Sounding like old-timers: 'When I was your age...'
When I was a youngster, I can remember my grandparents telling me of how times were when they were children and they would compare their experiences with those of my childhood.
Some days, I find myself sounding just like them as I tell my nieces and nephews about how things were done back when I was just a kid, and that was only in the late ’50s and early ’60s.
No matter if it was “now” or “then,” it’s always fun to reminisce how things were “way back when.”
Few, if any, of the streets in Fredericksburg, including Main Street, were paved, and there were no traffic lights.
Since there were no street signs in town, directions were given by telling the traveler the number of blocks to travel, which direction to turn (right or left), how many intersections to travel through, and which bridge, corner or specific landmark to watch for.
Nearly every home in town had a yard fence to keep cattle, horses and other livestock that roamed about from entering the yard.
Practically every home had a garden, and many homes were surrounded by swept yards instead of green lawns.
City garbage pick-up service was unheard of, as were city water and sewer services. Residents burned their trash, had a well for fresh water, and an outhouse or septic tank if they had indoor amenities.
At one time, Fredericksburg was known as “the city of windmills,” since nearly every home had a mill that pumped water into overhead water storage tanks.
Since there was no street delivery of mail, patrons in town had to go to the post office to pick up their mail.
Subscribers to the Fredericksburg Standard or Wochenblatt went to the post office on “paper day” to pick up their newspapers.
The principal businesses in town were all located on Main Street, including grocery stores and gas stations on every block downtown.
Finding a parking space along Main Street was no problem, and most of the people who owned or were employed at local businesses parked “right out front.”
Hitching posts, to which people could tie their horses while they shopped, were located up and down Main Street.
Shoppers bought milk at the dairy, bread at the bakery and meat at the nearest butcher shop.
People visited the drug store and not the grocery store or discount store to buy medicines and have prescriptions filled. And, the drug stores offered curb service.
Drug stores also had soda fountains with “soda jerks,” and not a self-serve soft drink fountain.
During the summer months, ice wagons, drawn by horses, delivered ice to homes and businesses.
Law enforcement officers for the county and city consisted of the sheriff, one deputy and one constable who had no sophisticated equipment to help them carry out their work.
When a fire call came in, the volunteer firemen were summoned with a fire bell which was located at the fire station, instead of a siren.
School students in town attended either the Fredericksburg Public School, which was located on one campus, or St. Mary’s Catholic School.
Since there were no lighted athletic fields, football, baseball and other athletic events were played during the daytime.
Since swimming pools were unheard of, swimmers headed to their favorite swimming hole on a nearby creek or river to cool off in the summertime.