OLDER THAN DIRT, HUH?
 
Hey Dad," one of my kids asked the other day, "What was your favorite fast
food when you were growing up?"
 
"We didn't have fast food when I was growing up," I informed him. "All the
food was slow."
 
"C'mon, seriously. Where did you eat?"
 
"It was a place called 'at home," I explained. "Grandma cooked every day and
when Grandpa got home from work we sat down together at 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."
 
By this time, the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to
suffer serious internal damage, so I didn't tell him the part about how I
had to have permission to leave the table.
 
But here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood if I
figured his system could have handled it:
 
Some parents NEVER owned their own house, wore Levis, set foot on a golf
course, traveled out of the country or had a credit card. In their later
years they had something called a revolving charge card. The card was good
only at Sears Roebuck. Or maybe it was Sears AND Roebuck. Either way, there
is no Roebuck anymore. Maybe he died.
 
My parents never drove me to soccer practice. This was mostly because we
never had heard of soccer. I had a bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds,
and only had one speed, (slow). We didn't have a television in our house
until I was 11, but my grandparents had one before that. It was, of course,
black and white, but they bought a piece of colored plastic to
cover the screen.. The top third was blue, like the sky, and the bottom
third was green, like grass. The middle third was red. It was perfect for
programs that had scenes of fire trucks riding across someone's lawn on a
sunny day. Some people had a lens taped to the front of the TV to make the
picture look larger.
 
I was 13 before I tasted my first pizza, it was called "pizza pie." When I
bit into it, I burned the roof of my mouth and the cheese slid off, swung
down, plastered itself against my chin and burned that, too. It's still the
best pizza I ever had.
 
We didn't have a car until I was 15. Before that, the only car in our family
was my grandfather's Ford. He called it a "machine."
 
I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone in the house was in the
living room and it was on a party line. Before you could dial, you had to
listen and make sure some people you didn't know weren't already using the
line.
 
Pizzas were not delivered to our home. But milk was. All newspapers were
delivered by boys and all boys delivered newspapers. I delivered a
newspaper, six days a week. It cost 7 cents a paper, of which I got to keep
2 cents. I had to get up at 4 AM every morning. On Saturday, I had to
collect the 42 cents from my customers. My favorite customers were the
ones who gave me 50 cents and told me to keep the change. My least favorite
customers were the ones who seemed to never be home on collection day.
 
Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut. At least, they did in the movies.
Touching someone else's tongue with yours was called French kissing and they
didn't do that in movies. I don't know what they did in French movies.
French movies were dirty and we weren't allowed to see them.
 
If you grew up in a generation before there was fast food, you may want to
share some of these memories with your children or grandchildren. Just don't
blame me if they bust a gut laughing. Growing up isn't what it used to be,
is it?
 
 
MEMORIES from a friend:
 
My Dad is cleaning out my grandmother's house (she died in December) and he
brought me an old Royal Crown Cola bottle. In the bottle top was a stopper
with a bunch of holes in it. I knew immediately what it was, but Kati had
no idea. She thought they had tried to make it a salt shaker or something.
I knew it as the bottle that sat on the end of the ironing board to
"sprinkle" clothes with because we didn't have steam irons.
 
Man, I am old.
 
How many do you remember? Head lights dimmer switches on the floor.
Ignition switches on the dashboard. Heaters mounted on the inside of the
fire wall. Real ice boxes. Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain guards.
Soldering irons you heat on a gas burner. Using hand signals for cars
without turn signals.
 
Older Than Dirt Quiz: Count all the ones that you remember not the ones you
were told about! Ratings at the bottom.
 
1. Black Jack chewing gum
 
2. Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water
 
3. Candy cigarettes
 
4. Soda pop machines that dispensed bottles
 
5. Coffee shops with tableside jukeboxes
 
6. Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers
 
7. Party lines
 
8. Newsreels before the movie
 
9. P.F. Flyers
 
10. Butch wax
 
11. Telephone numbers with a word prefix (Olive-6933)
 
12. Peashooters
 
13. Howdy Doody
 
14. 45 RPM records
 
15. S&H Green Stamps
 
16. Hi-fi's
 
17. Metal ice trays with lever
 
18. Mimeograph paper
 
19. Blue flashbulb
 
20. Packards
 
21. Roller skate keys
 
22. Cork popguns
 
23. Drive-ins
 
24. Studebakers
 
25. Wash tub wringers
 
 
If you remembered 0-5 = You're still young
 
If you remembered 6-10 = You are getting older
 
If you remembered 11-1 5 = Don't tell your age,
 
If you remembered 16-25 = You're older than dirt!
 
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