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!)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why in the world would you want that Alfa back!??? It may have had panache, but it was a pain in the butt when it was damp or raining and one was trying to get to work! It may be boring but I would take the reliable Corolla any day!

8:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved your comments. I'm a bit more sentimental,but I too had some not so pleasant memories. Chocolate Exlax tricks played on me and Orange Juice can rollers. My first car though, was a push button 64- dodge slant six. It was our families used auto and I got it in 71 from them. That old thing ran me all over the country. And it was easy to tune-up and repair, it was so basic. I loved pulling up the lever and pushing in the buttons to reverse, drive or park. It was finally laid to rest in the early 80s. I just couldn't give it up.


PS Brill Cream, a little dab'l do ya.

11:59:00 AM  
Blogger brbiswrite said...


In 1970 we got the family '61 Lancer wagon, slant 6 and all. No one ever sold that car; it was just passed from family member to friend and back again. It may still be running for all I know.

When I tried Bryl Cream, my Mom immediately washed my hair!

Thanks for the comment; sometimes it takes me a while to get back to acknowledge them.


1:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Serge said...

It was a good choice on your part to opt for a Toyota as this brand is known to be one of the top quality car makers these days.

11:00:00 PM  

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