Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Then and Now

    There were no special car seats for babies. I remember my little sister in a bassinette that hung over the front seat, the baby banging against my knees as the car bumped over the road. Brother and I sat on our suitcases so we could see out the window when we drove on family trips. Not the baby. She was in the middle and there was a hump.

    Television turned off at night, leaving you with a fuzzy test pattern until Modern Farmer came on at 5 am. We’d get up early on Saturday and turn on the tv to watch our cartoons - Mighty Mouse, Crusader Rabbit, old Disney short movies. All the tv’s were black and white; I would beg to stay at Daddooooo’s parents house to watch Bonanza on their color set, the first one I’d seen in person.
    Telephones were rotary dialers. You rented them from the phone company. You also rented the lines that came into the house; it was illegal to install a new outlet yourself. Everytime Daddooooo had a bad day at work, he’d come home and screw the system by installing another outlet. You could plug a phone into a jack in every room in our house - including bathrooms and closets.
    Phone calls were expensive. You “waited until the rates went down” at 7pm if you were calling your parents, or again til 11pm if you were calling your night owl friends.
    There were no cell phones. There were phone booths which took a dime to make a local call.
    Gas cost 29 cents a gallon when I got my license in 1969. There was no such thing as pump it yourself. Gas pump jockeys came out to the car, asked what you wanted (fill it with regular), and washed your windows and checked your fluid levels if you asked. You didn’t tip them.
    Prejudice was codified. I saw a sign on a country club that said “No Blacks. No Jews. No Dogs.” That was on Long Island. I saw White and Colored water fountains when we took family trips to Virginia and Maryland. There was a quota system at many elite colleges, allowing a certain number of Jews in each class. The State of Israel was only 4 years old when I was born, the Holocaust less than ten years away.
    There weren’t a lot of take out options for dinner. Pizza, Chinese, sandwiches and sour pickles from H & I Delicatessen were about it. But, “Don’t cook tonight. Call Chicken Delight!” was our favorite. A giant bucket of gooey fried chicken that smelled so good I could barely stand to hold it in my lap while Daddooooo drove us home. Paper plates, of course, because it wasn’t strictly Kosher, but mmmmm it was goooooood.
    Girls were not allowed to wear pants to school. Vicki C wore them on a frigid winter day and Mrs. Fleming had to explain the rule to her. It made no sense then, in 1st grade, and it makes no sense now. Jeans weren’t allowed until my senior year in high school - 1969.
    There was a Girls’ side and a Boys’ side to the playground. The girls had the swings and the slide, the boys had the playing field (even though it was concrete). There was no inter-mingling except in the middle, where the Recess Monitors hung out.
    No VCRs. No electric cars. No WiFi. No polar fleece (we wore wool). 
    Divorce was rare and homosexuality was not on anyone’s radar. 
    Then there was Joe McCarthy; now there is Donald Trump.

    1 comment:

    1. So nice to hear about the "old" days. We had a fad in the fifth grade (1941) where the girls wore hickory striped overalls. We also wore jeans in junior high (in Kansas) Maybe it was because we were more rural! Our town was about 30,000 then. No tv and we still had party lines - 5555-W was our number. My driver's license was issued in 1945: Are you color blind? Do you have seizures? Full license, no learner's permit. Thanks for Your Memories!


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