About all those nostalgia e-mails

Published 9:41 am Monday, August 17, 2009

Dear Linda, I remember all that stuff, and very clearly&ellip; in 1957 I was 27, so you get the idea. Most of this nostalgic &dquo;remember the olden days&dquo; stuff is quite modern looking to me! What I remember as &dquo;old&dquo; is square cars with wooden spoke wheels; quarter-inch thick &dquo;records&dquo; with grooves on only one side; houses built on piles of rocks at intervals, that settled unevenly and all the doors either swung open or shut by themselves, and the wind blew gales underneath them; &dquo;two winger&dquo; airplanes with tail skids; white margarine that had to be &dquo;colored&dquo; to resemble butter; car batteries that had to have a drink of distilled water every week or so, and tires with rubber inner tubes that lost air slowly and had to be &dquo;aired up&dquo; every week; washing machines with rubber wringers; glass canning jars that had to have rubber seals under their lids (called &dquo;jar rubbers&dquo; to distinguish them from the ones worn over shoes in rain, or certain others not to be mentioned in a family newspaper, at least not then!); bobby pins; roller skates with keys to tighten their grip on your shoes; cardboard fans in church, usually provided by the local Funeral Home; reel-type push mowers to cut the grass; a &dquo;swing blade&dquo; for cutting the weeds low enough for the reel mower to cut; girls playing hopscotch on grids marked into the dirt playground with a stick, or drawn on the sidewalk with chalk; boys shooting marbles around a circle also drawn in the dirt with a stick; all-day suckers and jaw-breakers; double-bubble gum; dusting erasers when we had to &dquo;stay in&dquo; after school for some infraction of the rules; and a whole lot more. Bet you never heard of a lot of that stuff!Linda came back with: &dquo;WE girls played JACKS while the boys played marbles&ellip; that is, if we weren&squo;t playing jump-rope. At OUR school, &dquo;cleaning&dquo; the erasers was considered a TREAT (like white-washing the fence?) and the lucky kid who got to &dquo;stay after&dquo; and help the teacher by banging the dirty, dusty old felt erasers was to be ENVIED by the others!&ellip;&dquo; Fran says that this is the way it was at her schools in Texas. Well, I did not like dusting erasers and washing blackboards!Thanks, Linda. Since I have written in earlier columns about the other things you mentioned in your reply, I will just add here that Fran found a &dquo;Big Little Book&dquo; in friend Harry Goodheart&squo;s book shop in Tryon and presented it to me as a Father&squo;s Day present. I mentioned the BLBs in a column some years ago and got into a discussion of their dimensions with friend Bob in Baltimore. Now I can tell you that they are 3&rac12; by 4 inches and 1&rac34; inches thick. Mine is &dquo;Treasure Island,&dquo; published by Whitman in 1933. There is a line drawing on every page with seven lines of text underneath. Unlike comic books, there are no &dquo;balloons&dquo; for speech of the characters. Other BLBs listed include Dick Tracy, Mickey Mouse, Little Orphan Annie, Houdini&squo;s Book of Magic, Jackie Cooper, Chester Gump, Buck Rogers, Tarzan, and Robinson Crusoe. Classics all!&bsp;

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