You can drink from the garden hose and live to tell about it

Publish Date: 
May 12, 2014
By Rick Fairless

Dear 1960s, I haven’t seen you in so many years, and I can’t tell you how much I miss you.

You were the best decade of my life! In the 1960s, America was not in such a hurry nor was it full of mean, ugly people like it is today (Hi, Shope). I consider myself very lucky to have grown up during the 1960s. Even though I grew up in the Dallas suburb of Irving, it was a small town environment, or at least we thought it was.

We didn't have the healthy cereal back then, we had the good stuff like Sugar Frosted Flakes, Sugar Crisp and Sugar pops.

My brother, Randy, is 11 months younger than I am and we have been best friends all our lives. Ma used to dress us alike when we were kids. Life was awesome. I got up super early every morning, and the first thing I did was wake my brother up, too. We would go straight to the kitchen for a bowl of cereal. We didn’t have healthy cereal back then, we had the good stuff like Sugar Frosted Flakes, Sugar Crisp and Sugar Pops. Boy, they changed those names, didn’t they? It seems like we were always running out of milk and Ma would tell us to “put some water in the jug and swish it around, you’ll be fine.” And we were!

While eating cereal we watched cartoons, and, brother, we watched the good ones like "Heckle & Jeckle," "Foghorn Leghorn," "Mr. Magoo" and "Felix the Cat." Our favorite TV show was always "The Three Stooges." What? Too violent? How about these video games so popular with the kids these days, showing realistic war and death and dismemberment? No, I call BS on my cartoons being called too violent. Yes, the Three Stooges knocked a few heads around, but nobody ever got seriously hurt -- that is, unless they really pissed Moe off!

Speaking of TVs, back in the 1960s you were lucky if you had a color TV. Dad was a welder and Ma was a housewife. Color TVs were very expensive, so we made out just fine with a black-and-white TV. Remote control? Are you kidding me? The only remote control we had in our house was when my Dad would yell, “Rickey, Randy, change the dang channel on the TV set!” I’ll tell you another thing, back in the 1960s we had one TV set and it was in the living room and we watched whatever my Dad was watching. On that TV set we had three standard channels (ABC, NBC and CBS) and one public service channel that nobody I knew ever watched.

It’s a wonder we survived the 1960s. We drank water directly from the water hose in the front yard, rode our bikes without a helmet and rode in the back of Dad’s pickup truck. We also had a “jug of water” in our “ice box” that everybody in the family drank from.

Let me tell you a few other things that we didn't have back then, and somehow we survived. We never heard of car seats, microwave ovens or “childproof” medicine bottles. I’ll tell you what we DID have: drive-in movies, S&H Green Stamps, rotary dial phones and a milkman that came to our house every morning. And every dang house in the neighborhood had a clothesline in the back yard. We grew up in a three-bedroom house with six people. Me and Ran shared a room, as did my two sisters. We only had one bathroom for all six of us, and we took turns. Our phone line was a party line, meaning we shared it with our nosy neighbors.