Lets Hear One of Your "Back in my Day" Stories

Matt Sarad

Friend of Leo's
Apr 29, 2003
Buckers Field!
Back in my day we lived on a farm. Guns were plentiful. Rattlesnakes got in the yard and once in the house. I could skinny dip or go fishin' in the reservoir.
After I crashed the motorcycle at age 15, I walked a quarter mile home with road rash, concussion, and a broken collarbone.
Saw Jimi Hendrix in Bakersfield.
Lost my virginity in the back of a farm truck under a moonless night.


Friend of Leo's
Feb 18, 2004
By growing up in the forties and fifties in Tulsa, Oklahoma - I could come up with dozens of stories. We did have indoor plumbing but when my brother and I would go up to Neosho, Missouri we delt with the Outdoor Toilets and I think I remember the Sears Catalogs hanging on the wall and the "bedpan" under the bed to keep you from having to run downstairs and outside to get you through the cold nights.

My story is about the pranks some of the teenaged drivers were pulling for kicks. Smashing post mounted (rural type) mailboxes as a drive-by was happening back then - but one prank that some young drivers were doing was really pretty nasty and potentially costly.

If you were lucky enough to have front yard back in the late 50's, chances are your parents would buy a young sapling tree, possibly an Oak tree and plant it along with stakes and twine to keep it upright until it began to send out a better root system. The rebellious teenaged drivers thought it was cool to drive up over the curb and "over" the tree which would tilt the tree and uproot it. This was before the internet, but it somehow caught on and became quite an issue in some areas.

The father of a good friend came up with a remedy for this. This man was the guy who I believe was the inventor of the Airport Runway lights/signals. Lights that would survive the blast of a passenger jets engines by opening flaps and resetting rather than being damaged. His business had all the fabricating capacity to easily built a possible solution to the tree damage problem.

He fabricated what amounted to an oversized "Thumbtack" with a pointed spike that would anchor at the bottom and another spike sticking up to puncture an automobile tire. These spikes were Spaced around the base of a newly installed tree.

They worked almost immediately, and he arrived home from work one evening to find a young lady in a really nice new Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible was sitting in the street with FOUR blown-out tires.

Turns out she was the Bankers daughter and apparently thought she was one of the privileged few who could get away which what we used to call shenanigans.

As a follow up, I sometimes drive by my old house that had at least one Oak tree run over in about 1958. The Oak Tree is now "Gigantic" and the limbs on the tree extend so far that they reach across the street and trunk is about 15 feet in diameter. I can't imagine what it has done to the sewer lines at the house.



Friend of Leo's
Dec 6, 2021
Summer 1980 I was 13y/o.
Told my parents I wanted to go camping for the week with 2 friends. Not much of a protest from them. In hindsight there was probably some relief on their part that I was going because as always money was tight plus a new sibling had arrived which meant no family holiday that summer...

Parents (overlapping question:-they were black belts in the art):
"Where are you going camping?" "Who with?"
"Paul 'n Kenny. We dunno yet, probly Aberfoyle or Balloch, which ever bus comes first when we get off the bus at Stirling."
(Both places are 35 miles from home and 20 miles away from each other, Aberfoyle is now 3 miles from where I'm typing this).
"You're not going to Aberfoyle!"
"There's no chapel" (Catholic church) "so you won't get to mass!" (Sunday service)
"OK Balloch then...can I go?"
"Wait there!"
Parents(2 minutes later):
"Mass is at St Kessog's in Balloch at 9 and 10 in the morning! Call us from the phone box after mass and tell us who the priest was and what colours he wore!"
"Bloody ungrateful wee sod...Waddye say!"
"eh thanks?"

In sharp contrast, my son was 21 and needed me for backup to convince my wife to allow him to go to Glastonbury a few years ago.

buster poser

Poster Extraordinaire
May 1, 2018
Tewa Land NM
Three of my cousins and I used to ride all over East Texas in my uncle’s pickemup, 1974-79 or so. We’d have been between 4-12.

We always fought over which two got to ride on ‘the humps’ aka wheel wells. The only rules were ‘no standing’ and that we had to put our backs to the cab end of the bed when we got on I-20. Y’know because safety.

Another uncle had one of these, same deal with us kids and sometimes an adult. Never had so much as a rope to hold on to. What a time.



Doctor of Teleocity
Feb 11, 2006
Near Athens GA USA
A friend of mine had a fancy bike with a real steering wheel and wheelie wheel (example below) while I had a plain old Western Flyer banana seat model. We were playing "Evel Knievel" one day, trying to jump a large ditch using a make shift ramp. I jumped it OK but wrecked on the landing, getting skinned knees along with ripping holes in the knees of my pants. My friend followed me without resetting the ramp. The ramp collapsed as he went over it and he fell in the ditch, badly. He broke his coccyx and bruised several ribs. Plus, he bent the fork on his bike. Boy, did we get in trouble when the dust settled.



Poster Extraordinaire
Apr 15, 2017
Harvest, Alabama
A friend of mine had a fancy bike with a real steering wheel and wheelie wheel (example below) while I had a plain old Western Flyer banana seat model. We were playing "Evel Knievel" one day, trying to jump a large ditch using a make shift ramp. I jumped it OK but wrecked on the landing, getting skinned knees along with ripping holes in the knees of my pants. My friend followed me without resetting the ramp. The ramp collapsed as he went over it and he fell in the ditch, badly. He broke his coccyx and bruised several ribs. Plus, he bent the fork on his bike. Boy, did we get in trouble when the dust settled.

View attachment 950697

Good stuff!!

My younger brother Stacey and I were a couple of motocross hot-shoes in the early 1970's.
We both raced Yamaha MX-100's (in the 125 Class) and Stacey rode a tricked-out Honda XR-75 sleeved-up to 83cc's, (with an exceedingly loud Mission Viejo megaphone exhaust) in the mini-class.

All over the Southeast we rode, from Geneva, Alabama to Wassau, Florida, and back up to Prattville and the TT-track at Montgomery.
We thought we were the ****.

By the time we were in high school, our dad had left us, the money ran out, and we were teenage motocross has-beens.

One day when I was a junior in high school (working at Hardees in my off-hours, eating lots of stolen french fries for sustenance, and contemplating joining the Army to go to flight school), a handful of neighborhood kids were fooling around with their Huffy bicycles and a ****ty little wooden ramp they had constructed near our curb.

These little guys would take a running stab at it, hit this turd of a ramp with little-to-no momentum, and then doink the rear tire in the grass a mere two feet after the end of the launch site.
Not very impressive, to be sure.

Stacey and I had just gotten home from school in the Ford Maverick we usually shared for trips to and from school and work.
He and I surveyed the situation, and decided that we had better square these youngsters away.

Me: "You guys have got the angle all wrong. And that ramp is going to disintegrate on the first real attempt, trust me".

Stacey: "Yep. You'll never get any air launching off of that ramp the way you've got it set up. Here, let us help you".

Stacey and I quickly employed the engineering tactics, tips, and techniques we had picked-up from years learning at the knee of a real-life Army Aviator Dad:

* Why do it right once, if you can do it half-assed twice?

* If it can't be fixed with 100 Mile an Hour tape and some baling wire, it cannot be fixed.


* Everything looks better after a few Budweisers.

Sure enough, we jury-rigged that ****ty 1' tall little plywood collection of nails and lumber into a veritable Evel Knievel jumping over the Snake River feat of engineering marvel.

The rake-over-trail was perfect, the approach path was well-thought out, and the structure would surely put up with repeated abuse without complaint or failure. The exit-lip of the ramp stood just about four feet off the curb.

I, being the older brother, figured that I should be the first to try this rig out.

Me: "Stacey, please hold my beer". (I mounted some little kids purple Stingray, and gave the left pedal an experimental spin.)

Stacey: "No problem". (Kills my beer, and then collects the tools and excess lumber from the landing zone.)

I rode up the street, and gave the purple Huffy a quick shake-down cruise. I bounced off a few curbs, and executed a clumsy wheelie or two. "OK, this this is airworthy," I thought.
About a hundred yards up the hill, I turned around and surveyed the approach path.

Me: "Stace! Are you ready down there?"

Stacey: (popping open a fresh Budweiser) "Ready as it gets!"

I began my run down the hill with high confidence. I was, after all, a seasoned rider with many hours spent on the motocross track. I had launched my Yamaha into the air many, many times, and had nearly always landed upright and in a manner that drew "Oohs" and "Aahhs" from the crowds of onlookers.
This measly little bicycle ramp was going to be a piece of cake, right?

I accelerated the Huffy to something close to VNE, and hit the ramp with high confidence. I launched the purple beast airborne, and cocked my ass back over the saddle.
I approximated a nearly perfect motocross form, flew many yards into the open air, and even began to turn the handlebars a little to the right, a la Roger Decoster. This was going to be sweet, and very impressive.

I flew approximately 25 feet, well past the intended landing area, and landed ass-first onto the concrete driveway.

I snapped my coccyx (tailbone), and then bounced quickly and in a profoundly-embarrassed fashion onto my feet. The bicycle continued to bounce and crash several yards in front of me, and finally rolled to a stop near the neighbor’s fence 100 feet away.
I stumbled and ran forward, completely in shock. The pain was unimaginable. I saw stars.

Somehow I kept my feet, and trotted toward the front porch of our house. I quickly excused myself, and then ran inside the house. Adrenalin and alcohol were the only reasons that I can imagine that I didn’t immediately fall to the driveway surface and begin sobbing like a girl.

Stacey sensed that something was wrong with his older brother, and proceeded to distract the younger kids with an impressive display of BMX tricks, long-jump displays, and a casual string of manly swear-words. He even let the little ****s finish off our Budweisers.

After awhile, Stacey came into the house to check on me. I was laying on my side on the bathroom floor, weeping openly. I had a tissue clutched in my fist, and I had begun to recite the Rosary.

Stacey: “You OK?”

Me: “No. You’re going to have to start supper. Mom’s going to be home from work soon.”

Stacey: “No problem. I got the Hamburger Helper thing down pat.”

My brother departed to the kitchen to begin preparations for dinner, and I lay there for awhile, contemplating suicide.

For weeks afterward, I could not sit.
It hurt to breathe, it hurt whenever a Cold Front passed through, and it hurt whenever a gnat landed on my back pocket.
Every single freaking nerve in your body, I have come to learn, passes thru your tailbone.
Painfully, at that. I kid you not.

Moral? In the words of the late, great Betty White: "We have to realize that we are not what we used to be."

Personally, I don’t want to ever learn that lesson again. No pondering necessary.

John & Stacey racing in Geneva '74.jpg


Nov 15, 2020
Back in the day it never occurred to me to tell my parents I was bored.
Back in the day I once told my dad I was bored. He taught me a lesson. I spent an entire day mowing the lawn with the old scissor mower, edging the lawn with an old pair of shears, raking up the clippings, and pulling weeds in the flowerbed by hand. I thought we had a small property until I had to pull all the weeds by hand.


May 21, 2003
Sedona, Arizona
In 1972, I paid $115 for my 1966 Stratocaster (used) and $70 for my 1968 Deluxe Reverb (used).
In 1976, I bought a 1964 BF Twin Reverb for $50.

In 1978, I paid $240 and a '68 Tele w/a Bigsby, for a '57 refin.

In 1979, I graduated college and played full-time, making today's equivalent of $70K/yr. and never got out of bed before 2pm.


Friend of Leo's
Gold Supporter
Sep 20, 2021
Florida Gulf Coast
Visiting grandparents.

My Grandfather was a country doctor on Sand Mountain, AL. My Grandmother's "garden" was tilled with a full sized tractor. We rode horses, butchered cows and hogs, ate moon pies, drank RC Cola, and chewed tobacco (and got sick). We caught fireflies (and shot them out of BB guns). We stuffed match heads into a piece of pipe and shot out anything that would fit. There were no street lights and the Milky Way seemed bright enough to read a newspaper. I had three older girl cousins who played Elvis 45s on a portable record player ("Return to Sender" is the first "rock" song I remember). We shot guns and didn't have to worry where the bullets went. The water from the well was cold enough to hurt your teeth. Every evening meal had 2 or 3 kinds of meat (usually from the farm); all the vegetables were home grown; there were half a dozen desserts, and sweet ice tea was not part of a country song. Elderberry wine was a real thing (I drank it as an adult, and it put MD 20/20 to shame). We didn't even think of TV while we were there.
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Jul 6, 2008
My 89 year old father often mentions that his youth was mostly looking at a horse's ass plowing the 200 acres of land they farmed in southern Ontario Canada. Can you imagine such a youth?

Also, when I was 13-14 years old I would ride my 10 speed bike from 9 1/2 mile road to 27 mile road outside of Detroit during the summer to go to the lake and my mother had no issues with it. Try that these days at that age.

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