0 comment Thursday, June 12, 2014 |
Nostalgia is something I like to indulge in now and then; it seems it's good to remind ourselves of what we once were, despite all the madness which fills the news lately.
Over at Chronicles, Clyde Wilson wrote a piece about things he missed from the past. There's a fairly long thread with reader's additions to the list of things, and it's good to look back now and again.
In the spirit of that piece, I will add a few things I remember -- and miss -- from my early life.
Sleeping on the screened-in porch in the hot summer. It seems there was no concern about security or safety then, and we never heard of trespassers or burglars in our neighborhood.
The milkman, and the fruit-and-vegetable man who drove a horse-drawn wagon through the streets, calling out ''cantyloupes, cantyloupes, watermelons, home-grown tomaters...' Of course the best watermelons were the ones given to us by cousin Zack, from his patch. My grandmother, when she gave us children watermelon, simply gave us all spoons and half a watermelon, and let us dig in, out in the back yard. We loved doing that.
There was also the bread man, who delivered not only bread but sweet rolls and other baked goods to our door. You paid him at the end of the month, as with the milk man.
Actually, though, for quite a while we got all our milk from my aunt's husband, who brought us a gallon of raw milk from his cows every day.
Dr. Wilson mentions getting a soft drink from the 'cold water of an old-fashioned drink box.' I remember those coolers; at Miss Viola's store, the bottles always had sort of rust stains on them because of the minerals in the (very hard) water.
Old-fashioned soda fountains, where you got a coke for a nickel. The coke was mixed at the counter, by combining the flavored syrup with the carbonated water, served in a glass, and sipped through a paper straw.

Drive-in hamburger places, with carhops. I realize there are still a few such places left, but not many, seemingly. The hamburgers were made to order, not made up in advance, and left under a heat lamp, as in fast-food places of today. The burgers came wrapped in waxed paper, and in my childhood they cost about 15 cents.
Drive-in movies. They were not just 'passion pits' for the teenagers but places where the whole family could go, and enjoy a double feature. Incidentally, do double features (let alone triple features) still exist? Not that movies these days are worth watching, anyway.
Dime stores, where you could buy a little of everything, most of it under a dollar or two in price, and some things actually costing only a dime.
Penny candy. Certain candies, like peanut patties, which seem to have been sold mostly in the South. Also fried pies; people in the North seem not to know what a 'fried pie' is.
Dr. Wilson mentions women wearing dresses, a subject we were discussing recently on the 'old America' thread. I miss not only the dresses but I would like to see hats make a comeback. When I was a child, to be well-dressed, man or woman, you really needed a hat. Women needed white gloves, and the purse and shoes had to match. I know most people of today think that kind of thing was constricting and oppressive, but it gave life a certain elegance. Special occasions were more special because we put on our best for them.
I remember, too, that the older gentlemen would doff their hats in the presence of a lady. Yes, I know there are not many ladies left these days, in fact lady has become a dirty word with the feminist crowd, but life was more genteel back then, and the word 'lady' was a compliment.
The word 'gentleman' used to mean something as well; nowadays whenever some police spokesman (I mean spokesperson) is being interviewed for TV news about an arrest, they refer to the perpetrator or the accused as a ''gentleman'' --"I saw the gentleman wielding a knife..." how absurd. Criminals are not ''gentlemen''; the word should be reserved for those who merit it.
What memories do you all have of the past, of your childhood?

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