Welcome to 2005. Turn of the year. A time to say hello to the new, good-bye to the old.
I was ruminating the other day, contemplating the great fact of life -- which is "goneness" -- and trying not to drift into too painful melancholy and resurrected out of the murky past some of this and that.
Like, wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water and candy cigarettes and tar babies (we had a different name for them back in those days) and licorice whips.
You could get that stuff for pennies.
We moppets would gaze through the clear curved glass of the candy counter while Henry Rubin, who owned the store (he lost a hand in WW1 and had a hook), patiently gathered up our desires.
Maybe about a total of 17 cents went into his cash drawer. Unbelievable.
Then there were the Coke machines that dispensed bottles that were so ice cold you had to juggle them from hand to hand. And we would check the bottom of the bottle to see how far away it came from -- "Hey, wow, Denver, Atlanta, New Orleans....etc."
Milk was delivered to the house. And the milkman placed the bottles just outside the back door. In those days the cream was right up at the top of the bottle. I usually ran this off and settled down with some saltines for a feast. My mother would kill me for this.
On the phone there were party lines. It was like this -- pick up the phone and after a couple of seconds a voice said, "Numbah puhleeze..." And you said, "1474J," or something like that.
In the more remote places like Flomaton, Alabama, it would be "Jenny, connect me to the hardware store (or dentist, or the barber shop etc.)."
Some way or other, I forget how, we kids living in different houses could hook up with our friends and have three or four on the line at once.
Of course, there was no television. We got picture news from the newsreels before the adventure movies came on (nine cents on Saturday's "kids day"). The newsreel announcers ("The Eyes and Ears of the World" flashed on the screen) had great voices.
Entertainment at home consisted of someone playing the piano or cranking up (yes, cranking up) the old Victrola ("His Master's Voice") and carefully placing a heavy (they broke so easily) 78 rpm record on to listen to some scratchy music.
Then along came the small, less fragile 45 rpm records, then the hi-fi's and then tape and now, what? CD's? It all seems to blend together.
TV came along and I used to notice, at a distance, my younger siblings watching Hopalong Cassidy and Howdy Doody (how could I know then that there are Howdy Doody types in every village and hamlet?).
My mother faithfully pasted those S&H Green Stamps into the booklets to accumulate and eventually get something. Raleigh cigarettes had that going for them, too, as I recall.
There was a lot of pasting in booklets in those days. War stamps, for example. One day a week, Phil Mitchell and I used to set up in the classroom and sell the "war stamps" for a dime and a quarter. When you filled your booklet you got a War Bond ($18.75) and another empty booklet to fill up.
It was for the war "effort," something we don't have today.
Ah, yes, memories. Lots of other stuff -- blue flashbulbs, cutting a stencil on the typewriter for a mimeograph, film strips in the classroom, drive-ins (for movies and to eat).
Remember, friends -- all that seems so modern and shiny and flashy today will one day be an ancient curiosity.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition