I grew up in the 1950s and the memories of that innocent age will always be with me.
Mine was a relatively small town and we trusted most everyone.
Kids left their bicycles on the lawn at night, knowing they would be there in the morning. If it wasn’t, it was probably down the street at someone’s house.
Bikes, by the way, were called Raleigh and Hiawatha and, if your parents were well-to-do, Schwinn. Trek was just a noun, not a $5,000 bicycle.
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Homes were seldom locked and the same could be said for cars.
And dogs roamed free. Who ever heard of leash laws? My dog, Bumper, followed me everywhere, even kept up with my Hiawatha.
When we moved to McClellanville 10 years ago, it didn’t take long to realize I had just been transported back to the 1950s.
Seriously, life in this small town is much as life was in my own small home town.
Dogs roam free because there are no leash laws. My dog, Wasabi, is always on a leash, of course; I blame my long urban lifestyle.
Kids leave their bicycles everywhere; some of them go untouched for days.
We’ve never locked our cars. We lock our home only when we are gone for a few days. So, yes, we do own locks.
We don’t know everyone in the village, of course, but we know a lot of people – and not just the people from church or the immediate neighborhood.
The other day, on the Fourth of July, I got another reminder that we have moved back to the Fifties.
It was the McClellanville picnic, an annual event we have attended regularly since moving here.
It’s mindful of the movie “Picnic,” except there’s no Kim Novak and no sensual dancing in the evening. Most of us are too old for sensual dancing; the rest are probably in North Myrtle Beach shagging to the Tams.
Otherwise, our picnic is a throwback to the small-town America I grew up in.
It was preceded by a patriotic reading – this year it was a message from Thomas Jefferson about the importance of July 4.
Then the McClellanville Choir – yes, Virginia, McClellanville has a choir – sings patriotic songs. I still get a chill at the stirring sound of the Marine Corps Hymn.
Afterward it’s food, food, food. Every family brings a dish to share while the mayor, Rut Leland, who owns one of the town’s two seafood markets, offers an afternoon supply of peel-and-eat shrimp. Is it any wonder he’s won every election since the mid-’70s?
That’s followed by a lot of good conversation with friends, some you haven’t seen since the last picnic.
It all makes for a great Fourth, even without Kim Novak, and it always takes me back to another time, long since passed.
Contact Bob Bestler at firstname.lastname@example.org.