Friday, August 15, 2014

Way Back When I Was Really Young

The previous post included things from the Old Days which were when my first baby was little, or not long before. This one has stuff that I remember from my childhood. At least I don't expect my kids to recall these things because "they just happened." At least I have some awareness that these are from times long-enough-ago that they're in the history books as .... well, ... history.

The milk was delivered to the milk-box sitting by our front door. The milk wagon was pulled by a horse -- the only horse-drawn vehicle I saw in town. When I was learning to walk to kindergarten by myself, I had to watch out so that I didn't step in horse poop when I crossed the street. And I loved it that the milkman put reindeer-antlers on his horse for the week or so before Christmas.

When we dialed a phone number, the phone actually had a dial.

We didn't have to check our Halloween candy before eating it to see that it was safe.

Children walked to a neighborhood school. Buses were for the kids who lived in the country. We went home for lunch too. Only the bussed kids were stuck at school during the lunch break.

The new-fangled ratings system for movies included G, M, R, and X. That's it.

McDonalds ran commercials touting that you could buy a hamburger, fries, and beverage, and still get change back from your dollar.

We sang Christmas carols (and a dreidel song) for the Christmas program (not "holiday program") at the public school.

Getting "only one cavity" at each semi-annual dentist appointment was considered a rousing success for dental care.

Bouncy children were not given Ritalin.

We played cowboys and Indians. Nobody ever heard of "native Americans."

Arcades had pinball machines. There were no joysticks or video games of any sort.

People dressed up for church, and women did not wear pants to church.

Cameras had flashbulbs. Bulbs. Y'know, the round things. Each bulb had one flash and then was finished. And getting your film developed in an hour was unheard of. It was a week or more.

Whole houses then cost less than a car now. Less even than most used cars do now.

Cars then were washed up and old by the time they had 60,000 miles on them.

Kids could go biking all over town and the countryside, riding around for hours on end, and parents didn't have to worry about whether they'd be accosted by strangers.

The bank and the liquor store gave lollipops to the kids who came in with their moms to buy dad's weekly allotment of beer.

Television was in black and white. No color.

Very few people had dishwashers. There was no such thing as a microwave.

"Negro" was a recently outdated word. The new term was "black."

The old people remembered Russia being a country, but we youngsters were up-to-date enough to know that the proper name had become USSR.

Lutherans had one hymnal. For a bunch of different synods. And we used it. No "song books."

People didn't use credit cards. The few credit cards that existed were used for limited purposes, such as a card for gasoline only.

Diapers were made of cloth, and people used pins to hold them onto the baby's tuschie.

Kids pretended to smoke our candy cigarettes and candy cigars.

There were three television networks. It was free. No cable. Just rabbit ears or the big antenna on the roof.

Some cars had seat belts, but they were seldom used. There was no such thing as bike helmets.

In a similar vein, there was no such thing as fire-retardant clothing.

"Ms." hadn't been invented yet.

At the playground, swings had chains that were 10-12' long or more, and slides were so high that it was fun even for the grown-ups to slide down. And you had to wear long pants to the park in August so that you didn't burn your legs on the metal slide.

People thought formula was the right way to feed a baby.

Mom washed our clothes in a wringer-washer and hung them on the line to dry.

Almost all my friends had stay-at-home moms.

It wasn't considered abuse if kids were spanked and had their mouths washed out with soap.

Gas ran about 30-some cents a gallon. When there was a "gas war" in town, prices could even get as low as 19 cents.

Nobody was allowed to pump their own gas. When you drove in for a fill-up, the attendant checked your oil, checked your tire pressure, washed your windows, and who-knows-what-all else.

The word "their" was a plural pronoun and only a plural pronoun. Now --as in the previous comment-- it's also used as a singular pronoun when we don't want to be "sexist" by using "he" or "she."

Only the poor, impoverished, neglected children were sent to preschool.

1 comment:

  1. It's so funny that you wrote this. Not too long ago I was having my "way back when" storytelling time with my kids and remembering most of the same things. It was just a year or two ago that some of them stopped believing the world was black and white until 1972. :-)

    Reading this was fun. Thanks for writing it!