Bill Murphy ©2018
Today we live in a drugged society. I’m on 5 medications myself. The problem is with what are called ‘recreational drugs.’ Most folks today have no perception of our practically drug-free 1940s utopia.
But we did have drugs in the 40s. The number one drug of choice was nicotine. And yet, my family was practically unaffected by this drug. Of my 28 aunts and uncles, I knew of only one uncle who smoked. My maternal grandfather had a corncob pipe (which I now have), but I never witnessed him smoking it. And for a while, my maternal grandmother dipped snuff. I’m so thankful that my upbringing helped me dodge the nicotine bullet!
The second most prevalent 1940s drug was alcohol. And again, my family was largely untouched by this free-flowing drug. At the very end of our street was the Night Owl Cafe, a neighborhood ‘watering hole’ which sold beer. I only set foot in the place one time in the 19 years I lived on Evergreen… and that time was to get change to ride the city bus. However, I did taste my first beer when I was 5… when my mother gave me a tiny sip of the nasty brew she was instructed to drink… as an aid in milk production… when my sister was a baby. Crazy, huh?
The third drug of choice, and the one on which I was soon hooked, was caffeine… served hot, administered orally, suspended in delicious coffee. My snuff-dipping grandmother lived next door. By the time I was two, Mamaw Fairchild would stand at her back door, and Mom would watch for ours ‘s, as I toddled across the driveway and along the well worn path to Mamaw’s.
Mamaw’s kitchen was tiny. Her small table was pushed against the rear wall, allowing for only 3 chairs around the table. And there we’d sit, almost everyday, enjoying one another’s company while eating hot buttered toast and drinking coffee liberally laced with sugar and milk – while listening to Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club on the radio.
In my case, that happy morning ritual of 75 years ago got me thoroughly hooked on coffee. The positive reinforcement that coffee, Mamaw, and Don McNeill gave my psyche was solidly welded in place.
Mamaw Fairchild has been gone for decades, as has Don McNeill. Gone also is that tiny kitchen… that cherished haven of contentment. But what has not faded are those valued memories. Today, each sip of coffee, takes me back to those wonderful, carefree days of childhood… back to when we danced in our minds around the breakfast table, with Don McNeill. Good Morning Breakfast Clubbers… I’ll drink to that!