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ANDY GRIFFITH; 1926-2012

The Way I See It

July 15, 2012
By John Sheda , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

I know there are so many more important things to write about such as the heat wave, the drought, all the celebrations & County Fairs but the passing of the beloved Andy Griffith really brought back such good memories of an era long past. Andy Griffith and his loveable cast of characters in the little fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina. Anyone even close to my age bracket can relate to this era. A time of simpler things and an easy-going life.

The Andy Griffith Show ran from 1960-68 and produced some 250 shows. We all grew up in Mayberry and although the name of your towns were different, everything else was pretty much the same. We may not have had the exact character portrayed in Andy's show but boy they were close. We all had the town drunk, although Chelsea may have had a couple and from time to time, each of our little towns we grew up in had a Barny Fife. I don't believe in all of television folklore, there was a more fitting person for a character than Don Knotts as Barney. He was amazing.

Growing up in the 50's & 60's was so much fun. There was nothing better than smalltown, USA back in the day of fuzzy TVs, only three stations, Band Concerts, everyone detassling, putting baseball cards in our bike spokes, playing marathon Monopoly games on rainy days, yelling "Alle,Alle, Oxin Free," (or whatever it was we yelled), and the list goes on and on. Front doors left unlocked, keys left in ignitions and the community dances whenever someone got married. In Chelsea, everyone was not only invited to the Wedding Dance, but most were present for the wedding too. Everyone knew everyone and if you invited this person, then certainly this neighbor would be invited too. It was that simple.

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We all had our town cop. A man maybe not exactly like Andy but a man who just made sure there were no strangers hanging around late at night and ensured everyone got home safely. If there was trouble, our town cop just called the parents. Enough said there. Everyone's Dad would take care of their situation. The Andy Grffith Show showed us a true taste of Americana. The way things were in probably every small town in America and the way we all probably wish they were today yet.

I read a while back that in the 50's, the main problems teachers had in school were kids chewing gum in class, talking out of turn, running in the hallway, butting in line at lunch and having a messy desk. By 1990, the main problems in many schools were drug & alcohol abuse, pregnancy, suicides, rape, assaults and guns in the schools. You can see why Andy Griffith's passing has affected me so much. In forty years, we as a nation lost our innocence.

It was a time when a nickle gave you several options at the store and bought you a lot. My folks owned a grocery store which was attached to our house. On Mondays, Mom did the wash, (you better stay out of her way), and ran the store at the same time. If someone came in to buy something, she would just yell, "If you need help with anything, just holler, I'll be in the house." There was absolutely no fear of anything being stolen. We just didn't do that in those days---the good ol' days.

Us kids would catch lightning bugs at night and put them in a jar with holes punched in the lid. We played "hide & seek" till dark and do you remember having a "sprinkle bottle" for ironing clothes? Ya, we had everything---45 speed records, rabbit ears for our TVs, roller skates with keys, real cherry cokes, playing jacks and every Father having Old Spice.

Yes, Andy, we will certainly miss you---and all the characters in Mayberry, Barney, Opie, Aunt Bea, Thelma Lou, Helen, Ernest T. Bass, Howard, Floyd, Goober, Gomer, Emmett, the entire Darling gang and everyone else. Thanks, Andy, for the memories.

One quick trivia question; Does anyone out there know what a "Necker knob" is or was?

Let me know at jsheda@indytel.com or call me at 319-334-4117.

 
 

 

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