The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 9:42 am Thursday, March 22, 2018

“Entertainment in Mocksville in 1950”

By Marie Craig

The Mocksville Enterprise, August 24, 1950, page 5:  Mixed in with local gossip columns, articles about Coca-Cola and Canasta parties, and ads for fountain pens for starting back to school, there’s an ad from C.J. Angell Appliance Company on North Main Street, Mocksville, near the square.  “2 Quarters a Day for Crosley television!  Your choice of sets…no down payment needed.  Just select the Crosley TV set you want!  It will be delivered to your home with Crosley Visimeter installed out of sight.  A full hour of entertainment is yours for only one quarter.  Once a month we will call, count the quarters, give you a receipt.  It’s the easiest way to own a TV set.”

An article in 1949 had described this sales plan. It referred to “25-cents-an-hour” gimmick which would provide “a low-cost method of financing a video set purchase.”  It also said that this would be a “painless payment route.”

They sold table models and console models.  The tabletop model shown is marked $199.95. An online inflation finder calculates that $200 in 1950 would be comparable to $2,119 in 2018. Twenty-five cents back then would be similar to $2.65 now. So, if you’d watch 800 hours of television, then you’d own the TV. Oh, the panic if nobody had a quarter. “Quick, my favorite show is coming on.  Feel down in the couch cushions and see if anybody’s pocket had a leak.”

The Visimeter was pictured in the local advertisement.  It has the appearance of a punch-in clock in a factory.  There was a little clock, a slot for the quarter, a button to press on the top, and a keyhole where the employee would unlock the gadget and retrieve the quarters.

The television set was described as Ultra Fidelity and featured a gleaming mahogany-color plastic case with “Huge 14-inch rectangular Black Screen Picture Tube.”  The slogan was “Better Products for Happier Living.”

On the same page is a solution for entertainment if you didn’t want to buy a television set by the quarter method.  The Princess Theatre had four different movies that week.  Thursday and Friday were Gordon MacRae in “Daughter of Rosie O’Grady.” Saturday was Ruth Roman in “Barricade.” Monday and Tuesday were Alan Ladd in “Captain Carey USA,” and Wednesday was Robert Cummings in “Paid in Full.

“God Didn’t Like Cabbages”

By Gaye Hoots

Our Bible story was about two brothers who didn’t like each other very much. They were both farmers like Big Daddy. Adam raised animals, but Cain grew vegetables like cabbages. God liked the animals better than He did the cabbages. This made Cain so mad that he killed Adam.”

Kendra, my five-year-old, told me that Mrs. Jean Markland told her Sunday school class the story of Cain and Able. Kendra interpreted it from her experience with farming. She stayed with my parents during the day while I worked. She loved going with Daddy to check on the animals and crops. Daddy planted a cabbage patch near his house that Kendra hoed and watered. The cabbages were huge, the largest weighing over twenty pounds.

     A picture of Daddy and Kendra with their cabbage appeared in this newspaper over forty years ago. Kendra was so proud of that cabbage patch until she tasted the first cabbage Mother cooked. She did not like the taste, and Daddy teased her saying they had to eat all the cabbages. She was sure God did not like them any more than she did, and she liked meat and animals. In her five-year-old mind, this explained why Cain was jealous enough to kill his brother.

     Kendra learned a lot from my parents that year. She was old enough to enter kindergarten, and Shady Grove was opening their first kindergarten class. I was working at Shady Grove, and Cami was in second grade there. Kendra was looking forward to being old enough to attend with her sister. This first year there was a lottery drawing because the county only funded one class. Fifteen of the forty-five children registered were unable to attend. Kendra did not make the draw.

     Daddy was the one to tell her the bad news. She cried, then became angry. “If I can’t go Big Daddy, let’s go burn that school down,” she cried. This was in the early seventies when students were rioting and taking over college campuses. Daddy replied, “If that is how you think, you don’t need kindergarten. You are college material already.”

     He placated her by promising that she could farm with him while Cami and I went to school. That year turned out to be a year of real education for her. I don’t believe Kendra would trade that year with my father for any school year. She was on par with all the others when she entered first grade, so it was a win all the way around.

“Last Call”

By Mike Gowen

    It’s been just over a year since I had my last meaningful conversation with mom.  It was Tuesday, March 7th, and to this day, I don’t remember why I called her.  We always had a standing date for me to call on Fridays.  That wasn’t the only day I ever talked to her, but Fridays were expected.  I missed making that call, and mom thought something was wrong.

   I may have called her to ask about a recent doctor’s appointment, or just to see how she was feeling that day.  Since her breast cancer returned the prior year, she had been having some stomach issues, which in turn, affected her appetite and made her lose weight.  She also had a nagging cough as if she had this tickle in her throat she couldn’t make go away.

   Cancer is ugly and doesn’t fight fair.  The upside in mom’s battle was her age.  At 80 years, mom’s cancer was so slow in spreading that her doctors told her she would succumb to old age before the disease took her down.  What they didn’t realize was that cancer had an accomplice.

   We talked about family mostly that day.  Mom felt like she could confide in me without me being critical.  We were a lot alike in many ways, my mom & me. We both had hearts bigger than our brains and were often taken advantage of by people who should have known better. Before we ended the conversation, I remember mom asking me if it meant she wouldn’t get her Friday call, since I had called earlier in the week.  I promised her this would not affect her Friday call.  I told mom I loved her, and she told me the same. I hung up smiling thinking what a good call we had.

I never got a chance to make my Friday call as promised.  The next time the phone would ring, it would not be from me, but to me.  My sister, Donna, called two days later after going to pick my mom up for a doctor’s appointment.  Mom had gone to take a shower and get ready before my sister arrived.  My sister went to check to see if she needed any help, but mom didn’t respond. She found mom lying on the bathroom floor.  Donna knew immediately from the difficulty mom had speaking and the way her face drooped on one side that she had suffered a stroke.  Donna called 911, and then she called me.  My world was about to go on a 2 ½ month journey that would end with mom’s death in late May.

I was able to talk to mom after her stroke, but it was never the same.  Her stroke affected her left side, and while she understood and could communicate, it was a struggle for her.  I mentioned earlier I don’t remember why I called my mom on that Tuesday, but I’m grateful I did.  When you call someone you love, you never know if it’s just another call or your last call.  That Tuesday was the last call to my mom and one I’ll always cherish.


By Kevin F. Wishon

   No matter the weather,

You are whom we seek.

Always in pursuit, we are

Delivered six days a week.

     We have so much to offer.

You know you want it.

Visit our website or call.

Give us your info; just submit.

     Why aren’t you happy?

Was this not what you wanted?

Look again, maybe something else,

There‘s plenty here; don’t be daunted.

     No, not the garbage bin!

Imagine the offers you’ll miss,

If I’m in the trash or dangling,

Within the shredders abyss.

     Despite your cruel rejection,

We are patient; our time we’ll bide.

Undiscouraged, we’ll be back,

We know where your goat’s tied.