Archive for the ‘good old days’ Tag

12-07-2013 Christmas Memories   2 comments

My better-half has always been known as a Christmas animal, shopping for gifts, decorating every damn thing  in sight, and stressing herself to the max.  Of course that stress level spills over onto me more often than not.  I’m “that guy” who ends up doing the heavy lifting on most of the chores, except for the shopping and baking.  Since I’ve escaped most of that nonsense this year  because of my broken leg  I have a little extra time for blogging and other activities. I decided to take a short trip down memory lane back to 1952 where as a 6 year old I couldn’t wait for Christmas to arrive.

As a kid Christmas seemed to be more of a religious holiday for us because of my Mom.  Gifts were exchanged but weren’t the center of it all.  We as a family barely had enough money for essentials let alone for purchasing large numbers of gifts.  My mother was and always remained a loyal Catholic follower and  I certainly admired her determination to keep the holidays something special religiously speaking.

We attended all of the many church functions and celebrations, listened to Christmas carolers, and sent out tons of Christmas cards to everyone imaginable.  She’d then take all of the cards she’d received and tape them around the entry way to our living room.  It seemed like a big deal back then to acknowledge each other with Christmas cards and displaying them throughout the home. Emails are fine but just aren’t quite the same as a personally signed card with a short handwritten holiday message.  I remember conversations between my Mom and her friends talking about how many cards they’d each received and who sent them.  It was a big deal.  Sadly with today’s prices for mailing letters it would cost a small fortune to send a hundred cards to friends and family.

Check out this price list from 1952 and then match it against our current prices.  It’s scary”:

House: $16,800
Average income: $3,515
Ford car: $1526-$2384
Milk: $.96
Gas: $.20
Bread $.16
Postage stamp: $.03
Hen Turkeys: $ .53 lb
Pkg of 6 Bran muffins $.21
1 lb pkg of M&M’s candies: $.59
Gillette Blue Blades, pkg of 10: $ .49
At Sears – – –
Ladies Corduroy Jackets: $4.99
Cotton knit blouses: $1.98
Men’s Rayon Sport Shirts: $3.66
Men’s cotton flannel shirt: $1.79
Red “Radio Flyer” wagon: $8.75
Westinghouse Open-Handle steam iron: $19.95
Men’s T-shirts and briefs – – –
T-shirts, 2 for $.59
Briefs, each : $.59

I guess the good old days weren’t all that bad after all.  At least you could afford to live reasonably well on what we now consider pauper wages. Families felt closer and the holidays seemed to mean more than they do now.

I’m not complaining because time and things change in the blink of an eye. You can’t expect things to remain the same forever because they just won’t. You must be able to change and adapt to keep the holidays something special and meaningful not only for you but for your children.  It seems a little harder to accomplish these  days but it’s still doable. I’ve always known that if I work exceptionally hard at something it will mean much more to me.  With that in mind I’ll spend the next two weeks helping my better-half to relax and enjoy her favorite time of the year.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

09-20-2013   2 comments

I found this article a few days ago filled with suggestions and recommendations for women on how to please their man.  Of course this was published in a 1955 issue of Housekeeping Monthly and the term "You’ve come a long way baby!" wasn’t yet in everyday use as you can plainly see.  Read on ladies so you can see what you’ve been missing.  I hope my occasional comments don’t bother you too much.  I just could stop myself.

  • Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed. (I can’t read this without laughing my ass off).

  • Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people (Just answer the door naked, same thing).

  • Be a little gay (not today’s gay) and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties (this is now considered a bad word) is to provide it.

  • Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives (They’re joking, right?).

  • Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. and then run a dust cloth over the tables (Don’t hold your breath guys).

  • Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too (If she believed this she’s crazy). After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction (Not lately).

  • Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures (OMG) and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimize all the noise (No way). At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet (Utter BS).

  • Be happy to see him (50% of the time if he’s lucky).

  • Listen to him (Not going to happen). You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first – remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours (Not for decades).

  • Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late (Mistress) or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment (Strip Clubs) without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.

  • Your goal: Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit (Ha Ha).

  • Don’t greet him with complaints and problems (I’m sure this will happen).

  • Don’t complain if he’s late home for dinner (Strip Club again) or even if he stays out all night (Mistress again). Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.

  • Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom (Old wives tale). Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.

  • Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes (OMFG). Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice (No effing way).

  • Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house (In his dreams) and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him (Wanna bet?).

  • A good wife always knows her place (Not these days).

Now you guys know why they were called the good old days.  But just a reminder, those effing days are gone forever.

07-25-2013   2 comments

I have a long time friend who has slipped in and out of my life for more than thirty years.  He’s just turned eighty but is as spry and active as ever.  He’s a part-time researcher for the History channel and always has his head in the game.  He occasionally sends me interesting tidbits of things that interest him and they’re always fun to read.  Here’s one.

The following information is presented as likely topics of conversations taking place around an office water cooler circa 1955.  To many of you it may seem that 1955 was a thousand years ago but chronologically speaking it wasn’t. I was nine years old in 1955 and I’m able to remember listening to my parents as they discussed many of the topics you’re about to read.  

  • Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging 7 cents just to mail a letter?
  • If they raise the minimum wage to $1.00, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store.
  • When I first started driving, who would have thought gas would someday cost 25 cents a gallon? Guess we’d be better off leaving the car in the garage.
  • 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 new movie has either HELL or DAMN in it.
  • 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 down in Texas.
  • Did you see where some baseball player just signed a contract for $50,000 a year just to play ball? It wouldn’t surprise me if someday they’ll be making more than the President.
  • I never thought I’d see the day when all of our kitchen appliances would be electric.  They’re even making electric typewriters now.
  • It’s too bad things are so tough nowadays.  I see where a few married women are having to work to make ends meet. It won’t be long before young couples are going to have to hire someone to watch their kids so they can both work.
  • I’m afraid the Volkswagen car is going to open the door to a whole lot of foreign import business.
  • Thank goodness I won’t live to see the day when the Government takes half our income in taxes.  I sometimes wonder if we are electing the best people to government.
  • The fast food restaurant is convenient for a quick meal, but I seriously doubt they’ll ever catch on.
  • There is no sense going on short trips anymore for a weekend.  It costs nearly $2.00 a night to stay in a hotel.
  • No one can afford to be sick anymore.  At $15.00 a day in the hospital, it’s too rich for my blood.
  • If they think I’ll pay 30 cents for a haircut, forget it.

That’s what’s now being called the “good old days”.  Good in many ways, bad in others but truthfully a much simpler way of life.  I’m sure there are a lot of young parents now who would prefer raising their children in that sort of atmosphere rather than the one we’re living in.

Know your past.

01-14-2013   6 comments

I recently supplied all of you with a Baby Boomer Test that was fun to do but wasn’t all that challenging.  And yesterday I supplied everyone with the correct answers to that quiz.  What I’m putting forth today is something a little more comprehensive and much more detailed.  It’s not a test or a quiz just a recitation of facts and things from my past that are slowing fading away and no longer all that relevant to the younger generations.  It may appeal to all of you Boomers out there and if it does, Yippee! 

Let’s go back . . .

Before the Internet or IPods, IPads, and wireless telephones, before semiautomatic weapons and crack cocaine. Before SEGA or Super Nintendo or the X-box.

Way back…

I’m talking about hide and seek at dusk or just sitting on the porch. Hot bread and butter, eating a super-dooper Dagwood sandwich, Red light, Green light, 1 2 3. . .

Chocolate milk, lunch tickets, penny candy in a brown paper bag. Hopscotch, butterscotch, Double-Dutch, jacks, kickball, and dodge ball. Mother, May I? Hula Hoops, Sunflower Seeds, jawbreakers, blow pops, Mary Janes, and running through sprinklers. The smell of summer and licking sweaty and salty lips.

There’s more . . .

Catching lightening bugs in a jar, playing slingshot and Red Rover, and swimming in the creek. Stealing and eating apples from the neighbors trees. When around the corner seemed far away, and going downtown seemed like going somewhere. Playing with puppies.

Bedtime, climbing trees, building a private clubhouse in the woods (no girls allowed), playing Home Run Derby with your best friend. A million mosquito bites and sticky fingers. Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians, sitting on the curb, jumping down the steps, jumping on the bed, and pillow fights.

Being tickled to death, running till you were out of breath. Laughing so hard that your stomach hurt. Being tired from playing …. Remember that? Eating potatoes cooked in a bonfire and flaming marshmallows on a stick.

I’m still not finished . . .

Licking the beaters when your mother made a cake. When there were two types of sneakers for girls and boys (Keds & PF Flyers), and the only time you wore them at school, was for "gym.", sledding in the winter, and ice skating at the local pond. When nobody owned a purebred dog. When a quarter was a decent allowance, and another quarter a huge bonus. When you’d reach into a muddy gutter for a penny. When girls neither dated nor kissed until late high school, if then. When your mom wore nylons that came in two pieces.

When you got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, for free. And you didn’t pay for air, and, you got trading stamps to boot! When laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box.

When any parent could discipline any kid, or feed him or use him to carry groceries, and nobody, not even the kid, thought a thing of it. When it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents.

Not done yet . . .

When all of your male teachers wore neckties and female teachers had their hair done, everyday. When they threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed…and did! When being sent to the principal’s office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited a misbehaving student at home. Having a weapon in school, meant being caught with a slingshot. When nearly everyone’s mom was at home when the kids got there.

Basically, we were in fear for our lives but it wasn’t because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc.  Disapproval of our parents and grandparents was a much bigger threat!

Decisions were made by going "eeny-meeny-miney-mo." Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, "do over!" "Race issue" meant arguing about who ran the fastest. Money issues were handled by whoever was the banker in "Monopoly."

Catching fireflies could happily occupy an entire evening. It wasn’t odd to have two or three "best" friends. Being old, referred to anyone over 20. The net on a tennis court was the perfect height to play volleyball and rules didn’t matter. It was unbelievable that dodge ball wasn’t an Olympic event.

The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was cooties. It was magic when dad would "remove" his thumb. Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better.

And nobody was prettier than Mom.

Isn’t it nice to look back to see where we’ve come from.  Things have changed so dramatically in such a short period of time it’s almost impossible to guess where we’ll be in another fifty years.  It’s exciting and damn scary all at the same time.