A while back I received an email that talked about how different things were when the writer was a Kid. Being someone who was born smack dab in the middle of the last century, many of those things listed in her memory, although now unheard and often forgotten, were common for me and my siblings then too.
Yes although living little more than 25 Miles from Melbourne, the second biggest city in Melbourne we were still largely isolated from it through lack of transport and facilities. I remember when, not only did we not have a TV, but also had no Electricity to run one. Kerosene Lamps and even a Kerosene Fridge was the norm for us then. My, how things have changed since then! Mind, although in many ways they truly were Good Old Days, I have no desire to return to them without my now accustomed modern comforts either. Great to return occasionally in my memory, but not to want to live through them again!
Anyway the above mentioned e-mail that started this reminiscing, ended with a list of things, now mostly forgotten, which I will include here. I will also add to that list my own personal memories of these items, if I knew them then.
“MEMORIES from a friend: How many do you remember?
1. Cho Cho bar: They were just one of many lollies (Sweets) around then but not now. Can’t say they were my favourites though. Much preferred “White Knights”.
2. Drive Ins: Actually don’t think they were even around yet when I was a ‘little un”. Although they certainly were when I got my Licence and I went to a few in my younger days.
3. Candy cigarettes: “Fags” were a favourite of mine because they were nice. Now they are banned because of their negative connection to real cigarettes and the now negative meaning of their name!
4. Soft drink machines that dispensed glass bottles: Were definitely around but we never had much access to them due to our isolation from city life.
5. Coffee shops or milk bars with tableside juke boxes: Again something only experienced late in my teens due to lack of close public transport due to our isolation from the “Big Smoke”, ( even if only a few miles from it.)
6. Home milk delivery in glass bottles with foil stoppers: Was definitely around but we never got them. We got our milk straight from our own Cow, which I guess now that I think of it, was in fact home delivered, even if only by the cow!
7. Party lines: Never had one, but when we did finally get the phone on, we had to go through the local exchange.
8. Newsreels before the movie: Again due to our isolations, movies and Newsreels were not a part of our early lives, until we got our Licences, and by then Drive Ins were all the rage!
9. Packards: Not too many American cars around here in those days. Mostly English. Our Fist car was a vanguard.
10. Blue flashbulb: I do remember them and how hot they got when they went off! Yes, I had a few burnt fingers before finally getting the message that they were very hot!
11. Telephone numbers with 2 letters and 4 numbers: Ours actually had three: Panton Hill 336
12. Peashooters: Again around but I was more into Spud Guns than Pea shooters.
13. Wash tub wringer: Oh yes had my arm in it up to the elbow more than once.
14. 78 RPM records: Indeed and also the wind up Phonogram to play them on.
15. Metal ice trays with lever: Yes I also remember those Aluminium contraptions.
16. Studebakers: Again not many American cars around our way, but plenty of Austins, Morrises and Humbers.
17. Cracker night: And the Big Bonfire over in the swamp area and going around the next morning picking up all the unexploded ones and having another go.
18. Using hand signals for cars without turn signals: Yes, but by the time I got my Licence indicators had become compulsory.
19. Bread delivered by horse and cart: Horses were out when I was young but we had our bread delivered once a week by Van.
20. Head lights dimmer switches on the floor. Yep. Took a little while not to hit the floor feeling for it, when they changed over to Column shift.
21. Ignition switches on the dashboard: Usually in the middle, as often was the key, although separate then.
22. Heaters mounted on the inside of the wall: Yeah, but they didn’t last long as they were totally inefficient up so high.
23. Real ice boxes; No. never had ice out our way. But we did have a Kerosene Fridge.
24. Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain guards: Yep, very necessary on bikes then. Otherwise you often came a cropper when the chain chewed up your pants leg. Not to mention that mum would also chew us up about our now modified trouser leg!
25. Soldering irons you heat on a gas burner: Gas burner? Who had gas burners then? We had to use the open fire or wood stove.
26. Clotheslines held up by cloths props: Another necessity otherwise one tended to run the risk of losing your head to a low hanging wire. Thank goodness for the Hills Hoist when it came in!
27. Mum making me dolls out of the big wooden clothes pegs: Not applicable there.
28. Getting into trouble for cutting the crust off the bread, spreading it with butter & whatever and eating it: Not sure about that, but we did get into trouble for breaking the loaf in half and eating the middle out on the way from the Bread box on the road, down to the house.
29. Having a bath in the laundry on washing day using the water from the copper boiler. No soap powder: Actually our bath regime was on Sunday night, before the school week, and in the laundry away from the house in an old sheet galvanised bath with sharp edges. Thus I also remember a few cut fingers too!
30. Mum shaving the sunlight soap for the copper boiler: Yes, and the copper was also in the corner of the laundry and used for heating water for both the washing and our baths. And for cooking the Christmas Puddings! Loved Mum’s Christmas Pudds!!!!!!!!!!
31. Good old Sunlight soap in the little wire cage, shaken up for the washing up: Mum used it for many years in the kitchen sink.
32. Wrapping the ice in newspaper for the Ice chest so it would last longer: Nope! No ice Chest, but we used to save the newspapers for the Butcher to wrap his meat in, before that too became unhygienic.
33. Plugging the iron into the light socket: No. Mum had a flat iron she had to heat on top of the wood stove.
34. The Thunder box at my grandmothers. Never had a grandmother that I can remember, but we had our own thunder box at home. And Mum and Dad had it for many years after I moved out too! (Had one Grandfather who died when I as 6 and a half. The other Grands died before I was born.)
Well that was just a few reminisces from me. How many of the above revived a memory, whether pleasant or unpleasant, to you? Again, not all my memories of the above things were pleasant. Having a bath outside, and the outside toilet, chief among the less enjoyable ones, especially on cold or wet nights! Over to you now for your reminisces.