Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Good Old List

My son hates lists. Normally I am not overly fond of them myself. So today I am going to make us all suffer and make a list. See how many of these things you remember. Most of them I actually used. Maybe you did too.

Wringer washers. And a washboard was used to scrub out stubborn stains before washing. After we did the wash (and hung it out to dry on a clothesline) we took it in. What needed starch was starched and all that needed ironing was sprinkled with water then rolled so the moisture would distribute evenly. Then we would iron it all on Monday.

Dimmer switches for the lights on the car.  The starter was right next to it. And before there were turn signals built into the light system of the car we had to use hand signals.

Pop beads were such fun. They were plastic and were supposed to look like pearls. You connected them by popping the stem end into the hole of the next bead. That way you could make the necklace or bracelet as large as you wished.

Bathing suits were one piece with that awful flat panel in the front. It was supposed to make your stomach look flatter.

The Civil Air Patrol conducted periodic drills to prepare us for the atomic bomb attack that was sure to come. At school we would duck under our desks and cover our heads with our arms. Apparently that would protect one from a direct hit.

Pep rallies. The pep club would lead us in cheers. The football team would run themselves out while the coach gave a pep talk. If we were really lucky there would be a big bonfire.

Full service gas stations. My children do not totally believe me when I tell them that the Texaco men were real. Maybe they did not sing to us but they did check the tires, oil, and water, as well as clean the windows all the way around. All without us asking. And gas was around 12 cents per gallon. Or less.

The telephone had to be installed. The phone man would come out with the phone and hook everything up. Then he would call the company to make sure it worked right and get the new number for us. The phones were black and had dials not buttons.

The bane of my existence was the outdoor toilet. I may not have mentioned this before (of course I have) but I hate outhouses!

But I did like cooking on the wood stove. Food tastes better for some reason. But I was not overly fond of pumping water for any reason.

I was in junior high school before I had physical education. Before that we had recess. For 15 minutes in the morning and again in the afternoon our teacher would take us outside to play. It gave us all a nice break.

Remember Dippity-Do? It was a clear goop we put on our hair to make the curlers work better at holding the curl. It kept our bangs and flips in place. It pasted down the mini sideburns of a pixie cut. Side hair for braids and pony tails did not fly all over with a small smear of Dippity -Do.

Of course a beehive hairdo needed copious amounts of hairspray to keep them in place.

Boys had Brylcreem. A little dab'll do ya. If they needed something stronger for a flat top for instance there was butch wax. Yep. They made fun of us but they actually waxed their hair. Military haircuts needed nothing but a shampoo once in a while.

Few girls wore blue jeans. We had capri pants and toreador pants. Many girls wore a girdle under them to flatten that stomach. And a female's chest was supposed to have two distinct points (sharp ones). When dressing up a dress was required with hose. Pantyhose? Not invented. We needed a garter belt to fasten those stockings so they would stay in place. Do not forget to make sure the seams wents straight up and down the back of the leg.

Our shoes were saddle shoes, penny loafers, or cheap little flats. With the penny loafers and saddle shoes we wore white stockings carefully rolled at the ankle.

For gym class we were required to wear a one piece gym suit. It was like a blouse and shorts combined and buttoned up the front. Ours were pukey green.

The boys wore blue jeans with the cuffs rolled. At home they could wear T-shirts but for school a dress shirt was required. Penny loafers were for dressing up if it was casual enough not to need dress shoes. Otherwise engineer boots were what the "cool" boys wore.

In every small town I lived there was a whistle or siren sounded at noon to tell everyone when to have lunch. We called it dinner and the evening meal was supper. People went home for meals unless they were at school. School lunches were optional and we could go home then too.

The televisions were filled with tubes. When you first turned on the TV you had to wait for all the tubes to warm up before you could get reception.

All boys had baseball cards fastened to their bicycles with clothespins. The cards were situated so that when the wheels were moving the cards would slap against the wheel spokes making a motorcycle noise. Too cool.

When the school year began you had to buy supplies like paper and pencils. For math you might need a compass. ruler, and protractor. For math and science a slide rule was a necessity.

Are you feeling nostalgic yet? I am just feeling old.


  1. Our gym suits had balloon leg shorts with elastic. Snapped up the front. They had a set in waist band. They looked like they came from the 1920's. Ours were blue. I kinda liked them.

    1. I have to admit they were comfortable. I wish ours had been blue. Sigh.

  2. Yep. I've seen, helped with or used almost everything on your list. You forgot pants creasers for blue jeans, the little disks that went inside 45 records so they would play on an LP player, the Coffee Man who brought candy, women's things, and other stuff.
    The list goes on :)

    1. I have not thought about pants creasers for years. They are right there with rug beaters. Thank you for reminding us. The 45 discs make good craft items these days. The closest we had to a Coffee Man was the milk delivery.

  3. I remember almost all of this...except the dimmer lights on cars and our town didn't have a bell to signal lunch, other than that, I know it all!
    Speaking of gym class, remember the Presidential Fitness Tests? Man, that 600 yard run almost killed me!!

    1. I was not good at pull-ups either. We had to wear our gym suits while we took those tests.

  4. Now that is an impressing list, Emma - wonderful! To read about the beads you could connect reminds me of an older aunt who had those from America. And how nice sounds Dippity-Do! Can you imagine, that son, who is a great admirer of America, found a way to test Brylcream? Thank you for showing us consumer history, I loved that!

    1. I am astounded when I mention things like those from my past and my children look at me like I am stupid. I suppose it is rather hard to understand with automatic washers and dryers how much work was involved in doing laundry. They do not see why my mother was willing to allow me to not have to do dishes on laundry day and again on ironing day. Both were time consuming jobs.

  5. Emma you sure had me remembering a LOT with this listing, sadly so. i attended a parochial high school and we had those 1 piece awful gym suits (green). Also I wore B&W saddle shoes to school, played with pop-beads. I remember using Dippity-Do and never wore jeans except when a young child...now nearly all the time. Thanks for this trip down memory lane. Thankfully, we never had an outdoor toilet.

    1. I did not like saddle shoes so I never had any. I wore penny loafers if we could afford them. I am so sorry you never experienced the bliss of having to to the outhouse in the middle of the night in the middle of the winter in the middle of the snow in the middle of the wind. I mean that totally in a sarcastic way of course.