Old Doc is Asked About Life in the Olden Days.


A grandson’s question for Old Doc:

“What was life like when you were my age?”

Old Doc Starts With

“When I was your age, we didn’t have computers or smartphones. We played outside a lot, rode our bikes, and made up games with our friends.  Back then, things were very different. We had black-and-white TVs with only a few channels, and we listened to the radio for entertainment and news. We dedicated songs to our sweethearts on the radio.

We played lots of sports. Your granddaddy, Old Doc, was pretty good at baseball and football. My daddy taught me how to throw a curveball which became my signature pitch.

We played “kick the can” with friends under the streetlight until we heard mother’s voice echoing up and down the street from the front porch of our house, “Supper’s ready!”

After supper, we did our homework and sometimes called our sweetheart on the phone pretending to be getting help with a homework question. Sometimes we spoke in a code language we called “pig latin.” I’ll share with you how that worked sometime.

We didn’t have the internet, so we had to go to the library to look up information. Our phones were connected to the wall with cords, and we wrote letters instead of emails. We sent postcards back to family and friends when on vacation. We took ‘Polaroid’ pictures, a camera which processed the film while we waited and the finished picture rolled out of the camera into our grateful hands.

Life was simpler in many ways. We spent a lot of time with family, had home-cooked meals every day, and helped with chores around the house.”

There were also different social norms. For example, schools were different, very structured and proper. We were taught a lot about our country’s history; I loved history classes. We were taught how to grow things, and to  save our pennies for a rainy day, and to be self-sufficient, and fair and honest. Most of us went to the same church. During Old Doc’s days, schools were segregated, as were churches and neighborhoods for the most part. People of different skin color and religious beliefs lived separate lives.

And we had different styles of clothing and music than today. Our music was way different and way better!

Your granddaddy, Old Doc, had long hair like a girl for a while…because it was the style and the girls liked boys with long hair.

We learned about sex from reading books and looking at big brother’s magazines. Old Doc learned about holding hands and sneaking a kiss in the balcony of the theater on Saturday afternoons. After my first kiss in the balcony, I got out of my seat and ran all the way home without stopping. Why? I don’t know. I wasn’t scared; I just had a sudden burst of energy after that first kiss that needed to worked off.

Son, I asked my granddaddy about what things were like when he was my age and he told me things I still remember today, like going on dates in a horse and buggy. Imagine that! That’s where he got his first kiss from my grandmother while looking over the horse’s rump from the squeaky seat of the old buggy. My grandmother was about fourteen years old at the time. That kiss led to a marriage which led to a large family including my uncles, an aunt, and my daddy. The boys worked on the farm, my aunt helped in the kitchen.

There’s a lot more I could share; I hope I get the chance.

But I will leave you with this thought: my granddaddy lived a life far different than his daddy. My daddy lived a different life than grandaddy’s, his daddy. I lived a far different life than my daddy and you are living a different life than I did. It’s called change. Change is when something becomes different from what it was before. It can be small, like the weather changing from sunny to rainy, or big, like moving to a new house. Change is a natural part of life, and it helps us grow and experience new things. Imagine how you might answer your grandchild’s question about how life has changed since you were growing up back in ’24!”

Excelsior, this is your granddaddy, Old Doc Granger, who loves you, son, and is seeing big changes in you since I first saw you as a tiny baby! I can tell about the changes in you from the questions you’re asking. You’re growing up!

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