Tag Archives: Author: Sharla Shults

Way Back When by Sharla Lee Shults

 

Stepping back in time is so interesting . . . in fact, it is often just plain, simple fun! Whether you are a teenager wanting to learn about the eras in which your parents grew up or the adult who wants to relive the memories, the nostalgia is an alluring invitation for a trip down memory lane.

More than likely at one time or another you have said, or heard someone else say the phrase way back when. Its context could be in reference to good times or bad times but in either case reflects upon events of the distant past—a different year, decade or even a different era. Some folks refer to it as back in the day. But, whose day? Before indoor plumbing? Before electricity? Before the phonograph? Before the automobile? Before radio? Before television? Before the cellphone, iPhone, iPad?

Regardless of how you say it, distinctive spans of time become identifiers for each individual. There are countless, precious moments held dear to the heart before time erases all memory. Each footnote has its own unique melody playing out the music of life. Looking back provides reflections into who we are, how we have evolved and in some instances, where we are going [again]. Making comparisons of how things were ‘back in the day’ to present day is often hilarious. The changes in fashion, cars, appliances, entertainment and sayings about the future (which is now the present) can have one doubling over with laughter or simply smiling in amazement.

Conversations can quickly turn to making comparisons of the amenities that are commonplace today but totally void in the past. Such things as living in houses with dirt floors, having to complete private business in outhouses, boiling clothes to get them clean, bathing once a month with or without soap, etc. are considered primitive by today’s standards. Of course, we don’t have to step that far back in time. Simply disregard the cellphone, TV and Internet. Without those three, some people would not know how to survive.

Many comparisons to way back when or back in the day are derived from the changes in the state of the economy. For instance, think about the cost of gasoline. Today excitement abounds if to fill the car, truck, lawn mower or farm equipment with gas costs under $4.00 a gallon. Also, if a trip to the doctor’s office or a prescription is under $100, shouts of jubilation can be heard! It has not always been that way. Can you date either of these scenarios? Do you remember when…

Who would have thought gas would ever cost 25 cents a gallon? I hear it will soon go up to 26 cents. Up a penny now, another penny later. The rate it is going gasoline will reach a dollar a gallon before we know it. What’s the world coming to?

At $15.00 a day in the hospital, no one can afford to be sick anymore. All those doctors want to do is make their lives easier at our expense! Maw, what’s that home remedy for sore throat?

These are only a random sampling of conversations today that ultimately begin with I remember when or back in the day. These examples would place one’s when in the 50s.

Another inevitable change through the decades is the use of catch phrases. These are expressions used repeatedly until at some point in time they are replaced or simply have worn themselves out. See if you can date any of the following:

Look at that cat’s ‘zoot’ suit. It’s crazy, man.

You are ‘lighting up the tilt sign!’

‘Are we having fun yet?’

Can you dig it?

Say what?

Whatever!

Wassup!

If you recognize the ‘zoot’ suit, your memories have dated back to men’s fashion of the 40s, which consisted of a long jacket with wide shoulders and pants that were wide at the top but narrow at the bottom. ‘Lighting up the tilt sign’ was slang of the 50s when someone was not telling the truth. ‘Are we having fun yet?’ is the most famous quote by bizarre, non-sequitur-spouting comic strip character Zippy the Pinhead. This caught on quite rapidly with the general public in the 60s. The phrase ‘Can you dig it?’ was first used in the awesome cult classic “The Warriors.” It became synonymous with ‘groovy’ in the 70s. The wild and funky decade, the 80s, spawned ‘Say What’ and ‘Mikey Likes It,’ both of which ran the gamut. ‘Whatever!’ was made popular in the 90s and is the one that has been dubbed the most irritating in the English language. Then, there is ‘Wassup!’ stemming from a Budweiser commercial that definitely bludgeoned itself to death in the beginning of the new millennium. It thankfully died!

Movies are a great source of entertainment with certain movie lines sticking in our heads, much like the catch phrases, to be repeated just at the right place and time in real life. Here are but a few. See if you remember using them upon occasion, perhaps even recently.

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Gone with the Wind (1939)

“Well, nobody’s perfect.” Some Like it Hot (1959)

“Bond. James Bond.” Dr. No (1962)

“May the force be with you.” Star Wars (1977)

“I’ll be back.” The Terminator (1984)

“Houston, we have a problem.” Apollo 13 (1995)

The memory triggers during a visit to the past vary greatly. Hopefully those shared here are ones that have brought on smiles, adding a bit of humor to the day. To end our trip down memory lane, do you recall who said…

“Love is being stupid together.”

“Ever notice how “what the hell” is always the right answer?”

Both are still very apropos in the 21st century. The first is credited to Paul Valéry but made popular by Lucille Ball in the I Love Lucy show. The second is said to be attributed to none other than Marilyn Monroe but not credited to her as an original.

And life goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times…


Way Back When

 

Way back when could be days gone by

When leisure reigned and time didn’t fly

Back in the day brought a blissful vision

Summer nights with no television

 

We’d play hide-n-seek way passed dark

When shadows played tricks as we embarked

Wearing socks emitted soundless steps

Muffled strides which slowly crept

 

Good ol’ days forged many a fable

When conversation ruled the dinner table

Freshly cooked chow incited a snicker

“Peas, please, and the pot liquor”

 

Way back when could be days gone by

When things remembered made you cry

Reminiscing brought an unwelcomed vision

Summer nights with no television

 

We’d play inside after Jack Frost

When darkness reigned and time was lost

Sounds of the night repeated all week

Rocking chairs that steadily creaked

 

Now the days pass much too fast

Memories still linger holding on to the past

Remembrances prompt the slyest grin

“A way of life, way back when!”

 

©2009 Remembering Sharla Lee Shults

 
“Let each day begin with happy thoughts that return to remember when.” ~SLS

 

Poem excepted from Remembering (http://goo.gl/C5PZcP) by Sharla Lee Shults. Sharla’s passion for writing is poetry: Historical and inspirational. Become acquainted with her writing by visiting http://sharlashults.com/ where links are accessible to her books, blogs and social networks. Sharla previously shared here at The Write Room:  A Woodsy Morning http://www.thewriteroomblog.com/?p=1060, A Day That Will Live in Infamy: December 7, 1941 http://www.thewriteroomblog.com/?p=1538, Why do you celebrate Memorial Day? http://www.thewriteroomblog.com/?p=2082 and joined Linda Hales in Turning Winter into Summer http://www.thewriteroomblog.com/?p=1695.

Why do you celebrate Memorial Day? by Sharla Lee Shults

 

Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude; America will never forget their sacrifices.”
– President Harry S. Truman (Remarks after D-Day, June 6, 1944)

Airplanes, trains, buses, cars, motorcycles, yachts, RVs will be revin’ their engines, reelin’, rockin’, rollin’ toward sunny beaches, campgrounds, as well as other retreats or escape destinations, this coming weekend. But, WHY? The fact is the very mention of Memorial Day brings to mind Memorial Day weekend: Three days filled with planned getaways—picnics, beach blasts, barbeque cookouts – hot dogs, hamburgers & apple pie, parades – marching or watching—marking school is OUT officially kicking off summer! For many, it is a long weekend with an extra day off from daily work routines. It is anything, everything red, white and blue.

Far too many Americans will focus attention on Sale! Sale! Sale! as shoppers scan newspaper/TV ads for the best bargains of the weekend. Time will be spent bartering, even bantering, over items not necessarily needed but wanted, not because they are ‘for sale’ but simply because they are ‘on sale’. Entertainment groups will gather in parks, some in arenas, around the nation. Barbeque with camping of sorts will be attractions of the day accompanied by cases upon cases of sodas, wine, mostly beer.

Whoa! STOP! What is wrong with this picture? Hello! This is MEMORIAL Day weekend!

That’s right…MEMORIAL! That means this weekend, especially Monday, is a celebration of remembrance: commemorating the men and women who have died in wars or in the service of their country. These are not our veterans, living/disabled or deceased, who served in the military coming home at some point during their service to reunite with family, friends, loved ones. These are the persons who pledged allegiance, gave their all, succumbing to their final sleep to ensure America’s freedoms remain intact.

Let’s back up a moment. Mentioning our veterans brings up a very important comparison since they, too, are honored with a special day of celebration.

Memorial Day vs. Veterans’ Day

Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who DIED in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered on Veterans Day, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty. A complete history of Veterans Day, and why it is observed on November 11, can be found on the Veterans Day History Web page (http://www1.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp).
Source: The U.S. Dept. of Veteran Affairs (http://chosenfast.com/2006/11/11/veterans-day-vs-memorial-day/)

 

As you prepare in celebration for a fun weekend with family, also friends, don’t forget to include a special time for reverence in honor of, along with respect for, the men and women who gave their all, their lives, for America. We would not be where we are today enjoying the freedoms America has to offer, were it not for those who sacrificed to make/keep this country free. After all, they are the epitome of the human spirit called freedom!

It isn’t a bad thing to take advantage of the sales, especially taking into consideration our nation’s economy. However, should you take that advantage at any time during this weekend or on Monday be sure to notice whether an American flag is flying or if a sign is displayed in the window in honor, in respect of our fallen soldiers. If one is not visible, I challenge you to ask “Why not?

Sharla1

Bottom line—While this may be a time for the beach blasts, barbeque cookouts – hot dogs with all the trimmings, hamburgers with fries, then topped off with scrumptious apple pie, it is more importantly a time of remembering. . .

Cost of Freedom
a time for reflection, a time of remembering

 Sharla2

Like the bald eagle

Forever watchful were we
Guiding, protecting
The land of the free

‘Twas our place
To be brave, stay strong
Ready, yes willing
All the day long

Our eyes were keen
Often focused on pain
Fields were bloody
Amid storms, heavy rain

Bodies of comrades
Strewn here, there, about
Never for a moment
Left room for any doubt

On home or foreign shores
Know ardently that we
Who gave up our lives
‘Twas for country and thee

Times of reflection
Assure tributes remain
Lest eroding sands of time
Leave nothing the same

Throughout each day, all year
Never forget the cost
Freedom sacrificially gained
Can easily be lost

©Sharla Lee Shults

In honor and recognition of their service to our country, pay tribute to all of the dedicated members of the American military who sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom. They paid the highest price for America’s freedom, not with currency but with blood. Say a silent prayer. Take 5 minutes to think about those sacrifices, how loss of life impacted the establishment of the America we know today. Be grateful.

Memorial Day: A day for reflection, a day of remembrance

A Day That Will Live in Infamy: December 7, 1941

The day: calm and sunny. The people: going about their daily routines. The event: a pivotal moment in America’s history.

It was sunny, clear to partly cloudy skies, no different than most any other day with a calmness that rests on a Sunday. The view looking upward resembled a pastel canvas with patches of white scattered about reflective of someone dropping a paintbrush. Unbeknownst to the early risers or those still sleeping in their beds, the brightness of the morning was soon to be reduced to ashes of grey.

There was no warning…

What happened at 7:55 AM on December 7, 1941 pierced the calmness, deafening the scene with what can only be described as dastardly. Can you imagine the sound of alarms ripping through the air so earsplitting no earplug ever invented could dull the noise? What about the inability to dodge exploding bombs and incessant gunfire as fragments and bullets riveted anything, everything in sight? Can you see yourself heeding the call to abandon ship only to find you are clinging to a life preserver in the midst of burning oil with the last sounds you hear being your own screams as your eyes literally disintegrate in their sockets?

USSArizona

Caption: USS Arizona (BB-39) during the attack
Source: www.en.wikipedia.org

It was premeditated. There was no warning…

Imagine a scene of people running, screaming, turning this way, turning that way totally confused, completely panic stricken for no visible clue led the way of which way to turn for there was no way, no apparent way to escape the terror. Buildings offered no hope of safety for the walls were rapidly crumbling burying beneath their weight men, women, even children. For some, what began as a leisurely Sunday morning drive ended…just like that, their life ENDED! Without regard toward any living thing – plant, animal, human – life was consumed in an instance within flames of pure hell.

PearlHarborCasualty

Caption: AP Photo/US Navy

Do you get the picture? There was no warning…

The Japanese shocked the world with the unthinkable leaving behind close to 2,400 Americans dead with another 1,100+ wounded. Recorded story after story fills page after page of book after book in an effort to preserve the memory of the lives lost, sacrificed at Pearl Harbor. A pivotal moment in America’s history led not to annihilation but to an awakening…the undaunted strength of America. Audio playbacks capture the sounds, video and film reproduce the sights but only those who survived can recall the smells. Those who survived will never forget the sights, the sounds, or the smells of the horror inflicted at Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

Yet, it wasn’t the end as the Japanese had planned but the beginning of retaliation. The day after the attack, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his famous Infamy Speech to a Joint Session of Congress, calling for a formal declaration of war on the Empire of Japan.

Awakening the Sleeping Giant: WWII

In hopes of crippling the United States Pacific Fleet, the Combined Japanese Fleet received orders to attack Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and surrounding military targets. We never saw it coming nor did they in America’s retaliation.

The element of surprise
Was the enemy’s plan
While watches were changing
Destiny played its hand

How could this be possible?
We were center stage
Our ships were mighty forceful
Our men—strong and brave

But there was no warning…

An infamous airborne assault
Secretly designed to destroy on sight
Left a peaceful but great, nation
Awakened amid a horrible plight

Ships sank in their moorings
Capsized or were beached
Hundreds helped to save lives
Thousands were never reached

But there was no warning…

—Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 1941

Incredibly four years later
A decision was made
Retaliation was certain
Time to lift our façade

We called for surrender
Hoping peace could be made
Threat of destruction
Was the first hand played

Ignoring the ultimatum
Commanded air raid
Two acute nuclear bombings
Lifted our façade

We gave no warning…

—Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, 1945

Hundreds of thousands succumbed
Leaving a country in pain
Six days after the bombing
Surrender finally came

If they had only heeded our warning…

“Fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
—Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (1884–1943)

Excepted from Awakenings from Then ’til Now ( http://goo.gl/Xtj1c) by Sharla Lee Shults. Sharla’s passion for writing is poetry: Historical and inspirational. Become acquainted with her writing by visiting http://sharlashults.com/ where links are accessible to her books and blogs. Sharla previously shared A Woodsy Morning here at The Write Room: http://www.thewriteroomblog.com/?p=1060