ave.

Years of operation: 1930-1980

Uses: Havelock High and Havelock Central Elementary were annexed into the city in 1930, and two other Havelock schools closed. Havelock High closed in 1941 when Northeast opened, but continued as a junior high until 1953.

Why closed: Declining student population

Students: Went to Norwood Park, Dawes (K-8 at the time), Pershing

Building: Goodyear bought for $100,010 and converted to a recreation center.

Hayward Elementary

1215 N. Ninth St.

Years of operation: 1902-1981

Uses: Replaced Z Street School in the same location and operated as an elementary until 1968. Housed LPS Head Start students and other programs until 1971, when it became the home of LPS voc ed program.

Why closed: Building age and federal mandates to mainstream disabled students.

Students: When the elementary closed in 1968, students were bused to McPhee Elementary. Students in voc ed program moved to Lefler Junior High and Lincoln High when Hayward closed.

Building: Sold to a private developer for $130,200 and converted into condominiums.

Whittier Junior High

23rd and Vine streets

Years of operation: 1923-1977

Uses: Elementary at 22nd and Vine, 1887-1923, when new building went up to become first in the United States built specifically as a junior high; it was an alternative high school for three years, 1977-80.

Students: Went to Goodrich Junior High

Building: Sold to UNL for $500,000 in 1983; set for $23.7 million renovation.

Sources: “How the Public Schools Were Named” and newspaper files.

Closed schools in LPS

    • First and K Streets School (changed to Longfellow in 1900)
      • 1890-1931
      • Hit by disastrous Salt Creek flood, 1908, followed by smaller floods; torn down in 1931.
    • 26th and O Junior High
      • 1922-1935
      • "Old Elliott" became junior high when new Elliott opened in 1922; the building was razed soon after school closed.
    • Bancroft School, Ninth and T/1420 U St.
      • 1881-1964
      • K-8, 1881-1915; elementary/ junior high after move to 1420 U, 1916-1923; elementary-only 1923-1964, plus lab school for UNL/LPS teachers. Sold to UNL, 1940; became Bancroft Hall, 1964.
    • Bethany, 1526 N. Cotner Blvd.
      • 1889-1981
      • K-12 until 1941, when Northeast High opened. Today, Cotner Center Condominiums.
    • Bryan, 1701 S. 40th St.
      • Elementary, 1956-1971; closed due to dwindling population; used as storage site for nine years; alternative high school since 1980.
    • Q Street School/Bryant, 18th and Q streets
      • 1886-1929
      • Used as storage after closing; torn down, 1965.
    • C Street School, 11th and C streets
      • 1887-1890
      • Built on one of six blocks designated for public schools in original plat of Lincoln.
    • Capitol, 821 S. 16th St.
      • 1886-1963
      • Torn down in 1963; McPhee Elementary built on same site.
    • Central School, 15th and M streets
      • 1872-1915
      • Part of a cluster of buildings used as high school, McKinley School and district office.
    • Cherry Street School, 20th and Cherry (now Sumner)
      • 1889-1922
      • Closed after Prescott opened in 1921 and used for a year.
    • College View, 3725 S. 46th St.
      • 1929-1955
      • Acquired as high school by LPS when College View was annexed; closed when Southeast opened.
      • Elementary remained, name changed and address changed slightly in 1958.
    • College View South Ward, 5133 Pioneers Blvd.
      • 1929-1938
      • Annexed from College View
    • Garfield, 2242 W. Q St.
      • 1957-1963
      • City acquired with annexation; Students transferred to Lakeview elementary
      • Still exists in run-down condition
    • Havelock Junior and Senior High and Elementary, 6224 Logan Ave.
      • 1930-1980
      • Lincoln acquired with annexation; high school closed when Northeast opened.
      • Junior high discontinued 1952; now Goodyear Recreation Center; elementary closed because of declining enrollment
      • Now Goodyear recreation center.
    • Hayward, 1215 N. Ninth St.
      • 1902-1981
      • Replaced Z Street school in same location; elementary closed in 1968, became district Head Start school; became voc ed program for special ed students in 1971.
      • Today, it is condos.
    • Jackson High, 2925 N. 47th St.
      • 1927-1941
      • Complex included Huntington Elementary, annexed as part of University Place Schools; folded into newly built Northeast in 1941.
    • Jordan, 301 N. 46th St.
      • 1888-1904
      • Moved from First and K to 48th and O; then to North 46th in 1892.
      • First school east of Wyuka.
    • McKinley, 230 S. 15th St.
      • 1902-1927
      • Elementary until 1915, when it became a special grades 1-9 school with pre-voc ed classes.
    • Normal, 52nd and South streets
      • 1919-1936
      • Acquired through annexation; torn down in 1936
    • O’Connor, 40th and Adams streets
      • 1963-1967
    • Van Fleet, 2500 N. 52nd St.
      • 1927-1940
      • Built by Nebraska Wesleyan; leased by LPS in 1927; razed by Wesleyan in 1977
    • West A Street, B and Folsom streets
      • 1895-1915
      • Name changed to Willard, 1915
    • Willard Elementary, 1245 S. Folsom St.
      • 1915-1969
      • New building 1918; today, Willard Community Center.
    • Whittier Junior High, 23rd and Vine
      • 1887-1923
      • Elementary at 22nd and Vine, then junior high at 23rd and Vine, 1923-77; alternative high school, 1980; bought by UNL, 1983
      • Slated for $23 million repair to become child care and research facility


Source: “How the Public Schools were Named” Lincoln Public Schools library media services. Does not include some leased premises for special programs, or existing schools built at a new location.


Reach Margaret Reist at 473-7226 or



 Photos & Poem From Maxine Davis Duffek


Long ago and far away, in a land that time forgot.


Before the days of Dylan, or the dawn of Camelot.



There lived a race of innocents, and they were you and me,




For Ike was  in the White House in that land where we were born,




We learned to gut a muffler, we washed our hair at dawn,




We spread our crinolines to dry in circles on the lawn.




We longed for love and  romance, and waited for our Prince,


And Eddie Fisher married Liz, and no one's seen him since.




We  danced to 'Little Darlin,' and sang to 'Stagger Lee'




And cried for Buddy Holly in the Land That Made Me, Me.




Only girls wore earrings then, and three was one too many,


And only boys wore flat-top cuts, except for Jean McKinney.


And only in our wildest dreams did we  expect to see




A boy named George with Lipstick, in the Land That Made Me, Me.




We fell for Frankie Avalon, Annette was oh, so nice,


And when they made a movie, they never made it twice.


We didn't have a Star Trek Five, or Psycho Two and Three,




Or Rocky-Rambo Twenty in the Land That Made Me, Me.




Miss Kitty had a heart of  gold, and Chester had a limp,


And Reagan was a Democrat whose co-star was a chimp.


We had a Mr. Wizard, but not a Mr. T,




And Oprah couldn't talk, yet, in the Land That Made Me, Me.




We had our share of heroes, we never thought they'd go,


At least not Bobby Darin, or Marilyn Monroe.


For youth was still eternal, and life was yet to be,




And Elvis was forever in the Land That Made Me, Me.




We'd never seen the rock band that was Grateful to be Dead,


And Airplanes weren't named Jefferson , and Zeppelins were not Led.


And Beatles lived in  gardens then, and Monkees lived in trees,


Madonna was a virgin in the Land That Made Me, Me.



We'd never heard of microwaves, or telephones in cars,


And babies might be bottle-fed, but they weren't grown in jars.


And pumping iron got wrinkles out, and 'gay' meant fancy-free,




And dorms were never coed in the Land That Made Me, Me.




We hadn't seen enough of jets to talk about the lag,


And microchips were what were left at the bottom of the bag.


And Hardware was a box of nails, and bytes came from a flea,




And rocket ships were fiction in the Land That Made Me, Me.




Buicks came  with portholes, and side shows came with freaks,


And bathing suits came big enough to cover both your cheeks.


And Coke came just in bottles, and skirts  below the knee,




And Castro came to power near the Land That Made Me, Me.




We had no Crest with Fluoride, we had no Hill Street Blues,


We had no patterned pantyhose or Lipton herbal tea




Or prime-time ads for condoms in the Land That Made Me, Me.




There  were no golden arches, no Perrier to chill,


And fish were not called Wanda, and cats were not called Bil l.


And middle-aged was 35 and old was  forty-three,




And ancient were our parents in the Land That Made Me, Me.






But all things have a season, or so  we've heard them say,





And now instead of Maybelline we swear by Retin-A.




They send us invitations to join AARP,




We've come a long way, baby, from the Land That Made Me, Me.




So now we face a brave new world in slightly larger jeans,


And wonder why they're using smaller print in all the magazines.



And we tell our children's children of the way it used to be,


Long, long ago.... in the Land That Made Me, Me.



Our Childhood in Black & White


(Under age 40? You won't understand.)

You could  hardly see for all the snow,

Spread the rabbit ears as far as they go. 

Pull a chair up to the TV set,

'Good Night, David. Good Night,  Chet.'

My Mom used to cut chicken, chop eggs and spread mayo on  the same cutting board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn't  seem to get food poisoning.

My Mom used to defrost hamburger on  the counter AND I used to eat it raw sometimes, too. Our school sandwiches  were wrapped in wax paper in a brown paper bag, not in ice-pack coolers,  but I can't remember getting e.coli ..

Almost all of us would have  rather gone swimming in the lake instead of a pristine pool (talk about  boring), no beach closures then.

The term cell phone would have  conjured up a phone in a jail cell, and a pager was the school PA system. 

We all took gym, not PE .. and risked permanent injury with a pair  of high top Ked's (only worn in gym) instead of having cross-training  athletic shoes with air cushion soles and built in light reflectors. I  can't recall any injuries but they must have happened because they tell us  how much safer we are now.

Flunking gym was not an option .. even  for stupid kids! I guess PE must be much harder than gym.

Speaking  of school, we all said prayers and sang the national anthem, and staying  in detention after school caught all sorts of negative attention. 

We must have had horribly damaged psyches. What an archaic health  system we had then. Remember school nurses? Ours wore a hat and  everything.

I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something  before I was allowed to be proud of myself..

I just can't recall  how bored we were without computers, Play Station, Nintendo, X-box or 270  digital TV cable stations

Oh yeah ... and where was the Benadryl  and sterilization kit when I got that bee sting? I could have been killed! 

We played 'king of the hill' on piles of gravel left on vacant  construction sites, and when we got hurt, Mom pulled out the 48-cent  bottle of Mercurochrome (kids liked it better because it didn't sting like  iodine did) and then we got our butt spanked.

Now it's a trip to  the emergency room, followed by a 10-day dose of a $49 bottle of  antibiotics, and then Mom calls the attorney to sue the contractor for  leaving a horribly vicious pile of gravel where it was such a threat. 

We didn't act up at the neighbor's house either because if we did,  we got our butt spanked there and then we got butt spanked again when we  got home.

I recall Donny Reynolds from next door coming over and  doing his tricks on the front stoop, just before he fell off. Little did  his Mom know that she could have owned our house. Instead, she picked him  up and swatted him for being such a goof. It was a neighborhood run amuck. 

To top it off, not a single person I knew had ever been told that  they were from a dysfunctional family.. How could we possibly have known  that?

We needed to get into group therapy and anger management  classes? We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills that we  didn't even notice that the entire country wasn't taking Prozac! How did  we ever survive?




From Nadine Turner Jordan


Test to Find Out If Your Are Older Than Dirt


Older than the Dirt Below the Dirt

'Someone asked the other day, 'What was your favorite fast food when you were growing up?'  'We didn't have fast food when I was growing up,' I informed him. 'All the food was slow.'

'C'mon, seriously. Where did you eat?'   'It was a place called 'at home,' I explained.  'Mom cooked every day and when Dad got home from work, we sat down together at the dining room table, and if I didn't like what she put on my plate I was allowed to sit there until I did like it.'

By this time, the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer serious internal damage, so I didn't tell him the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table.

But here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood if I figured his system could have handled it :

Some parents NEVER owned their own house, wore Levis, set foot on a golf course, traveled out of the country or had a credit card.

In their later years they had something called a revolving charge card. The card was good only at Sears Roebuck. Or maybe it was Sears & Roebuck. Either way, there is no Roebuck anymore. Maybe he died.

My parents never drove me to soccer practice. This was mostly because we never had heard of soccer. I had a bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds, and only had one speed, (slow).

We didn't have a television in our house until I was 19.  It was, of course, black and white, and the station went off the air at midnight, after playing the national anthem and a poem about God; it came back on the air at about 6 a.m. and there was usually a locally produced news and farm show on, featuring local people.

I was 21 before I tasted my first pizza, it was called 'pizza pie.' When I bit into it, I burned the roof of my mouth and the cheese slid off, swung down, plastered itself against my chin and burned that, too. It's still the best pizza I ever had.

I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone in the house was in the living room and it was on a party line. Before you could dial, you had to listen and make sure some people you didn't know weren't already using the line.

Pizzas were not delivered to our home. But milk was.  All newspapers were delivered by boys and all boys delivered newspapers --my brother delivered a newspaper, six days a week. It cost 7 cents a paper, of which he got to keep 2 cents. He had to get up at 6AM every morning.

On Saturday, he had to collect the 42 cents from his customers. His favorite customers were the ones who gave him 50 cents and told him to keep the change. His least favorite customers were the ones who seemed to never be home on collection day.

Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut. At least, they did in the movies. There were no movie ratings because all movies were responsibly produced for everyone to enjoy viewing, without profanity or violence or most anything offensive.

If you grew up in a generation before there was fast food, you may want to share some of these memories with your children or grandchildren. Just don't blame me if they bust a gut laughing.

Growing up isn't what it used to be, is it?  MEMORIES from a friend :

My Dad is cleaning out my grandmother's house (she died in December) and he brought me an old Royal Crown Cola bottle. In the bottle top was a stopper with a bunch of holes in it.. I knew immediately what it was, but my daughter had no idea. She thought they had tried to make it a salt shaker or something. I knew it as the bottle that sat on the end of the ironing board to 'sprinkle' clothes with because we didn't have steam irons. Man, I am old.

How many do you remember?

Head lights dimmer switches on the floor.

Ignition switches on the dashboard.

Heaters mounted on the inside of the firewall.

Real ice boxes.

Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain guards.

Soldering irons you heat on a gas burner.

Using hand signals for cars without turn signals.

Older Than Dirt Quiz :  Count all the ones that you remember not the ones you were told about.  Ratings at the bottom.

1.     Blackjack chewing gum

2.     Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water

3.     Candy cigarettes

4.     Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles

5.     Coffee shops or diners with tableside juke boxes

6.     Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers

7.     Party lines on the telephone

8.     Newsreels before the movie

9.     P.F. Flyers

10.    Butch wax

11.    TV test patterns that came on at night after the last show and were

        there until TV shows started again in the morning.

        (there were only 3 channels [if you were fortunate)

12.    Peashooters

13.    Howdy Doody

14.    45 RPM records

15.    S & H greenstamps

16.    Hi-fi's

17.    Metal ice trays with lever

18.    Mimeograph paper

19.    Blue flashbulb

20.    Packards

21.    Roller skate keys

22.    Cork popguns

23.    Drive-ins

24.    Studebakers

25.    Wash tub wringers

 If you remembered 0-5 = You're still young

If you remembered 6-10 = You are getting older

If you remembered 11-15 = Don't tell your age,

If you remembered 16-25 = You're older than dirt!

I might be older than dirt but those memories are some of the best parts of my life.



From Nadine Turner Jordan-A reading from Mr Rottman's 9th Grade class for an assembly


This is a reading Mr. Rottman’s  9th Grade Speech Class did for an assembly at Northeast.  It is much longer so I have only contributed part of it for old time memories sake.



By Vachel Lindsay

1.     Basic Savagery

Fat black buck in a wine barrel room

Barrel house kings with feet unstable

Sagged and reeled and pounded on the table

Pounded on the table

Beat an empty barrel with the handle of a broom

Hard as they were able

Boom, Boom, Boom

With a silk umbrella and the handle of a broom

Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, boom

Then I had religion.  /  Then I had a vision  - Darrell

I could not turn from their revel in derision

Then I saw the Congo creeping through the black

Cutting through the jungle with a golden track

Then along that riverbank

A thousand miles

Tattooed cannibals danced in files

Then I heard the boom of the blood lust song

And a thigh bone beating on a tin pan gong

And “Blood” (Judy) screamed the whistles and the fifes of the warriors

“Blood” (Judy) screamed the skull-faced lean witch doctors (Pause)

Whirl ye the deadly voo-doo-rattle

Harry the uplands

Steal all the cattle

Rattle, rattle, rattle, rattle


Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, boom

A roaring epic, ragtime tune

From the mouth of the Congo

To the mountains of the moon

Death is an elephant

Torch-eyed and horrible

Foam flanked and terrible.

Boom /  Steal the pygmies

Boom /  Kill the Arabs

Boom /  Kill the white men


From Mike Lessmann