Back in the Day

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Okay....some of this is even before our time...Enjoy!
FENDER SKIRTS  . . .  Remember????
A term I haven't heard in a long time, and thinking about 'fender skirts' started me thinking about other words that quietly disappear from our language with hardly a notice like 'curb feelers'.
And 'steering knobs.' (AKA) 'suicide knob,' 'neckers knobs.'
Since I'd been thinking of cars, my mind naturally went that direction first.
Remember 'Continental Kits?' They were rear bumper extenders and spare tire covers that were supposed to make any car as cool as a Lincoln Continental.
When did we quit calling them 'emergency brakes?' At some point 'parking brake' became the proper term. But I miss the hint of drama that went with 'emergency brake.'
I'm sad, too, that almost all the old folks are gone who would call the accelerator the 'foot feed'. Many today do not even know what a clutch is or that the dimmer switch used to be on the floor.
Didn't you ever wait at the street for your daddy to come home, so you could ride the 'running board' up to the house?
Here's a phrase I heard all the time in my youth but never any more -- 'store-bought' -- Of course, just about everything is store-bought these days. But once it was bragging material to have a  store-bought dress or a store-bought bag of candy.
"Coast to coast" is a phrase that once held all sorts of excitement and now means almost nothing. Now we take the term 'world wide' for granted. This floors me.

On a smaller scale, 'wall-to-wall' was once a magical term in our homes. In the '50s, everyone covered his or her hardwood floors with --  wow --  wall-to-wall carpeting! Today, everyone replaces their wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood floors. Go figure.
When was the last time you heard the quaint phrase 'in the family way?' It's hard to imagine that the word 'pregnant' was once considered a little too graphic, a little too clinical for use in polite company, so we had all that talk about stork visits and 'being in the family way' or simply 'expecting.'
Apparently 'brassiere' is a word no longer in usage. If you say that today, the younger girls would crack up. I guess it's just 'bra' now. 'Unmentionables' probably wouldn't be understood at all.
I always loved going to the 'picture show', but I considered 'movie' an affectation.
Most of these words go back to the '50s, but here's a pure '60s word -- 'rat fink.' Ooh, what a nasty put-down!!!
Here's a word I miss -- 'percolator.' That was just a fun word to say. And what was it replaced with? -- 'Coffee Maker.' How dull . . . Mr. Coffee, I blame you for this.
I miss those made-up marketing words that were meant to sound so modern and now sound so retro. Words like 'DynaFlow' and 'Electrolux.' Introducing the 1963 Admiral TV, now with 'SpectraVision!!'
Food for thought. Was there a telethon that wiped out 'lumbago'? Nobody complains of that any more.
 Some words aren't gone, but are definitely on the endangered list. The one that grieves me most is 'supper.' Now everbody says 'dinner.'
Save a great word. Invite someone to supper. Discuss fender skirts.

Remember . . . .?
When the worst thing you could do at school was smoke in the bathrooms, flunk a test, or chew gum
And the banquets were in the cafeteria and we danced to a juke box later, and all the girls wore fluffy pastel gowns and the boys wore suits and we were allowed to stay out 'till midnight
When a '57 Chevy was everyone's dream car . . . to cruise,
peel out, lay rubber and watch drag races
And no one ever asked where the car keys were 'cause they were always in the car, in the ignition, and the doors were never locked
And you got in big trouble if you accidentally locked the
doors at home, since no one ever had a key
Remember lying on your back on the grass with your
friends and saying things like "that cloud looks like a . . . "
And playing baseball with no adults to help kids with the rules of the game? Back then, baseball was not a psychological group learning experience - it was a game.
Remember when stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic seals 'cause no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger
And everyone knew about Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys,
Laurel & Hardy, Howdy Doody and The Peanut Gallery, The
Lone Ranger, The Shadow Knows, Roy and Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk
When everyone was familiar with the sound of a real mower on Saturday morning, and summers filled with bike rides, playing in cowboy land, baseball games, bowling and visits to the pool . . . and eating Kool-Aid powder with sugar
When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited a misbehaving student at home. Basically, we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of drive by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! But we all survived because their love was greater than the threat.
And . . . with all our progress . . . don't you wish, . . . just once . . . you could slip back in time and savor the slower pace . . . and share it with the children of today . . . .
Didn't that feel good, just to go back and say, Yeah, I remember that!
And was it really that long ago?
You may have grown up in the fifties if you heard your
parents say . . . .
  • I'll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are it's going to be impossible to buy a weeks groceries for $20.
  • Have you seen the new cars coming out next year? It won't be long until $5,000 will only buy a used one.
  • Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging a dime just to mail a letter?
  • If they raise the minimum wage to $1, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store.
  • When I first started driving, who would have thought gas would someday cost 50 cents a gallon?
  • I'm afraid to send my kids to the movies any more. Ever since they let Clark Gable get by with saying 'damn' in Gone With the Wind, it seems every movie has a 'hell' or 'damn' in it.
  • Also, it won't be long until couples are sleeping in the same bed in the movies. What is this world coming to?
  • Pretty soon you won't be able to buy a good 10 cent cigar.
  • I read the other day where some scientist thinks it's possible to put a man on the moon by the end of the century. They even have some fellows they call astronauts preparing for it here in Texas.
  • Did you see where some baseball player just signed a contract for $75,000 a year just to play ball? It wouldn't surprise me if someday they'll be making more than the president.


    The Greatest TV Shows from the 50's and 60's
    Plus the classic older video Jukebox with
    Doo Wop and forgotten 45's -- click the
    picture to check it out -- a really great
    collection with information about each video.
    Oh -- we can't forget Woolworth's -- loved that place!!
    When I was a young boy, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember the polished, old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked to it. 

    Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person. Her name was "Information Please" and there was nothing she did not know. Information Please could supply anyone's number and the correct time. 

    My personal experience with the genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible, but there seemed no point in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy. 

    I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear. 

    "Information, please" I said into the mouthpiece just above my head. 

    A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear. 


    "I hurt my finger..." I wailed into the phone, the tears came readily enough now that I had an audience. 

    "Isn't your mother home?" came the question. 

    "Nobody's home but me," I blubbered. 

    "Are you bleeding?" the voice asked. 

    "No," I replied. "I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts." 

    "Can you open the icebox?" she asked. 

    I said I could. 

    "Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger," said the voice.. 

    After that, I called "Information Please" for everything.. I asked her for help with my geography, and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math. 

    She told me my pet chipmunk that I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts.

    Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary, died. I called, 

    'Information Please," and told her the sad story. She listened, and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was not consoled. I asked her, "Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?" 

    She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, 'Wayne , always remember that there are other worlds to sing in." 

    Somehow I felt better. 

    Another day I was on the telephone, "Information Please." 

    "Information," said in the now familiar voice. "How do I spell fix?"
    I asked. 

    All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest . When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston . I missed my friend very much. "Information Please" belonged in that old wooden box back home and I somehow never thought of trying the shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall. As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me.. 

    Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then.. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy. 

    A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle . I had about a half-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, "Information Please." 

    Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well. 


    I hadn't planned this, but I heard myself saying, 

    "Could you please tell me how to spell fix?" 

    There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, "I guess your finger must have healed by now." 

    I laughed, "So it's really you," I said. "I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?" 

    'I wonder," she said, "if you know how much your call meant to me.  I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls." 

    I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister. 

    "Please do", she said. "Just ask for Sally." 

    Three months later I was back in Seattle .  A different voice answered, 

    "Information." I asked for Sally. 

    "Are you a friend?" she said. 

    "Yes, a very old friend," I answered. 

    "I'm sorry to have to tell you this," she said. "Sally had been working part time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago." 

    Before I could hang up, she said, "Wait a minute, did you say your name was Wayne ?" " 

    Yes." I answered. 

    "Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read it to you." 

    The note said, 

    "Tell him there are other worlds to sing in.  He'll know what I mean." 

    I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant. 

    Never underestimate the impression you may make on others.

    Whose life have you touched today? 

    May you find the joy and peace you long for. 

    I loved this story and just had to share it. I hope you enjoy it too.