Wednesday, November 04, 2009



All the girls had ugly gym uniforms instead of leotards?
When it took five minutes for the TV to warm up and the picture was black and white?
When nearly everyone's Mum was at home when the kids got home from school?
When all dogs were mongrels? When pocket money was a shilling (a quarter) and you'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny?
When nylons came in two pieces and all your male teachers wore ties and your female teachers had their hair done every day and wore high heels?
When you got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, all for free, every time?
And you didn't pay for air? And, you got Green Stamps to boot?
When laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box?
When they threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed . . . and they meant it?
When boys and girls went steady?
When no one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the ignition, and the doors were never locked?
When you could lie on your back in the grass with your friends and say things like,” That cloud looks like a ..."
When you could play soccer with no adults to help kids with the rules of the game or to argue with the referee, because there was no referee?
When stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic seals because no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger?
When being sent to the headmaster’s office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited the student at home? Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! But we survived because their love was greater than the threat.
When Saturday Morning Pictures showed Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, Laurel and Hardy, the Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers and Flash Gordon, and not extended commercials for toys?
And the long hot summers were filled with bike rides, pick-up games, Hula Hoops, swimming in the river, sucking sherbet through a liquorice straw, and sharing Tizer with your friends.

How many of these do you remember: sweet (or do you say candy) cigarettes, soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles, coffee shops with tableside jukeboxes, penny chews, home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers and newsreels before the movie? How about telephone numbers with a word prefix (Mayfair 601), party lines, peashooters, home perms, 45 RPM records metal ice cubes trays with levers, carbon paper, roller-skate keys, cork pop guns, washtub wringers, reel-to-reel tape recorders, slide rules, Hornby wind-up train sets, Meccano, lead soldiers, cigarette cards, best friends, wooden dolls houses, catapults, Airfix kits and five-stones (or perhaps you called them dibs).

I remember saving a penny by walking one bus stop nearer to home and spending it on an apple. I remember when a foot of snow was a dream come true. I remember when the fat kid was always the last to be picked. I remember fixing a card to the spokes of my bicycle to make it sound like a motor-bike. I remember when you’d see soldiers in the street in uniform. I remember sitting in a pub garden drinking Vimto with the mums who were drinking milk stout while the dads were inside drinking mild and bitter. I remember Dandelion and Burdock delivered by the Corona lorry. I remember the ice truck taking two foot cubes of ice to the ice cellar belonging to the big house on the corner. I remember chimneys catching fire. I remember giving up my seat on buses to ladies and being thanked by being told she would pray for me. I remember chimney sweeps with soot-black faces. I remember holding a newspaper up against the fire-grate to make it draw. I remember second-hand bikes and hand-me-down clothes. I remember bomb sites. I remember slums.

It was a different world then – as different as the worlds of Isaac Asimov, James Blish and Theodore Sturgeon.


Deb Light said...

Not only do I remember those days but I wish we had those good ole days back.Times were simple but kids weren't bored!I was Blessed with Christian parents and raised on a farm.My mom was always there for us and still is.We all worked together on the farm.We didn't have much but we didn't care cause mom and dad loved us and each other!God Bless the good ole days!

God Bless,

Burke said...

When I was a kid growing up in the '50's, my mom would give me a quarter on Saturday. I would spend a nickle on a fountain drink at the drug store and another nickle on a Snickers candy bar. At 3 p.m., I would go to the picture show. The admission was 9 cents, and I would see a double feature of cowboy shows and a cartoon. I would buy a coconut ice cream on a stick going in. On the way out, I would spend my last penny on a sucker.

A great day on a quarter.

The other day, I paid $2.10 for a Snickers bar. I can remember taking my wife and 3 kids to a movie on a Saturday afternoon one day during the '80's, buying tickets, drinks, popcorn, and candy for everyone--and having $3.00 and change left from a $50.00 bill when I sat down.

Anonymous said...

Of course I remember those days. How less complicated they were! How peaceful things were, no threats from inside the country or outside. Politics was civil, and both parties were adament in protecting the county, yielding to no one. I remember having no doubt that democracy and the Western powers were the good guys, and dictatorships with the likes of Hitler and Stalin were bad.

I remember the 'duck and cover' drills in elementary school, and trips down to the school basement in case of a nuclear war. I remember the civil defence signs in buildings, pointing to supplies that could be used after a war. I remember radios with the CD civil defense symbol in two places, designating the location to tune to in case of nuclear war.

I remember my mom pushing me out of the house to 'go play', and we would be gone all day, with no thought anything would happen to us. I remember walking to the American River 1/2 mile from our house, and swimming across the river, without telling our parents, not that they were that concerned. They trusted our judgment.

I also remember being threatened with a spanking because we walked down to the railroad tracks, and failed to look out for hobobs, these dastardly folk who would cut your throat for a dollar.

I remember when television signed off every night with the poem, High Flight, which brought tears to my eyes with the line "Put out my hand, and touched the face of God."

I remember test patterns that would be the only thing on TV when they were not broadcasting programming.

I remember pick-up baseball games that we played for the sheer fun of it. I remember cutting out silhoutees of Lincoln and Washington, and actually having school holidays for those great men, instead of 'Presidents Day'.

I remember when no teenager would be caught dead 'trick or treating'. I remember building model cars and aircraft carriers using the glue with touluene it in, with not tought of sniffing it.

I remember seeing a foreign car for the first time, thinking how funny someone would buy a car from France or Japan.

I remember long trips in the station wagon, going for weeks with mom and dad, and fighting with my sister, while we looked for Burma Shave placards, which we all read together.

I remember with fast food places would close down for the winter (in the 1970s, believe it or not).

I remember when an recreational vehicle was a station wagon with a big tent for the whole family.

I remember when rap music was using your knuckles to softly tap on the door to get in.

I remember when 'long-haired music' referred to Bach and Beethoven, not the Rolling Stones and the Beatles.

Days were better then, for sure.

Chonette said...

I was amazed how many things you mentioned I remember, we change so fast