Thursday, April 7, 2016

I Remember When

Age has been on my mind a lot lately.  I have an aunt who just turned 97, my mother will be 92 on Monday and I am facing the big seven-oooh in a couple of months. 

Every day in almost every way I am reminded I’m getting old.  There are the aches and pains that suddenly appear without warning, each haircut shows more thinning, the new wrinkle that was not there last time I washed my face. How Hubby and I spend more time each year visiting the doctors building.  Where did all these good, not so good and downright bad days come from?

 We are starting to feel guilty about the number of times lately we have canceled some event at the last minute because one of us was not feeling well enough to attend. Lately, we hesitate accepting an invitation to anything for fear it will fall on one of our bad days.

The biggest reminders of how much time has passed is all the stuff in the media, on facebook and the young people in our lives going on about something that never existed in our youth and has now been around for thirty, forty or even fifty years.  So let's talk about some of the things that make me feel old.

….my parent brought home our first television ---- it was in a mahogany cabinet with a “ 14-inch screen.” was black and white and a person had to actually get up and cross the room to change the sound or channel.  
.... the day our first telephone was installed.  It sat on a small table in the hallway so everyone could use it and yes, it had a dial hence the term “Dial Tone.”  It was also on a party line so half the neighborhood could listen in and you knew if the call was for you by the number of long and short rings it made.  
....I was twelve in 1958 when the first McDonalds opened in st. Louis.  It had a  walk up window and you ate in your car.  I was in high school before I ever got to actually sample any of their products.  
....we would go through not just days but weeks or even months without taking a single photo of anything.  Cameras were for special occasions only.  
       .... all of us kids (in my Elementary school) were sent home for lunch and Mom often had a bowl of hot soup waiting.  Everybody walked, even when the weather was bad and feared the Nun's wrath if we were late getting back.
       .... most of the adult women I knew did not know how to drive.
       .... music came from the radio or a record player.  The 8-track player, walkman, and i-pod were all still a seed in the inventors dreams.  
       ....  produce was kept in a fruit cellar dug underground and the meat was in the smoke house out by the barn. And, the city folks kept their food stored in an ice box-- with real blocks of ice delivered to the house in ice trucks.
       ... we hung out at the Woolworth’s soda fountain.
       .... we played with tinker toys, hula hoops, and hopscotch.
       ....we watched Art Linkletter,  Howdy Doody,  American Bandstand, Make room for Daddy, and Gunsmoke.
       .... the DOS based computer on my desk at work.
       .... the countless vacations to far away places using only a paper map picked up at the gas station for directions. 

Heck, I'm so old I remember when Spam was something you fried for a sandwich.  I also remember we had to leave the room when adults wanted to visit. We had to wait to speak until we were given permission. 
I remember we had clothes for every occasion (church, school and play) and you didn't dare go out to play in the wrong ones. Also, girls were not allowed to wear pants to church or school and shorts were only worn by boys. 
But, mostly I remember running out the door after breakfast and not having to be home until suppertime.  Every kid you knew left the house with all the items they might need that day. When we lived in town you would see baseball mitts hanging from the handlebars of bicycles and baskets with baseballs, roller skates, and Barbie dolls cases.  We never missed picking up the castoff pop bottles we found because if we were lucky we might have enough to redeem for a Slowpoke, Tootsie Roll or ice cream cone.    When we moved to the country, roller skates disappeared and the boys carried fishing poles and BB guns.  I remember picking cherries and apples from the trees or tomatoes from the vines for lunch and curling up on a blanket in a den created under the lilac bushes to read Nancy Drew books, or carving rings from peach seeds, or weaving pot holders.  

One thing I have learned is that while the gadgets, toys or events may change people not so much.  I remember hearing my parents and grandparents making these same kinds of lists.  Back then it might have been airplanes, automobiles, or vacuum cleaners on their list but they marked getting old by how the world changed and the actors, statesmen and events that came and went in their lifetime. 

How about you?  


  1. This was a wonderful trip down memory lane. I remember almost everything you wrote about. I can not even imagine that mom ever let us sit in the house all day. If we didn't get out and leave to play she found work for us to do. I have written a piece about the hula-hoop, one of my favorite toys! Yes, we are getting older. But I would go back to the 'good old days' any day, wouldn't you?

    1. I wish I could have given those good old days to my child and grandchild. But, those years are past. But, it would be nice to know all my great-grand nieces and nephews and all at the other children could know that freedom and the many lessons it taught all of us.

  2. The only thing I don't remember is the peach pit ring. I would have liked one of those. Oh and I don't remember what day it is today. Since retiring, everyday seems to be Saturday ;)

  3. Lots of the things you mention struck a nerve ... or provoked a smile. Aside from the innocence, what I miss most from the 50's is the feeling of pride in our Country. I sure don't recall any divisiveness. Then again, I was just a kid, so what do I know.

  4. A lot of that I don't miss or feel bad about , but the freedom we had as children, that I do miss. I really do feel sorry for kids today supervised every moment, no free play.

  5. I remember all of those things. Some of them fondly and some, not so much. I loved all the exploring we used to do. Our only rule was that we had to be home before dark. Our TVs always seemed to have a pair of vice grips clamped to the TV to change channels because the knobs always seemed to break.