A Simpler Place in Time | The Good Old Days

The Good Old Days!

Was a promise really something people kept
Not just something they would say and then forget
Did families really bow their heads to pray
Did daddies really never go away?
Oh, Grandpa, tell me ’bout the good old days” -The Judds

In my previous post I talked about how as a young teen, I lived on a 3-acre “farm”, which was at the end of a lonely country road, surrounded by many acres of Ozark rolling hills and a short hike from the meandering James River.

These were lean times for our family.  But we made the most of what we had during those years; we had chickens, a milk cow, cats and dogs and a beautiful mature apple and peach orchard.  But best of all I remember a huge cherry tree that grew so close to our house, that I could climb on our roof and pick and eat big red Bing cherries until I was nearly sick – (more times than not, we had cherry pie for dinner that night)!


My brother Mike sitting on the cistern (where many important dreams were hatched by my Dad), with Snooks the cat and my favorite cherry tree in the background.

Those were special times; romanticized through the lens of my youth.  My family would speak fondly of those days on “the farm”, forgotten were the cramped little cottage-style house and it’s inadequate furnace, the harsh winters in the early-60’s, when we only had one car – a car that my dad had to take when he worked out of town; hot summers with no air conditioning, and the hardship of never quite enough money to have some of the nice things that a junior high boy just HAD to have, (like a pair of genuine Bostonian shoes)!

Things got better for us in time and eventually we sold the little farm and moved into town.  I was in High School, and being closer to friends and school activities was of utmost importance to me now.  But as the saying goes, “you can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy”!

Time for a Do-over

I was out of college in 1971 and before long; marriage, a job, two kids, a car and a mortgage.  Life sailed on by.

In 1982 my life changed with a divorce;  I took on a new responsibility to be a part-time single parent to two teenage sons.  This was a new phase for me.  Most single parents can relate to a major issue –  how to keep two boys occupied and entertained!  It seems like I tried everything to entertain them on “my weekends”.

Video game arcades didn’t last long, every parent finds out how quickly $40 can disappear in Pac-man, Frogger or Donkey Kong machines.  (Yes this was the 80’s).  We got into coin collecting, stamp collecting, went to museums (which did not go well) and movies.  It didn’t take to long to get into Boy Scouts (I was, am?, an Eagle Scout) and all kinds of outdoor activities.  This included hiking, camping and for the boys, rock climbing and rappelling.  Before long, our interests to turned to hunting and fishing.

My two sons- David and Jeff circa 1992.

In 1991, I was faced with a challenge when my two sons decided to attend the University of Georgia at the same time.  Some of the challenges I faced when my boys left for school were emotional.

So when it became time for them to go away to college, ( Athens was about an hour and a half from our home in the Atlanta suburbs), I felt like most parents who have to let their kids go away for the first time – sad, lost and worried!

Another challenge was financial.  How was I going to pay for my two sons living away from home; all of the expenses were double!  Two tuitions, two apartments, two meal tickets, two sets of books, two cars and two allowances!  It couldn’t have happened at a worse time for me; I had changed careers and was experiencing what it was like to be a “rookie” at age 42, all at a rookie salary.  I began to search for a way to make it all happen.

To be continued….


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