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Blasts From The Past

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g5000

g5000

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I'd certainly take the 60s over today, warts and all, just for the simple fact there were around 159 million less bodies cluttering up the American landscape.
That's because if you went into a 1960s hospital, they were just as likely to kill you as cure you.
 
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My awareness happened around mid 1943 when I was almost 4 years old. We lived across the river from Martin Aircraft in Baltimore. My father walked to work for 1st shift and mother drove to work for 3d shift. They had a '37 Plymouth coupe. In the mid 30s until 1940 my father worked on the county roads dept. breaking rocks with sledge hammers 10 hrs a day, 6 days a week for 10 cents an hour. There were no hardtop roads in the county except US 40. Then they both got jobs at Martin. In late '43 he was drafted into the Army with pay of $21 per month. His unit boarded a ship in May 44 and landed at Omaha Beach on June 6. Mother and I stayed in Baltimore until Sept 45 until I started school in W. Maryland. I remember that almost everything was rationed but things were cheap.

Meat and sugar was rationed as was gas. Gas was 20 cents a gallon. Tires were rationed. Hardly anything came in cans or boxes because of the war effort. All candy bars and other goodies came without wrappers. Bread, Cracker Jack among other perishables were in cellophane bags. Flour and animal feed came in patterned cotton bags and the women would make dresses and shirts from the material. From the mid-40s till the late 50s things were cheap compared to today's prices. Candy bars, ice cream and sodas were always 5 cents. On Saturday nights in town a movie cost 25 cents, 10 cents got you a soda and a candy bar or a bag of popcorn. At Ben Franklin a comic book was 10 cents.

As for home life, few people had a fridge. We had an ice box that looked like a fridge but the ice man would put 50 pound blocks of ice in it each week. Most of the the food was kept in the cupboard or a cool place. It didn't spoil and it wouldn't kill you because there wasn't a ton of chemicals in everything. Women cooked on electric or gas stoves but many had wood burning stoves that cooked and baked and had a big water tank on the side for hot water to wash dishes.

I could go on and on but you get the drift. Life was slow and easy and the people got along. No TV, internet or smart phones. Also no credit cards. I have always tried to live in that mode and only wish that people could experience that style of living but those days are gone forever.
I bet most Gen Z's have never been down a dirt road. If they have, they probably don't know the rule about dirt roads, driving slowly past houses so the dust doesn't fly into their yards.

I have taught my kids this rule.

Coca Cola was a nickel for many decades. There is an interesting reason for this.

Local soda fountain owners were allowed to charge customers any price they wanted. But Coke was smart. Every ad they plastered all over the country on billboards and whatnot had a little 5 cents symbol in the corner.

If a soda jerk tried to charge a dime, the customer would point out it was supposed to be a nickel.

coke-ad.jpg
 
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petro

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Toys.

Every child had a toy chest.

In a girl's toy chest were dolls.

In a boy's toy chest were cap pistols, cap rifles, dinosaurs, some rocks, a baseball glove, and Tonka trucks. You could not close the lid of a boy's toybox.

Every boy had cap guns, and they didn't have gay orange tips. And there is nothing sweeter to a boy's nostrils than the smell of gunpowder.

Caps were strips of paper with little bubbles of gunpowder. They came in a roll and you loaded them into your gun, and on a good day, six out of ten would pop with a satisfying bang when hit with the gun's hammer.

cap-gun.jpg


caps.jpg
[


Tonka toys. Because of the Cold War, Tonka trucks were designed to withstand a direct hit from a nuclear bomb.

The world might have ended, but you could play with your dump truck in the ashes.



I had a Tonka mixer, a Tonka dump truck, and a Tonka firetruck.


Creepy Crawlers. Creepy Crawlers were rubbery creatures you baked yourself on a hotplate, without adult supervision, using a liquid material called "goop". Goop had a very distinctive and memorable odor as it cooked.

There was a wide selection of creatures you could make with a creepy crawlers hotplate. My favorites were salamanders.

The Olden Time creepy crawler manufacturing process was nothing like what you see peddled on Amazon today.

You have not had a real childhood unless you have given yourself third degree burns on that fucking hotplate.

creepy-crawlers.jpg



Hula hoops. Yes, kids, we goobers actually stood around making a plastic circle revolve around our waists.

Pogo sticks. One of my all-time favorite toys. It was basically a long medal rod with a heavy duty spring and some handles sticking out of it. The idea was to mount this thing and hop up and down for eighty-four hours until your spine compressed.

If you didn't know what you were doing, you could be launched at a 45-degree angle at high velocity and discover the negative side effects of gravity.

What? Wear KNEE PADS and HELMETS!?!? Are you fucking kidding me?

I just checked Amazon and pogo sticks are still around. But I have not seen a kid on one since the 60s.

Jarts. Jarts were "lawn darts". What they really were were unguided death missiles which you would launch by hand into the air and try to make them land in a small circle a lot like a miniature hula hoop.

But what really happens when you hand a boy a missile with a sharp metal tip is a childhood version of Mutual Assured Destruction between the boys in the backyard and the boys in the front yard.

You can't get real Jarts any more. There is a gay safer version available on Amazon.


Whammo. Whammo was a toy company. Their commercials flooded all three TV channels.

Yes, we had just three television channels back then. But we were more advanced than you think because we could watch TV without a cable or a subscription. So HA!


Whammo particularly ruled the waves on Saturday mornings. Cartoons were aired only on Saturday mornings.

There might have been cartoons on Sunday mornings, but the whole country was in church, so I don't know.

Because cartoons were only available on weekend mornings, we had to play outside a lot. In all kinds of weather. It was wonderful.

Whammo. Hula hoops. Frisbees. Super balls.


I would be a traitor to the male species if I failed to mention army men. Every boy had a bucket of army men. Green ones and yellow ones. Americans and Japs.

That's it. Two colors. Good guys vs. bad guys.

Everyone said "Japs" back then. WWII was only six or seven days in the past, so...

Dad said "Japs". Grandpa said "Japs. So you said "Japs".

Army men.

Hot wheels. Tiny metal cars. Metal. You could hit 'em with a hammer. Because that's what boys do.

I have not mentioned girls' toys. That's because boys and girls absolutely did not mix on their down time. You only saw girls in school, unless you had a sister and she had her friends over. But you avoided them because they had cooties.

There is only one toy which jumps out at me in the girl department.

The Easy Bake oven.

The Easy Bake oven was the female version of Creepy Crawlers, except with real cupcakes you could eat.

Because cooking was the destiny of every girl.
Tonka trucks were originally made in a factory along the shore of Lake Minnetonka west of Mpls in Mound.
Went there a couple times for a tour during school field trips.
Still have my old Tonka firetruck.
 
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g5000

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Moms.

Moms were an entirely different breed in my youth.

I'm not saying they were a better breed or a worse breed. I will tell you about them and let you decide for yourself.

Moms today and moms then are fantastic at kissing boo-boos. They may be first class bitches to everyone else, but they are the ambassadors of mercy with their children.

If you didn't have a mom like that, I am so so sorry. Really.

So anyway, this first part is more about how society has changed us on the child level more than on the mom level. For good or bad is for you to decide.

In the Olden Times, a boy would leave home on Saturday morning after dosing on cartoons and would not be seen again for many, many hours.

Moms would not wonder where their kid was every five minutes. They would sometimes ask the kid where he was going, but she usually knew. He's off to hang with his friends, and she knows all of them and their mothers and their phone numbers.

Good luck finding a modern day mom who keeps track of that stuff. Not when she can track her kid's phone with military-grade GPS.

So off the boy goes. He's playing war in the woods with his buddies. A good straight stick makes a great rifle to kill Japs with.

Then he falls off a cliff and breaks his leg. SNAP!

If that boy cries, his friends will excommunicate him. Limping is acceptable. Limping is cool.

But you better not cry, boy. The fucking Soviets would love to see you cry.

The boy then straightens his spine, clenches his jaw, and marches/limps the 28 miles back to his house.

When he lays eyes on his mother...then, and only then, will he burst into sobs.

Then mom does what moms all over the world do. Kisses, hugs, exclamations of "poor baby", and a full body inspection for injuries to make sure nothing is missed.

Then off to the hospital at 492 mph. Ambulances are a waste of time.

Olden Time moms spent much of their day in hair curlers. They would wear them to the grocery store. Nobody cared.

Housework was hard work. Preparing dinner took five hours out of the day. House cleaning and laundry took up the rest. This is why TV during the weekday was soap operas. They were called soap operas because all the commercials were for laundry detergent, Ajax, Mr. Clean, Clorox, and so forth.

But when everyone was seated around the dining room table, mom's hair was perfect. And she was wearing a dress. And makeup. She looked fantastic.

This was not the same woman at the Piggly Wiggly earlier in the day in curlers with a Camel dangling from her lip.

Speaking of the dining room table, every member of the family was there. Every night. No exceptions.


Olden Times moms checked your homework!


Every mom had the aforementioned Jello mold, a seasoned cast iron skillet, aprons, a mixer, a red and white checkered Betty Crocker cookbook, some cookbooks from church.

There was no such appliance as a dishwasher. Mom was the dishwasher.

Dad would try to moderniz the home by giving mom an electric carving knife. Whenever Mom used it, the TV would go on the fritz. No, really. It would.

There were also two sets of dining ware. One for every day use, and one for when company was over. The same with the hand towels in the bathroom. Do NOT use the good towels! Those are for company!

A lot of moms knew how to do canning. And quilting. And knitting. They knew how to patch a hole in your clothes.

Boys pants all came with super long legs on them. You bought pants for the waist size, and then mom would have to hem them.

That's why in Olden Time movies, the guys have rolled up pants cuffs. So you could grow into them.

Moms made breakfast EVERY morning.

Moms were forced to wear ballistic missile bras. Really, really uncomfortable bras.

Last, but most certainly not least, there were no strollers. You either walked or your mom carried you. She would carry you for hours, through the outback, over the Himalayas, and into the valley of the shadow of death.

But we did a LOT of walking back then. A lot more than the tots of today.
 
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OP
g5000

g5000

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Tonka trucks were originally made in a factory along the shore of Lake Minnetonka west of Mpls in Mound.
Went there a couple times for a tour during school field trips.
Still have my old Tonka firetruck.
Minnetonka! Tonka! I never knew that. Thanks!
 

Care4all

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Toys.

Every child had a toy chest.

In a girl's toy chest were dolls.

In a boy's toy chest were cap pistols, cap rifles, dinosaurs, some rocks, a baseball glove, and Tonka trucks. You could not close the lid of a boy's toybox.

Every boy had cap guns, and they didn't have gay orange tips. And there is nothing sweeter to a boy's nostrils than the smell of gunpowder.

Caps were strips of paper with little bubbles of gunpowder. They came in a roll and you loaded them into your gun, and on a good day, six out of ten would pop with a satisfying bang when hit with the gun's hammer.

cap-gun.jpg


caps.jpg
[


Tonka toys. Because of the Cold War, Tonka trucks were designed to withstand a direct hit from a nuclear bomb.

The world might have ended, but you could play with your dump truck in the ashes.



I had a Tonka mixer, a Tonka dump truck, and a Tonka firetruck.


Creepy Crawlers. Creepy Crawlers were rubbery creatures you baked yourself on a hotplate, without adult supervision, using a liquid material called "goop". Goop had a very distinctive and memorable odor as it cooked.

There was a wide selection of creatures you could make with a creepy crawlers hotplate. My favorites were salamanders.

The Olden Time creepy crawler manufacturing process was nothing like what you see peddled on Amazon today.

You have not had a real childhood unless you have given yourself third degree burns on that fucking hotplate.

creepy-crawlers.jpg



Hula hoops. Yes, kids, we goobers actually stood around making a plastic circle revolve around our waists.

Pogo sticks. One of my all-time favorite toys. It was basically a long medal rod with a heavy duty spring and some handles sticking out of it. The idea was to mount this thing and hop up and down for eighty-four hours until your spine compressed.

If you didn't know what you were doing, you could be launched at a 45-degree angle at high velocity and discover the negative side effects of gravity.

What? Wear KNEE PADS and HELMETS!?!? Are you fucking kidding me?

I just checked Amazon and pogo sticks are still around. But I have not seen a kid on one since the 60s.

Jarts. Jarts were "lawn darts". What they really were were unguided death missiles which you would launch by hand into the air and try to make them land in a small circle a lot like a miniature hula hoop.

But what really happens when you hand a boy a missile with a sharp metal tip is a childhood version of Mutual Assured Destruction between the boys in the backyard and the boys in the front yard.

You can't get real Jarts any more. There is a gay safer version available on Amazon.


Whammo. Whammo was a toy company. Their commercials flooded all three TV channels.

Yes, we had just three television channels back then. But we were more advanced than you think because we could watch TV without a cable or a subscription. So HA!


Whammo particularly ruled the waves on Saturday mornings. Cartoons were aired only on Saturday mornings.

There might have been cartoons on Sunday mornings, but the whole country was in church, so I don't know.

Because cartoons were only available on weekend mornings, we had to play outside a lot. In all kinds of weather. It was wonderful.

Whammo. Hula hoops. Frisbees. Super balls.


I would be a traitor to the male species if I failed to mention army men. Every boy had a bucket of army men. Green ones and yellow ones. Americans and Japs.

That's it. Two colors. Good guys vs. bad guys.

Everyone said "Japs" back then. WWII was only six or seven days in the past, so...

Dad said "Japs". Grandpa said "Japs. So you said "Japs".

Army men.

Hot wheels. Tiny metal cars. Metal. You could hit 'em with a hammer. Because that's what boys do.

I have not mentioned girls' toys. That's because boys and girls absolutely did not mix on their down time. You only saw girls in school, unless you had a sister and she had her friends over. But you avoided them because they had cooties.

There is only one toy which jumps out at me in the girl department.

The Easy Bake oven.

The Easy Bake oven was the female version of Creepy Crawlers, except with real cupcakes you could eat.

Because cooking was the destiny of every girl.
I played and had all of the boy toys! I was never in to dolls or Barbies.... Though when really young, I did have a Thumbelina doll, and a teddybear.

I loved the smell of those caps fired in my cap gun!

Also, I had Legos and an erector set! And play doe! And Tonka trucks, and a really cool larger fire truck that could do all kinds of things with ladders and hoses.... I traded two stuffed animals with my cousin Danny, for that fire truck he got under the Christmas tree! I think I got the better end of the deal! :) My first successful negotiated deal, at 6 years old!

And don't forget the marbles and boulders! And roller skates that you hooked on to your shoes....

I was never allowed to have the girl kitchen/oven ...mom didn't want me to get burned!

My older sister had the dolls, Barbies, troll dolls and girly stuff, hoop loop, jump rope, tea sets....

Boys stuff was just so much more interesting and fun to me!
 
OP
g5000

g5000

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I played and had all of the boy toys! I was never in to dolls or Barbies.... Though when really young, I did have a Thumbelina doll, and a teddybear.

I loved the smell of those caps fired in my cap gun!

Also, I had Legos and an erector set! And play doe! And Tonka trucks, and a really cool larger fire truck that could do all kinds of things with ladders and hoses.... I traded two stuffed animals with my cousin Danny, for that fire truck he got under the Christmas tree! I think I got the better end of the deal! :) My first successful negotiated deal, at 6 years old!

And don't forget the marbles and boulders! And roller skates that you hooked on to your shoes....

I was never allowed to have the girl kitchen/oven ...mom didn't want me to get burned!

My older sister had the dolls, Barbies, troll dolls and girly stuff, hoop loop, jump rope, tea sets....

Boys stuff was just so much more interesting and fun to me!
Oh my gosh I miss those erector sets!
 

Care4all

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Oh my gosh I miss those erector sets!
Some of my STEM skills were formed in my youth from those toys!

My sister's never were...she became a special ed teacher, and excelled in that field for primarily women.
 
OP
g5000

g5000

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Dads.

The only familiarity infants and toddlers had with their dad were his wingtip shoes. The rest of dad was somewhere above the cigarette cloud layer.

This is not really a joke. My dad was a three-pack-a-day man. There was an immobile cloud of smoke in our house, almost like another family member, with a one-foot layer of clear oxygen near the floor. When the sun came through a window, you could see this smoke monster distinctly.

TV news was only broadcast for a half hour each day, and dinner had best be served and over with by the allotted time. No one was to disturb dad during the news. This was the Cold War and every dad had to stay on top of things in case we needed to bolt to the Post Office nuclear shelter.

Most every post office or town hall had a nuclear shelter. You could tell if a government building had a nuclear shelter by the yellow-and-black radiological sign they posted on the exterior of the building.


bomb-shelter.jpg
bomb-shelter.jpg


Should Armageddon come, everyone would survive for the next thirty years on the Saltines and water they had in the shelters. Tonka trucks would be passed from generation to generation.

Every dad was a veteran. Many of them were combat vets. They had either served in Dubya-Dubya-Two or Korea. Not one of them talked about it.

I saw grown men cry, though, when the flag passed at the head of the annual Fourth of July parade.

That happened to me, too, after I retired from active duty. That shit caught me completely by surprise.

Dads didn’t change diapers. There were no baby changing stations in men’s rooms.

My dad was the exception. He had been a medic during the Korean war, and he changed a lot of war baby diapers.

Diapers were thick cotton cloth in the Olden Times. Every baby got a diaper rash. This was your first lesson that life is tough. The severity of the diaper rash was dependent on how attentive and quick mom was about changing a wet diaper.

Babies often had a pair of rubber pants over their diapers, baby fashion not being a thing in Olden Times.

Boy babies wore blue, girl babies wore pink.

Dad was up, out the door, and at his job by 9 am sharp every day. If a dad called in sick to work, he was calling from the hospital and was minutes from death, holding hands with a priest, and was just making a courtesy call to his boss on his way out of this vale of tears.

It was not unusual for a dad to drop dead thirty-eight minutes after his retirement party. And it was not unusual for a dad to drop dead several years before qualifying for a gold watch.

Television broadcasters provided a steady supply of war movies at times convenient for dads.

Tora! Tora! Tora! and The Longest Day were regularly re-broadcast as often as the fricking Wizard of Oz.

This may shock you, but I have never watched The Wizard of Oz. But I have seen all the big war movies dozens of times apiece.

My family has recently learned I have never seen The Wizard of Oz and the womenfolk have mobilized to fix this shocking shortcoming of mine.

Dads were serious men. Dads would spend hours, literally hours, on a single unscripted lecture at you about what you needed to do to get your act together. It’s a tough world out there, son, and life is not fair.

You were Moses on Ararat, dutifully receiving commandments from the Voice booming down from the cloud.

Dads read the newspaper cover to cover every day. The sound of the paper sheets whipping as he flipped to page 19 to finish a story continued from the front page is permanently recorded in my aural memories.

My dad was big on crosswords. He did the newspaper crossword every day. He also did the daily Jumble. The daily jumble was a list of words whose letters were jumbled, with clues how to solve them. Inside each solved word, certain letters were circled which were to be used to solve the main jumble puzzle at the end of the list. They usually ended up being a really bad pun.

jumble.jpg


Dad was allowed to spank you and he exercised this right often. The most terrifying sentence a mother had in her disciplinary arsenal was, “You just wait until your father gets home!”

The next three hours of dread were scarring. The sun went dark. Your toys weighed several pounds heavier. Even the dog knew something bad was coming down. You hid in your bedroom and waited for the hangman to come and get you.

Moms could spank you, too. Right there in the grocery store, in front of everybody!

Dads took you to ball games. They even coached your Little League team. There was no “for the love of the game” when you played baseball. You were out to slaughter the other teams. Only one team got the trophy at the end of the season. This was total war.

Sure, sure, we all chanted, “Two four six eight, who do we appreciate?” at the end of every game, but do you really think we meant it? Hell no.

If you took a line drive ball to the face, some dad in the stands would always shout, “Is the ball okay?”
 
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MisterBeale

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Local soda fountain owners were allowed to charge customers any price they wanted. But Coke was smart. Every ad they plastered all over the country on billboards and whatnot had a little 5 cents symbol in the corner.
A buddy and I were just talking about Kresge's the other day. My mom used to take us there sometimes for lunch.

I told him that Kresge had founded K-Mart, and that is what the "K," in K-Mart stood for. I still remember, vaguely, that my town held on to their Kresge's till the later part of the seventies.

Our town was one of the last to have their K-Mart's still in business. Ours used to have a lunch counter, it was a holdover from the old Kresge days.

iu
 

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