Originally published - MARCH 5, 2010
It’s amazing the things we remember when we get old. I guess we all enjoy taking a stroll down memory lane from time to time. Yes, I did walk to school because there were no school buses. I did walk in the snow. I can’t recall school ever being closed because of the weather.
We didn’t have health insurance. In fact, we didn’t go to the doctor unless it was something critical. The doctor usually made housecalls. I remember when my twin brother Fred and I were just small boys that we had a dog, which was chained. We were probably five or six years old, and once when we were playing with the dog, somehow the chain got twisted and took a bite out of the side of Fred’s leg. It looked horrible and I ran to the house to get Mother. It’s amazing what she did to his leg. She cleaned the cut and patched it up. Fred still has a scar from the cut.
There were no emergency rooms to go to, and if there were, they were costly. Most older folks had their own home remedies for cuts, the croup, colds and the flu.
I imagine Fred and I were as daring and rambunctious as any boys. It sort of spilled over into adulthood as I can remember after I went to work for Bristol Newspapers and later for Worrell Newspapers I was asked to speak at a convention, which was attended by over 100 people. I had a good red-headed publisher friend and I gave him a handgun with blanks in it. We had a deal that when I got up to speak, we would cause a commotion. I would make some remarks that would incite some anger from him, and result in his shooting the pistol. I made a couple of embarrassing remarks directed toward him, and he played the role well, first shouting back at me and then firing the pistol. Two of his friends quickly grabbed my publisher friend and sought to subdue him while the room emptied pretty fast.
I like to have never got things settled back down so that I could make my speech. It was a fun evening, but, I am sure there were some that did not appreciate it.
Another time I was asked to introduce then Tennessee Governor Frank Clement at a Chamber of Commerce function. Clement and I were good friends and he was a good friend to Carter County. When I got up to introduce the governor, I said, “When I’ve gone to other functions, the person who introduces the speaker usually gets up and says the speaker doesn’t need an introduction, but yet he elaborates on all of the speaker’s achievements.”
I recall that I said, “The speaker, Gov. Frank Clement, needs no introduction, but I do. I’m Frank Robinson, publisher of the Elizabethton STAR. Gov. Clement is now going to talk.”
He often said it was the best introduction he ever received.
When Ann and I were living in Bristol, our house burned. We had just bought the house for $15,000 or $20,000…back then, homes didn’t cost as much as some automobiles do now. We had moved in our furniture and clothing. Ann was spending the night at her parents’ home in Elizabethton and I came to Elizabethton to stay the night. We got the call that our house was on fire, so I hurried back to Bristol to find fire trucks and policemen everywhere. What had happened was that I had pushed a bed against an electrical heater, and when it came on, the bed caught fire, and the house received a lot of smoke damage. I remember seeing my wife’s new fur coat lying in the yard destroyed by the fire.
I was amazed at the number of people who came to our aid and offered to help. The owner of the newspaper sent one of the men with me and bought me a whole new wardrobe. When I returned to the office on my desk was a pile of money — coins and bills which totaled over $300. It was given to me by co-workers. At that time I didn’t think I had been accepted very well by my co-workers. However, their gift made me realize that they had accepted me and cared for me, and I resolved to be a better worker.
Another time I remember buying a new coat. After paying for the coat, I had $20 in change, which I put inside the pocket of the coat. When I went to the office, I left the coat in the car. Later when I went back to my car, someone had broke into the car and stole the coat, and of course, the $20 I had put in the coat pocket. I remember my first TV. It was snowy.
Things have changed tremendously over the years. A reader passed these thoughts along, all pertaining to a computer, which I think you will enjoy.
I remember when a computer was something you would see on TV, from a science fiction show. A window was something we hated to clean, and ram was the cousin of a goat. An application was for employment, a program was a TV show, and a cursor was someone who use profanity. Back then a keyboard was a piano, and memory was something you lost with age.
A CD was a bank account, and if you had a 3-inch floppy you hoped nobody would find out. Compress was something you did to the garbage, not something you did to a file. And if you unzipped anything in public, you’d be in jail for a while.
Log on was adding wood to a fire. Hard drive was a long trip on the road. A mouse pad was where a mouse lived, and a backup happened to your commode.
Cut you did with scissors and paste you did with glue. A web was something a spider made and a virus was the flu.
I guess I’ll stick to my pen and paper and the memory in my head. I hear nobody’s been killed in a computer crash. But when it happens they wish they were dead.
My girlfriend broke up with me. She said it’s because I was always correcting her. She came over to my house and said, “Eddie, we need to talk.”
I said, “My name is Eric.”
“She said, “See?! I can’t say anything right around you.”
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