As a kid, I loved the homespun humor & life lessons of TV’s “The Andy Griffith Show.”
I felt a connection to the program and to Mayberry, the ficticious town where Andy served as sheriff.
Mayberry was make-believe, but based upon the real-life city of Mount Airy, North Carolina.
Stuck indoors because of summer’s heat, I found myself “googling” images of Mount Airy….and noticed the similarities to my own hometown of Wapakoneta, Ohio.
Wapak, like Mount Airy, is a small town stuck in a time warp, with the flash of a 40-watt light bulb. As dated as a leisure suit. Where the big “doin’s” on a Saturday night is the fish fry at the social club.
Here is a picture of downtown Mount Airy….
Compare that to a picture of downtown Wapak.
Each town features its own old-style movie theater….
I loved the WAPA Theater. During the picture, bats would fly across the theater!
The floor was wooden and sloped downward toward the screen. As kids, we would buy gum drops & other hard candy at the concession stand and “accidently” drop a few pieces during the movie. The candy would roll all the way to the front of the theater, clanging along the way as it ran into the metal legs of the seats. Needless to say, we drove the ushers nuts!
Every small town has a diner…..
Mount Airy’s greasy spoon.
Wapak’s favorite diner.
The name says “Lucky Steer,” but we call it the “Lucky Fly.” Because no matter the outside temperature–they always seem to have flys inside the place! Where the hell do they come from! The flys are as old as the customers!
In Wapak, gravy is considered the fourth food group!
I related to the characters of “The Andy Griffith Show” as well.
Mayberry had “Floyd the Barber.” But Wapak had Coonie Veit, Floyd’s evil twin. While cutting my dad’s hair, Coonie would turn the barber chair so my dad couldn’t see, then, glaring at me, he would stick out his false teeth. It was terrifying to me as a six-year old.
Barney Fife may have patroled the streets of Mayberry, but Wapak had my Dad as its skinny, second-in-command officer of the law.
Aunt Bea? Eh, Wapak had a thousand blue-hair, bee-hived Aunt Bea’s!
The comparisons could go on and on.
Maybe that explains the popularity of “The Andy Griffith Show.”
Because we could all find something in the program that reminded us of home.
And when Sheriff Taylor died a couple weeks ago, a little bit of me died with him.