The last day of April, and the rain is pouring down. I’m trying to remember to sing the words to a song that was popular years ago — April Showers. I’m trying to remember that, according to the song, showers bring May flowers, but this isn’t showers. It’s a pound-through-the-umbrella downpour.
Okay, instead or looking forward to those flowers, I’m looking back to Aprils of past years.
Twenty-five years ago the Pennsylvania Super 7 lottery was at a then-record high $115,500,000 jackpot. Eventually, fourteen winners each received $317,524 per year for twenty-six years. They have one year more to go. (I don’t remember this story. I wasn’t into betting on the lottery.) I do remember the then-popular TV shows: “Alf” “Cheers,” McGyver,” and “Golden Girls.”
Fifty years ago the Ford Mustang made its debut locally, priced at $2,368. After sixty years in business, when the 91 year old owner retired, the Smithsonian accepted the fixtures of his pharmacy to create a “Gay ’90s Apothecary” at the museum. Movies showing locally were: “The Horror at Party Beach,” The Curse of the Living Corpse,” Cleopatra,” and “Muscle Beach Party,” (at the drive-in with Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon). I probably didn’t see any of those movies. I was busy with a very young family of small children, and my husband was working three jobs.
Seventy-five years ago the local library got its very first bookmobile. Most of the county adopted Daylight Saving Time-but one town held out for regular time, however their banks and business opened an hour earlier to accommodate their customers. Popular radio shows were “Lum and Abner,” “Jack Armstrong” (the all-American boy‑I do remember that one), “The Lone Ranger,” and “The Green Hornet.” These were all before I was married, so this was not my county. I definitely remember our bookmobile coming from Bellingham, Washington, and stopping at the bottom of the hill, after a thirty-mile trip.
Now, I have no personal memory of one hundred years ago. I’m old, but not that old. However, locally in mid-April it was Cleanup Week. Thousands of people including children painted, scrubbed, white-washed, and swept while wandering judges toured and awarded prizes. Another week some two hundred people attended an afternoon social honoring National Rally Day of the Suffragettes. The event began with singing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Also during April, “The Last Days of Pompeii,” a silent moving picture was being shown — admission price ten cents.