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I Remember When

March 2, 2021

Being a semi-geezer, I often notice the juxtapositions in my life perhaps a little more than my younger friends. In true geezer form, I hear myself more and more starting sentences with, “I remember when….”

Well, actually I do remember when a lot of things were around that have disappeared over the years or are completely different now from what I remember. Therefore, I put before you what I choose to call the dirty dozen of what I remember when:

1. I remember when milk was delivered to your door and was ordered by inserting a rotary tab device into an empty bottle to indicate what you wanted on the next delivery. It was simple and effective and no app was required.

2. I remember when gas was 19 cents a gallon. When it got up to 25 cents, I was sure I was going to go broke. Now that 25 cents wouldn’t even cover a quarter of the various taxes that have been infused on a single gallon over the years.

3. I remember when the Helms Bakery truck would go up and down the block with a little whistle that is used on ships. They had large wooden trays with everything from fresh bread to donuts to cakes. You had only to walk to the curb. But of course, they didn’t offer gluten-free yuppie baked goods in hundreds of varieties.

4. I remember when I got bounced from high school for wearing just a white polo tee-shirt. It was not considered proper dress attire for school. Later as an English teacher, I was required to wear a white Oxford cloth shirt and a black tie. I went from looking like one of the Dead End Kids to H. R. Haldeman.

5. I remember when I could walk into a market or liquor store with a loaded .38 Smith and Wesson strapped to my side after target shooting without anyone feeling threatened. It was normal to do so in rural Southern California. I just bought my soda pop and went on my way without being tasered or plugged on the spot.

6. I remember when our family doctor regularly made house calls to our home. I think there may have been a small extra charge for calls after midnight but our doctor saved the lives of both my parents by coming to the house. Try that one out with Obama Care or any medical insurance.

7. I remember when it was required that all students in Southern California learned to speak, write, listen in English. We had classes in Spanish, French, German, etc. if a student wanted to learn another language. We also had ESL (English as a Second Language) for those whose native tongue was something other than English. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the voting ballot in California is now offered in 38 languages in order to be super politically correct.

8. I remember when I attended school with blacks, Hispanics and ethnicities of every type without any rancor among us whatsoever. Nobody seemed to care much if you were Jewish, Italian, black or had a name only you could pronounce. We all played and worked together just fine until the politicians decided we shouldn’t.

9. I remember when we went to the movies as very small children. We walked unsupervised about a half a mile to the theater, unafraid of would-be perverts, murderers, terrorists and the bogeyman. We spent our 35 cents allowance (not entitlement) to buy a ticket (25 cents) and some candy (10 cents). The bonus was that we often stayed the whole day and watched a double feature (what’s that?) three times…. and there were no cell phones to spoil the film!

10. I remember when American fitness was a national priority under President Kennedy. After all, we had to at least be as tough as the Commies. Students in elementary school were required to exercise rigorously. Yesterday, I saw a fat mother pick-up her fat child from the school bus stop and drive the poor creature 50 yards to their house. The only exercise this rotund teenager managed was to thumb away at her cell phone while waiting for mommy.

11. I remember when I got my first legal job at 15 1/2. I worked a lot before this age, but it wasn’t considered legal as I didn’t have the required work permit. I was thrilled to receive the $1.25 an hour wage and I worked my ass off for it. I don’t remember anyone protesting to have their entry-level wage doubled. After all, there were dozens of kids who wanted my job and they would have been glad to take it from me.

12. I remember when my grandmother was dying from heart failure. She stayed in our home and I was responsible for much of her care at age eight. I would administer oxygen when she rang a small handheld bell. Everyone took care of their family in their homes; hospitals were reserved for the very end. These days, most couples shove their parents and grandparents into seedy nursing homes and rarely visit them, hoping perhaps that they will just go away. (They do go away eventually.)

Those are some of my memories. What are yours?

The photo is of the Rizzi family in 1958.

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  1. Yeah, I remember we kids taking the bus downtown to go to movies. We felt safe, and our parents weren’t worried sick that we’d be assaulted.

    What progress we’ve made.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anche io comincio ad avere tanti ricordi che riaffiorano come nuovi di una me bambina O giovinetta.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We roamed all over Guatemala City without supervision as teens. City busses or a friend who could drive. And the ice cream truck!

    Liked by 1 person

    Thank you, Chris

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am old enough to remember it was time to come in when the street lights came on. The horrible feeling of falling of your bike and shredding your leg (but always with a helmet). The feeling of elation when you cleared the jump WITH the horse rather than going over it without him. I remember the minute I was old enough to drive, it wasn’t about going out with friends but picking my sisters up from school and doing grocery shopping for my mom. I remember the matinee at the theater down the street. I remember being allowed to walk there (across a major 6 lane highway). I remember my mother being very upset because she knew someone who was hit by a drunk driver (they lived to tell her) and all of the adults were adamant that drunk drivers should be punished (they weren’t back then). I remember some kid from down the block mowing my parents lawn for $15 (they gave him more because he has to lug his parents’ mower and put the gas in). I remember my first job working for pennies, but I didn’t have to support a family of 12 either. I remember full on brawls with my male cousins, and the only rule was “don’t get blood on the carpet.” I remember chasing lightening bugs and running away from bees (haven’t seen much of either in a long time). I remember some ridiculous game called “pogs” that my sisters loved. I also remember a lot of things that will mean nothing to everyone on here except me and a few family members.

    Liked by 1 person

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