(for those born before 1945)
A tip of the hat to Nils Anderson
"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, or wore Levis , or set foot on a golf course, or 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 and Roebuck. 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, and it was, of course, black and white. Some families bought a piece of colored plastic to cover the screen. The top half was blue, like the sky, and the bottom half was tan, like sand. It kind of worked for Western. 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. Pizzas were not delivered to our home. But milk was.
There was only one car in our family, and my dad drove that to work. Mom walked to the grocery store pulling a wire basket on wheels.
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.
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. 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.
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.
A lot of things have changed since fast food arrived on the scene.
Do you remember?
Head lights dimmer switches on the floor.
Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain guards.
Soldering irons you heat on a gas burner.
Using hand signals for cars without turn signals.
Blackjack chewing gum
Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water
Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles
Coffee shops or diners with tableside juke boxes
Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers
Newsreels before the movie
Telephone numbers with a word prefix (OLive-6933)
45 RPM records
S&H Green Stamps
Metal ice trays with lever
Roller skate keys
Wash tub wringers