Monday, 7 March 2011

The Way We Were

When I was a kid, my family took a trip to Kentucky to visit relatives and see where my mother had grown up. It was like taking a trip back through time, there were so many things my sisters and I had never seen or experienced. We saw our first well and drank the water from it, ice cold even in summer, with a vague taste of machine oil; we traveled by car from the farmhouse where my mother was born and raised to the schoolhouse where she commuted daily, discovering that it really did have only one room and it really was three miles away; we puzzled over the grindstone in her front yard until our mother told us that it was for sharpening tools and knives.

My father was thrilled with the grindstone. He insisted on a posed photograph with it, to give to his boss. I still have a copy of this somewhere: my father is bending over the grindstone, with his nose just touching it. On vacation, but I've still got my nose to the grindstone, he wrote on the back of the original.

My mother kept shaking her head at everything. "Imagine this being an antique," she said, holding up a washboard. "Imagine anyone not knowing what a grindstone was for."

Late last month, my husband's 96-year-old aunt died. As we went through boxes of her old things, I had a surreal flashback. But this time, I wasn't getting a glimpse of a world I'd never seen, I was traveling back in time to a place where I'd once lived. "This'll need a new battery," I said, picking up a watch and holding it to my ear.

My husband took it from me and frowned. "It just needs to be wound," he said.

Of course that was all it needed -- how had I forgotten? There once was a time when all watches were analog, not digital. And they didn't need batteries.

On the way back to Scotland, I made a list of all the things I can remember which are now as outdated as the grindstone in my mother's yard was when I was young. Here it is, for the benefit of the new generation, including my kids:

Mechanical pencil sharpeners -- You stuck your pencil in these and actually had to rotate the handle yourself. Imagine the toil!

Black and white televisions -- I can even remember these when the screen was about four inches square and the cabinets were huge and bulky. And yet, in our primitive daftness, we still thought they were incredible.

Stationery -- This came in boxes with clear plastic lids and twee little ribbons. There were thousands of varieties, from plain stuff for men and floral nonsense for women. The stationery you chose reflected your personality. I veered between botanically correct floral designs to plain ruled notebook paper. I fancied myself an iconoclast even back then.

Twin tub washing machines -- In Japan, the Netherlands, and Wales, these were what I used, and they were all plumbed for cold water only. You pulled your clothes out of one tub, sopping wet, and plugged them into the other, then pressed the 'spin' button -- and hoped for the best. The one my husband and I had in Wales was a hellish, lethal thing that leaked soapy water and oil. Twin tub washing machines may have been inconvenient, but they absolutely developed character.

Milk in bottles, milk deliveries -- Milk used to be one of the few things somebody would deliver to your house. It came in bottles, in a little metal caddy. As soon as you heard the tinkle of bottles on the porch, you had to get out there fast to take it in -- at least you did in Southern California. When I left home in the seventies, they'd stopped delivering milk door to door. When my husband and I moved to Wales, in the early nineties, I learned to my delight that they were 20 years behind the times. In Wales, you could leave your milk out all day if you didn't mind being known as a lazy slob. Sometimes it actually froze out there.

Reel-to-reel tapes -- Imagine cassette tapes (amazingly outdated themselves) without the cassettes. Imagine if the tape inside them was wound onto two separate spools and always in danger of tangling, snagging and getting generally messed up. Imagine these tapes existing in a house filled with cats. Ah, those were the days.

Manual typewriters -- I learned to type on these. You had to whack down HARD with your fingers, which usually resulted in traumatic arthritis a few decades later, but there were advantages too: when you wanted to emphasize something, you just used more physical force. There was a direct, visceral link between your emotional state and the text you produced. I love my laptop, but I adored my old 1933 Frankfurt-au-Main Torpedo.

So much in our lives has changed, I could go on and on. I still haven't covered record players, iceboxes, stoves you had to light, shoes with strings that had to be tied, cloth diapers, cloth napkins that had to be ironed, or cars. But I'll finish here, with these questions: What out-of-date things do you remember? And what are we using now that you think will be passé within the next few decades?

Some day, maybe I'll see that look on my kids' faces. Maybe I'll see them shake their heads and say in wondering tones: Imagine this being an antique! Imagine anyone not knowing what this is for!

That would be so cool.

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41 comments:

Pat said...

Seems to me Somerset has much in common with Wales and this house particularly. Here there are still things like shoe laces and napkins I iron. And I fear if I had another baby - fat chance - it would still have terry towelling nappies which I would boil before washing, and they would be dried in the fresh air - as all our linen is.

~meredith~ said...

I wish I could get my hand on a manual pencil sharpener. They work so much better.

Shepherd K said...

Remember when cars had no computers and required a manual choke to keep them running until they were warmed up? How about rotary telephones? Life before cellphones? Life before the internet? Oh, the horror! Pardon me...just having a little Luddite moment.

MG Higgins said...

I hated manual typewriters. I was fast, but inaccurate, a horrible combination. And my first jobs were all secretarial, where accuracy was a must. The self-correcting electric models were a lifesaver, but they just made me type faster and make more mistakes. I bought my first computer in 1985, about the same time word processing was invented, and I did freelance word processing for the many people who were scared of computers and didn't want to buy their own. Good days. :)

Bish Denham said...

We had a ringer washer and a kerosine refridgerator. At one place we lived we had to hand pump water from the cistern to a 55gallon drum on the roof (gravity feed.) In another place we syphoned water out of the cister with a rubber hose!

And I LOVED my 7" reel to reel.

Miss Footloose | Life in the Expat Lane said...

What a fun post! Not long ago my parents-in-law were moving from a house they'd lived in for 60 years. We came across the most wonderful stuff. It was difficult to convince my mil that some of the things -- old telephones, for example -- could not be used anymore. "But they're not broken!" she said.

My mother in Holland tells me stories about how she grew up in a house with a cold-water tap in the hallway, the only water in the house for a family with 7 children. There was an outhouse out back.

The good old times? I'm not so sure ;) But women were tough in those days, washing laundry by hand, including diapers/nappies.

It must have been fun for you to make that trip and look through all the things left behind by the old aunt, and be reminded of how things were for the earlier generations of your family!

Catherine A. Winn said...

I so enjoyed reading this. Some of these things were not too far back and I remember them!
Sure wish I could find a watch that can still be wound each morning. Those were so much more convenient than finding batteries and trying to put them in yourself! (she said from learning the hard way)

Charles Gramlich said...

I spewed drink through my nose at "this needs a new battery." and "it just needs to be wound." lol.

Angela Ackerman said...

Mary, I love that you made this list! I think we should all do this.

I know one thing that is already unfathomable to my kids is living in an age without Internet. They just can't understand it. Ditto with the only portable video gaming systems being mini pac man type machines! No xbox? They just can't believe it. LOL

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Tabitha said...

What a great list! Really brings back so much nostalgia. My mom likes many 'old ways' of doing things and keeps some of these around. Not everything, but some. :) She still dries her clothes on the line in the summer, and she used cloth diapers on me and my brother.

Kit said...

Remember when you put film in cameras and had to wait for it to be developed and printed. My kids have no concept of that tantalising wait and the thrill of getting your prints back.

I remember getting my first cassette recorder and holding it against the radio to record Top of The Pops. My father had those big reels of tape and a huge machine to play them on.

At school there used to be film evenings, with the movies on several big reels that had to be played through a projector onto a big screen. it inevitably over-heated or conked out at some stage in the procedings. It was far less exciting once we switched to videos on the TV a few years later.

Mary Witzl said...

Pat -- I tie shoelaces every time I go hiking, which is several times a week. I used cloth diapers on both of my kids AND worked almost full-time throughout those years, and if I could put that on my C.V., I would. I've also ironed many a linen napkin -- but that was way back when. Now I pass around kitchen roll and recycle it to clean my floor. But all of my clothes are dried on the line, and I will never use a drier.

Meredith -- Weren't they just the best? When I was a kid, we had one for decades that was bolted to a bookcase and always worked perfectly. I can't keep track of the electronic sharpeners we've had -- which have all broken.

Shepherd K -- Yes, I remember, and don't apologize here for being a Luddite -- that's my middle name! I'm torn between wanting to indulge in nostalgia and hating to sound like the hoary old dinosaur I know I am.

MG -- The digital age was made for you! I'll never forget how awful it was, the first time I used an electric typewriter and couldn't bear down on certain words to stress them. I felt like the typewriter was controlling me.

On the other hand, when I remember the horror of typing forms with multiple carbon copies and trying to erase them, I'm 100% digital. Remember correct-o-type? Those little pieces of white-backed paper,or that awful fluid?

Bish -- A kerosene refrigerator sounds interesting. In Japan, many people still use kerosene heaters and the smell always reminds me of winter. At the local pool, we used a ringer to help get our swimming suits dry. It was great fun watching all the water come out. I can't imagine that now: I can picture many cases of litigation involving crushed fingers.

Miss Footloose -- There's something sad about your mother-in-law saying, "They're not broken" -- all that work to keep something in good repair, and then suddenly they're obsolete, though still perfectly useful.

I can imagine that your mother's family were thrilled just to have water inside the house. My mother always talked about the headache of trying to pump the water into the house -- what a chore it was just to get it going sometimes -- and the thrill of actually getting electricity. We take all these things for granted, but they were such a big deal not too long ago.

I washed my own nappies in Japan and hung them out to dry every day, but at least I didn't have to use a twin tub. My grandmother made her own soap out of lye and ashes. It was apparently hard and grey and perfectly hideous. Shiver.

Catherine -- I've never managed to change the batteries in the watch I have. For some reason, it's a lot easier to wind a watch than it is to put batteries in one, but I'm guessing that's more to do with me than the inherent difficulty of the operation.

Mary Witzl said...

Charles -- I know, I know! I was having a rare junior moment there and ended up sounding just like one of my kids.

Have you ever seen the comic strip 'Zits'? There's a hilarious sketch in it of a teenager who finds a letter-opener and puzzles over its use. When his father tells him it's for opening mail, he tries to use it on his computer -- and judges from this that it's a worthless piece of junk.

Angela -- Isn't it hilarious that our kids try to imagine pin ball arcades, bowling, and maybe the occasional bit of skateboarding, and for them that's as big a yawner as the idea of toffee pulls and spelling bees was for us? It's so hard to bridge that Grand Canyon of a generational divide.

Tabitha -- Your mother and I are in the same club: I used cloth diapers on my babies and I will hang my laundry on a clothesline until hell freezes right over. I also use a manual can opener, make my own jam, and have never once used a microwave to pop corn. I could party right through a black-out.

Kit -- It used to be SO exciting to get film back, didn't it? My kids get bent out of shape waiting a few days to see their digital photos, but we used to wait for weeks. Did you ever get matchbook photos? I loved those.

Film days at school were fun and suspenseful, weren't they? There was always one geeky guy who knew how to run the projector, and it predictably went haywire at some point, meaning you could goof off, and necessitating a lot of guy bonding with another geeky teacher or AV-wannabe student. Now it's just one teacher, a laptop, and much less hassle -- so much of the magic is gone!

Vijaya said...

What a lovely trip down memory lane. I'm glad you had this chance to go through old boxes ...

I still buy stationery and pretty paper and handwrite cards. I make my kids do it too, and I keep a box of neat pictures to make cards on cardstock.

I miss my manual typewriter ... it was my high school graduation present, the best ever. It led me to my husband. Long story.

Kim Ayres said...

Apparently email is something rarely used by the younger generation - it's all texting and facebook updates these days.

To think that emailing is now the equivalent to writing a letter - something only the previous generation did :)

Lynne said...

With some of them you made me smile because I remember them too. I can sort of remember getting milk delivered to the house ~a long with ice cream and butter~ but it wasn't in glass bottles. Ahhhh the things we remember to makes us smile and shake our heads. LOL

Carole said...

We had an outdoor two-holer for most of my growing up years and no electricity until I was 13. I sometimes miss kerosene lanterns. I don't miss climbing out of bed at three in the morning and taking the hike to the privy though.

I honestly think made from scratch cooking is on it's way out. Most people won't be able to cook or bake a lick unless it comes in a box with all ingredients included.

Mary Witzl said...

Vijaya -- I still collect stationery too -- I can't help myself! Sadly, the reason I had it was to write the occasional letter or thank you note to Aunt Freda, who has just died.

I loved my manual typewriter too, though the last time I saw it, it was quietly rusting in a friend's garage in San Francisco. I could barely carry it -- that's how heavy it was.

You'll have to tell me your typewriter story some day!

Kim -- That's what amazes me -- that something that seems so totally modern could have gone out of date so quickly, like cassette tapes. My kids tend to text or IM each other on Facebook. I'll never forget the incredible feeling of accomplishment I got after successfully sending my first email. The triumph!

Lynne -- I have a vague memory of when they changed to plastic milk bottles, which sort of destroyed the whole ambiance of having milk delivered. Part of the experience was the sound the bottles made clinking together. You must have grown up in a cold place if they delivered ice cream there! In Southern California, that would have been asking for trouble. Or rather, very slushy ice cream.

Carole -- I once spent a few days in Guatemala at a place without any modern conveniences. Getting up at midnight for a long walk through the onion fields to get to the privy made me reconsider second cups of tea. I can't even begin to imagine doing that in a place like Montana.

My mother would have been thrilled to think that cooking was going out of fashion. It just about breaks my heart.

angryparsnip said...

When I was very little in Chicago I remember the fruit and vegetable man who drove through our alley way and I remember a horse.
The Milkman delivered from the alley too and walked in the back yard and left milk by the backdoor. We had a junk man too.

My Grandfather, who was a Pinkerton Man as they were called a very long time ago and quite the Lawman, he was a detective I think....would light a bonfire in the yard in Fall and we would put potatoes in the fire to roast. The best potatoes I ever ate, crusty hard outside with creamy potato inside.
No city I have ever lived in lets you light bonfires anymore.

I hope Mrs. Footloose kept the phones or gave them away. I have an old black cradle rotary telephone that plugs into the wall and works perfect. I think it was "fluffed up" so I'm not sure what was fixed.

Great post.

cheers, parsnip

Robin said...

I never thought about all these things that my kids will never see. Amazing. I remember bringing a giant, heavy, electric typewriter to college. It was my mom's and she was quite generous to give it to me. I'll have to thank her again. I sure won't be giving Kevin my laptop!

How about manual roll up windows? Do cars still have them?

Mary Witzl said...

AP -- I've heard of potatoes roasted the way you describe, how delicious they were. We're allowed to have bonfires here and frequently do: I'm tempted to grab a couple of potatoes and give this a shot. (And if it ever stops raining, who knows? This could happen!)

We had a junk man in Wales. He was called the rag and bone man, and he would sometimes go down our street, calling out for rags. God knows whether he ever took bones, but just that name used to haunt me -- the eerie, spooky romance of it -- "rag and bone". I still get shivers remembering.

Our house had an old black rotary phone, mounted on the wall next to my father's chair. There was no escaping his eager ears. My kids have all sorts of private chats with their pals, but we kids had to say everything in front of our father. That phone really didn't get much use.

Robin -- I still remember my old manual typewriter. Its keys stuck; it was squat and ugly and as heavy as a load of old bricks, and I miss it something fierce.

Our last car had manual windows, which stuck all the time and only went down so far. I miss that car too -- hey! I'm beginning to see a pattern here!

Anonymous said...

In my part of Dublin, in the fifties, milk was delivered to the door in an ELECTRIC van. I've no idea how much territory they could cover but I never saw one broken down. The milk bottles had an aluminum seal and if you didn't get them into the house pretty sharpish the sparrows would peck through the foil and drink all the lovely rich cream.

Becca Puglisi said...

Thanks to my recent deep-end jump into social networking, I think about this a lot. Is it just me, or are things becoming obsolete much more quickly than they used to? It seems like a while back, things were replaced at a much slower rate. But now, I can hardly get used to a new something-or-other before it's been replaced. I'm trying to keep up, but it's exhausting, lol.

Becca @ The Bookshelf Muse

JLD said...

One thing that I tell my kids about that boggles their mind is the fact that when I was growing up, you only got to watch your favorite movies like The Wizard of Oz or The Sound of Music once a year when they were played on TV. If you were busy that night or forgot, you had to wait another year to see it. Kids who have grown up with VHS tapes and DVRs and DVDs and Netflix can't comprehend that anyone lived that way. They also laugh when I tell them that, as the youngest in my family, I was the remote control. I would stand by the tv changing the three channels back and forth until we found something we liked.

Remember when you put curlers in your hair and slept on the little torture devices because there were no curling irons or blow dryers? If you were lucky enough, you had one of those portable dryers with the cap to put over your head, but you still had to put curlers in your hair.

As for ironing, my mom used a mangle and I use a mangle. I like my linens nice and crisp.

This is an interesting post. Thanks, Mary!

Kim Ayres said...

Mary - the potatoes in the fire is an old tradition on bonfire night - just wrap them in tin foil first.

Mary Witzl said...

Anonymous -- My husband has similar tales of growing up in the Midlands. He remembers blue tits and sparrows pecking at the tops of milk bottles, profiting from the lazybones who preferred having a long lie in to getting the milk before it soured. Milk was delivered to his house in an electric van too.

Our kids don't know what they're missing. Milk out of plastic bottles really is a little soulless.

Becca -- It's not just you! Remember when cassette tapes were a big deal? Barely a decade after that, there were videos, and then things like CDs, DVDs, and MDs started appearing -- I can't even remember in what order. Word processors were a huge breakthrough, but no sooner had those six-sentence screens come out than half-page, then whole-page screens were in, and finally personal computers...and who can keep track? I feel like Mrs. Robinson: joltin' Joe has left and gone away. It's tough seeing all these new-fangled things go passé before I've even gotten used to them!

JLD -- It was always seasonal too, wasn't it? Lilies of the Field at Easter, Yankee Doodle Dandy in July, White Christmas in December. My kids can't grasp this when I try to describe it, and they have little capacity for deferred gratification. When Pirates of the Caribbean came out and it wasn't yet available on DVD, they absolutely HAD to go see it again only a week after we'd already seen it, which necessitated an 80-mile round trip. I couldn't get over the wastefulness of this; they couldn't believe I expected them to wait a whole six months for the DVD. Truly, we live in separate worlds.

I hated those curlers with a passion! Even the foam rubber ones hurt your ears and bit into your neck.

Kim -- I've been planning a bonfire for this weekend; we've got potatoes in the pantry and a whole roll of aluminum foil. Looks like I'm finally going to get to try this myself (if my back recovers from my last bout of gardening...).

KLM said...

Just the other day my kids asked if I'd had color television when I was a kid. I had to think about it a minute. Yes, we did but color TVs were luxury items. The weirder thing was that in order to turn the TV channel you ACTUALLY HAD TO TOUCH THE TV DIAL ... like, with your hand! Weird. Same with car windows -- you actually had to hand-crank them to make the window go up and down.

I simply adore the idea of, "Imagine not knowing what [this essential item] is for." And to think, there was a time in life when the word "upgrade" had no meaning.

As usual, a wonderful post, Mary.

annebingham said...

The only thing I miss are the clothes from the '80s -- wonderful fabrics, well made, gorgeous colors. I hope that look cycles back soon, floppy bows-at-the-throat and all. The rest of it I have no nostalgia for. And my dental hygienist tells me cloth diapers are still around, and they sound wonderful: inserts inside an outer pant. No pins!!!!

Stella said...

Most kids have no idea that you can actually sew your own clothes. Fabric stores are getting harder to find yet when I was in high school, I sewed nearly everything I wore - even my prom dress.

We also had an Awrey Bakery man when growing up in Detroit. He came around once a week with a portable selection of tempting baked goods. I always wanted the chocolate cupcakes.

We also had a milk box where my mom would leave a note for the milkman.

Thanks for those memories.

Anonymous said...

Don't listen to Kim, he's a rotter. Put your potatos straight into the fire, no foil. The moisture the spuds give off under the foil steams them and you really don't want that. The secret is to wait till you have a good bed of embers and pop yer man into that. The skin will roast to a black crust which is the first course and fecking delicious.Then you get to the soft luscious interior on which you lavish plenty of butter and salt and you go straight to potato heaven.Sorry Kim but them's the rules.I've been doing them like that for sixty-odd years and they've never let me down.

Dale said...

We're moving house soon, so I'm sorting through and getting rid of as many books as I can bear to. The very biggest and heaviest book I have is utterly obsolete now -- a concordance to the Bible, which I purchased new at a pretty hefty price. Of course zillions of Bible texts are online now, and searchable, and concordances are as archaic and cumbersome as grindstones.

I understand that ebooks mostly are not yet searchable, & can't be linked into or out of. Our grandkids will find that preposterous. "How did we find something in a book? Well... you sort of guessed where it might have been, and tried to remember what other things it was close to... and you just looked through the book till you found it. Well, really what you did was look for a while and then give up."

Mary Witzl said...

KLM -- Cranking car windows, getting up from sofas to turn on the TV, even washing and drying our own dishes -- oh, the nostalgia! We were hardworking pioneer types in those days, no doubt about it.

I used to check Japanese translations against their English originals for inconsistencies and mistranslations. What really cracked me up was that everybody under the age of 30 automatically thought that a 'hardware store' was where you bought PCs and their accessories, not hammers and nails, even when they should have known from context that this was absurd.

Anne -- I spent most of the 80s in Japan, but I don't remember those floppy bows at the throat or the good colors. How did I miss it? I miss padded shoulders. They always kept my book bag from slipping off my arm.

As for cloth diapers, for our kids I used just the kind you mention: big, water-proofish outer item with velcro fasteners (they got icky, but who cared?), absorbent inner bits. I washed them in a rather primitive machine, but at least it wasn't a twin-tub.

Stella -- In our neighborhood in Japan, we had an 'honesty vegetable garden' where we could take lettuces or carrots and leave what we thought they were worth. I miss it so much. As kids, all we had was the Good Humor man, and his wares were deemed above our means.

I'm awful at sewing, but I too made the occasional dress, skirt, and blouse (oh, those awful darts and pleats!). I dread to think what a sow's ear I'd have made of a prom dress, though, so kudos to you for managing that.

Anonymous -- As a tribute to both you and Kim, I'm going to try both ways -- I can't wait to see which one I like best! That black crusty layer actually sounds pretty tasty. As a kid, I always liked potato skins best, especially if they weren't scrubbed too hard first.

You may be anonymous, but I can tell you're Irish. (You can tell I'm using irony there, right?)

Dale -- I feel for you with your concordance -- but what a great thing to have anyway. It's sad to think that people will look at it and wonder what it was for. We've got the OED, albeit the 'shorter' version, and it's still a work-out just hefting the volumes about. Ditto with my big Japanese-Japanese dictionary and our encyclopedias. It's so sad to think that encyclopedias are out of date when they gave me so much joy during my salad days.

I think you're right about the e-books and their future linkability. Still, one of the ways we find things in books is through good, carefully-compiled indexes. I can't see that changing over the next few decades!

Marcia said...

Oh my -- what a trip back through time.

Maybe the irons themselves will go -- not that I use mine more than thrice a year.

I remember the first disposable diapers -- no elastic at the legs, so #2 always escaped out the sides. I went back to cloth for quite a while.

angryparsnip said...

Mary....
I don't remember wrapping them in foil, this was 60+ years ago.
I also remember putting them nearer the sides, but the hard burnt outside was the dish you ate the potato from.
Of course wrapping them in foil would be the smarter way I guess, we do this with our charcoal grill.

cheers, parsnip

Tabitha said...

My mom doesn't make her own jam, but she won't buy microwave popcorn (neither do I, actually; tastes better on the stove) and we both have manual can openers. Not that we use canned goods very much...we tend to make fresh stuff. :)

I grew up in the middle of nowhere, and we'd often get ice and snow storms that would knock out the power for days. We did just fine, though. We put our cold stuff in a cooler and stuck it out the back door, used our manual can opener, and used matches to light our ancient gas stove. :)

Postman said...

My folks had an old typewriter they'd inherited from their parents. I adored it, first for the banging noises it made, then for the marks it left on paper, and (nowadays) for it being a priceless piece of a history and a classy antique. Yes, an antique. I miss typewriters.

Girl Friday said...

Love this post. I remember typing my first ever short stories on a typewriter. Computers are SO much more convenient... but there was something about typing on a typewriter that made you feel like a Real Writer :) Oh and I still use linen napkins.

I think the biggest difference is schoolkids and students all using laptops. I feel ancient when I think I wrote all my university essays by hand and researched them all in books, not online!

Kim said...

I love cloth napkins you (should) iron (but I don't). It's my small effort toward being green...just think of all the paper I save! :) I have literally hundreds of cloth napkins collected over years of hitting yard sales, charity shops and antique stores. I keep several dozen at the ready in the dining room hutch. Most are sets of 6 with a few sets of 8. None really match (except the faded blue plaid and the pastel blue/green/purple plaid) but they just make me happy.

Mary Witzl said...

AP -- I'm going to try to roast potatoes both ways as soon as it stops raining! We had a long stretch of dry days and I was going to have a bonfire in our garden, but then I got too busy. Now that I've got a little time, it's soggy and wet out there.

Tabitha -- Here's to popping your own corn. It's so easy and so cheap, and when it's cold, you can warm your hands better, making it.

We actually have a wind-up record player here. We've run out of needles for it, but we have all sorts of crazy old records. During our rare black-outs here, we pop corn and put on 'The Sheikh of Araby'. It's great fun.

Postman -- I so agree. You go to old hotels and see the typewriters of famous writers on display there -- they just look so noble. Can you imagine anyone ever saying, "Gee, was that the laptop she used? How incredible!" I sure can't.

Girl Friday -- Typewriters just look so cool, don't they? I love my computer, but typewriters, with their ribbons and keys and that clackety-clack sound they made, had so much more character.

And yes -- I too remember searching through the card catalogue, writing down reference numbers, pulling out the books -- all of those things we did back in the Stone Age.

Kim -- Me too! We had cloth napkins when I was little and we actually ironed them. They clashed a little with the plastic plates we ate off, but I never realized they were posh until I left home.

musingegret said...

First time visitor to your site and I think I've enjoyed all the comments from your readers as much as your post.

Milk Bottles: When my family moved to Rochester NY from Houston in 1963, we, kids, were entranced with the fact that milk could be delivered to our front door! Obviously, it could still happen in a cooler climate than what we were used to.

Pencil Sharpeners: Large and silver (chrome) with a handle to turn around. Long gone; the only sharpener (manual) I use now sharpens my eye-liner.

Stationery: Bought only at garage sales to get vintage paper and cards!

Manual Typewriters: I, also, received one for high school graduation in 1971. It was a 'portable' in a carrying case and was purchased for my college papers! And, yes, I did type on it alot. Much better to turn in than handwritten themes!

Oh gosh, some wonderful memories these comments and your post have given me. Thank you.

Falak said...

I still go around with the traditional pencil sharpener not even the mechanicl one. No wonder my friends start grinning when they see it. I remember twin tub washimg machines.... i wash responsible for taking the wet cloths out putting it into the second tub to dry... I just had the milk delivered at my doorstep in a plastic packet this very morning and if I keep it out for too long I run the risk of going without milk for the day.Back home in the UAE there is still a shelf full of music cassettes from when I was in school....
I am in the 21st century still, arent I?