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Roving Around

Interesting times await when aging at its best

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Roving Around

I’m beginning to think we older folks are good for something after all.

Oh, sure there are many things we older folks have into our 80s and 90s, but not that many people reach 90 to make life even more interesting — if that’s what it should be called.

Oh, yes — interesting fits the description very well, because that’s what it is exactly — except maybe add exhausting, because it really is awful trying to do the things we used to take for granted, such as getting up from a recliner chair without falling.

And just this week as if to dispute any doubts about my age of 90, I was surprised with deliveries of Meals on Wheels for my lunches last week. For years my wife Peggy and I volunteered to deliver these meals to folks, and now I’m receiving them. The meals are a welcome part of my day. The food is delicious, and it helps me keep my energy up during the day.

And as if I may forget my age, daughter-in law Ginger gave me a nifty little booklet called “1940s Memory Lane.” Enclosed was a personal note from her reading “Dear Bob, I thought you might enjoy this book. I’m sure you remember many of the things mentioned. I’d love to hear stories about what you remember from the 1940s. Enjoy, Ginger.”

One of the first things I noticed is the book was impeccably printed in England (or that is what I think) by Montpelier Publishing in London in 2018.

I really loved the many good pictures in the 41-page booklet, and I will try to oblige Ginger and give you readers some stories about that period — the 1940s.

I was also amused by some of the British wording in a few places such as “rounds” for newspaper routes, and milk delivery “rounds” instead of routes for each.

Another British term was the word: “street” instead of “streets” when writing about the kids playing there. I was also surprised by the word “organised” instead of organiZed.

But, I guess that’s the way the British spell it.

This prompted me to think back and see what I remember from the 1940s. I had been in Sanford, Florida for two months when V-E Day was announced. The American people nearly went wild after the Germans surrendered on May 8, 1945. It was awfully exciting with happy people blowing car horns and everyone you saw had a big smile and was cheering and waving to everyone.

It’s really something to be a part of an experience like this because it’s a rarity you will never forget. An unusual happening leading up to V-E Day were the Blackout Drills we experienced as preparation in case of a bombing alert on American soil during World War II. I remember one (or was it two?) while I was working in the popular Webb & Lodge Drug Store as a soda jerk a half block from the Broadway Theatre in Pitman, New Jersey.

We were told to cut off all lights at a certain time and not turn them back on until notified — several minutes later. I was working at the popular drug store 4-5 hours per night to earn enough to buy my first camera. I was to guard the Kodak camera booth to prevent any theft during the blackouts. This responsibility for a kid of 15 was tremendous, and I loved it because even at that early age, I loved cameras.

I saved up enough to buy my first one — a Kodak Flash 620 for $12.95 plus tax. I worked six or seven nights a week for little more than a buck a night, so it took a while to save up that $12.95.

This is amusing — Before V-E Day, I was the contact guy who gathered Hurfville, New Jersey, grammar school students’ money for U.S. Savings Stamps at the Pitman post office once every two weeks (I think this is correct). It was amusing to see all the quarters, nickels, dimes, and pennies dumped from a cloth bag on the counter at the post office. These amounts were pasted in a savings book for redemption when you got to $18.75. It was then turned in after 10 years for $25.00.

I will give more examples of time in the 1940s next week.

Bob Allen, publisher emeritus of The Wake Weekly, invites comments at 984-235-7294 or