People raised their own food, in their vegetable gardens, and had their own eggs fresh from the chicken house, out back. Sears and Roebuck still mailed out catalogs and the old one was promptly carried out back to the privy for a new supply of toilet paper. During World War II, a good substitute for candy was Smith Brothers “Cherry” cough drops. In those days, the roads were not plowed and you were lucky to get from Gordon to Ithaca and on to Arcanum. They didn’t use road salt then and never plowed the roads but they sometimes shoveled coal cinders on major intersections so people could stop. You had to get in ruts made by other cars to stay on the roads.
Gordon’s Main Street used to freeze over and pack down so hard that we ice skated down the street. There were no school buses to Gordon School so we had to walk to get there. When Miss Beatrice Brown got to school from Arcanum, she rang the school bell to let us know that she was at school—it was OK to send the kids to school. We all walked that 1/2 mile and fought some stiff blizzards to get there with hands and feet so cold that she put them in a bucket of water when we opened the door.
Mom used to dress me in long underwear, shirt, trousers, sweater, coat, scarf and a knitted toboggan pulled down over my ears, and gloves. Mittens were much warmer but only the girls wore them. If a boy wore mittens, the rest of the boys would call him a “sissy.” The long underwear were usually put on at the beginning of winter and never taken off until spring. Find that hard to believe?
When I grew up a little more I became a teenager and was always trying to look good. So the theme was different. I tried to tame duck-tail haircuts, slicked in place Brylcreams: “A little dab will do ya!” If there was plenty of money I had penny loafers or white buckskin shoes like Pat Boone wore. Our pants were pegged and we wore collars turned-up. Girls were especially sexy in crinoline petticoats, and pony-tails. I got the first Mohawk haircut in Darke County after seeing the famous wrestler, Don Eagle, walking down Broadway in Greenville.
Those were the days when you had to ask the pharmacist for condoms. I didn’t know a single boy who used them. They were important to carry around in your pocket and “show them” to the right people. They were a sort of status symbol for boys. Boys all lied about who they had sex with and how many times. I guessed girls talked the same way about the boys. I would have been too ashamed to ask.