As the days pass, some changes are hardly noticeable. Others are thrust in our faces and missing them is to have your head stuck well into the sand beneath your feet.
I recall the days when the radio was the modern appliance that kept us in touch with the world, and I remember when we bought that very first TV set and watched black and white figures dancing through a field of snow, accompanied by the hissy sound that that was just about worthless and often didn’t even synch. Oh those were the days. Milk came in glass bottles with little cardboard plugs at the top, Friday night was radio night and we worked in the fields before child labor laws. We walked to school and packed a lunch in a metal lunch box full of sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper and a little thermos filled with milk, chocolate if we were lucky.
We got new clothes in the fall at the beginning of the school year and that was supplemented during Christmas with socks and shorts. A baseball glove was something that a person got because it was handed down. Mine were new–not every year, but when your hand grew too big for the old one. We got new baseball bats the same way, but after gluing the broken ones and adding wood screws when they were broken badly. They didn’t last that long in those days. No sir, there was no aluminum for making bats. I do remember a laminated Japanese bat we used in batting practice in high school. It was unbreakable, but felt like you just connected with a light pole when you hit the ball.
Laundry day was a major chore for someone in the house; every shirt in your closet had to be ironed, as did your pants and yes, even underwear. But that wasn’t the worst part; the clothes were washed in a machine with a wringer and hung on the line to dry. That wasn’t too bad, except during winter months when clothes didn’t dry that well when hung out on a clothes line.
I can even remember when margarine replaced butter–sort of–because it came as a white package of goo which had to be colored with yellow food coloring before use. Sandwiches weren’t deli meats; they were sliced off the roast or from the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving Dinner.
We did have indoor plumbing at our house in the city, but I knew lots of folks who had to go out into the cold to take care of their constitutional. That presented many problems as I’m sure you can imagine.
It is with nostalgia I recall our first car. If the sun was just right, you could look down through the floorboards (they really were boards) and see the street as you passed over it. The gas tank was on the firewall on many models and was changed when cars became more common because crashes and resultant fire due to that placement. Windows were “rolled” down and up too, if the mechanism worked that long. The heater worked too, if you were the lucky one sitting right in from of it. For air conditioning, please refer to the sentence on windows.
Burned into my memory banks are the wood stoves we used for heating the house, and the wood-fired kitchen stove which would burn you on contact, and make summers inside the house plenty miserable. Perhaps that is why kids spent more time outside than they do now. But, as you can imagine, there was no air conditioning, save for the operable windows.
A lady once told me that the greatest advance during her lifetime (she was in her eighties at the time) is refrigeration. Hard to argue against that because food can last a good deal longer now without fear of ingesting some food-borne poison.
I’m in my 70’s, and there are a lot of folks here that have experienced many more changes during their lifetime. These are the ones I remember so clearly and hope that we never have to go back to those days. Not only would it be chaotic, but there would be a lot of pain and suffering if something like that should happen.