Monday, April 21, 2014

I must be getting old

...when blacks sat at the back of the bus.  Mom would take my sister and me shopping in downtown Memphis, and each time we rode the bus, I would see all the blacks sitting towards the back.  I always thought they liked it that way - why else would they sit there?  

....when women wore gloves and hats to church every Sunday.

....when the Blue Laws were in effect.  For those who have never heard of this, the Blue Laws were a set of laws which made illegal the selling of certain things on Sunday.  The Old Testament says the Sabbath (Saturday) should be a day of rest, which was basically a Jewish thing,  but the Christians said the Sabbath was now Sunday and that the "not working" condition applied to them, and they decided that if a product in a store couldn't be used without "working," then that product would be forbidden for sale on Sunday.  So I remember going into a store on Sunday after church and seeing white sheets covering half of the store merchandise, and learned why after asking Dad.  So you could buy a ready-to-eat item but not something that needed cooking, etc.  No bleach because that meant you were washing something.   Confused the heck out of me!

....when the phone receiver was attached to the phone and to get any privacy, you had to drag the phone as far as you could, then receiver cord a little more.  And there were no answering machines.  If you missed a call, you just missed a call.

....when bills were only paid through the mail, as there was no internet, no computers.

....when phones couldn't take pictures and cameras used real film that you had to take to the store to get developed and wait to see your pictures.

....when Daddy recorded church services and other interesting things on reel-to-reel tapes.  Later he graduated to a cassette player.  Yeah, I remember cassettes too.

....when we rode around in a car without seat belts or air bags or car seats.

....when the TV had 4 channels and you actually had to get up and walk over to it to change a channel or change the volume.  There were no recording devices to record a show to watch later.  As with the telephone, if you missed a show, you just missed it.

...when an interactive doll meant one whose eyes closed when you put her on her back.

....when you could buy records at many stores.

....when women wore corsages on Mother's Day and my sister and I wore rosebuds from our rose bushes.  We were told the flowers were white if your mom was dead, but were red if she was still alive.

....when there was no thing as a "digital" clock or watch.  Clocks and watches were round, had all the numbers in a circle, and you had to learn how to tell time with the two revolving hands.

....when kids used to get all new clothes for Easter - including socks and underwear and brand new shoes.

....when "home movies" didn't have sound - and to watch them, you had to get out a screen and projector.

....when girls at our high school weren't allowed to wear pants.  That changed in the era of the miniskirt when Memphis had a very cold winter.  The rule was restated to say girls couldn't wear pants except during the winter, but once the door was opened, it pretty much became okay.  Never jeans, though!

....when classes had chalkboards instead of dry-erase boards.

....when the smell of mimeograph paper accompanied all tests.

....when we had to hang clothes outside on the clothesline to dry.

....when you had to type school papers on a regular typewriter, trying to guess how much room you needed at the bottom for footnotes.

....when the garbage collectors had to walk to the back of the house by the garage to empty the garbage cans.

....when there were two water fountains in stores - one for "whites" and one for "colored."

....when everyone had to look up a phone number in the phone book instead of on Google.

....when you "dialed" the phone and "rolled down" the windows in the car.  We Boomers still use these terms, even though the phone no longer has a dial and the car windows are button-controlled.

...when every night on the evening news, they would list the death toll in the war in Vietnam.

....when you'd go to the doctor and see prescription pads with his name on them just lying around.

...when freezers needed periodic defrosting and you made ice by using ice trays.

...when the regular adult combo at McDonald's was the same size as the Happy Meal today.

...when sewing patterns cost 50 cents.

....when gas cost 35 cents a gallon.

....when our family of 4  could stay in a motel for one night for $12.

....when there was no airport security.

....when Cokes came out of the Coke machine in small glass bottles.

....when cigarettes were sold everywhere in coin-operated machines - no ID required.

....when doctors used to smoke cigarettes when rounding on patients.

....when you had to use a card catalog to look up books at the library.

...when Memphis had two daily newspapers.

...when you could buy candy cigarettes.

...when cigarette ads were all over TV.

...when Elvis was still alive.

...when parents had to wait until delivery to find out their baby's gender.

...when bank security was so lax, they let my sister and me play around back in the tellers' area and even step into the vault (Dad was a teller).

...when most homes boasted a set of encyclopedias that were outdated as soon as they were printed but which occasionally would save you a trip to the library.

...when personal hair dryers were humongous hoods you had to sit under.

...when families collected Quality Stamps, then traded them for merchandise.

...when one of our favorite restaurants still had the sign at the door that read, "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone."  I remember asking Dad what that meant, and he sighed, shook his head and said, "They don't want to serve Negroes."

...when sewing machines only sewed a straight stitch.

...when it was safe to walk home alone from school.

...when we rode bikes and roller skated without helmets.

...when babysitters were paid 50 cents an hour.

...when grass was mowed with a rotary mower.

...when you had to wait until your favorite movie was broadcast on TV before you could see it again.

...when almost all toys and games needed no batteries.

...when Prince Charles was just a teenager.

...when a Dairy Queen cone cost a dime.  (I remember Dad every once in a while agreeing to take us to Dairy Queen, but it was a rare thing.  He said, "I hate to pay 40 cents for 4 cones when we could go to the grocery and get a half gallon of ice cream for 42 cents!)

....when the girls had to wear UGLY white one-piece shorts/top set for gym class.

...when the lions at the Memphis zoo were confined to small cages.

...when kids were lined up at a community center/hospital to receive polio vaccines in little sugar cubes.

...when we lived through hot summers without air conditioning.

...when a family of 4 could share a small house with only one bathroom and only one phone and only one car and somehow it all worked out.