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Thank you so much for nominating my entry, Cold Heartless Bitch for best coverage of a news event.  And congratulations to all the other nominees, especially SecraTerri, The Bitter Hag, and Charlene of Are We There Yet?

 


OLDER THAN DIRT

19 May 2002

I took the Age Test (below) today, and discovered that I am older than dirt. The depressing thing is that if you can remember the following things you are old--and I was surprised to think that there was anything odd about any of them. I remember them all.

***Count all the ones that you remember—not the ones you were told about!

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 bottle
5. Coffee shops with table side jukeboxes
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 (Prospect 5-8792)
12. Pea shooters
13. Howdy Dowdy
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. Beanie and Cecil
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're mature
If you remembered 11-15 = Don't tell your age
If you remembered 16-25 =You're older than dirt!

Some comments:

1. Blackjack chewing gum came in a light blue package with black writing--why do I remember that? (I know--because I'm older than dirt)

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3. Candy cigarettes came in two types--solid peppermint flavored, with a red tip, as if the cigarette was lit and, my favorite, chocolate sticks inside real paper. Amazing how we all thought "smoking" was such a sophisticated thing. (That was before all my relatives died of lung cancer.)

5. Juke Boxes.  Of course there are still places where you can find juke boxes on the table. In fact, we visited one just a week or so ago, in San Francisco.  In some places, it's nostalgia, but I suspect this restaurant still had them left over from when they were the "in" thing.

6. Bottled Milk.  Not only was milk delivered and come in bottles with a cardboard stopper, but it was not homogenized, so there would be some cream at the top as you lifted the lid.

7. Party lines. I don't know how long there were party lines on the telephone system in San Francisco, but I do remember having to wait until some faceless voice on the other end stopped talking before I could use the telephone.

8. Newsreels.  It was our only "media" way of getting the news.  Reports from whatever was the current war, for example, came to us watered down several days/weeks after a battle took place--we didn't see the bombing live as it was happening.  Not only newsreels before the main feature, but cartoons as well. If you were lucky, you'd get a 2 or 3-cartoon showing. I wonder where they show cartoons made today. I haven't seen one before a movie in years.

11. Telephone Numbers.  Prospect 5-8792 was really our phone number when I was growing up. I miss having "named" prefixes. A friend in San Francisco still has the same number she's always had, only now it's converted to all numbers. I, however, in my mind still call the old "Juniper" exchange--I don't convert JU into "58." I also remember my grandmother's phone which was one of those stand up kind, where the ear piece hangs off the side and was separate from the mouthpiece. You can buy those now, but they are special nostalgia things--I remember when they were just normal telephones.

14. 45s.  I don't have to REMEMBER 45 records (those little records with the big hole in the middle). I still HAVE 45s. Of course, I can't play them on anything. (Anybody want to buy some old 45s?)

wpe83.jpg (1779 bytes)15. S&H Green stamps!!! Oh yeah. We saved stamps to get all sorts of wonderful "gifts." You got stamps when you bought gas or went to the supermarket and then went to a stamp redemption center to choose your "gifts." I can remember getting (people who know me in real life will laugh at this) an iron with green stamps. There is a story, probably apocryphal, of Jackie Kennedy finding out about Green Stamps and asking where she could buy some. (there were also Blue Chip stamps--same thing, but given by different vendors.)

16. Hi-fi's. I still remember the day my father came home with a brand new record player and told us it was the latest thing, called "high fidelity" and how much better the sound would be on this new machine.

19. Blue flash bulbs. There was a flash holder which attached to the side of the camera, and you licked the flash bulbs before you put them in the flash holder. I remember frantically trying to assemble my Brownie Box camera and get a flash bulb into the holder so I could take a picture of Judy Garland. No chance to take two pix, of course, because you had to remove the flash and insert another one and there was no time.

skatekey.jpg (5152 bytes)21. Roller Skate Keys. I look at in-line skates now and wonder if anybody still uses the old fashioned 4-wheel (2 in front, 2 in back) skates. The kind I had as a kid clamped onto the side of your shoes (only the "rich" kids had shoe skates). You tightened the skates to your shoe with a skate key and attached a strap around your foot to hold them in place.  You wore the skate key on a string around your neck while you skated.

23. Drive-Ins. Both kinds--restaurant and movie. I wonder what we thought was so wonderful about sitting in our car, with a tray clamped to the window, eating instead of going inside. There was an old A&W Rootbeer in Sacramento which continued to be a drive-in long after there were no more anywhere else, but now it, too, has converted into a regular fast-food format.

As for movie drive-ins, I remember going with my parents when I was a kid, and then taking our own kids when they were little--dressing everyone in pajamas, so (the theory went) they could go to sleep while we all watched the movie. (They rarely did, of course). Come to think of it, that means that maybe my own kids are getting "older than dirt" if they can remember those days! Parking in the drive in, hanging the speaker on the mirror and trying to get the volume right and hear the sound from the movie over the crackle of the speaker. And, of course, the best part--going to the snack bar during intermission (because in those days we also had double features, not just one movie). Another fun thing about drive-ins is that you could see them from the freeway or the city street. The only X-rated movie I ever saw part of was with another couple who drove down alongside the old drive in here in Davis and parked outside the fence to check it out. Of course with a porn movie, you didn't need a speaker to get the gist of what was going on!

24. Studebakers. We called them "coming or going cars" because the front looked just like the back and you couldn't tell if they were coming or going.

25. Wash tub wringers. I remember both the hand-crank type and then the automatic type, which I was sure I would some day find myself caught in, trying to squeeze the water out of clothes before hanging them on the clothes line (ahhh yes--there was a day when I routinely hung my clothes out on the line, Peggy)

Anybody remember mangles? (The machines that ironed your clothes?)

Well, now that I've made SO many people feel like they should hobble back to their rockers and gum their oatmeal, I'll wish you all a very good day. And for those of you who scored 0-5 on this test, just wait--your day will come!!!

P.S. To add insult to injury, my WordPerfect spell checker didn't even recognize half of the words on the age test list!!!!

 

Quote of the Day

The really frightening thing about middle age is the knowledge that you'll grow out of it.

--Doris Day

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