Like so many of you out there, as a senior citizen, I feel that I have done quite well adjusting to all the amazing and modern changes that have occurred throughout our lives. When an old friend recently sent me an email asking how old I was feeling today, I realized with joy that we have managed to survive, and I look forward to passing on some of those great 20th century turnarounds and neat comparisons to all of you.
• One of my grandchildren asked me recently what my favourite fast food was when I was growing up. I pondered for a moment, then explained that we didn’t have any fast food when I was a kid — all the food was slow. Then looking puzzled he inquired, “Where did you eat then?” “It was a place called home,” I replied, “where mom cooked every day, and when dad got home from work, we sat down together around the dining room table and if I didn’t like what she put on my plate, I was allowed to sit there until I did like it.” I forget to tell him that we also had to have permission to leave the table.
• I have so much respect for our new generation, who have really had to “adjust” a whole lot more than we did when we were growing up. Was ours not a much more laid back and scheduled existence, where there were no curfews or being grounded, just be home on time, do your chores and homework, and don’t tell lies or else you know what the consequences will be? We never got bored, because we played outside for countless hours during all seasons, created our own adventures, and made as many friends as we could.
• My parents never drove us to school but I had a balloon-tired bicycle that weighted about 50 pounds and only had one speed (slow). Many of us had to get up early to catch the school bus, took our lunch every day, and had to eat it in the classroom. We didn’t have a television set in our house until we reached our teens, it was black and white, went off the air at midnight after playing the national anthem and a poem about God. Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut and smoked a lot on screen but there were no movie ratings because all of the flicks were responsibly produced for everyone to enjoy viewing, without profanity or too much violence.
• I never did have the privilege of having a telephone in my room; the only one in the house was on a party line, which was always busy, but great to listen in on all the gossip. Pizzas were not delivered to our home, but milk was (in glass bottles), while just about every boy in the neighbourhood delivered newspapers starting at 6 a.m. six days a week for a nickel a paper.
How many of these do you remember?
• Headlight dimmer switches on the floor and ignition switches on the dashboard.
• Your first car was likely an old clunker or a hand-me-down, but it was your greatest possession, and we had to take care of it until we could afford to buy our own “dream wheels.”
• Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain-guards, skinny dipping, catching gophers for five cents a tail, and digging up worms to go fishing with dad.
• Soldering irons that you heated on a gas burner and those big wooden Eddy matches.
• Using hand signals for cars without turn signals.
• Candy cigarettes, although most of us did try to sneak a puff once in a while?
• Coffee shops with table-side juke boxes, and sharing a Coke or milkshake with four straws.
• They used to have newsreels before the movies at the Capitol Theatre, popcorn and a pop was 25 cents, they had a balcony, and your first date was usually Dutch treat. Ponoka also had a drive-in theatre at the north end of town, where you could stuff everyone in the car on Thursdays nights for only a dollar.
• Back then we also had peashooters, Howdy Doody, hi-fis, metal ice-trays, blue flashbulbs, cork popguns, Studebakers and clothes with holes that really felt comfortable. I somehow have to realize that I am getting older but when I share some of these memories, I savour them as some of the best, if not-so-innocent parts of my active life. I really love to pass on some of the old stories, history and pictures, not only to those who grew up in my era, but to our younger generation, who might not believe everything that we say, but will sit and listen for a while, as long as we offer them a treat after we finish spinning those yarns.
Start planning for summer, because it’s really here, and have a great week, all of you!