A friend sent me one of those email quizzes and this one scored your age depending on how many “old-time” things you remembered. I scored older than dirt LOL but it made me remember some things I hadn’t thought about in years.
We didn’t have milk delivered but my grandma did. She lived in Canada and the coolest things in her house were a laundry chute that you dropped clothes into and they went down to the basement where the wringer washing machine was and an opening next to the back door where you put your empty milk bottles. You put them in through a little door on the inside of the house and the milk man came by and picked them up and replaced them through a door on the outside. It was built that way because winter would get so cold that your milk might freeze and break the bottle.
Our first fast food was hotdogs and a gallon jug of A&W Root Beer. My Grandpa always took me for an ice cream cone at Dairy Queen after church on Sunday and every year we went shopping for school shoes and coats at Sears and Roebuck. It was a special treat because Sears had a lunch counter then and we would have lunch there. They also had fresh roasted nuts and my dad’s big treat was a bag of cashews. He would share a few with us and that always helped my feelings after having to get ugly saddle shoes that would hold up instead of the patent leather Mary Janes I lusted over.
I didn’t have a ten speed bike. A friend of my dad’s daughter had out-grown her bike and gave it to my dad. He worked at Ditzlers Automotive Paint manufacturing in Detroit and got a lot of free paint that was left over when a line of cars stopped using that color. He painted my bike with automotive paint in a royal blue and got some of those fringy things that go on the handlebars. It was the only bike I ever had and it lasted as long as I would ride one. The only speeds it had were the ones I felt like pedaling.
We ate every meal at home and there was nearly always meat, potatoes, a vegetable, a salad, and when I got big enough to start learning to cook – a dessert. I got a Betty Crocker Cookbook for Girls for Christmas and made everything in it eventually. We didn’t have a dishwasher and when my mom felt my brother and I were old enough she bought a set of melmac and put the glass dishes away. After supper she would go for a walk so she wouldn’t have to hear my brother and I fight while we did the dishes.
We had an old black and white Philco TV on a metal stand and dusting was one of my chores. If you touched the tv stand in the wrong place it would shock you. There were only three channels and Sunday nights we got to watch TV in the living room because the Wonderful World of Disney came on. We had red pop and potato chips while we watched. It was the only time we were allowed to eat anywhere but at the table.
In the summer time we stayed outside all day. We would come in for a drink of water and to use the bathroom and if mom was in a good mood we would get to eat our peanut butter sandwiches out on the back porch. In winter it was almost the same only we would be ice skating and having snowball fights instead of playing tag or dress up or whatever other games we could think of. At supper time my mother would come out of the house and yell for us. If she had to come out twice we got the full three name treatment which meant we better hustle or we would be getting sore backsides and maybe be grounded to our own yard the next day.
My mom didn’t learn to drive til I was in high school. She exchanged several letters a month with her parents in Canada and we went to see them every other year. There were few phone calls. A long distance phone call was usually reserved for birth or death and email was unheard of.
One year my dad built this thing that was kind of like a go cart with runners instead of wheels. Our road was gravel but at least several times a winter it would freeze over so we could get the “ice cart” out and it would run like what Dale calls a “scalded ape”. All the kids on our street would line up for a turn and we would all race along side of it slipping and sliding ourselves. When the weather was like that everyone on the street helped everyone else push their cars out to the main road that had been plowed so they could all get to work. My dad was always finding things that didn’t work or were pieces of something else and fixing and “re-making” them into something else. He did that with an old mini-bike and I remember my brother flying on it across the back yard yelling “watch this!” just before the sissy bar caught on the clothesline and flipped him through the air. He was unhurt except for a nasty little burn on his leg from the muffler. He never tried to do tricks on it again.
My favorite things when I was a kid were Nancy Drew books, Barbie, and my Mom’s chocolate chip cookies. My first crush was on Davy Jones of the Monkeys who turned out to be much shorter than I thought. I remember peace signs, bell bottoms, and head shops. I marched out of my high school on the day of the Viet Nam Moratorium, arms linked with my friends singing “If I Had a Hammer”. The first McDonalds I ever saw was 50 miles away from my home when I was in high school. My mom saved S&H Green stamps and my dad got her an entire set of Fire King coffee mugs and soup bowls at the gas station where he always filled up the Chrysler.
Well that’s the end of my walk down memory lane for tongiht. We all have stories to tell and I guess I really am older than dirt! Goodnight Gracie.