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Some old days worth remembering

KATHRYN YARBRO
Guest columnist

I’m getting a few comments on my columns. Just last week someone said they enjoy the columns because I write about the old days.
What else would I write about? That’s all I know. I can’t explain why, but as the years add up those days become easier to relive.
I don’t believe the good old days were that great. Not that I think they were bad old days. They were just old days.
Then. Not now. And we can’t do anything but let them keep coming and going, now becoming then over and over again.
I wouldn’t have them back. Who wants to carry water from a well or strike a match to light a lamp? I like faucets, switches and other modern conveniences.
But as we age, sometimes it’s good to recall how life was at different stages. And as now becomes then my memory bank stays open longer.
Remember the small grammar school?
We lived nearby and I remember my mother walking me to school on the first day. My older siblings rode the bus and I was pouting because I wanted to be big enough to be with them.
Would the students laugh at me because my mother held my hand until the teacher opened the door? Yes, they did. And little did I know how fortunate I really was to have such a caring mother.
North Brook No. III was the first school in Lincoln County to have a cafeteria. Area workers turned an old school bus garage into a small lunchroom. Students could bring produce or canned goods and get a free lunch. Ten cents would get you a full plate of beans, slaw and bread. Three students in one family could eat for a quarter.
I remember the foul-tasting grapefruit juice. It was likely among the first of many government-donated foods.
No PTA then, but the neighborhood women who belonged to the Home Demonstration Club supported the lunchroom by holding chicken pie suppers to raise money. They plucked the donated chickens behind the building, cooked them inside, served plate suppers for 50 cents or a dollar and took the profit and bought a refrigerator.
My 90-year-old aunt, who was a member of the now-extinct club, also worked as a lunchroom cook. She recalls farmers bringing sacks of sweet potatoes and baskets of fruits and vegetables to feed the children. The club members also bought library books and kept the school closet stocked. Didn’t we call it a cloak room then?
Once a year, there was ice cream day. Anyone whose family owned a crank-type freezer was asked to bring it to school. Those who brought a gallon of milk got a free cone. Bigger boys got to turn the freezer and only teachers got to dip.
As I relive this ice cream day, I can lick my lips and almost taste the sticky sweetness from the cone as it leaks down my chin.
Some old days are worth remembering.
Kathryn Yarbro is former managing editor of the Lincoln Times-News.

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