Memory Lane and Writing Ideas

13 Mar

I was trying to explain to a young friend the other day what a party line was; she had no clue what I was talking about when I told her my earliest memory of a telephone was picking it up and listening to the neighbors have a conversation. She thought that was the strangest thing she had ever heard and, looking back, I guess it was pretty strange indeed.

Same neighborhood, everyone knew everyone’s name, they all looked out for each other’s kids . . . I remember having the flu one time, I must have been six or seven, and neighbors stopping by with comic books they had bought for me . . . can you imagine that happening in a neighborhood now?  Heck, I remember our family doctor making house calls after his office hours were over.  Old Doc Larkin, good man, kind man, cared deeply about his patients, pulling up to our house in his Chevy, carrying his black medical bag, just stopping by to make sure little Billy was okay.

Random memories . . . black and white television, rabbit ears, aluminum foil on those ears for better reception . . . but before that the big radios in a cabinet, listening to serials, the whole family gathered around the radio, laughing at Jack Benny . . . yes, I’m that old!

My grandparents had a recorder with a microphone . . . we would all sing songs and it would record on a 78 phonograph . . . great fun!

Trick or Treating with friends, carrying pillow cases, walking for miles, two, three pillow cases of candy.

Riding our bikes all over Tacoma, Washington, no parental warnings other than get our butts back home before dark.

I never knew anyone who owned a gun.  My friends, their fathers, all vets of World War 2, but no guns in any house; no need for them, really, left the windows open at night, doors unlocked, middle of a city of 120,000 people, no fear at all.  That all changed in 1960 when a little girl by the name of Ann Marie Burr disappeared one night . . . evil had visited our neighborhood.  She was never found, snatched from her bedroom, chubby cheeks and a warm smile.

The point of all this:  writers never lack for something to write about.  Plumb the depths of your memory.  Allow your muse to ransack your brain for writing ideas. They are all there waiting for you, the ghosts of the past, friendly like Caspar and malicious like a screaming banshee.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

29 Responses to “Memory Lane and Writing Ideas”

  1. Janine Huldie March 13, 2018 at 1:51 pm #

    Bill, I love this and so agree as I can truly pull from so much from my younger years when I do write myself. Like last week writing about music from my past. Definitely was no shortage of thoughts from the past that came flooding back. So, again you totally make a great and valid point here. Thanks always for sharing and hoping you are having a wonderful Tuesday so far 🙂

    • Billybuc March 13, 2018 at 2:26 pm #

      Great example, Janine! I was actually thinking about your blog when I wrote this….we all have an unlimited supply of such writing ideas.

      Be safe my friend

  2. Nell Rose March 13, 2018 at 2:28 pm #

    It was similar where I live. Back in the 60’s the doc would always pop in, the door was always open and so on. Memories, whatever happened? Good times.

    • Billybuc March 13, 2018 at 2:55 pm #

      They really were good times for me, Nell…thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. 1authorcygnetbrown March 13, 2018 at 3:37 pm #

    I love talking to kids about the “good ol days”. I remember party lines and how gossips loved to listen in. I remember walking home after work at 2 am and I never had to worry about something happening to me. I never knew anyone who owned a gun either. Well, maybe I did, but they hunted deer once a year. No one ever considered using them for anything other than hunting. I watching a show from the 60s the other day and saw that the windows were open for ventilation. Entertainment was playing kickball or whiffle ball in the back yard and riding bikes around the neighborhood.

    • Billybuc March 13, 2018 at 3:55 pm #

      Oh man,Donna, I loved whiffle ball. We would play that for hours around our neighborhood. There was never a lack of things to do, that’s for sure. Thanks for sharing that.

      • 1authorcygnetbrown March 19, 2018 at 1:23 pm #

        My pleasure. That’s the nice thing about good memories, They bring a smile to my face.

  4. Mike March 13, 2018 at 4:12 pm #

    Hi Bill – Your artistry with words articles have such a refreshing feel to them. I think radio programs could make a come back. there were a much better workout for the imagination. “The Shadow knows…”

    • Billybuc March 13, 2018 at 4:47 pm #

      Truth, Mike! Maybe the new podcasts are a venue for that sort of thing. I really should listen to more of those and find out what’s going on. Anyway, thank you sir!

  5. Shauna L Bowling March 13, 2018 at 4:17 pm #

    Bill, I share your memories. All except the Ted Bundy nightmare. It was great growing up in an era of trust and the power of imagination as the fuel of childhood entertainment. We’re fortunate to have known a better world.

    • Billybuc March 13, 2018 at 4:48 pm #

      I think we are too, Sha! Very fortunate! Unfortunately, I don’t think we will ever see that kind of lifestyle again.

  6. Manatuta March 13, 2018 at 5:41 pm #

    Some of the old ideas were innocent and charming. A great trip down memory lane.

    • Billybuc March 13, 2018 at 7:57 pm #

      Thank you my friend! Blessings always to you!

  7. Susan Sproull March 13, 2018 at 8:50 pm #

    I remember those days growing up where the doors were never locked.
    My aunt and uncle lived in the country. I was always confused when the phone rang and no one answered until I learned about the party line.

    Thanks for sharing your memories Bill

    • Billybuc March 14, 2018 at 1:52 pm #

      Good times for the most part, Susan! I choose not to remember the bad.

      Thank you my friend, and good to hear from you.

  8. Kathy March 14, 2018 at 1:10 am #

    Loved the trip down memory lane with you. As teenagers we got in trouble for taking too much time on the party line or for not hanging up the phone properly. Ah for the days of unlocked cars and unlocked houses. So many good memories…
    Thanks for this article.

    • Billybuc March 14, 2018 at 1:48 pm #

      I spent many an hour, Kathy, listening in on the party line. LOL What a sneaky little devil I was.

  9. Michael Milec March 14, 2018 at 1:21 am #

    Such an inspirational read, Considering its content I thought would be lack of interest for nowadays readers.. Someone said the older you get, the more you talk about your childhood and good old times. As seen of your article as well as comments, you people aren’t that “older” yet still remember the good days of not long ago… Oh yes, what you would say of all good old time without running water, no TV nor radio not even electricity. Everybody lived under poverty level according recent standard; three generation lived within one household, little we had we shared, creating environment of happiness and joy, while working hard and never complaining. Good old days of contentment.
    Many blessings my friend .

    • Billybuc March 14, 2018 at 1:49 pm #

      Michael my friend, I think we tend to look at the past with rose-colored glasses, and manage not to see the bad that was there….thank you for your friendship and blessings to you always.

      • Michael Milec March 18, 2018 at 1:24 am #

        Bill dear friend, I am willing to admit that though my childhood and good portion of my young adult life was difficult in quite primitive surrounding was simple and almost beyond belief. Imagine that we had to provide “energy”, ignite the fire before we could make a cup of coffee. The chicken soup we were eating at supper time was a couple of hours earlier running around in back yard. Working from sunrise to sunset in the field on hot Summer days was as normal as a daily bread… Yet I remember, people were contented, amusing – singing and whistling has been heard at homes, on the streets or even in the fields. Now I see how many things we could live without … Yet, I believe it all contributed to make me a person I have become , grateful, humble, forbearing a nuance of future happening .

      • Billybuc March 18, 2018 at 2:38 pm #

        I believe that is true, Michael my friend. The same for me. I am who I am because of my earlier days.

  10. Sageleaf March 14, 2018 at 1:53 am #

    I always love your inspirations ad the message behind your posts: it comes down to being in touch with ourselves and understanding our memories and lessons – these not only help us to understand ourselves, but they’re *such* good writing fodder. So good! 😀
    Hope you’ve been well, Big Bro! Have a great week.

    • Billybuc March 14, 2018 at 1:50 pm #

      Hey Lil Sis, I guess, if I keep working at it, one day I’ll grow up to be a storyteller.:) And maybe some day someone will use me in one of their written memories. Wouldn’t that be cool?:

      Hugs Lil Sis!

  11. Dee March 18, 2018 at 3:29 am #

    I do miss the days when you could go the park six blocks away by yourself, chat with all your neighbors before dusk out on the street corner, and those bottles of milk delivered to your door every week. Wonderful reading about your memories.

    • Billybuc March 18, 2018 at 2:37 pm #

      Thank you Dee! They really were special days we were able to experience.

  12. Michael Milec March 18, 2018 at 1:45 pm #

    Sometime i think – when I see missing common sense in social system today – I long for those old-time of fundamental living days would become reality once again…

    • Billybuc March 18, 2018 at 2:36 pm #

      You and me both,Michael my friend!

  13. Sarah Potter Writes March 24, 2018 at 4:43 pm #

    I find myself talking about the good old days more and more with every passing year. I’m sure it wasn’t all good, but even some of the things that I thought weren’t so good at the time, I can recount them without trembling in my boots. I wonder if young people now will look back and talk about the good old days when they’re our age. Maybe they will, when everybody has literally become one with their computers and nobody talks to anybody face-to-face anymore, and the environment has been trashed. I know that all sounds very negative, but I’m already aware that there are whole load of people out there who never pick up a book, never go for a walk in the country, and … well, I could go on.

    Anyway, I loved reading about your memories and should have a go noting down some of my own.

    Something positive, my dear friend, there are some beautiful spring flowers out in my garden. I’m in love with the colourful primulas and hyacinths I can see out of my window. And my tulips are about to bloom. And the birds are singing away, at the top of their voices.

    Wishing you a wonderful week 🙂

    • Billybuc March 24, 2018 at 7:20 pm #

      I worry about the future, Sarah, which is a bit silly since I won’t see it. I’m just afraid technology will rob people of actually living,if that makes sense.

      As for spring, it turned cold again here, but the spring flowers are bold and beautiful,and there is hope of warmth coming soon. I will embrace it as old friends do.

      Be well dear friend!

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