Dear Smiley: My mom could hear a pin drop at 50 feet. Her nickname when she was a kid was “Rabbit Ears.”
My kid brother Dave and I were supposed to have “lights out” by 8:30 on school nights.
At 11 and 6 years old, our rooms were on the ground floor of our big house in Denver. This was in 1950 and there was no TV, just radio.
We would sometimes sneak and listen to our neat 1935 Philco tube radio after lights out.
One night Mom called downstairs and asked if we were listening to the radio. We, of course, said no. She came tramping down the stairs to our room and said, “I’m sure I heard a radio. If you’ve been listening to it y’all are going to be punished.”
“We’ve been asleep,” we said.
“Well," she said, "I’ll settle this. I’ll stick my hand in the back of the radio and feel the tubes to see if they're hot.”
The rest is history. After much screaming and dancing around after touching the red-hot vacuum tubes of the old radio, she informed us we were grounded forever.
The lesson was: "Tell the truth no matter what the consequences."
Social Studies 101
Dear Smiley: While students at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, a group of us scheduled our classes in the morning to ensure we'd end our academic pursuits by 1 p.m., to free us to travel by school bus to The College Inn for leisurely pursuits.
Our beer of choice was Falstaff. With a Falstaff in one hand and a Marlboro cigarette in the other, we danced to the music of Fats Domino, Elvis Presley, Pat Boone and others blaring from the jukebox as we awaited returning to campus at 3 p.m. to pick up students who scheduled afternoon classes.
We each had only one beer and one cigarette to last us two hours, so we had to gauge the beginning of our sipping and puffing
Many students from Lafourche Parish and surrounding parishes developed lifelong friendships as a result of memories created at The College Inn.
We're all trained
Dear Smiley: The fact that technology has taken over our lives and changed our behaviors is not questioned. We have adapted to using our iPhones, FitBits, and other technology to make our lives "easier" and more productive.
I witnessed the extent that our techno-society has changed us the other night.
Our family has a shared app that allows us to track each other. It's mainly for us to see where my daughter is, to make sure she gets to school and home OK.
When someone gets home, our phones give us an alert to let us know. Simba, a lab retriever mix, has learned the tone the alert triggers on the phone.
My daughter made it home the other night and the tones rang out from our phones. Simba duly got up and went to the door to await her arrival.
Not only has technology trained us, but also our companion animals.
Dear Smiley: I know Americans' math skills are supposed to be slipping, but apparently some retailers believe they've really gone down.
I just saw a big sign at the grocery store for a product that normally retails for $3.49. It was "on sale" for 2/$7.00.
Dear Smiley: My daughter, being a graduate of LSU, is teaching her 2-year-old son well.
One day she asked him to say his ABC's. He started good: "A, B, C, D, E, F, G," etc.
When he got to "L" he paused, and then finished with "... SU TIGERS!"
The dental song
Dear Smiley: I’m enjoying your letters on misheard song lyrics. As a callow youth, when enjoying Juice Newton’s "Angel of the Morning," I heard it this way: “Just brush my teeth before you leave me, baby.” (Instead of “Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby.”)
I imagined the lady was a beautiful but aging angel and her teeth were on the nightstand.