This week has brought the cycle of three celebrity deaths a little closer to home. I grew up in the 60’s-70’s when tv shows gave you stars like Don Grady (Robbie Douglas, My Three Sons), Doris Singleton (Carolyn Appleby, I Love Lucy), and Andy Griffith (Sheriff Andy Taylor, The Andy Griffith Show).
Summer brings back a nostalgia of its own. Remembering long summer days and nights filled with games like Red Rover and Hide and Seek; the excitement of the sound of the ice cream truck, and capturing fireflies in old jars. We were blessed to live in a neighborhood filled with kids, parents who welcomed us into their yards to play, and neighbors who partied together.
We were growing up in the midst of change with a capital C, and for the most part, are parents strived to shield us from the worst of it. The optimism of the post war 50’s, was challenged in the face of nuclear war, Viet Nam, triple assassinations, and racial unrest. Life in suburbia was meant to be a return to the simpler times of our parent’s childhoods. It was their nod to nostalgia; either to what they had experienced, or what they craved.
Andy Griffith once said that everyone wanted to live in a town like Mayberry. Mayberry paid tribute to what we all craved: small town communities, where everyone helps out their neighbors. The sheriff has no need to wear a gun, and the jail stands empty, save for an occasional lock-up of the town drunk.
People in Mayberry rested on the Sabbath. They ate a big country dinner and then sat on the porch swing and sang the old songs, with no hint of self-consciousness. If the weather was cooperating, you went fishing. Women took pride in their work whether it was working as a pharmacist, a teacher, or the more traditional housekeeping efforts; cooking, baking and canning skills.
The men sat on the sidewalk in town, or hung out at the barbershop catching up on the latest news. If your car needed work, you could take it to an honest mechanic at the gas station. He would also come out with a friendly smile, fill up your tank, wash your windshield and check your oil.
I didn’t grow up in Mayberry, but I have my own nostalgic memories of a wonderful neighborhood, filled with good people and great times.