Do You Remember … Your Parents’ Curfew?

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Those of us who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s lived under strict rules of behavior. One of those rules was our curfew. Parents established a deadline for returning home in the evening. These “curfews” were dependent upon one’s age and the personal preferences of the parents. When I was in elementary school, I had to be home before dark. This edict was not too severe in the summer, but in the winter months, it seemed harsh since darkness fell rather early.

When I entered junior high, I had to be home by the 10 p.m. news, if it was a school night. 

My curfew on the weekend varied. Normally, it was 11 p.m., unless I was spending the night at a friend’s house. 

If I violated these rules, the punishment was in the form of “grounding,” which meant I had to come straight home after school. Another punishment was working for a week at my father’s store without my usual “salary.” Exceptions were made for such occurrences as necessary studying or homework with a friend.

We did not have cell phones in those days, of course. However, if we knew we were going to be late, we had to find a telephone to call our parents to let them know what was going to make us late. On that note, I found out quite early in my life, lame excuses such as “ I lost track of time’” did not work.

We had to tell our parents the name and phone number of our friends who were visiting. I can remember several occasions my mother calling my friend’s house, yelling on the phone, “Get your bu** home, right now!”

Children who were only allowed to play in the neighborhood would often be called home by their parents. One method of calling the kids home is quite memorable. Our neighbor, Ann Engle, Don Engle’s mother, would call her kids home by clasping both hands around her mouth and calling out at the top of her lungs, “Wooo, wooo, wooo, Don Mark,” along with her other children. 

My curfew in high school was 11 p.m. on school nights and midnight on weekends. However, at this point, my parents were not strictly enforcing it. My friends and I would on occasion, go camping or fishing for the weekend. 

Remember, these were parents’ curfews, not legal curfews. The City of Sapulpa does have a legal curfew for minors. Exceptions are made for being accompanied by a parent or guardian or school- or work-related events.

Even so, times have changed and I often see elementary-aged kids wandering around or riding bikes at midnight and teenagers driving around at all hours of the night. 

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Charles Betzler

Charles Betzler

Long-time Sapulpa resident, Charles Betzler, followed his father, Charlie, into the radio and TV repair business. At age 9, he fixed his first broken radio and his first love is vintage audio equipment. In his 50 + years of technical work, graduation from OSUIT, and years of Continuing Education, Charles, in his capacity as Emergency Management Director of nearby city, designed the Emergency Operations Center, and the radio-activation system for the sirens. In his long career, he has repaired every type of consumer electronics from black-and-white TVs to the latest lap-top.