Back Then

Simple Pleasures and Everyday Heroes

978-1-880510-81-0 Cloth
5 x 7. 152 pp. 17 B&W Photographs
Pub Date: 08/19/2005
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Winner of the 2006 Catherine Munson Foster Memorial Award for Literature
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.

In Back Then, 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."

Published by State House Press