Saturday, April 14, 2012

Those were the days.... How did we ever survive?

This has been going around the Internet and is posted on a few blogs I know. I enjoyed the memories so much (and added a few of my own ... I'll add those in red italics) that I decided it was too fun not to share!

Do you remember having to use scissors to cut out intricate designs, I mean, before the age of personal digital, electronic cutting machines? How about these memories ....

Black and White
(Under age 40? You won't understand.)You could hardly see for all the snow,
Spread the rabbit ears as far as they go.
Pull a chair up to the TV set,
'Good Night, David.
Good Night, Chet.'

My Mom used to cut chicken, chop eggs and spread mayo on the same cutting board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn't seem to get food poisoning.

My Mom used to defrost hamburger on the counter and I used to eat it raw sometimes, too.
(I'm very certain I didn't eat raw meat. My mom was a Critical Care Nurse -- she definitely would not let us do this. BUT she did defrost meat on the kitchen counter. AND our turkey always had stuffing cooked in it, without fear of salmonella!)  Our school sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper in a brown paper bag, not in ice pack coolers, but I can't remember getting E-coli.  (Then again, every one of my school sandwiches was a peanut butter and jelly -- my choice. I still can't stand the smell of peanut butter caked knife that's in a glass of water.)

Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the lake instead of a pristine pool (talk about boring), no beach closures then. (And we didn't wear "safety wings". At our local swim club, there was a high dive then -- I mean, REALLY high dive. We all took swim lessons to get "certified" and face the fear.)
The term cell phone would have conjured up a phone in a jail cell, and a pager was the school Public Announcement (PA) system.
("Beepers" were the guys who drove on Main Street, honking their horns at pretty girls. "Tweet" is what birds do in an early spring morning. "Twitter" -- well, we didn't have that -- but I guess that is the flurry of your heart when you saw your crush and {OMG} made eye contact!!  Voice mail was what was left on the answering machine that you hoped your little brother didn't get to {and erase!} before you got home -- on the school bus.

A "text message" was a ripped-out piece of loose leaf paper that your girlfriend {or PLEEEASE God, my crush!!} would slip to you in the hallway, or pass over the aisles in class. {PLEEEASE don't let it be seen and taken by the teacher, or intercepted by the guy who was teasing me ... and we didn't call it "bullying" then. Bullies were the ones who beat the crap out of some kids, including other bullies. Yeah, I still remember the psychological bullying I endured in junior high and high school -- but I'm not in counseling, and yes, John Graves, I still am a "fat cow."  And THANK GOD there was no place like Facebook or a BLOG to post my rant about John Graves. By the way, John apologized at our 5th year high school reunion. I forgive you, John. Jean Gorecki, you really treated me miserably as a new kid in 7th grade when my family moved into the area. I forgive you, too -- but hope somebody treated you as you did me, in college or in life. We knew about karma then, as now.)

We all took gym, not PE...and risked permanent injury with a pair of high top Ked's (only worn in gym) instead of having cross-training athletic shoes with air cushion soles and built in light reflectors. I can't recall any injuries but they must have happened because they tell us how much safer we are now. Flunking gym was not an option... even for stupid kids! I guess PE must be much harder than gym.

 (I never mastered the rope climb, which had us required to scale to the TOP of the gymnasium to touch the ceiling. There were no safety harnesses or nets ... if we fell, we fell. And got up and were so embarassed about it, we didn't tell our parents, much less a lawyer. If we broke a bone, we got a plaster cast which was really cool because you could have all your friends sign it in ink, and you got out of gym classes for a while with an Excused Absence. If we forgot our gym uniform, we had demerits and extra demerits earned you more laps around the school yard. After gym, we were handed a towel by the gym teacher who sat at the exit to the showers marking off anyone who skipped a shower. We'd cheat it by sprinkling water on our shoulders and hide our boobs and "privates" with the towel that we wore into the shower. We didn't have to shower if we had our period -- but be careful of timing if you're lying to avoid a shower. Any extra 'periods' or missed ones, and you were reported to the School Nurse, and your parents. There were no opportunities for hidden pregnancies in my school!)  

Speaking of school, we all said prayers and sang the national anthem, and staying in detention after school caught all sorts of negative attention. We must have had horribly damaged psyches. What an archaic health system we had then. Remember school nurses? Ours wore a hat and everything. (Our school nurse also wore a white dress and white support stockings and wore her nursing school pin on her uniform. I was a volunteer in my school nurse's office. I got certified in first aid, and she taught me the right way to change a pillow case so I didn't get germs on me, and the new pillow case didn't touch the floor. I still use that technique.)

Brother Ed, I still remember when you fell asleep watching TV ...
Mom and Dad woke you to tell you to go upstairs to bed.
"And make sure you go to the bathroom before going to bed."
You were so groggy you peed right onto the TV screen.
I've been traumatized (from laughing so hard!) all my life.
I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was allowed to be proud of myself.  I just can't recall how bored we were without computers, Play Station, Nintendo, X-box or 270 digital TV cable stations. (When the new TV schedule came out in the fall -- thank you, TV Guide! -- we'd circle the shows we wanted to watch and who had first dibs on the black-and-white. We had one TV, and it was in the family room. It was a big deal when we got an antenna on the top of our house, and a rotor system that Dad could adjust it for better reception. It was a major big deal if there was too much grinding on American Bandstand. We weren't allowed to watch Soul Train.

We didn't have much time to watch TV anyway -- there was always band practice, after-school activities that were FREE, the late "athletic" bus and walking home when you missed it, color guard with tassled boots and a rifle to twirl. If we got home before it was too dark, we'd go outside and play with our friends -- Kick the Can, Rover Red Rover, Dodge Ball, and all sorts of other street games. Having a large red rubber ball like from gym class made you popular. And an EYE-PAD was something you wore when you accidentally ran into a tree and nearly poked out your eye. Yeah, we had flashlights back then, but only dorks used them. I wouldn't know what an Internet was back then, other than maybe it was the net for the badminton court on the inside? 

I DID know what a hairnet was, though. Mom put it over her pincurls at night so they'd set as she slept. If they were still wet when she woke up, she sat under a hair dryer -- we all had the big cone-shaped things! Then they finally came up with a "portable" hair dryer ... it had a stretchy cap with holes in it to let the hot air come in through a tube that was attached to the hot air blower. You could buy longer hoses if you needed to be able to reach the phone, which was corded and attached to the wall, and used a dial. Sometimes you couldn't get an outgoing line because the party line was being used by your neighbors.)

Oh yeah... and where was the Benadryl and sterilization kit when I got that bee sting? I could have been killed!  (There actually was one time when the doctor had to come -- {HOUSE CALLS!} -- when my friends and I played "Follow the Leader" over a bee's nest. Who knew that my brother's waving his arms and acting crazy {as usual} was because he got stung? I fell on the nest and had five stings on my right knee. The doctor injected the antihistimine into my butt. I remember it distinctly! And then I went to sleep, and nobody worried that I would be anything but well in the morning. By the way, I didn't know one kid who was diagnosed with ADHD, ADD, or Autism, and judging from my days as a volunteer in the nurses' office, I can tell you there were no kids who came in to get daily medications. I did have a third-grade boyfriend who died from cardiac disease, but otherwise -- and even though my class sizes were very large (700+) -- I didn't know one kid with cancer or diabetes, although my best friend in 6th grade had asthma.)

We played 'king of the hill' on piles of gravel left on vacant construction sites, and when we got hurt, Mom pulled out the 48-cent bottle of mercurochrome (kids liked it better because it didn't sting like iodine did) and then we got our butt spanked. Now it's a trip to the emergency room, followed by a 10-day dose of a $49 bottle of antibiotics, and then Mom calls the attorney to sue the contractor for leaving a horribly vicious pile of gravel where it was such a threat. (We also played in the pile of "topsoil" that Dad had delivered to the backyard to spread over the lawn. I just learned last year that it was really sewage sludge. My brother and I played with his Tonka Trucks in it, and dug in the dirt with Mom's sterling silver spoons. She didn't know -- we didn't know they were "for good."  Yes, Ed and I replaced them for my parents' 25th (silver) anniversary.  We also played in haystacks at construction sites, on the huge (15' tall) rock in my backyard, in the nature preserve down the street, ran and sledded in the woods, and went tobagganing on the hill at the elementary school. If we didn't come home when the dinner bell or the "triangle" rang or the boat horn sounded, we were in deep trouble. We rode our bikes through fields and on busy streets -- gasp, no helmets!!  Nobody I knew got a head injury from falling off a bike, though we did get pretty scraped up. It was not unusual for us kids to sit on the open back "door" of the station wagon, while Dad was driving over the bumps, and he was never seen as abusive or neglectful for allowing it.)

And what ever happened to REAL circuses?? That came to your
neighborhood's empty lot with a tent?  Or at least nearby?!
OMG -- what happened to all the empty lots??!
We didn't act up at the neighbor's house either; because if we did we got our butt spanked there and then we got our butt spanked again when we got home. (And we'd get our mouths washed out with soap if we were caught bad-mouthing, cursing or talking back to our parents. I preferred Ivory Soap, in terms of taste.)
I recall Scott Galloway from next door coming over and doing his tricks on the front stoop, just before he fell off. Little did his Mom know that she could have owned our house. Instead, she picked him up and swatted him for being such a goof. It was a neighborhood run amuck. (We climbed in trees too -- really high -- and dug out snow tunnels in between our house and the Galloway's. In the summer, all the kids and families from our neighborhood got together in our conjoined backyards -- no fences then -- and had a picnic with pie-eating contests, three-legged sack races, and a bonfire. We ran carnivals benefiting Jerry Lewis's Muscular Dystrophy Telethon or just benefiting us. Some of the money we earned paid for visits to the ice cream truck -- the best was Mr. Softee. By the way, Jimmy Jenkins got his hand blown off when he threw a soup can full of gasoline into the leaf-burning pile. And my cousin Brian caught his pants on fire playing with matches -- it burned his leg really bad but skin grafting saved it. He went on to run track at Villanova University and now sells insurance. Hi, Brian!!)

To top it off, not a single person I knew had ever been told that they were from a dysfunctional family. How could we possibly have known that? We needed to get into group therapy and anger management classes. We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills, that we didn't even notice that the entire country wasn't taking Prozac!  (By the way, one year at Thanksgiving, my older sister -- who always has, and always will, marched to her own drum -- announced that we had the most dysfunctional family in the world. We all sat around the family dinner table kinda looking at each other, sensing the irony that we were all together with knives in our hands and there was no blood or tears shed, and wondered where she got this "New Age" term. Now we've grown up, and the most of our disagreements focus on politics. I've now given up on speaking about politics an even thinking about politics, so you all are on your own to disagree.  For me, I've made the choice. I answered the question: "Would you rather be right or happy?"  Me, I'm sticking with the joys of papercrafting and being happy.)

How did we ever survive?

(P.S. -- All of these images were "Googled".  In my younger years, if I "googled" anything, it meant I was staring at it and making funny eye-rolling gestures with my face. I guess that's the same look I give to my computer, from time to time!  Computer?  What's a computer?)


Judy said...

I read every single word and loved it all! Yes, I have seen these before, but your additions make it so much better :-) Obviously, we grew up in the same era and that we are still around is totally amazing!!! Thanks so much for sharing this :-)
Hugs, Judy

Star said...

Those were the days! Weren't they just yesterday? How time flies!!

Glennis F said...

What a great post - I loved every bit, and its true - how did we ever survive