I had a group of 5th grade students here yesterday at the Carnegie Library Museum. They were using the courtroom downstairs to put the Big Bad Wolf on trial. He was found guilty, in case you were wondering. Anyway, it got me thinking about kids in Perry throughout the years. My kids want to spend most of their time playing video games or watching YouTube, but that obviously wasn’t the case with kids in the past. I was at the local coffee shop, Perry Perk, this morning and asked a couple of guys that grew up here in town what they did for fun as kids. The answers weren’t really surprising, but it led to a fun conversation.
One of the guys talked about how he grew up out in the country and his parents would bring him into town in the summer and drop him off at the pool over at Pattee Park. It seems there were always friends there to mess around with. When he’d get bored with the pool, there were always ball games going on at the diamonds nearby. They mentioned the row of penny candy at Ben Franklin, and that you could get 2 or 3 pieces for a penny. The movie theater had Wednesday matinees, so they’d spend a dime, or so, on candy and sneak it into the theater. I guess some things don’t change.
As they got older, they remember “scooping the loop” (we called it cruising in my hometown) down to A&W and back. Apparently there were a couple of drive-in diners, A&W and Dog ‘n Suds, and at least one drive-in theater. You couldn’t go wrong getting a cherry Coke or a Green River at one of the many soda fountains in town. A search for “soda fountain” in our photo archives netted 14 photos, many of which include pretty girls working at the counter.
The guys also remember playing pool for a dime a game at Farnham Billiards. They said that Harold would rack up the balls for them. In researching for this article, I found the story of a guy talking about when he was a teen and his parents would give him a dollar to go get his haircut. If the line at the barber shop was too long, he’d go down the street and start playing pool, and before he knew it his dollar would be gone and he’d be on his way home trying to figure out how to explain his long hair to his parents. Technology and kids ideas of entertainment might change over the years, but it doesn’t seem like kids themselves have changed much at all.