Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

The Land That Made Me, Me


This came to me in an email from my walking buddy. Most people have probably seen it, but it’s so delightful I wanted EVERYONE to have a chance.


Long ago and far away, in a land that time forgot,
Before the days of Dylan , or the dawn of Camelot.
There lived a race of innocents, and they were you and me,

For Ike was in the White House in that land where we were born,
Where navels were for oranges, and Peyton Place was porn.
We longed for love and romance, and waited for our Prince,
Eddie Fisher married Liz, and no one’s seen him since.

We danced to ‘Little Darlin,’ and sang to ‘Stagger Lee’
And cried for Buddy Holly in the Land That Made Me,

Only girls wore earrings then, and 3 was one too many,
And only boys wore flat-top cuts, except for Jean McKinney

And only in our wildest dreams did we expect to see
A boy named George with Lipstick, in the Land That Made Me
, Me.

We fell for Frankie Avalon, Annette was oh, so nice,
And when they made a movie, they never made it twice.

We didn’t have a Star Trek Five, or Psycho Two and Three,
Or Rocky-Rambo Twenty in the Land That Made Me, Me.

Miss Kitty had a heart of gold, and Chester had a limp,
And Reagan was a Democrat whose co-star was a chimp.

We had a Mr. Wizard, but not a Mr. T,
And Oprah couldn’t talk yet, in the Land That Made Me,
We had our share of heroes, we never thought they’d go,
At least not Bobby Darin, or Marilyn Monroe.

For youth was still eternal, and life was yet to be,
And Elvis was forever in the Land That Made Me,

We’d never seen the rock band that was Grateful to be Dead,
And Airplanes weren’t named Jefferson , and Zeppelins were not Led.

And Beatles lived in gardens then, and Monkees lived in trees,
Madonna was Mary in the Land That Made Me,

We’d never heard of microwaves, or telephones in cars,
And babies might be bottle-fed, but they were not grown in jars.

And pumping iron got wrinkles out, and ‘gay’ meant fancy-free,
And dorms were never co-Ed in the Land That Made Me,

We hadn’t seen enough of jets to talk about the lag,
And microchips were what was left at the bottom of the bag.

And hardware was a box of nails, and bytes came from a flea,
And rocket ships were fiction in the Land That Made Me,

Buicks came with portholes, and side shows came with freaks,
And bathing suits came big enough to cover both your cheeks.

And Coke came just in bottles, and skirts below the knee,
And Castro came to power near the Land That Made Me,

We had no Crest with Fluoride, we had no Hill Street Blues,
We had no patterned pantyhose or Lipton herbal tea

Or prime-time ads for those dysfunctions in the Land That Made Me, Me.

There were no golden arches, no Perrier to chill,
And fish were not called Wanda, and cats were not called Bill

And middle-aged was 35 and old was forty-three,
And ancient were our parents in the Land That Made Me,

But all things have a season, or so we’ve heard them say,
And now instead of Maybelline we swear by Retin-A.
They send us invitations to join AARP,
We’ve come a long way, baby, from the Land That Made Me, Me.

So now we face a brave new world in slightly larger jeans,
And wonder why they’re using smaller print in magazines.
And we tell our children’s children of the way it used to be,
Long ago and far away in the Land That Made Me, Me.

THANK YOU, Carollea!!!

Author: Susan Shay

For as long as I can remember, I've loved two things--reading and people--and that led me to become a writer. Many of my stories are set in Small Town Worlds. I'm a wife, mother, sibling and an aunt. I have a deep faith in God, and an exciting life in Christ. Maybe I shouldn't be (after all, he's God!) but I'm constantly amazed at the things He's up to. :)

12 thoughts on “The Land That Made Me, Me

  1. I love the picture of the town with the Mobil station. It reminds me a lot of our downtown.

    Back when times were better . . .

  2. I wish I was a part of the golden and treasured years of the old. I was born in 1971 and pretty missed all the fun , innocent, pure and happy stuff. I envy my parents now for seeing all these and being a part. But through your post I get to envision that I was…”Long ago and far away, in a land that time forgot,
    Before the days of Dylan , or the dawn of Camelot.
    There lived a race of innocents, and they were you and me.” In a way I was there. God bless to you and your family.

    • You missed the best times, IT. But then, my parents told me the same thing. Life was good back in the day. I imagine you’ll say the same thing in about 20 years.
      Thanks for dropping by!

  3. I feel so blessed to have been raised during this wonderful time in history in the land of America where most all of us loved God, Family, our Country & our Flag. 🙂

    • We are blessed, Sharon! I figure having running water and electricity and air conditioning was a super blessing. The rest is icing!!!

      • I remember getting our first “water cooler” in the window of the dining room of our house across from Aunt Ruby & Uncle Ray. It made going to sleep on those hot sultry nights so much easier. Didn’t even know what central heat & air was back then, but an old fashioned “hand-held fan” while sitting in the porch swing or at church helped to make the days a bit cooler.

        Also, I have riden in cars like most of the cars pictured in the first picture of this post ~ even owed a 57 Chevy the same color as the one in the pic. 🙂

        • Grandmother and Granddad had a water cooler, too, I think. I know Grandma Reeves did. We never owned one. Our only cooler for years was an attic fan.
          I don’t remember riding in a 57 Chevy, but I’d love to own one.

  4. Loved the post, Susan. Yep, it brought back memories of never locking your doors, not having to worry about a stranger picking you up (not too much, anyway), knowing everyone in town and knowing if you did something wrong ‘someone’ would tell your folks, knowing if you got in trouble at school you also were in trouble at home, wearing homemade dresses and they were all the fashion. *s* The list could go on for days.

    Hmm, it also reminds me I need to call home and tell Dad how much I love and appreciate him and all he did for the family.

  5. Yes, times were simpler and purer then but not for everyone. I led a wonderful life in a sheltered community, but not everyone had it so nice in the fifties. Ask an African-American who saw a family member lynched, or an abused wife with no way out of a bad marriage or an Appalachian familywhose father died in the mines and left them destitute. Only thinking about the good parts, we often screen out the harm done by prejudice and greed in those times. It was a wonderful time for me and mine, but not for everyone in the USA.

    • Sadly, that’s very true, Judy. Too many people were lynched or abused or fatherless in the ’50’s. And the tragic part is, that kind of thing still goes on today. Only Jesus can take away the pain and make us whole.
      I’m so thankful we’ll always have Him to lean on.

I'm so glad you dropped by my Small Town World! Hope you'll leave a comment. I really enjoy hearing from you!

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