Appeared in The Sunbury News on  June 16, 2016
Because You Asked . . . .

Remember Life Before
Smart Phones

By Polly Horn, Curator of the Myers Inn Museum

When my parents talked about the good old days, I thought they were ancient. Now I find myself in the same situation. I am ancient but I miss the days when people ate, talked, worked and played together.

I was born in 1939 and remember little of WWII except the tears when someone we knew was injured or killed. Family members served in the armed services but I remember little of it except running out in the yard to see the pilots flying over in case it was Billy Southworth who tipped his wings. I took my brother to Stoney’s Barber Shop and read the comics while he was getting his hair cut. I would walk around the back alley to avoid the baseball field dugouts which I was sure were the fox holes from which the Japanese would thrown hand grenades.

We listened to the radio probably more when our parents were working and the babysitters would listen to the Hit Parade countdowns. News was on while we ate supper with Ernie Pyle, Gabriel Heatter and Chet Long. We would hear the reporters then discuss the news or our days events. After dessert and all discussion, we were dismissed from the table to do the dishes and enjoy our evening.

We got TV when I was in the 6th grade but there was not much on it but Ruth Lyons and a soap in the middle of the day, Howdy Dowdy and other kids programs in the afternoon then westerns in the late afternoon. Variety shows in the evening. If we stayed up late on weekends each TV day ended with the Star Spangled Banner and we went to bed. But this did not matter because we were outside in the summer playing ball, biking or even reading under a tree. Life was relaxing and very social.

When we invited friends to dinner we skipped the news unless there was a major emergency in the world. We talked with each other. No one watched TV or checked their text.

We planned outings in advance so everyone knew what was happening whether to go roller skating in Westerville, swimming in Delaware or a picnic at the Roadside Park on Old CCC Highway.

I remember only going to the movies a few times as a child. Other than "Meet Me in St. Louis" I think we only saw Disney movies. As teenages we saw many more movies. The church youth fellowship organized trips to the Columbus theaters to see religious films. We often went to drive-in movies because it was cheaper and we could provide our own snacks.

But we looked forward to community celebrations on Memorial Day, July 4th, and Halloween. These events were not pulled off at the last minute but planned months and even a year in advance to be sure the next was better than the last. For the Sesquicentennial in 1966 almost two whole years were spent preparing for the two week celebration. It was magical and memorable. Check out the scrapbook of it at Community Library. For the Bicentennial Celebration of the United States, over a year was spent getting ready for the summer long celebration. For Delaware County’s Bicentennial Celebration, a group met monthly for a year and pulled off many events throughout the county. Now it is the Bicentennial for Sunbury. Everyone talks about a big celebration but it really is the Buffalo Bill Reenactment and the Bicentennial Bash from July 2 through 4th.

Following the showmen of yore, a local gal did a flyer for an upcoming event giving highlights of the event to entice people to attend and bring their family. The response from the committee was, "That’s nice but way too much information. If is does not fit on our smart phone we won’t read it. Social Media is the only thing."

Be sure to enjoy the upcoming events. People spent time on them. Leave your smart phones at home and enjoy your family and your neighbors. Take time to make magic memories for your children.

 . . . . And Now You Know

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