Robert Thomas, whose family was one of the earlier Chambers County settlers, stopped by and told me that he enjoyed reading my rants. He said that time has changed so much that the current generation does not understand what times were like in the mid-1900s in our environment. I ran into Larry Poole in downtown Lanett the other day and he told me he enjoyed reading columns relating to railroads. Malcomb Prather called me and wanted me to answer some questions relating to the LaFayette Solar Farm. Larry Crozier mentioned that he takes interest in the weekly subjects that I address. To all of you, thank you for your interest as it makes composing the column worthwhile as there is no financial award for my efforts. I recognize that I am engaged in ‘Mickey Mouse” journalism and the fact that some people enjoy the amateur compositions is appreciated. Again, thank you!
The “out with the old and in with the new” came to mind as I recently attended a local reception. I was standing there wolfing down the free snacks when I heard a conversation between two of the ladies in attendance. One complimented the other on how great the artwork was on the recent tattoo styles on her arm. She asked the tattooed lady how much the stylish flower design cost. If I eaves dropped correctly, I think she said that it cost several thousand dollars. I almost lost my appetite for the Lockhart fried fish dinner that followed. I admit that I am “out with old”.
I remember while I was in Service a lot of my fellow Airmen would get a small tattoo on their arm. Most of the time it was while they were out on the town and had a few more beers than they could handle. When returning to civilian life in the 50’s, a lot of the ex service members would have the tattoos inked over. Most of the business community would not endorse anyone with a tattoo although it had nothing to do with their qualifications for being hired. Society in that period was not “in with the new”.
Students in public school also were “out with the old”. Girl student dress code would not tolerate wearing shorts to school. And when the girls wore them on the basketball court, the so called shorts came down to their knees. If a girl wore a low cut blouse, that was not tolerated either. I can not remember seeing a girl’s belly button in high school although I was on the lookout. However, the boys could wear anything that covered their body even though it might have been worn out overalls or shirts made out of fertilizer sacks. Most of rural boys went to school barefooted. During late Fall I remember sitting on my feet while riding the school in order to keep my feet warm. Trouble with the bare foot thing which we idiots were so fond of, sooner or later you going to stump your toe and it would hurt like the dickens (I am not sure who Dickens was but I don’t think that is was Charles). During the summer you could count on stepping on a nail or rock and having to have to soak your foot in Epsom salt and having to apply iodine on the wound. Now as for the “in with the new” crowd, can you imagine not wearing shoes to school? I can never remember any gender bias discussion in the “out with old”’ although girls never went to school bare footed.
Speaking of “out with the old”, I cannot remember any high school student driving a car to school. In fact there was a whole lot of walking going on as the in-town students could not ride the school bus.
If a student athlete was staying after school for practice, he was on his own to get home. In those days hitch hiking was a common practice.
Do you know what is “dipping”? It is not dipping your snack into a sauce. Dipping is placing snuff between your front teeth and your lip. You would grab your lip and pull it away from your gum and dip snuff into the opening. The amount of snuff you deposited in your mouth was referred to as a “pinch”.I remember Bruton was the name of a popular snuff. The dipper had to be careful as swallowing the snuff was not a pleasant experience. The old joke was: How do you tell if a person is a level-headed country boy? Snuff runs out of both sides of his mouth. My Grandfather and Grandmother were “dippers” and kept a spittoon handy as there always a lot of tobacco juice to discharge. How do you tell a if a country has a wife? You will notice snuff on the outside door of the driver AND passenger side of the pickup. Thank goodness – “out with the old”.
Another “out with the old” is smoking. Most every male in early years smoked and there was no condemnation of the habit. However, “in with the new” is probably worse as smoking marijuana has been an accepted practice. Smoking 2 packs a day of cigarettes a day eventually destroyed your health, but at least the user’s brain was not adversely affected as it is with marijuana.
There is a lot of change in accepted social concepts and practices. However, I have to admit some of the standards of early social acceptance were very biased and prejudiced. The “in with the new” is a lot more tolerant of practices that “out with the old” condemned.