All of us who sang, found our voices to be a very welcome part of our existence. Some were loud and talkative, some were sweet and melodic. We, and many of our friends were around before radio, tele- vision, or cell phones. We grew up, enjoying a contented pastime of singing with family or friends.
We often spent weekends in the country at Grandma’s house where Uncle Otha loved playing a $15 guitar from Sears and Roebuck. It was his Christmas gift. We would sing along with him. This was a habit for years until he was suddenly drafted because of a war that was surging overseas.
We enjoyed the fresh bloom of recognition of the differences between girl friends and boy friends. That often led to early marriages that had to have parents signed permission. Some parents were reluctant to give their permission while others, who had known the pleasure of having and raising a family, decided it was their turn to experience the additional joy of being called Grandma or Papaw.
In Bristol, the twin city of Virginia-Tennessee, where the state line ran down the middle of the main street, there were band festivals, an annual Dogwood Festival, and other events made popular by the area clubs. It was a real honor to help decorate a float or be asked to be a part of the parade during special events.
All these things were highlights of life in the 40s and 50s. We were vaguely aware that our friends were coming up for drafting into the Army. We knew there was a Hitler with weird marching military men shown in the theaters but we spent precious little time adding two and two together.
There were nights when the air raid wardens left their homes at the sound of the warning alarms in town and everyone turned off lights and covered the windows with black curtains until there was the sound of ‘all clear.’
World War II ended in 1945 and men and women in the military began arriving home. There was sadness at the losses of life but joy everywhere that our troops were returning home.
This was just one time when we experienced drastic changes in our lives. We have faced many things since the Uncle Sam poster appeared with the words, We Want You! Somehow, let’s keep the faith… even now… with a song in our hearts.
Kitty Maiden is a staff writer for Seniors Today.