Children today see reruns of “The Andy Griffith Show” and, no doubt, think life in Mayberry was no more real than what the Clampett family experienced in Beverly Hills.

But for many of us who grew up in the ’50s and ’60s, life did imitate art—we just didn’t know it at the time.

A friend sent me this list of remembrances that children today just might not believe ever existed except in the TV sitcoms running on TV Land. The list could go on and on but here are just a few.

—Being sent to the drugstore to test vacuum tubes for the TV or radio;

—When Kool-Aid was the only other drink for children, other than milk and sodas;

—When boys couldn’t wear anything but leather shoes to school;

—When it took five minutes for the TV to warm up;

—When all your friends got their hair cut at the kitchen table;

—When nearly everyone’s mom was at home when the children got there;

—When nobody owned a purebred dog;

—When a dime was a decent allowance and a quarter was a huge bonus;

—When you’d reach into a muddy gutter for a penny;

—When your mom wore nylons that came in two pieces;

—When all your teachers wore either neckties or had their hair done every day;

—When every school day was started with the Pledge of Allegiance and maybe a prayer;

—When you got your windshield cleaned, oil checked and gas pumped —without asking — for free, every time. And you got trading stamps to boot!

—When laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box;

—When any parent could discipline any child, or use him to carry groceries and nobody, not even the child, thought a thing of it;

—When it was considered a great privilege and a special occasion to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents;

—When they threatened to keep children back a grade if they failed — and did;

—When women were called “Mrs. John Smith” instead of their own name;

—When being sent to the principal’s office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited a misbehaving student at home.

Not all things were better in those days, but if children today can make lists of memories 40-50 years from now that compare to the “olden days,” what will this world be like then?

*****

I’m not quite sure but my neighbor thinks I might have been the victim of elder abuse earlier this month.

My wife was driving us on an errand downtown on a really hot day when she stopped at Trig’s. She said she needed to pick up two items and would be back out in just a few minutes. I was told to wait.

There I sat in a really hot car, windows rolled up and no key in the ignition for 15 long minutes! Do I have a case?

*****

You might be older than dirt if you can relate to the following recollections a reader sent to me recently.

Someone asked the other day, ‘what was your favorite fast food when you were growing up?’ My answer was, ‘we didn’t have fast food when I was growing up…all the food was slow.’

‘C’mon, seriously, where did you eat?’

‘It was a place called ‘at home,’ I explained. ‘Mom cooked every day and when Dad got home from work, we sat down together at the kitchen table. If I didn’t like what she put on my plate, I was allowed to sit there until I did like it.’

By this time, the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer serious internal damage, so I didn’t tell him the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table.

Here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood if I thought his system could have handed it:

Some parents never owned their own house, wore Levis, set foot on a golf course, traveled out of the country or had a credit card.

My parents never drove me to school. I either rode the school bus or I had a one-speed bicycle. We didn’t have a television in our house until I was 10, and, of course, it was black and white and the stations went off the air at 11 p.m., after playing the national anthem.

I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone was on a party line. Pizzas were not delivered to our home, in fact, we made our own. Milk and bread were delivered to the house.

A lot of kids made a little money by delivering the daily newspaper. If it was a morning paper, the carriers had to get up a 5 a.m., six days a week to deliver the paper before school, or church on Sunday.

Growing up today isn’t what it used to be, is it?

********

Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer recently asked a group of sports reporters to name their “best friend.”

One eager reporter raised his hand, and said, “That’s easy. My best friend is my wife. We’ve been married for 18 years and we have three beautiful kids. No doubt about it Coach, it’s my wife.”

Coach Meyer said, “No she isn’t. Your wife is not your best friend, I’d say your best friend is your dog.”

Stunned, the reporter admitted he liked his dog very much but he insisted that his dear wife was his best friend. He met her while they were in high school, they dated while attending college and married just after graduation.

“Okay,” Coach Meyer said, “let’s try this. Take your wife and your dog outside, put them in your car, lock the doors and leave them there for a good two hours in the heat of the day.

“When you go back out to the car a few hours later, and you let them out of the car, which one do you think will still be glad to see you?”