I knew a girl once who was a product of the 5os : not so pretty, not one bit sexy, skinny, reasonably bright, independent , bossy…… but a “good girl “, and being a good girl during that decade was vitally important. Everyone knew and recognized the difference in “good girls ” and ” bad girls ” and the entire town marked the difference. What a concept !
This teenager loved her small Southern town and the culture it represented.
High school was home away from home ; most of the teachers were local and families knew families. The original village, for sure.
Sunday school and church were gathering places for like-minded souls looking for the greater good. Rarely was there a Sunday that God-fearing families did not attend services.
The town square was made up of drugstores, grocery stores, department stores, beauty shops, dime stores, filling stations, cafes, one movie, one hardware store, one shoe shop ( where shoes were actually made ), one hotel, and bales of cotton by the tracks, waiting on the train. There also was a telephone operator whose ” office ” was upstairs overlooking the square.
Dates were football games , school dances and movies, sometimes drive-ins. Double dating was the preferred way.
Life was good for teens in , arguably, the greatest decade.
And referencing drugstores brings to mind that there were two, side-by-side : Vandiver and Macomson was one and J.D. Hicks, another. An interesting scene since both could see who was doing business with whom !
Bob Vandiver’s was where the kids went. He offered a soda fountain with Phyllis Singleton (Cawthon ) , high school student herself , doing her magic of fluffy milkshakes and flat burgers, making everybody happy. And then there was a jukebox for dancing upstairs. What a way to spend an afternoon after a hard day at the high school !
J.D.’s, on the other hand, was one of the places that the men in town ” hung out “, sharing gossip and settling the world’s problems.
One of the funny stories that came out of J.D.’s drugstore was when a local man came in to join the guys. Now this nice man was a little different, but he came from a good family, had a steady job, and was well liked.
On this day he was excited because it was his mother’s birthday, and the family had planned a celebration.
And so, he said, ” Today is Mother’s birthday. She’s 66 and I’m 33. When she was 40, I was 20. When she was 20, I was 10……………..HELL, THAT AIN’T RIGHT !!!!!!! “. Needless to say, this tale traveled the town and made everybody’s day.
And referencing the telephone operator brings to mind how life was without cell phones, but instead, had a second-floor observer whose name was Mrs. “Something ” Brown, but was simply called ” Brown “. Much like the local operator on the Andy Griffith show, “Brown ” knew everything about everybody at any given time of day or night.
She knew who was running around with whom, when the funeral director left the funeral home to pick up a body and whose body it was, how many people had lunch at the hotel, which ladies used which beauty shop, where the fire was when the trucks went out, who shopped at which grocery and where prescriptions were filled, where the ladies were going, depending on how they were dressed and the time of day, and , if asked, I’m sure she would tell you what God was doing at a given time ! She was truly the town crier, the telescope, the magnifying glass, and if alive today, social media.
Kids would call ” Brown ” if they couldn’t reach their parents, and she would tell them where they were, what they were doing, why they were there, and then ring the number. Nosy maybe. But there also was a certain amount of security in that. Nobody felt alone because ” Brown ” was always watching.
There are many more tales to tell and although these two came from Lavonia, similar stories could be found in Royston or Hartwell or Carnesville or Toccoa or any other small towns in the South those many years ago.
And, yes, the teenager was Diane, but it could just as easily have been Jerri or Peggy or Dot or Betsy or Libby or Elizabeth or June or Mary Ann and on and on. Typical indeed.
Let me hear if you enjoyed these ramblings. There’s more where they came from : some happy, some sad, some silly , but all true. I can always share.
What a joy it is to read your posts! We all share such wonderful memories and you bring them back to,life.
Much love to,you and our Lavonia friends
So glad you enjoy. You know my thoughts just tumble. But this one was near and dear to me because so many wonderful memories stirred. Love you………..
Don’t know about the commas! Couldn’t delete! Don’t let Chuck see that❤️
Love going back to those days in the 50’s. Thanks for taking me back!
So glad you enjoyed ! Memories are precious and need to be preserved.
I think growing up in the 50’s was the best of the best. I enjoy your ramblings very much.
Thank you, Joyce. So many similarities in our growing-up days. I’m glad we shared a table at that Lenten lunch many years ago.
You can tell a story!
Thank you, Scott, for the compliment ! I appreciate our friendship.
Love stepping back in time through your writings. Memories of growing up in Lavonia are filled with good folks and good times…♥️
Those of us who share these same memories know we were blessed. Thanks for reading and commenting.
A great reminder of how fortunate we were to grow up in a town and time where the operator was not the only one making connections.
Amen to that ! Thank you for appreciating Lavonia as much as I do .
Yes, Diane, as you well know from your and Byron’s time in Winder, the small Southern towns do share so much from that time period. It was a time of simplicity and I have always thought that some of the most beautiful parts of creation are the simple ones. Babies and old people, sunrises and sunsets, long vistas from mountain tops or the waves rolling in along a seashore. To be sure, a small town’s unhurried existence is also a thing to be observed, enjoyed and appreciated although, they are becoming as rare as hen’s teeth. Complex cities, puzzles, and people are intimidating to a simple person such as myself. But time surely changes most all things and we must try to adapt. But I wouldn’t mind going “Back to the fifties, tonight”.
Well said ! You have a poet in that heart somewhere. Hope you write some, and if you do, please share. Byron’s and my time in Winder was among the best in our marriage. The reaching out to a young couple new in town was total and memories were made. Would not have changed a thing ! Thank you for commenting,
I travel back there a lot during moments of reflective thought, and almost always experience a warm sense of security, comfort, and peace.
It was indeed a unique time and place in our world and a wonderful environment for young men and women to learn, grow, and mature in.
I have always believed that our generation was extremely fortunate to have been there, and from a personal perspective, feel that the experience significantly contributed to whatever success that I may have achieved in life.
So good to hear from you, David ! We certainly share many memories and you have others that I was not a part of. I think of some of the “boys ” in your class : you , Don C., Don W., Sam C., Max F. and others who were sought after by the girls a class or two behind . Such fun times indeed.
And I agree 100% that the closeness and comfort of our town, our families, our friends all combined to mold us. To my knowledge, none of those that we were closest to went astray. What a blessing.
Stay in touch as you can…………
I have Loved reading your memory of growing up in our sweet
town of Lavonia!!
It certainly reminded me of all the fun times we had!
Love and Hugs, Libby
Thanks, Libby. It was special indeed. I appreciate your comment and hope all is well with you. See you next trip this way, for sure.
Loved the read Diane. Fun times in Lavonia are are certainly good memories that I have often shared with my
7 grandchildren. Keep up the good work!
What a meaningful response. Thank you. And speaking of grandchildren, I wrote a memoir a couple of years ago for our 6, so that they would have a written legacy of at least 1/4 of their heritage. It is entitled IT WAS WHAT IT WAS, and both these stories came from that. Hope you are well !
You are leaving a legacy!!
Aren’t you the sweet one ? I think I’m just bumbling along, jotting down thoughts as I have them. For sure, what comes up comes out ! Looking forward to lunch at the end of the month. And thank you for your love and support………..