Monday, May 19, 2008

Things I Miss

With the half-century mark breathing down my neck, I realize that I am turning into that guy who reflects on the past and bemoans things that are no longer around. Just the other day at work I found myself in a conversation with a group of people who were all around my age and we were bitching about the current state of the world; complaining about how horrible things are now, and how much better they were when we were young and able. Of course, that's not true, the world was no better then it is now, it's just that distance lends enchantment, and the further away one gets from something, the prettier it looks (because when you're up close you can see all of the cracks).

Be that as it may, there are some things that I do miss from the past, here is a short list - romanticized for your protection:

  • Rotary Telephones: Why oh why do I miss these things? I don't know, it's just that back in the day, using the phone was a big deal. The telephone was limited to being in your home, maybe one in the kitchen and another somewhere in the upstairs hall. No answering machines, no caller ID, and no damn mobiles. Plus phones back then were heavy, and man, that was when you could really slam down on the receiver when you wanted to make a point with out cracking the whole gizmo.
  • Sugar Coated Cereals: Does anyone recall when Frosted Flakes were covered with so much sugar, they'd never get soggy? Or how about when Golden Smacks were known as Sugar Smacks; jeez you'd eat a bowl of that stuff while watching cartoons on a Saturday morning and be bouncing off the wall for hours!
  • Clackers: Basically this was a piece of string with two large plastic balls on either end that you'd hold in your hand and swing around until the balls were smashing into each other at rapid speed - sometimes, the plastic would crack, or sometimes you'd just let go of the thing and send it flying, woe to anyone who was in your way.
  • Albums and Record Players/Stereos: It's sad that an entire generation does not know that a penny placed on the needle arm of a record player will prevent the album from skipping! Oh, and the sheer pleasure of opening up an album, digging the art work, reading the lyrics; and for some of us, an album cover that opened up in the middle served as a convenient way to clean your stash --- if you get my drift.
  • Simon: Simon is a computer, Simon is a game, you either do what Simon says or else go down the drain! -- I loved playing Simon. It was simple at first, just press the color part as Simon did earlier, and then it got more complex. Usually I'd end up tossing it across the room. Bonus points for anyone who can tell me what Major Movie Star of the 50's, 60's and 70's recited the little poem I put at the start of this for Simon's TV ads.
  • Movie Theaters: Before the multiplex, going to the movies was a big deal. Many towns and cities had elaborate movie houses complete with ushers, balconies and rest rooms with attendants in them. When I was a kid, the local theater would do these Saturday afternoon Horror marathons that featured several Hammer films, a giveaway of some sort (usually a cheap trinket) and some local celebrity showing up. My folks would drop me and my friends off sometime around noon, and we would be there until about five or six in the afternoon. If memory serves, it usually cost no more than a buck to enter.
  • Avocado Green or Harvest Gold Kitchen Appliances: Back when people actually cooked in their kitchen, before microwaves, before marble counter tops; green and gold held sway in the smartest kitchens around. The dishwasher, stove, refrigerator and even the blender were all color coordinated. Most homeowners matched their appliances by doing the walls the same color. I have a good friend who claims that his parents kitchen is still sporting all of the Avocado color appliances his mother bought in the mid 70s'.
That's it, I am sure there are more, but for now, these are the handful of things that I miss. Now it's your turn ... what do you miss?

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