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From the Publisher's Desk – How did I get here so quickly? (Feb. 4, 2015 issue)

I have already reached the age that I considered “old” when I was a youth. As I celebrate another birthday, somehow I don’t view it as old anymore. As I stop to reflect back on my life, I do wonder what happened to it.
As a youth, I wondered when summer break from school would ever get here. Now I wonder when I can find time to even get a small vacation. I wondered if
Christmas would ever get here and now I watch the years pass by with the quick blink of an eye. I couldn’t wait to shave. What was I thinking? I couldn’t wait to drive. Do I have to get back out now? I couldn’t wait to get a job. Will retirement ever come?
Although there are parts of me that feel my age, areas of my brain are still convinced I am much younger. When it comes to friends, I have basically all age ranges. I seem to blend in with whatever crowd I am with. I can be serious or outrageous.
I recently took one of those quizzes on Facebook to test my knowledge of the 1960s. For those of you who use the site, you realize, like I do, that you can’t go on there anymore without a multitude of tests to tempt you. I got all of the answers correct.
I wouldn’t consider myself a genius on the era. After all, I was in my early years from diapers (cloth, that is) to early grade school.
I decided to check out The Erwin Record issue for my birthday of Feb. 4, 1960. The closest thing I could find was Feb. 3, 1960.
Evidently the flu was rampant in Unicoi County that week. There were 485 absences from school, plus 13 teachers on sick call. The week before, there were 571 out from all schools, plus 11 teachers. It seems 2015 is turning into somewhat the same situation.
In 1960, Home Furniture was offering a sofa, chair, rocker, three tables and two lamps for $275.
Elite Beauty Shop offered a cold wave, regularly priced at $10 for $7.50. I’ve had a few cold waves and cold shoulders from people before. Somehow I don’t think it’s the same thing.
Draper and Darwin offered women’s flats, heels or wedgies for $1 a pair. Again, wedgies brings something else to mind that I wouldn’t even think of paying for.
Waterbury’s was selling bacon for 29 cents per pound and eggs for 35 cents a dozen. Now I get inside the grocery store and forget why I am there. After 30 minutes, ranging at a cost of $1 per minute, I am on my way home. It’s then I recall what I went for and still didn’t purchase.
A.R. Brown & Co. advertised fall dresses for ladies at below half price. Prices ranged from $6.99 to $12.99. Something tells me they contained more fabric than today’s dress at six times that cost.
The Capitol Theatre was showing Gregory Peck and Deborah Kerr in “Beloved Infidel.” Advertised as “coming soon” was Rock Hudson and Doris Day in “Pillow Talk.” I am sure the titles to both these movies seem a bit more risque than they were. Unlike the current marque advertising “50 Shades of Grey.”
Unaka Stores, located in the current Choo Choo Cafe, had a variety of options for Erwin shoppers from clothing to groceries. In 1960 they advertised Kraft mayonnaise for 27 cents, pork chops for 59 cents per pound, and pork roast for 49 cents per pound.
There were car advertisements from Range Chevrolet, Erwin Motors and Hughes’ Buick. The average car cost less than $3,000, depending on the model and make. A Chevy Impala station wagon was priced under $3,000 and there was “room for negotiation.”
Other news on the national level, reported the annual household income was under $6,000. First class stamps were 5 cents.
For the price of 31 cents a gallon, a driver would have an attendant check the air in the tires, wash the windshield and pump the gas. Gas stations competed for customers by offering commemorative glasses, plates and other products with each fill up.
McDonald’s burgers were 15 cents a piece. However, I don’t remember such fast food conveniences in this area until years later. Most road trips consisted of finding a place to eat based on the number of cars parked outside. More cars meant more popularity and hopefully better food.
Most of my early travels with family consisted of two-lane roads through towns. There were no major interstates around here. Remember the old road to Asheville, through Flag Pond? If you got behind a large truck or a slow car, you might as well sit back and relax.
The price of homes in the 1960s ranged from under $9,000 to $16,000 across the country. If only we could go back now and invest. I wouldn’t be writing this column, but rather retired and enjoying umbrella drinks on a warm beach somewhere.
Ahhh, I would have to lose some weight before I feel comfortable with that scenario. I must say that is one number that just keeps going up with age.
Whatever the reason, I welcome each year with a thankful heart and an humble appreciation that life has been so kind to me. I still have my health with the supplement of a handful of pills each morning. I am still able to get up and down with the help of arthritis joint rub nightly. I still have my vision with the assistance of my glasses. I still have my hair, though it glistens silvery in the sun. I still have my right mind….well as right as it’s ever been.
I would say I am in pretty good shape for the shape I’m in.