The Star-Herald

Life was simpler then

Do you remember when life was just life, simple but not simple, fun sometimes and not fun sometimes?

I remember when I was in grade school and the two toys I had to have fun with were my bike and a Tonka dump truck.  When some of my friends were free and we could, we would take bike trips around the back roads in Mapleton. Of course, if you began early in the morning it would take you all of one day to do most of them. We would leave my house or Ricky’s house and head out the Pulcifur Road to just beyond Tea Kettle Brook where there was a nice cold spring. After we had a good drink, we would complete the circuit and be home usually by three in the afternoon.

On the days when my friends were busy, sometimes I had a lawn to mow and more as I got older. But on the days that were “mine” I would take my Tonka truck and pretend like I was my dad and haul different loads all over a place in the back yard where I could dig and play with impunity. Spring would see me hauling the squarest stones I could find as subs for fertilizer bags. Summer would see me hauling dirt or gravel as the case may be. In the fall, after the field by home was dug, I would find a basket or so of the tiny potatoes that were considered trash, and yep, you guessed it: I would haul potatoes. In late fall I would gather sticks and haul logs or firewood. Quite simple, yes?

As I got older, I wasn’t into “playing” in the dirt, but more fishing and working scale models when it rained. Then, of course, in the evening after dark, I would be in my room listening to the radio or records and reading. I still have books that I read several times per year.

See, we didn’t have PCs or tablets or smartphones. We had fun with what was at hand. We swam in the local creek. We hiked the trails we had found or made ourselves.  The girls helped their moms with the housework or they babysat to earn extra cash. Until I was 14 years old, I got one dollar a week allowance. Back then, I had enough to buy a model kit and enough left for a Coke and a bag of chips.

When I and my wife were married, I was doing labor work and driving dump truck on construction and earning $1.80 an hour. My first paycheck after we were married paid the rent, light bill, bought groceries including cleaning supplies, and we still had money left over to put gas in the car and take us to a movie, with enough left for me to have a Coke with my lunch on the job.

So, I guess you could say that life was a lot simpler and less costly throughout my formative years. Now in my golden years I sit back in retirement and think of those simple times and Remember When . . .

Guy Woodworth, a Presque Isle native now living in Limestone, is a 1973 graduate of Presque Isle High School and a four-year Navy veteran. He and his wife Theresa have two grown sons and five grandchildren. He may be contacted at

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