I saw this quote on Pinterest. It has been bouncing around my head for the last couple of days. It connected with a few of my childhood recollections of trips to the corner grocery store or “The Big Dipper,” a corner ice cream store. Back then a nickel would make you happy because it would buy a candy bar or some great penny candy. I remember summer days when we would go in search of the old glass pop bottles. If you took them to the store you could turn them in for a few coins… maybe enough to buy a comic book and some candy. Now that and a shade tree was an afternoon well spent.
We didn’t have much television and most phones were still on the party line system. There definitely weren’t any computers or game boxes. But we had bikes and unlimited time and parents that didn’t have cable TV and 24 hour news to scare them into keeping us under lock and key. Most of the time my mom had no idea where I was once I left the house. There were no cell phones to call you back home. It was freedom.
Traffic wasn’t as bad because very few homes had two cars, let alone three or four. We had to have licenses for our bikes (little stickers that were attached to our fenders) and had to prove we knew the hand signals for left turn, right turn and stop. With our bike basket packed with a PBJ and some Sterzings potato chips we could be gone for most of the day. Back then the cost of happiness was pretty darn cheap.
Today we find ourselves sitting on hidden benches in the garden with our books in our laps gazing off at butterflies and remembering those beautiful, carefree summers of our youth and wondering what we would do if we would win the big mega millions lottery. Today’s dreams are a little more costly.
(The photo is a bench in the Art Center’s garden.)