Saturday, September 10, 2011

I'm So Old That...

   sandwich (I'm so old that I remember as a kid, adults using the words "Whippersnapper", "Holey Moley" and "The Bee's Knees".

   I remember when a radio was the size of a small fridge and it was the only form of electronic entertainment in the house.

   I remember when telephones were attached to the wall with wires and to use them you had to call the operator and tell her the number you wanted to dial and she would then connect you. If the switchboard (look it up) was busy, she'd connect your call and then call you back with your party on the line. This was usually only when you were calling someone in another city.
   We had a 3 digit phone number (233). It was a party line. When the phone rang for you the phone would ring twice, then three times and three times again (233) That's how you knew the call was for you. If you wanted to find out what your neighbors were up to, you could just lift the receiver and listen in on their conversation. That's a party line - shared by the whole neighborhood. No privacy, no secrets! It made you close to your neighbors. If you had a death in the family, your neighbor was there with a chicken casserole before you hung up.

   I remember the first TV we had was the size of a medium suitcase and it had a round 6" diameter screen and had a black and white picture. There were only three channels: ABC, NBC and CBS. There was no HBO or ESPN. No sir! Whatever the big three had on - that's what you watched or you read a book or listened to the radio or you went to bed early.

   I was born during the Truman Administration. (Now there was a President with a pair!)

   When I was a kid I got an allowance of 25 cents per week and after buying all the candy and snacks I could eat during that week, I'd still have a few cents left! Things were much cheaper back then, obviously. The store on the corner, Cogswell's Grocery Store (I can remember that but I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday - getting old!) had a jar or two full of penny candy. Not a penny per piece but a penney for as much as you could get in your hand and still get your hand out of the jar!

   I recall as a five year old, making trips to the ice box for my Dad and my Uncle Ted for cold beers and taking the empties to the trash - but they weren't really empty. They always had a kid-sized swallow left and I got it! I remember sitting in the driveway dumping hand-fulls of dirt over my head and into my hair, drunk as a skunk!

   I remember when gasoline was 13 cents per gallon and the guy would fill your tank, wash your windows, check your oil, radiator water and tire pressure. That's why they called them service station. Now they're gas stations and we're lucky to get a fill-up for under $50 bucks! Ask Netflix to send you a copy of  "Back to the Future". Check out the service station  scene. It seems funny now, but that was the way it really was! Honest!

   I remember my Dad coming home from the Korean War. I was maybe five years old. We (my Mom and I) were at the Salt Lake City Airport. My dad came through the door along with a bunch of other Servicemen. Mom said "There's your Daddy" I ran to the nearest guy, grabbed his leg crying "Daddy, Daddy"! It was the wrong man and I'm told he had quite a panicked look on his face.
   When Mom steered me to the right guy I was happy to hug him. Hey, I was a little kid. I hadn't seen him for a few years and my memory was kinda like it is now. Spotty at best. I'l bet the other guy had some explaining to do to his wife or girlfriend!

   I remember when my little sister came home from the hospital for the first time and the first time I got to hold her (Be careful - Don't drop her!) I dropped her on her head. (It really explains a lot!)

   I remember our family having an ice box. Not a refridgerator but an actual ice box that you had to put a block of ice in to keep your food cold.

   I remember going to my Maternal Grandfather's (Grandpa Charlie) funeral when I was 6. I was heartbroken.

   I remember that the only bread that you could buy at the grocery store was un-sliced. I know why the phrase "The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread" is what it is.

   I remember as a kid we never worried about getting hurt while playing, we never wore helmets when riding our bikes or horses, we never worried about germs, we never went in the house during the summer unless it was dinnertime and we drank from the garden hose - a lot. We ate green apples right off the tree (Not Granny Smith apples but un-ripe apples - hard and sour but good) all day long. Worms and all.
   I remember making a raft with my friend out of an old door, a couple of car inner-tubes and some baling twine. We took a trip down the Logan River (Logan, Utah) at least for a mile, without helmets, life jackets or adult supervision. I didn't even know how to swim at that time. The immortality of youth!

   I remember when you could hitchhike from anywhere to anywhere and felt safe doing so. I remember when you could trust your fellow men. When you could trust strangers. My family moved to California when I was eleven years old. We stayed for a while with my Uncle and Aunt's family in Hawthorne, Calif. My cousins and I would get up at dawn (in the summer), put our swimsuits on under our cut-off jeans, grab a PB&J) a towel and hitch-hike to the beach. We'd spend all day there and hitch-hike home at dusk. Never had a problem, never harmed, never molested. It was free and convenient transportation. All you had to have was at least one thumb.
   I remember when I first learned about the real way that babies were made and wondered why any self respecting girl would let a guy do THAT to her and why a  guy would even want to. Eewww! Now I wonder just what the heck I was thinking!!???

   I remember that if  I wanted something I had to work for it. I don't ever remember asking my parents for something I wanted (not needed) and have them buy it for me. They'd always have me do extra chores in order to make some money so I could buy it myself. Quite often this would take months.
   When I was 9, I wanted a Schwinn bicycle that cost $24. A fortune! I spent the entire summer catching night crawlers (worms) to sell as bait to fishermen for 10 cents a dozen! At the end of the Summer I bought my bike and had almost $3.00 left. That was over 3,200 worms!
   I know that things change as we get older. Society changes, perceptions change, values change. Not always for the better. I sometimes wish for a simpler time. For a time when trust and honesty were assumed of your neighbor. Nowadays your neighbor has to prove him/herself to you before you are completely able to give your trust. Even then most people have just a nodding acquaintance with those who live on either side of them. Sad!
   When I was a kid, the neighbors were at our house or we were at theirs at least once or twice each week. We were a community and a neighborhood in the old sense, not just folks who live in the house next door that you see come and go without even knowing their names.

   Take it from The Geezer: When an old-timer starts to tell you about the good-old-days, stop and listen. You'll likely learn something and you'll make a good friend!


  1. Now that brings back some memories. Thanks! To bad the world isnt' as simple as it was back then.

  2. So, that big dent in my head was YOUR fault! Aha!

  3. Hey steve, you must be getting old since you didn't remember that you had another sister at 14, such a sad state your in. ;p love you still, Lori


I'd be interested to hear your comments. Thanks for reading The Geezer Guide!