The Good/Bad Old Days
Once or twice a year my neighbor Kathleen’s daughter Jane visits her from Virginia. On each visit Jane has a project in mind. In the past it has been to replacing steps, laying carpet, painting a couple of rooms, and whatever else. Jane doesn’t come down to visit to twiddle her thumbs and look at TV.
On some of the projects, if there is any cleaning out, I may get something out of it.
On Jane’s Christmas visit she gave me a stack of Reminisce magazines from her cleaning out.
Off and on, I have been looking at the different issues. Reminisce magazine is about the good old days. Of course, it’s target readership are people who were alive and enjoying life in the 30s, 40s, and probably the 60s. Probably at one time the magazine had articles about the 20s, but their audience for that time segment has, well, moved on. Your time is coming – watch out!
The good old day in the magazines show people dancing at big dance halls; movie stars such as Clark Gable; fancy new cars which would be antiques now; radio crystal sets; plays (“Yankee Doodle Dandy” comes to mind); and you get the idea. The magazine wants to bring back memories of yesteryear; a neatly packed package of nostalgia.
One thing I noticed missing in every magazine: African-Americans. What does that tell you… the Good Old Days wasn’t that good?
You mean they didn’t enjoy going to the movies entering in the “Colored Entrance” and having to sit way back in the back part of the balcony? – if they were allowed at all. It was common sense that if a theater did not have a balcony the blacks were not allowed. Or being not allowed in restaurants, or if a restaurant did allow them to buy they had to order at an outside window marked “Colored”. I remember seeing restroom signs at the Cobb County Courthouse saying “White Gentlemen”, “White Ladies”, “Colored Men”, and “Colored Women”… in another county building was restroom signs saying, “White Gentlemen”, “White Ladies” and “Colored”… both sexes had to share the same bathroom, which most white people thought was fine, “those people don’t have any morals anyway”. And there were the back of buses, and I could on.
What used to get to me was to be talking to a white person of authority and that person would be friendly and warm and the same person turn around and talk to a black person and naturally be sharp, curt, and contemptuous for no reason.
Those were the days my friend, I thought would never end.