I wish I had kept a diary.

Occasionally, something will jog my memory about a specific incident, but the details are fuzzy. Even when I do think I am remembering certain events, I’m not confident I remember everything accurately. If I had only kept a diary throughout my life, those elusive details would have been written down for future reference.

I could even write a book.

Thankfully, one thing I’ve been doing for 41 years — with a few interruptions — is writing this weekly column. That means a column much like this one appeared in the Brownwood Bulletin on the first Friday in October 1978, the day our first child was born.

While Bulletin readers were enjoying those ramblings 40 years ago, my wife and I were at (what was then) Brownwood Community Hospital waiting for the stork to arrive. We were there all day and into the night before the blessed event occurred a little after 10 p.m.

I missed seeing the Brownwood Lions play that evening, despite it being a home football game. More on that later.

Because the column was printed the day our daughter was born, I saved several copies. Unfortunately, that column was among many I consider to be “empty calories.” That doesn’t mean it’s worthless; rather, it had one of those Jerry Seinfeld type of plots. “Seinfeld,” which was hilarious even though I didn’t appreciate that fact until its nine-season run was finished, had the reputation of being a “show about nothing.”

Well, my column 40 years ago was about stuff I discovered while moving things from an old wallet into a new one. I found a lot of curious things stashed in there — a lot of curious things, but no money.

Fortunately, I saved not only the page on which the column was printed, but also the entire edition. Here are some of the curious tidbits found in that newspaper printed the first Friday in October 1978:

• The Brownwood Lions, coached by Gordon Wood, hosted Bowie at (what was then) Cen-Tex Stadium.

• The world’s second test-tube baby, born four days earlier in India, was doing fine. The first such birth occurred in July that year in England.

• Four cans of Campbell’s soup could be had for a dollar at Shoppin’ Baskit on Booker. TSTC is there now.

• The city of Dallas was bracing for Saturday’s annual Texas-OU football game. Both teams were undefeated, but sorry, Longhorn fans. It wasn’t even close.

• The Equal Rights Amendment was facing a deadline in six months but was still three states short of ratification. Early that day, Congress extended the deadline by 39 months, but it didn’t matter. Five states had rescinded their ratifications.

• The “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” film was featured at Commerce Square’s Cinema, and equally forgettable B-movies were showing at Brownwood’s two drive-in theaters.

• A six-pack of Schlitz went for $1.75 at Handy Liquor.

• Bealls (the first time in Commerce Square) had men’s sneakers for $13.90.

• “Country Comic of the Year” Jerry Clower was booked to perform two shows Saturday at the Brownwood Coliseum. The sponsor, Nelson Wholesale, provided the public with free tickets.

• The nation’s jobless rate had “edged up to 6 percent.”

• Then finally, and most intriguing to me, it was homecoming at Bangs High School and the 40th-year reunion for the Class of 1938 was scheduled Saturday.

Forty years. That seems like a long time.


Gene Deason is editor emeritus of the Brownwood Bulletin. His column appears on Fridays. He may be contacted at news@brownwoodbulletin.com.