Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bernice and Beatrice (Good Old Days)

It was several weeks ago when I first met Beatrice. We were at the cafeteria – when I’m early to the senior center and it’s not time for class yet, I usually stop at the cafeteria to chat with my buddies for a little bit. I talked to Beatrice for an entire minute assuming she was Bernice, who’s been coming to class since its very beginning. A roaring laugh erupted behind me. I turned around and saw Bernice. “You thought she was me?” she sounded so proud, “That’s my twin sister. My twin sister!” Since then Beatrice has been coming to class regularly too.

Yesterday, Beatrice said, “I’m gonna write ‘bout the Good Old Days.” Bernice said right away, “Oh? The Good Old Days, I like that. I’ll write about that too.”

They love each other. I can’t really explain it more than that. Sisterhood is a special thing - those of us who have sisters know!

Beatrice Newkirk, born 1933

The Good Old Days (The forties and up to the fifties)

The forties was the war years.  In those days, we had so many rules to go by.  When you was a child, you acted like a child, spoke as a child.  When you became grown, you put away your childish things.  You had to respect the people who was raising you.  You had to do things you was told to do.  You never could ask why.  Going to school was a must.  Going to church was for everybody.  You was taught about God at an early age.  There was only one TV in each household.  In the early years, there was no electric lights, only oil lamps.  Food was brought and put in the ice box.  In order to keep food cold, you had to look for the ice man.  As far as heat, we had a cold stove.  You had to make a fire.  It was called a pot belly stove.  For cooking, we used a big stove.  It had four holes in it.  You still needed the wood and also the coal.  The stores was called Mom and Pop stores.  Most of the time, we walked to school.  When going to school, we carried our lunch.  Later years, we ate lunch in the schools.  The weather in those days was very hard.  When we had snow storms, they was bad, very bad.  The schools was not closed because of the storms.

Bernice Moore, born 1933

Good Old Days   
The good old days: going to the movies, going to the parks,
Playing games with the kids in the neighborhood.  Everyone was nice.
And, listening to the fights on the radio.  Joe Louis & other fighters.
Buying hot dogs & hamburgers - both was 15 cents & 25 cents.  Shoes was $5.00.  Ice cream sandwich was 15 cents.
 Going to school, there was fighting.  But everyone made up.  There was no shooting.  Older folks was respected.  Everyone looked but for one another.  The boys played marbles.  The girls jump rope.  Some teachers was mean during the war years.  We had to get tin cans and scrap metal.  They was needed for the war airplanes & ships and a lot of other things.  A lot of guys was drafted into the army.  They was at the age of 18 to 40 years.

Bernice finished before her sister so she asked me what else I wanted to hear about. “Want to tell me more about the radio?” “Oh yeah! The radio!” She flipped to the next page and wrote more.

Bernice Moore

The Radio       

The radio was the size of a big box.  It was good to have because you hear about the war & other things.  Everyone had one.  Most of all, the war news was important.  Some of the loved ones was overseas, my brother was over there.  It was sad to hear that some of the men was from their hometown was killed.  The reason we have war is because everyone do not agree with things.  They even had the small radio you could carry in your hand.  It was good to have one after school.  We would run home to hear the news.  Some was good & some was bad.