Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I remember when....

I was born in December of 1948, so I remember a lot.

1. Writing with a fountain pen in high school.
3. Wrought iron school desks with the seat for the person in front of you folded up, or down. The desks had holes in them for your ink well. (We didn't have ink pens [fountain pens] at that time--the desks were old.)
4. Hoola hoops (I could spin one on my waist, each arm, neck, and one ankle all at the same time.)
5. Saturday morning westerns: Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Sky King, My Friend Flicka, Cisco Kid, The Lone Ranger.
6. A coal furnace in the basement. Looking inside that thing with its white-hot heat always reminded me of the Three Holy Youths in the furnace.
7. The coal truck coming every year to put coal down a chute into our basement.
8. The ice-man bringing huge blocks of ice to our ice-box once a week.
9. The horse-drawn carts of the rag man and vegetable/fruit man who drove down the alley behind our house every once in a while.
10. An outhouse. (Yes, just a few blocks away from Churchill Downs in Lousiville, we had an outhouse my first 5 years of life before we moved.)
11. No hot water in the house--only cold running water and happy to have it.
12. A chamber pot for night-time use.
13. Washing boards for washing clothes. I had my own, child sized one to use right beside Mama.
14. Ringer Washers.
15. Hanging out the wash every Monday.
16. Mama made her own liquid starch and dipped Daddy's shirt collars in it before she ironed them.
17. Sprinklers. Not the garden hose kind, the kind that is a bottle with holes in its lid. You sprinkle your line-dried clothes and rolled/wadded them up into a ball and put them in the basket before you ironed them. You had to iron them soon, or they'd mildew and go sour.
18. Roller skates with keys. These skates attached to your shoes by a sort of vice thing that you tightened with the key. Shoes that had solid soles with a sort of "lip" (for lack of a better term) that extended around the side for the skates to get a good hold on.
19. Saddle oxfords.
20. Poodle skirts.
21. Silk scarves, small ones, of all colors to tie around your neck or pony tail as a fashion accessory.
21. Shirt-waist dresses with crinoline petticoats that made the skirts "stick out". How many you wore indicated your social status among your peers. (I loved those shirt-waist dresses!)
22. Silk stockings (one for each leg) that were held up by a garter belt that went around your waist next to your skin that had four, elasticized straps with hooks to hold up the stockings; two straps per leg--one in front, one in back.
23. Seams going up the back of my stockings.
24. Satchel bags for school books. These were fat bags you carried by a hand-handle or the fancy ones also had shoulder straps so you could carry it either way.
25. Hot school lunches that cost 25 cents for a meat, a green vegetable, a starch, a slice of bread (your choice--white or whole wheat), a pat of real butter, a carton of milk, and a dessert. All that hot and for 25 cents. I remember when the price went up to 30 and then 35 cents. My Dad made $8,000/year (considered a good salary), and had five kids. Those lunches were expensive.
26. Penny candy in the corner store. You could fill up a bag with candy for a nickel, especially if you got some of the 2 pieces for 1 cent kind.
27. What is now considered a large bar of chocolate candy for 5 cents.
28. Six ounce bottles of Coca Cola in a big, red chest cooler on the porch of the corner store. You were trusted to pay your nickel inside and go out and pull out your bottle of coke. This was a rare treat. We usually had "soft drinks" only at the Church Easter picnic and egg hunt once a year.
29. I remember when 12 oz. and then 16 oz. bottles of Coke came out. Thought they were so big, I couldn't drink it all.
30. "Ratting" my hair all over, no matter the length, spraying that with strong hair spray, then smoothing it down with a brush and molding it into shape. Using a "rat comb" to lift it up, and spraying again. My hair wouldn't move in a category 3 hurricane when I was a teenager.
31. Sleeping in hair rollers six nights out of the week. Brush rollers first, then came some pink, blue, and green plastic rollers that were much more uncomfortable, but helped your hair dry faster. The color designated the size.
32. Ironing long hair to make it smooth and straight.
33. Using small, frozen fruit juice cans to roll up long hair to make it smooth and straight.
34. White lipstick in high school. I wasn't allowed to wear make up or date until I was 16. I thought it was sooo unfair.
35. Wearing skirts or dresses with stockings to school every day.
36. Knowing what was weekday dress, casual dress, semi-casual, "Sunday best," semi-formal and formal dress.
37. White gloves for Sunday wear. (I had a pair of real kid [baby goat] skin gloves when I was in elementary school, and I thought I was the cat's meow.)
38. Hats with veils on them to come down either half way or all the way over your face. I was too young to wear them, but my Mama and every other woman wore them.
39. Foxes around your neck (there were two). The head was still on them and they had shiny glass eyes. The tail of a fox would be affixed in the mouth.
40. I remember a time before sales tax, and how it affected our buying habits.
41. A loaf of bread was 10 cents, and when it went up to 25 cents, Mama and Daddy about had fits.
42. The Donaldson Bakery man who drove down the road in his van, and you could wave him down and buy fresh bakery good. Another very rare treat for us.
43. The ice cream man and the jingling bell from his van coming down the street. We seldom had the nickel for a very large cone of soft ice cream piled high.
44. Playing "cowboys and Indians" with the neighborhood kids, and running all over the block in and out of each other's homes.
45. Getting my very own "cowgirl" outfit for a birthday. It was a skirt and vest with western tassels on it and a holster and cap gun. I always played Annie Oakley.
46. Men wore hats, doffed them when they met a lady on the street, took them off when they went into a house or church.

These are a few memories. Of course, there are jillions more, but I have to stop sometime and get my breakfast.


  1. Suzanne, this is an absolutely fantastic list and I chuckled aloud at many of them! Especially the "rat tail comb" and "cat 3 hurricane" hairdo!!

    I think I shall steal your idea and try to come up with a list of my own.

    Thanks for sharing this and the smile it gave me!

  2. I'm glad to put a smile on your face, Phillippa.

  3. This is a great post.

    We had the same desks with the inkwells, but never with ink in them.