Daydreaming about the good ol’ days of yesteryear |

Daydreaming about the good ol’ days of yesteryear

Ruby McFarland
For the Appeal

I miss the good ol’ days a lot. I miss the extended families I had around me, the peace and quiet of a winter’s day and reading a good book without interruption.

There were many perks we had then that almost seem impossible to find now. There were things like letting our kids ride their bikes out in the wilderness and not worrying about much more than a skinned knee – they didn’t even wear helmets.

I remember way back when you could drink from a stream and not worry about the germs that lurk there now. And while I was out there drinking from the stream, no one could reach me all day, and it was all right, too.

Kids played all day long, sometimes leaving in the morning and returning home in time to do chores and eat dinner. They ate cake, white bread and sugary drinks, and didn’t gain a pound because they were outside playing.

Electronic gadgets were unheard of – we only came inside in the evening to hear Lamont Cranston portray The Shadow on the radio. Of course, the Lone Ranger came into our lives with “Kimosabe,” and we played cowboys and Indians almost every day.

We had plenty of friends because we went outside our homes to find them. A stick and a pinecone made a great game of ball. Once in a while, you went home with a sprained ankle from a rock used for first base. It was no big deal.

We rarely locked our houses, and folks we knew just walked in. I remember when my folks fixed lunch at a friend’s house although the friends weren’t home. They left a note thanking them.

These things were not just practiced where I lived. Dayton diarist Emma Nevada Barton Loftus related much the same story in her diaries. Hardly a day went by that she didn’t visit her good friends and neighbors. Folks then looked out for each other and made sure they were all right. Her generation and mine produced risk takers and a lot of imagination. We were probably to blame for all the so-called time savers. Now we have a generation that are lounge lizards – oh, excuse me, couch potatoes – having to have a cell phone hanging off of their ears.

Nobody wants solitude or time to dream up things to do on their own anymore. They have forgotten how or never knew.

The Dayton Museum is on Shady Lane and Logan Street in Old Town Dayton. It’s also the location of the Dayton Chamber office. It is open during the week upon request and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Check out Group tours are available. Call 246-5543, 246-0462 or 246-0441.

The Historical Society of Dayton Valley meets at noon on the third Wednesday of the month at the Dayton Valley Community Center. Visitors welcome.

• Ruby McFarland is a 17-year resident of Dayton, a board member of the Dayton Historical Society and a docent at the museum.