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Remember When?

Take a free trip with me… into the past. Let's go back before the Internet, before bombings, AIDS, herpes, automatic weapons, Nintendo or crack... go way back to a simpler time. Remember sitting on the curb, playing hide-and-seek, hopscotch, Simon says, flashlight tag, running through sprinklers, and red-light-green-light. Lunch boxes with a Thermos, chocolate milk, going home for lunch, penny candy, butterscotch, skates with keys, jacks and Cracker Jacks, hula hoops, sunflower seeds, wax lips and mustaches, circle pins, bobby pins, Mary Jane's, saddle shoes, and Coke bottles with a city name on the bottom. Remember playing baseball without an adult to enforce the rules? Remember licking real (not sugar-free) Kool-Aid powder off the palm of your hand?

Remember when the (only) TV took five minutes to warm up? Remember Mickey Mouse Club, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Jackie Gleason, Kookla, Fran and Ollie, Spin and Marty, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Laurel and Hardy, The Shadow, Howdy Doody and the Peanut Gallery, The Lone Ranger and Tonto, Roy and Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk, Nellie Belle, and Dick Clark's American Bandstand? All in fuzzy black and white and you had to turn off the TV when a storm came? Remember rabbit ears? With tin foil?

Remember when Moms were home waiting when their kids got out of school? When "fast food" meant Mom could cook the family's evening meal in less than twenty minutes? When families ate meals together? And Sunday, when the whole clan gathered at Grandma's house? Remember when children listened and obeyed their parents? When you were afraid of your punishment instead of drive-by shootings, drugs, gang wars, and rape?

Remember when you'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny? When no one owned a purebred dog? When a quarter was a decent allowance? When nylon hose came in two pieces? When you didn't know a single family with their own swimming pool?
When around the corner was far away and going downtown was a real trip? Remember climbing trees, making forts, backyard shows, lemonade stands, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, jumping on the bed, pillow fights, ribbon candy, angel hair on the Christmas tree, white gloves, walking to the movie theater, running till you were out of breath, giggling so hard your stomach ached? Remember lying on your back on the grass with your friends and saying, "That cloud looks like…"

Remember when you wouldn't step on a crack for fear that you'd break your mother's back, paper chains at Christmas, construction paper, unwrapped Halloween candy, caramel apples, popcorn balls, silhouettes of Lincoln and Washington in February? Remember doing The Stroll, The Twist, and sock hops?

Remember when you trusted the Government? When somebody cleaned your windshield, checked your oil, filled your tires, and pumped your gas, without asking, for free, every time!? And you got trading stamps or free glasses? When laundry detergent came with dishes or towels hidden inside the box? When it was considered a great privilege to get to go to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents? Remember when nothing came with safety caps or hermetic seals because no one had ever tried to poison a perfect stranger?

Remember when the worst thing you could do at school was flunk a test or chew gum? When proms were always in the gym? And you danced to real live musicians? Remember the smells: your school, the locker room, library paste, and Evening in Paris? When teachers threatened to keep failing kids back a grade -- and did! When every male teacher wore a necktie? When female teachers had their hair done everyday and wore high heels? When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to what would happen to you when your father got home?! Remember when there were just two types of sneakers for girls and boys: Keds or PF Flyers, and the only time you wore them at school was during gym class? And girls had to wear those ugly gym uniforms? When important school papers were mimeographed and regular classroom papers were on Ditto paper? Remember that smell?

Remember when a '57 Chevy was everyone's dream car? Remember cruising, peeling out, laying rubber, getting scratch off, and watching submarine races? When people went steady? When girls wore huge class rings with a half-inch of wrapped Band-Aids, dental floss, or yarn coated with pastel-frost fingernail polish so it would fit their finger?

Remember when girls dotted their i's with hearts? (Before that stupid smiley face?!)
When no one locked the front door? And no one asked where the car keys were, because everyone left them hanging in the ignition? When adults were addressed as "Mr." or "Mrs." plus their last name if you knew it, or "Sir" or "Ma'am" if you didn't?
With all our progress, don't you just wish that just once you could slip back in time and savor that slower pace… and then share it with today's children?

There. Didn't it feel good just to lean back and say, "Yeah, I remember…?"