The whisper of the bygone era is gentle, subtle. It often comes in the wee hours of the night, in the place between sleep and wakefulness.
The Bygone Era
By Richard Mabey Jr.
The bygone era is rapidly going out to sea, in our beloved U. S. of A. Sadly, it may never return. It is the creaking of the boards of the old general store. It is the sound of scissors clipping hair in the old fashioned barber shop. It is a kid reading a comic book, deciding whether or not to invest his allowance into buying it, at the corner sweet shop. It is the ringing of the bells of the dear old ice cream truck. It is the whisper, the touch, the aroma, the gentle way of the American small town.
There is the remembrance of the small town weekly newspaper. Most weekly papers came out on Wednesday afternoons. It was something that most people in the town looked forward to reading. There was usually a little gossip column, under the guise of community updates. It would be called “Squirrel Valley at Dusk” or “Maple Hills Echoes” or some other respectable column title. But everyone knew, it was just the plain old gossip column.
Then, of course, there was the movie theater on Main Street. It was the big happening place for Friday and Saturday night dates. It was always awkward for Joanie Stillwater to be seen with Tommy Maguire by Lennie Loserguy. Poor old Lennie would be going to see the flick with his buddies, having been told by his girlfriend Joanie Stillwater that she had a bad cold. And, poor old Lennie had gotten the news of Joanie’s cold, only three hours ago.
Then there was the corner sweet shop, where the kids would check out what comic books they would be buying for the week. There was always the economic dilemma, deciding how to spend the week’s quarter allowance. A kid could buy two 12-cent comic books or go for broke and buy the latest Mad magazine for a quarter. State tax for comic books was unheard of.
Then there’s the love story of poor Jimmy Benson. Jimmy’s a senior at the local high school. He has a crush on Judy Flirtsalot. Every Saturday morning, Jimmy goes down to the coffee shop, where Judy works. The thing of it is, is that Judy’s a freshman at the local college. And, poor old Jimmy is too inhibited to ask an “older woman” for a date. The sad thing is that Judy kind of likes Jimmy and is hoping that he’ll ask her out. Sadly, Jimmy never gets the nerve to ask Judy out.
And so it goes in the bygone era. Perhaps it’s not as bygone as we may think it is.