In the 1950s, when my whole family went to Main Street in Columbia to shop, I distinctly remember somebody saying, "You know, if we were Up North, we would LOCK the car door!" Everybody laughed because we knew it was true. We had read about locked doors in New York and seen it on TV.

But what is hard to convey to you is how ALIEN this idea was. Locking your house door or your car door in South Carolina was exactly like the story that Eskimos kissed by rubbing their noses together, and I mean EXACTLY that alien.

You locked prisons, not homes.

But I found out later that we were not the only ones who felt that only prisons had locked door. I was reading a black author who was raised in, of all places, HARLEM, New York, and he was the same way! He remembered that, when he was a boy in the 1930s, his family would sleep out on the fire escape on hot summer nights and families on the ground floor would sleep on the street.


He said he remembered that, but he honestly didn't recall whether the apartment he lived in HAD a lock on the door. He never remembered anybody using a key to get in.

Another book was by an affluent New Yorker who owned his apartment. He wrote in the early 1950s that he would never get used to the idea of having to unlock the door to his own home.

All this happened while the "Greatest Generation" was in control.

They Saved the World, you know.