Friday, March 21, 2008

Those Were the Good Old Days?

A correspondent sent me the following:

Older Than Dirt Quiz:

Count all the ones that you remember, NOT the ones you were told about! Your ratings at the bottom.

1. Blackjack chewing gum

2. Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water

3. Candy cigarettes

4. Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles

5. Coffee shops or diners with table side juke boxes

6 Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers

7. Party lines

8. Newsreels before the movie

9. P.F. Flyers

10. Butch wax

11. Telephone numbers with a word prefix (OLive-6933)

12. Peashooters

13. Howdy Doody

14. 45 RPM records

15. S&H Green Stamps

16 Hi-fi's

17. Metal ice trays with lever

18. Mimeograph paper

19 Blue flashbulb

20. Packards

21. Roller skate keys

22. Cork popguns

23. Drive-ins

24. Studebakers

25. Wash tub wringers

If you remembered 0-5 = You're still young

If you remembered 6-10 = You are getting older

If you remembered 11-15 = Don't tell your age

If you remembered 16-25 = You're older than dirt!

I might be older than dirt but those memories are the best part of my life.

This last statement was included in the quiz, and is certainly not my sentiment.

I never used butch wax; I hated Howdy Doody and never saw another show after I had to watch it at a friend's house. My grandfather had a Studebaker, and he hated it. Traded it in for an Olds.

Not only did we have bottled milk delivery, we had a bakery truck come through the neighborhood several times a week. Helms Bakery had a fleet of trucks in Southern California from about 1930 to 1969. I cannot find a picture of the truck, but it was a GMC panel truck with the most amazing cabinetry inside. From the back huge drawers slid out to reveal donuts, danishes, pastries, and bread of all kinds.

My Mom had a standing order for several loaves of white bread a week and an account with the driver. Summers I padded my allowance with found golf balls and sold them back to the golfers for 10-25 cents. When the Helms truck came around I would get a few donuts: glazed or cake at 5 cents or a jelly-filled for 6 cents. Luckily, it came around only twice a week or I would have been much chubbier than I was at 9 years old.

One day the truck stopped in front of the house with that distinctive whistle. If no one came out, the driver would have to get out to put the loaf of bread on the porch. I came out, and he gave me the bread, and then asked if I wanted a donut. I told him I had no money, so no thanks.

At that point this 9 year-old started to learn about credit and all of its pitfalls. The driver said, No money? no problem, we'll just put it on your mother's account. OK! said I, and down the slippery slope I went. Well, this lasted 'till Mom got her bill from the bakery. I got an ear-full and a swat on the butt. I'm not sure what she said to the driver, but credit was never offered again. Too bad that credit lesson didn't stick. Creditors still think that they're my best friend.

All of this is by way of saying that those memories are not the best part of my life. The best part is now, and what will happen next. I have many fond memories of Drive-Ins, diners, bottled coke, etc. But stereo far outperformed Hi-Fi, and we had both; and mimeograph paper was probably toxic.

The memories are the best of times, the worst of times of my life. As I get older, I still am surprised at what the day brings. I had no idea of what being a grand parent was about, and it has surpassed all and any expectations. There is much I don't understand about modern technology, but much of it is far better than what we had before. My first car was an Alfa Romeo Gulia spyder (1960). My current Corolla with 250k miles on it would far out-perform that old Alfa if they were side-by-side. Yet you cannot use words such as cachet or panache with a Toyota.

Again, the past for me cannot be the best times. I pull from then and expect from now to make the best times.

BRB is Write (and wishes he had that old Alfa back!)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Loose Ends And Some More Observations

I need to thank PDB for giving my post about SPN numbers a boost from his site. While I got only two comments, sitemeter tells me that most visitors left that posting by way of the site that explains the codes. This is what I wanted, and I owe him big-time for that. His readership is about one hundred times mine, and it seemed the best way to reach the most vets.

Since I last posted we have another grandson, Jackson. He has been a new and mighty influence on Casa del Bliss. New parents are almost as interesting as their new offspring. I don't much like other peoples' children: too many little darlings and absolute brats in the world. But my kids and their progeny are the absolute tops. As a Grandfather, I speak without any prejudice.

I have a volunteer package from the local VA Hospital in hand. It's almost like a job application, but I guess it has to be. This month is filling up, but this is something I have to do. I will keep the reader posted.

Some Observations:

Drivers here in the Great North State are getting worse, or I'm getting more observant or more easily annoyed. The NASCAR wannabes I'm getting used to: I'm not tailgating, I'm drafting; I'm not speeding, I'm qualifying, etc. We must be getting more Yankee drivers (NY, NJ, PA) who are just plain rude.

These drivers have several traits in common: a. They are oblivious to any of their surroundings. b. They have a divine right to make a left turn from the right lane or right from the left lane. c. If they miss an exit or an intersection they have no problem stopping traffic so that they can correct their error.

To these drivers I say: If you miss getting in the left lane to make your turn, go around the block. Our small downtown is laid out on a grid (see tic-tac-toe paper). Two lefts and one right get you going in the right direction. If you miss your exit on the freeway, go to the next one, and double back; don't make me brake and swerve to miss you as you cut across three lanes to make the exit. It is not your right to endanger me for your convenience.

Blogspot has seen fit to fix the spellchecker. I still have my dictionary at hand.

Right now I'm listening to some tracks from The Mercury Records Songbook 4CD box set. I don't have the the whole set, only the promotional sample 18 tracks. (one of the percs from working at a radio station; we got to dumpster-dive for unwanted cds.) This sampler has Jazz standards like "I Get a Kick Out of You" sung by Dinah Washington. Also on this disc are standards performed by Nina Simone, Shirley Horn, and Chet Baker, among others. I heard many of these performers and songs as a kid. I'm not sure how, but I was a radio geek. I'd leave the TV and go listen to my old tube set. It was amazing what am stations brought in after dark.

Instead of Observations I should have called it Ramblings. I'm done now.

BRB is Write (and loves the radio)