In Back Then: Simple Pleasures and Everyday Heroes, Archie P. McDonald draws on his reservoir of experiences to write about shoe shines and men's hats, corner drug stores and neighborhood groceries, first cars and full-service gas stations, favorite hymns and Vacation Bible School, house calls and hometown heroes, John Wayne and the Big Bopper, war rationing and spinster aunts. He tells about presidents and teachers he has known, music and books he has enjoyed, his first garden and his first time to eat in an integrated restaurant. Admitting to being "older than dirt," McDonald remembers Butch wax, Howdy Doody, Studebakers, Packards, mimeograph paper, and other icons of days gone by. "What seems to emerge," he says, "is a kind of report of what it was like to live in Texas, or the South, a half century ago." These stories by a noted Texas historian recall a time when a kid could go to the picture show with fifteen cents in his pocket, purchase admission for nine cents, and have money left over for popcorn. Those times were not necessarily better—"It was simply my time," says the author.
ARCHIE P. McDONALD is the author or editor of forty books and monographs. He lives in Nacogdoches, Texas, where he is a Regent's Professor of History at Stephen F. Austin State University, executive director of the East Texas Historical Association, past president of the Texas State Historical Association, past vice chairman of the Texas Historical Commission, and weekly commentator on Red River Radio, southeastern affiliate of NPR. The more than forty short essays in Back Then: Simple Pleasures and Everyday Heroes were adapted from those Friday commentaries.
152 Pages. Cloth (with dust jacket). 17 B&W Photographs.