1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


The Good Old Days

Herman King  October 15, 2010

Nostalgia is an antidepressant for old timers.  Sometimes old folks are criticized for talking about the good old days.  But we have reasons for that. They were, in fact, the good old days. When I moved down from the mountains to Hampton Roads, specifically Newport News, in 1962, gasoline was 19 cents a gallon. To be honest, there was a price war at the time. (Best kind of war there is). After the price war ended, gasoline shot up to 49 cents per gallon.  (Ahhh, still the good old days).

Gas stations were called service stations. The attendant would clean your windshield and vacuum the inside of your car without being asked, put the gas into your car, and you didn't always have to fill up. Now, it's do-it-yourself. You either pay in advance or use a credit card. You do all the work. The only "service" you get is when the cashier takes your money. In the old days, you drove with one hand on the steering wheel and the other around your girl. Today both sexes drive with one hand on the steering wheel and the other with a cell-phone jammed against an ear. I guess the best thing of all back then was your safety.

For a time my family lived in the East End of Newport News.(At the time I hadn't heard of Gloucester or Mathews). The East End was a blue collar neighborhood with peaceful streets shaded by lovely sycamores. There was a little mom and pop's store just around the corner from where we lived. It stayed open kind of late but you always felt safe walking to and from there. This all changed in the mid-60s. Walking outside after dark put your life in danger. The corner store was robbed twice before we moved. A hardware store a few blocks away was robbed and the manager killed. The good old days were turning bad. My family died and I moved to York County and then to Gloucester County. It's fairly safe here compared to Newport News. But the price of gasoline is absurdly high everywhere. And nationwide, the good old days are gone. Our popular culture has degenerated to a level I never imagined. The radio blares forth sounds scarcely recognized as music. Kids and some challenged adults wear their clothes backward. (If I sound like Bill Cosby, remember he too is an old-timer). It's easier to get an education now but apparently harder to benefit from it. I could go on and on but you may have already quit reading my rant. I am merely defending the good old days. May they live in our minds and lighten our hearts forever.