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The American people from. Riverside radio w o the FM station of the Riverside Church in the city of New York resents the American people probing contemporary issues in the context of our American heritage and traditions our values and go see. Tonight the good old days. It's a study in the stars you know I took history of remembrance of sweet and bitter sweet times that are no more recalled by the people themselves. The 71 year old Texas writer and in a town where I was born the
soda water. Factory. Basket came and went down to the towns where I work. The barber shop. Stores. They had a Pepsi and soda which I don't think I've ever tasted anything to equal in my life. There was such a soggy molasses for example. I used to drive out with an elder statesman named Max Jones in a buggy and going to tours to the farm where the Sargon mail held the back of a buggy or a spring wagon as it was called with. Gallon pottery jugs of sorghum eating on pancakes cold mornings all winter. I never been able to find any sorghum molasses that tasted like that. Tasty. Housewife in Fairbanks Alaska. I think we've lost. This. Togetherness this being able to entertain each other to just enjoy each other's company and be truly good friends to care about the other fella. This type of thing I think has been lost
to a great expanse. The operator of a small restaurant in Muncie Indiana could be a square used to be a real couple. Now where are you. You were there people saying this is where your considers where. Fire cop on that if you could get. Now they get me out. Of a tired Air Force colonel. There were no good days except in someone's. Nostalgic recollection of imagined ghosts. Tonight you will hear the voices of these and other Americans discussing the good old days. Among them a veteran actor now living in Ann Arbor Michigan. A domestic worker in New York City a woman in Pacific Beach California a college professor in South Dakota a Midwestern farmer and a housewife in Lexington Kentucky.
The American people. I think in my own mind when you ask me about the Middle East I think of a time in which I was most secure. And there was times obviously when when women had a nice childhood and the perimeters of his consciousness were outlined it was mom and dad and brothers and sisters in the House and the mailbox had always been there in the street if there was a street was always near the road and the cows in the old horse that was always
named the same thing and everything had been touched everything and found very real by you everything had been committed as if it had been preordained the same yesterday today and forever. It was in the biblical notation. With the good old days the days of security the days of the rosiness the days of sow contemplation were. Suddenly one's own feelings then could celebrate self. Yet today is a romance the day when one can celebrate I'm alive and I can sing and feel and walk and talk and yet have the luxury of human celebration with no problem of getting any comeuppance. Meeting with the good old days. And of course I think the problem becomes that if we cleaned with ease. Then there is a day when sickness because then what we are trying to do is to keep this romantic celebration of youth.
Alive long after we reach to maturity we began the knowing the way things are. I personally have so no strategy recollections of the old days and that when I said He would it I'm not referring to my childhood. I'm talking of my Adam's life and I don't know why I think that the speed with which everything is done today necessitates more moral obligations on our part to see that good things are done quickly across to Shakespeare to have done quickly. But even so there are some things that I think could be done more slowly and with better results in the in the buggy days if one
was going on a trip for 30 miles one talk about it for a week ahead and planned everything. That's just an instance of planning and one good planned trip. Today anyone got to get in one car and pushes off. Think there are hundred miles think anything of it and come back the same day that has made a colossal impact I think on everything we have lost the treasure when to be patient. I thought a great deal about the old days not just because I was a young girl and because I do believe
though I worry in many ways. What shall I say better than they are today. I think it's a pretty good food good. Enough. Continue with your cue. Now this. And I think you are closer. Than they are today. Together they went together and. I certainly do feel that. It would be well of course we can't but it would be a way only. GOOD GOOD own good.
When I was a young woman. Wasn't quite as hurried as it is now. I don't know that I was young and had more energy. But writing the much easier easier going to work all day. Then you'll be able to go places at night. And then you don't have to spend as much money. In doing the thing that you want to do. We don't get any. One of the things I remember. From back in the 1890s when I was a. Boy and Tam. Is the railroad.
That. Gun from us and I'm missing very much. I lived in a small town in Missouri a county seat town that was 14 miles from the Mississippi River. We had a little time narrow gauge railroad called the Chester area veil and using Genevieve read. A local. Joke was that the name was longer than the track it was only 14 miles long at a time. And it ran just behind our house maybe a quarter of a mile or an open field. And I saw the train go down the river in the morning and come back in the. Winter in the summer. And the little shrill whistle. Very big smokestack. What sparks what burning. Those things come back to me. Down on the old family farm in the summertime we used to be sent to bed before 8 o'clock. My small cousin and I. But we would always stay awake to listen for the whistle.
The aid from the train from Memphis coming down. Over. You. Could hear the whistle way up yonder. And then you could see the headlights. You for one minute perhaps tell it kill the river and the track bank and then you can hear the wooer that was crossing the river old office. I think I listen. To that in my memory more than any one single thing in my life. Thanks. In approximately the 20 years that during the time that I was growing up I think we had one murder. In the city of Fairbanks and this was of course something terrific we had never heard of such a thing we didn't lock our doors. We didn't have to lock our doors we never had any such thing as a robbery in the whole town. We didn't have to worry about it. And
actually in town you often left a coffee pot on the stove because of course we didn't have electric stoves we had a wood type stove or Cohen that the going was a coffee pot on the back and and someone would come in and you'd feel perfectly free to help yourself to a cup of coffee and would be expected to in fact everyone would like for you to because this this is was a way of life and this was wonderful if there was a tragedy in your family why everybody was there to take over for you. If for example. I know of younger young married people and if they had problems and their children were sick for two or three friends would come in and do their washing and ironing and get it up for them which I doubt very much that you see done today on occasion perhaps but it wouldn't occur to someone else for fear he would be imposing. So they say that they can then help do your mending and get your washing and ironing up. And you try to do the same thing.
When I think of the good old days I had to go back to the time from the time I was 20 until I was 30. Them days we had the great Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. We had the great Jack Dempsey. Gene Tunney Harry Grant in the fighting game. And we had some tremendous athletes all around. We were striving hard to get somebody to break the four minute mile which lie came very close to and I didn't. And along that along about that time when sports started to bloom in this country Yankee stadium was built. The House That Ruth Built. There were a million dollar fights out between Dempsey and Tunney around 1927 and Chicago. Today. Jones beach was starting to be built at that time and. While there were a lot of wonderful things happen and there were a lot of handicaps
numbered trying to go to. Rockaway from New York City which was only a very short distance by automobile in the 20s and I would take it three or four hours. We didn't have the roads we didn't have too many cars but we didn't have any roads to travel out of might you might see in a cop or two or three hours and them time but of course things have changed a lot since then and I just don't know if I want to I want to if I had a pair you know I'd like to live all over again this is a period that I would like to live most of the first year I was married I lived on my husband's farm. And my mother came to visit me one day. And she said now she don't want to use all the a jewelry we could sell some of them. So their lives today down beyond was only about four miles so I had my own driving cars so we had to hurry. Thank you. I might do now the money is at least restarted.
With the eggs in the back. The buggies were in the back little thing. So we started out and my driving heart was quite high life. I had about a mile or so and out on the road came a little red automobile. That belonged to a doctor the first automobile in the town. And I immediately froze the heart because I knew that she would be frightened to death and what she would do. Well the automobiles in those days would stop when somebody coming in a very good job of arson went by. So he turned out the side of the road. So I picked up my heart and tried to get it go by but she wouldn't go.
Back and she backed down in a ditch. But we didn't. And he got by while he was waiting for us. And it was a long time before that down but we got. Life was simpler and less complicated than in this day. I was in a member of a large family and we were always very close and used to romp and we used to call fool around and my mother was a very remarkable woman. She always seemed to find things to make our Christmas and birthday very
happy. Sometimes I wonder NO PLEASE did she certainly was a woman of whom Nowadays women and women think they with all their automatic appliances and the conveniences that my mother didn't have and she used to have. I had five sisters and she used to make all of our clothing. And did phenomenal amount of canning and stuff like that and where she found the time I just don't know now. These women just don't seem to find the time for things like that. One of the things being. Raised in Hoosier land that I missed the most are there are bands where you no longer have these there was a time when I was practically no place in the state but you couldn't get to these things. They passed out of existence I think around one hundred thirty five or thirty six at which time I was around 10 years old and 10 years old.
But I do remember with. A lot of enjoyment the trips that we used to make from you all made a lot of on the decks a flyer that took my hundred and seven miles modern seven minutes. I remember one time in particular when my. Brother and my mother and I went down on a weekend. They had. What they call trailer cars that had no power the pole behind the car. Lead car. And there were just not ripped enough seats to go around for two small boys in addition to mommy's old money get sit down and. Brother Frank and I went back to the baggage section and sat on top of a coffin all the way from Indianapolis. You loyal. But they were. They were quite a flying and they really made time and I think anybody that. Around the state remembers and I remember them with a great fondness because they ran a great brick homes and ran very high speed even the locals but stopped at every farm in every way station.
And I made pretty doggone good timing for economical transportation and was certainly a pleasant transportation although I can remember some of the greatest time was my with a trolley full of cum off it wrapped around the wires in the motorman and. When I have to get off and climb up a new poll on the. Week. I certainly enjoyed. And relished the memory. As it. Was quite an interesting one. TRAMP. Sometimes we go to another family to visit. They would have a candy pulling. No not you know anything about that. You make candy out of molasses and then let your porridge and never let it get not whole but just won't.
And then you go cut a piece off. Nathan Politan you politicise back button for me just keep on it and you in your own little time to design it can design to be like to make. An ice will my taste real good and had to put butter on your hand. And I want to keep it from sticking. And then we would have the can. Sometimes if we get a large enough piece of the two it was when we get on each end of this people need to pull back a little bit slack it over and look very good to eat and clean it was at our hand the hollowness but they're very good. Was it fun to go do that at a military I should say bride. First of all there was the thought of there was more dignity to the theater than I thought in those days
than there is today in the first place one of them in very big dressed for the theatre unless one was sitting in the queue in the gallery. And and then of course one never went in there I remember one restaurant Churchill opened up many many years ago and one of the come ons buys that one may come in ordinary dress street dress which is quite a thing and sometimes a big group credit that they they shouldn't even take advantage of that awful. And many people did arrive dressed but. But that's the sort of thing I do miss I think I do miss the dignity and and have often seen to exist in those days and doesn't live. In the a.
And it may seem God is silly and you might think it's not very entertaining but even going for a hike just the hike and a walk even NGs day time in the winter time in the summer time. This we enjoyed and looked forward to. We went swimming as they do today. Course now we have a beautiful swimming pool here and there. Those days when the old gravel pit and and enjoyed it but we found a place to do it now. I've noticed even it was the youngsters being able to use a beautiful new swimming pool and they're a bit impatient with it and don't want to walk down to go swimming for example and we'd walk two or three miles to go on an old gravel pit and the mosquitos were bad. Now they expect the adults to provide the pool to provide the skating rink in this sort of thing and this is true this is fine but I think that if if the young people were involved in the planning in the doing of this more today we'd have probably a little less delinquency as such because there's They just have too
much time on their hands. My mother and father but. They would talk. And of course while they were talking all you could do was just listen because you weren't supposed to go in and say anything. But then my father he liked a saying and then he would saying a lot and then he would let us all joining in and we all would all saying all kinds of things. You know son my father used to saying it was about the Titanic. And we used to saying that he taught us how to sing the sound of the typing. Monday morning chair stopped when the crane began to reel in. And the people been screaming and crying and saying a lot I'm going to die here was here.
Here it was here. By acquiring making time winners I think of such things as there's a great big heaping bowl in a dish pan the whole gathering of people I think of. Time to ski. Brother or sister. A patch of ice. I think I think I'm coming again. Cousins and gardens and markers and Sunday dinners and excitement. In the family of the visitation. The
afternoon because it would be the meal and then. The wonders of the imagination and the assorted bedroom in various places in the house where you would create your magical happens. Your plane is seen. By think of the kind of sounds around here in the night sometimes I get a feeling who was in so. Far away places because this would be associated in my own mind with a romantic celebration of you and you know I've been as. Bad. At things that I hear in the night and carry me places I'm not familiar please who's far off exciting unknown and I think people one can remember that uncle. That cousin but very often it seemed to be the uncle who would come in on visitations sometimes from that outside world with stories stories of unheard of magnitude that you
would listen with you know fantastic off. And so I know when I sit down to think of the past I think a particular Cajuns of seeing an uncle or a cousin sitting in a particular chair drinking a particular cup of coffee and having him say a particular thing that excited me gamey a new awareness of my huge world outside of my security was beckoning to me and was calling to me. When I was coming in. I can almost Ukraine Uncle Ben Carson you know her death was saying echoing through really long and then I mean end of the jungle Well you see I went into the jungle to 17 and 20 when I came out rich. And I was always identify that person because I think truant North poorness person has become the symbol of when we're older we can abstract for the sake of
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The American people
The good old days: A study in nostalgia, part one
Producing Organization
WRVR (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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This program, the first of two parts, uses interviews with various Americans to explore American nostalgia in the middle part of the twentieth century.
This series examines contemporary American issues through interviews and personal essays.
Social Issues
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Producing Organization: WRVR (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Reporter: Gerson, Thomas I.
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 64-Sp.17A-2 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:28
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Chicago: “The American people; The good old days: A study in nostalgia, part one,” 1964-07-14, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 27, 2020,
MLA: “The American people; The good old days: A study in nostalgia, part one.” 1964-07-14. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 27, 2020. <>.
APA: The American people; The good old days: A study in nostalgia, part one. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from