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I'M SO OLD I CAN REMEMBER
by Veronica Mello
10/11/06
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A conversation with my mom brought us on a trip down memory lane. Just for fun, I thought I would share some of the things I am old enough to remember.

S&H Green Stamps. Mom had these books into which she pasted the tiny little stamps. (The green would get all over her fingers.) The stamps came with purchases from participating grocery stores; the more one spent, the more stamps were received. Then she would page through the catalog, decided what she wanted and the family would head down to the warehouse and pick up our new drapes, can opener, whatever.

Party lines. Three or four households would share the same telephone service. Sooo, more often than not, there would be a full fledged conversation going on when we wanted to use the phone. (Pain in the butt!) During our own conversations, we could hear a click but no hang up. (Busy-body line sharers would listen to our conversation.) Plenty of times, I heard my grandma telling someone to get off the phone after she tried for quite a while to make a call to her doctor. (Grandma was a health fanatic.)

Airplanes breaking the sound barrier. It sounded like an exploding bomb. We would be going about our merry way and BAM, the noise shook the house and scared the pants off of us. Once my dad was working under the sink and smacked his head on the pipes. (Wasn't good for dad; sure didn't help the pipes.)

Air raid drills. Often these happened during school hours. The siren went off and the nun told us to get under our desks and that if we were ever bombed we should follow that procedure. Now, I was only in first grade but I knew damn well that hiding under the desk wasn't going to save my life. (After Sister Mary Emelda would instruct us to get under the desks, Donald would whisper, "Kiss your butt good bye.") It wasn't that humorous; I remember being scared a lot.

Fall out shelters. Families could purchase these as a place to hide during a nuclear attack. Then all they had to do was worry about the fallout later on. The invention never found a large buying market.

I remember poodle skirts, hoola-hoops (when they first came out), Elvis (when he was still a hunk), riding in a Model-T (before it was a classic), the Beatles invasion, black and white televisions (if a family was lucky enough to have a TV at all), beacons that would light up the sky when a carnival was in town, wringer washing machines and the NBC peacock.

In my tom-boy years, I wore my coonskin hat, fringed jacket and carried my muskat through the woods with Sandy, my trusty collie. The big dog actually would let me ride on her back; best horse substitute there was. My hero was Davey Crockett, king of the wild frontier.

Teenagers would listen to WDRC Radio, call in and make dedications, talk to Dickie Robinson, and request songs like "Blue Velvet."

I remember when the big question was "Do you let him KISS you on the first date." (Dear Abby always advised against it.)

There was always a nun at our school dances sticking her arms between two dance partners and saying, "Make room for the Holy Ghost."

I remember being able to leave the house unlocked and not have to worry. Though not always easy, those were kinder, more innocent times. I remember them fondly.

























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