What did we all do as kids growing up here in Winslow? Hasn’t that been asked throughout the years? Most likely since 1835 when the town was first formed.
I don’t know what my great grandparents did. I would imagine picnics and church socials were the activities of the day. I know watermelon season was a big event in our area, as was wheat threshing. It seems every old postcard you read from the area someone is asking if you are coming for watermelon or to the wheat threshing, as the machine traveled from farm to farm.
Very early on, the town would hold dances. The businesses would have “Token Night” on Fridays. My grandparents grew up in the Muren area. On Friday evenings they would walk to town on the railroad tracks or road, and ride the train if they could afford it. It was the 20s and 30s, the time of the Depression. People would come to town to mingle and visit. To see and be seen. You didn’t even have to have any money. The Ingle Barn in Ayrshire hosted dances, cattle auctions and the boys could play basketball in the loft. A movie theater came to town. You could see a movie for a nickel. My grandma saw her first movie here, a silent film. She knew who all of the old silent film stars were.
My dad grew up here too. He and his brother walked to town along with all of the neighbor boys on the weekends. Boys worked back then. They helped with the family, but had a nickel or two for themselves every now and then. My dad worked on the Hume Farm in Massey. In the summers, they would work in the water melon patches at Decker, turning and picking melons. My dad was two years younger than his brother. He remembers how scary it was walking through the Kitchen Corners and bottom land between Ayrshire and Muren. The older boys would tell spooky stories, then run off and leave the younger kids behind. Dad said he ran as fast as he could from Ayrshire to Muren many a night.
As for me, I have my memories of growing up in the 60s and 70s.
A good memory is my dad loading us all up in the car to go for a drive, because there was no air conditioning. The Line Road was his road of choice. It had a canopy of trees across it, all shade. I can still see myself leaning against that back seat with my window down, feel the cool air rolling right over my face, watching the leaves on the trees and the sky above me. It looked like a kaleidoscope.
My brothers and I lived on our bicycles. You did not dare ride on the sidewalks. Someone who owned a store would come out and chew your butt out. Sidewalks were for walking. I rode my bike for miles and miles. My friend and I would ride to Muren. We rode to Hosmer. We even rode to Petersburg two times. We would ride to Seven Lakes in Campbelltown and swim.
I had a paper route the summer when I was 12. I delivered the Evansville Press and the Sunday morning paper on my pink stingray with the white basket, a birthday gift from the Oakland City Western Auto. The pink and white streamers on the handlebars that I had bought at the dime store with my paper route money sparkling as I rode.
I remember one week, a girl around my age was kidnapped in Lawrenceville, Illinois. My mom drove me that Sunday morning on my paper route. In the summers, a bus took Winslow kids over to the Petersburg Pool 2 days a week. For a quarter you could ride the bus, for a quarter you could swim. If you were lucky, you could get a quarter for refreshments. It didn’t really matter if mom and dad could afford that, just getting to go swim was enough. Twice a week there would be a big pile of bicycles under the tree by the road up at the old high school. We didn’t have to lock them up with chains, they were just always there when we got back. I can still see my brothers with their ball uniforms on and their mitts hanging over the handlebars on their bicycles, riding to the ballfield. We hung out at the river alot, fishing with cane poles we bought at Speed Erwin’s bait shop and playing around at the dam.
We had root beer floats and cherry cokes at Parkers Drug store. The Dog n Suds was there, but the hippies hung out there and our parents made us stay away. We would try to read comic books or the latest Teen Beat at Parkers or the Dime Store, but those mean old ladies were right on top of you. You couldn’t read it unless you were going to buy it first. I really wanted to see if Archie picked Betty or Veronica or what David Cassidy was up too, but had to put it back on the shelf. We would walk around town, looking for pop bottles to return for a nickel.
I saw some comments that a few of you left on my posts mentioning sledding at Oak Hill Cemetery:
Oak Hill cemetery brings back many memories for me. Not only are many of my ancestors buried there, but the cemetery and the road down “Goose Hill” were the main spots to sled when we had enough snow. I fondly remember one decent snow fall in the mid to late 1960’s (probably 5 or 6 inches) when several young people spent the day “preparing the hill”. We poured water down the hill in the back of the cemetery to create a very slick sled run and built ramps to jump sleds off. That evening, I’d bet there were 50 or more kids and adults there that night gathering around a bonfire and riding sleds. Someone brought a galvanized metal Coca Cola sign (round sign that rode like/better than one of today’s plastic discs). Kids rode the sign down the hill as well as sleds. It’s a great memory for me of growing up in Winslow, Indiana! -Joe Dedman
Yeah… I remember that coca cola “sled”. I took my sled to the cemetary one morning after the bonfire. As I came to the bottom of the hill, I couldn’t turn my sled fast enough and cut off my finger on the coke sign. It scared my cousin so bad he ran back to my grandmother’s house that was at the bottom of the cemetary hill and left me behind. My parents took me to Oakland City to the “hospital” where I spent the next few days. Looking back, I was upset about my finger. I was upset about a pair of new gold colored knit gloves that had to be cut off my hand. I really loved those gloves. -Brenda Pirkle Tullos
Those comments made me go get my old photo box and start looking for my photos of sledding at Oak Hill. We actually went sledding in the cemetery. There was an old car hood in the valley, left there for that purpose. The valley was cleared out back then. It took 2 or 3 kids to pull that heavy thing up the hill. But you could pile several kids on it for the ride down.
My kids had the Bridgeout Festival to attend in the 80s and 90s. It was actually a very nice Midway with carnival rides. I liked it better than the Pike County Fair. They rode 4 wheelers and bicycles with their friends. They had the Pantry with its Candy Lane. They had the Igloo for ice cream. Winslow is still hilly, that never changes. They had sledding. My son spent literally hours at the little creek on the bottom of the cemetery hill on East Street exploring. One summer every empty jar he could find had crawdads in it.
Last Saturday, the town held the Community Festival, reminiscent of the BridgeOut Festival held in the 80s and 90s when the old steel bridge was torn down and replaced on Highway 61. For $3.00, you could play on the Midway for the entire day. A kid could ride the wagon pulled by a tractor down to the park for free. The Methodist Church had free popcorn. There was a karaoke contest. Bands played. There were fun kid contests. A car show, a tractor show. A chainsaw carver carved a Winslow Eskimo, which is still their school mascot, from a tree stump in the park. For very little money, a kid could run around town all day and have fun.
During the Summer, the local churches sponsored a Skate Night on Friday nights. Volunteers helped work, and kids could skate for $1.00 at the old gym. Kids were walking around our neighborhood, after having started a dog walking business. They would walk your dog for $1.00. Humm, wonder what they needed the dollar for?
Bicycles are still the preferred mode of transportation for the kids in town. One gorgeous day which I was enjoying on my screened in porch, a group of about 12 kids rode up to my neighbor’s house. They had a “Bicycle Club”. They were riding around town gathering all of their friends. They were discussing the name for their club. I thought to myself, how simple and timeless.