Lost in the ’50s in Rutherfordton

“Most of the community events in my home town of Rutherfordton are inexplicably saddled with ’50s themes. All the men put grease in their hair, all the women wear poodle skirts — in case you’re wondering, those are long, poofy skirts made out of small French dogs; the barking at the sock hop is extraordinary — and the four or five guys in town who own cars manufactured when Eisenhower was president drive them up and down Main Street while the sound system on the courthouse lawn blasts the theme song from ‘Happy Days’ over and over again.

“That we do this at least once a year suggests that we have reached some kind of joyful, communal consensus that the ’50s were as good as it ever got in Rutherfordton, North Carolina.”

— From novelist Tony Earley’s destined-to-go-viral commencement address at his alma mater, Warren Wilson College