Contributed by PaulSmith, an ePodunk user.
January 23, 2007
Pluses: Red Oak was a small quiet mid-west farm community in the 1950's. It was a great place to be raised as a kid growing up.
There were places to fish and hunt as a teenager and places to explore, such as Indian Gulley out south of town.
It seemed to be filled with hard working people who both farmed and worked in town to make ends meet.
The town square was always beautiful in the summer with trees and flowers. The center piece was the fountain built with river rock, it was lite up at night with lights and quite nice.
I was raised Methodist and there was a large community of people who attended the local church. Rev. Wells was the pastor while I grew up there. Many of my teachers in school attended there too.
Minuses: It was hot in the summer and cold in the winter, but we had no air conditioning at that time. The home we lived in was an old farm house built at the turn of the century and not well insulated, but it was comfortable.
There was no bus service to South Hill when I was a child so you walked or road your bike everywhere, even when it was below freezing, going to and from school.
Red Oak was isolated from most big towns, so you had to drive an hour or more to get to the Bluffs or Omaha to shop.
Red Oak was a farm community, so everything revolved around farming. Most of the part time jobs were very low pay as a teenager.
Most of the towns that we competed with were miles away so it was hard to attend the games when they were out of town.
A good place to... We lived on South Hill at 410 Park Avenue, so we attended Jefferson Grade School both in the old building which is no longer there for the 5th grade and the new addition from Kindergarden on thru the 4th grade. The Sixth Grace was held in the Biology room of the old Red Oak High School due to lack of room and growth.
The old Red Oak Junior High was still in place at that time and I attended 7th and 8th grade there. I went to the old High School thru the 9th to 12th grade where I graduated in 1964 with four years perfect attendance and never missed a day.
We lived on 5 acres and it was at the south end of the city limits. So we had a lot of room to grow, and play. We raised horses, had cows and chickens and a lot of yard work to do.
Both parents worked so we were latch key... kids. Dad was the Chef at the Hotel Johnson and Mother was Head Cook at the hospital, they both worked long hours. Dad passed away in 1965 at 61. Mother when home to be with the Lord on May 3rd 2006 at 93.
I remember gas selling for $.16 cents per gallon, you could buy 3 loafs of bread for $1.00 or 3 pounds of Ground Beef for a buck. The picture show was $.25 cents and Cokes were nickle. Hair cuts were $.75 cents and Browns Shoes Shop charged $.35 cents to have your shoes pollished. The owner, Buster Carson always did a nice job.
I remember the Carbon Plant on Hwy 48 where they made batterys, most of my relation worked there at one time or another fo make a living.
I worked at the Red Oak Wholesale Grocery after school, Jenkins Standard Service and Highland Acres next to the old hospital until I graduated in 1964.
At that time Red Oak was a growing community of over 6,000 people and it was a good place to live.
We lived next door to Barb and Beverly Swanson. Their Dad was Randy Swanson, a local builder and I worked for him too in the summer when school was out.
At that time there was no such thing as Wellfare, Food Stamps or free rent, everyone worked and unemployment was low.