Are You Older Than Dirt??

Subject: Are You Older Than Dirt??
wcbs ‘Someone asked the other day, ‘What was your favorite fast food when you were growing up?’
‘We didn’t have fast food when I was growing up,’ I informed him. ‘All the food was slow.’
‘C’mon, seriously. Where did you eat?’
‘It was a place called ‘at home,” I explained!
‘Mom cooked every day and when Dad got home from work, we sat down together at the dining room table, and if I didn’t like what she put on my plate I was allowed to sit there until I did like it.’
 By this time, the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer serious internal damage, so I didn’t tell him the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table. But here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood if I figured his system could have handled it :
Some parents NEVER owned their own house, never wore Levis , never set foot on a golf course, never traveled out of the country or had a credit card. In their later years they had something called a revolving charge card The card was good only at Sears Roebuck. Or maybe it was Sears & Roebuck. Either way, there is no Roebuck anymore. Maybe he died.
My parents never drove me to soccer practice. This was mostly because we never had heard of soccer. I had a bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds, and only had one speed, (slow) We didn’t have a television in our house until I was 19. It was, of course, black and white, and the station went off the air at midnight, after playing the national anthem and a poem about God; it came back on the air at about 6 a..m. And there was usually a locally produced news and farm show on, featuring local people.
 I was 21 before I tasted my first pizza, it was called ‘pizza pie.’ When I bit into it, I burned the roof of my mouth and the cheese slid off, swung down, plastered itself against my chin and that, too. It’s still the best pizza I ever had..  Pizzas were not delivered to our home but MILK was.
I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone in the house was in the living room and it was on a party line. Before you could dial, you had to listen and make sure some people you didn’t know weren’t already using the line.

All newspapers were delivered by boys and all boys delivered newspapers — my brother delivered a newspaper, six days a week. It cost 7 cents a paper, of which he got to keep 2 cents. He had to get up at 6AM every morning. On Saturday, he had to collect the 42 cents from his customers. His favorite customers were the ones who gave him 50 cents and told him to keep the change. His least favorite customers were the ones who seemed to never be home on collection day. Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut. At least, they did in the movies. There were no movie ratings because all movies were responsibly produced for everyone to enjoy viewing, without profanity violence ormost anything offensive.
If you grew up in a generation before there was fast food, you may want to share some of these memories with your children or grandchildren Just don’t blame me if they bust a gut laughing.
Growing up isn’t what it used to be, is it?
 MEMORIES from a friend :My Dad is cleaning out my grandmother’s house (she died in December) and he brought me an old Royal Crown Cola bottle. In the bottle top was a stopper with a bunch of holes in it.. I knew immediately what it was, but my daughter had no idea.. She thought they had tried make it a salt shaker or something I knew it as the bottle that sat on the end of the ironing board to ‘sprinkle’ clothes with because we didn’t have steam irons. Man, I am old.
How many do you remember?

  • Head lights dimmer switches on the floor.
  • Ignition switches on the dashboard.
  • Heaters mounted on the inside of the fire wall.
  • Real ice boxes.
  • Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain guards.
  • Soldering (hair curling rods too) irons you heat on a gas burner.
  • Using hand signals for cars without turn signals..

Older Than Dirt Quiz :
Count all the ones that you remember not the ones you were told about.
Ratings at the bottom.
1 Blackjack chewing gum
2.Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside

3. Candy cigarettes
4. Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles
5. Coffee shops or diners with tableside juke boxes
6 . Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers
7 Party lines on the telephone
8 Newsreels before the movie
9. P.F. Flyers
10. Butch wax
11.. TV test patterns that came on at night after the last show and were there until TV shows started again in the morning. (there were only 3 channels [ if you were fortunate ] )
12. Peashooters
13. Howdy Doody
14. 45 RPM records
15. S&H green stamps
16. Hi-fi’s
17. Metal ice trays with lever
18. Mimeograph paper
19. Blue flashbulb
20. Packard’s
21. Roller skate keys
22. Cork popguns
23. Drive-in Movies

24. Studebakers
25. Wash tub wringers
26 Rotary Dial Telephones
27 Telephone Booths & Wooden Phone Booths inside 5 & Dime stores
 28 Watchmen at Railroad crossings to operate the gates

29 Gasoline at 30 cents a gallon
30 Motor Oil in glass bottles
If you remembered 0-5, You’re still young
If you remembered 6-10, You’re getting older
If you remembered 11-15, Don’t tell your age,
If you remembered 16-30, You’ re older than dirt!
I might be older than dirt but those memories are some of the best parts of my life.


5 thoughts on “Are You Older Than Dirt??

  • August 3, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    I remember 25 of them. LOL
    There is a true story I tell about S&H green stamps. In 1961 when I started with the L.I. State Parkway Police my personal car was a 1955 chevrolet. Like the other parkway cops I had an attache case which had most of the items I needed when on patrol, and which at the end of the tour I put in my 55 chev. But, my summons book i use to take out of my attache case and put in the glove compartment of my 55 chev. Since I was a certified police officer any place in the state of new York, I wanted to be prepared to issue a summons, rather than rant and rage, when I saw someone commit a grievious traffic violation. Only once did I issue a summons from my 55 chevrolet and that was on the L.I. Expressway.
    Any way, at the gas stations when i gassed up my 55 chevrolet, I would take the green S&H stamps and stick them into my glove compartment. when I had timed, I pasted them in a coupon book, and when I accumulated enought of stamps i could redeem them for merchandise.
    On duty, one night, on the Northern State Parkway, east bound at I.U. willets road, I stopped a violator for speeding and changing lanes unsafely. He was disturbed and while I was getting into my patrol car to write out his summonses in my patrol car, he stood outside my patrol car window, ranting about why he did not deserve the ticket, and that he hated parkway cops. I took my summons book out of my attache case, opened it up, and therein were some of my Green S&H stamps. The violator spotted them, and in exasperation said, “Oh my God and he gives out green stamps too!” I told him to sit in his car and wait for the summonses and he did.

  • August 3, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    We were not keen on pea shooters. We prefered to break in half a metal paper clip and shoot it with a rubber band. We knew about the dangers of hitting someone eyes, so we shot at the girls legs. many girls in our school went around with little scratches on their legs.

  • August 3, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    During the second world ware, I remember the head lights of cars which by law had to have the top half of the headlights, darkened, by what I guess was black paint.
    Also gasoline was rationed, and you applied and got a sticke placed on your windshield testifying to how much gas a week you were alloted at the gas staion. My father worked in Sperry’s war defense plant and he had a first grade gas sticker, “A” I guess it was. I thin with it was an account book that the gas station attendent had to fill out for my dad.
    When the ice truck came onto our brooklyn street to deliver ice to the home ice boxes, while he was gone up in an apartment house, we would chip away at the ice on the back of his truck and suck the ice chips. he would come down and chase us. He eventually got wise, and told us that he would give us chips of ice before he went into the apartment houses and give us more when he returned to his truck, if we would keep all the other kids away from his ice truck.
    There was some foreigner, perhaps an Italian, who would come up Java street, horse and cart, selling fresh vegetables. We never could understand what he was yelling. Probably, it was a distorted chant, of potatoes, cabbage, lettuce, onions. Any way, we use to tease him by walking next to his cart chanting with him, “corn pads, rubbage, letters, bunions, coconuts (he didn’t have them)” We stopped that after he ran after us with a knife.
    We bought basalm glider airplanes for a nickle in the candy store.
    We all had yo yos and some guy would come around the streets to see if a kid was good with a yo yo, and if so, he would be on the stage of the RKO movie theater in Greenpoint, on Friday nights. Friday nights, in between the two movie features there were live stage shows. The theater was packed, and some people when all seats were filled, would stand 3 deep in the back of the seating rows to watch the movies.
    There was a weekly news movie, and cartoons. All the kids cheered when a cartoon came on the screen.
    The movie houses use to give the women a free dinning dish on Friday’s nights.
    The legion of decency list told us which movies we could not see. We could not see “the hand”. Peter Laurie and a cut of hand that was alive and went crawling around.
    We could not see “Anna”. I saw both of them.
    I watched from my 5th floor apartment window on Java street, military airplanes being flying to LaGuardia, and ultmately shipped to a war front. Being shuttled from air field to airfield, the pilots were waves, or wacs, females, and were not experienced aviators. You could see them wobble and shift out of formation. Every now and then, and i did not understand why, one airplane would be flying much lower than the others, and I was always watching, anxious to see one of them clip the cross of St.Anthony’s church on Manahattan ave.
    I could see the empire state building form our Java st. apartment, but the military plane that slammed into the empire state building in 1947, hit the building on its north west side. I guess it had been headed towards Floyd Bennit Field in south brooklyn. I could not see the plane into the building from greenpoint, so we kids had to take the subway over to 34 th st. and walk around to the west side of the building to see the tail of the plane sticking out from one of the floors in the empire state building.
    It was a big thing when a police car had to come to our street. We all crowded around the police car to listen to the police radio why the cops were inside an apartment house. Then they would come to the police car, and always talked to us. I saw the cop wink at the leader of our little gang, before he started telling us about the call he got to go over to sunnyside blvd. by the cemetary, and there was a hairy monster running away from all the cops, around the tomb stones, He said they didn’t catch the monster, so next time they were going to shoot him. He told us to keep watching the Daily News paper, or the Daily Mirror, 3 cents a copy, and eventually we would see the story and maybe a news photographe’s picture. I and our gang leader, Joe, were the only ones in our gang of 8 who were not buying a news paper every day.

  • August 4, 2013 at 11:07 am

    You mentioned that you could see the Empire State building from your apartment were you grew-up. Somewhat, like you, I had a clear view of the entire New York harbor from my bedroom window in the 5th floor apartment were I grew-up in Jersey City. Including a clear view of the Statue of Liberty, about 3 or 4 miles away (as the crow fly’s). I remember clearly as a kid, that as I awoke in the mornings, and while still laying in bed, I could tell what the weather was like that day, by the sounds & frequency of the fog horns on the boats in the harbor or on clear days the lack thereof. I could then tell how heavy the precipitation was even at night by looking out the window at the Statue of Liberty in the distance.
    Also you said you recalled the Gasoline rationing during WW II, did you forget about the Gas rationing during the Jimmy Carter administration? You could get Gas only on odd or even days depending on your odd or even license plates. (drivers with odd numbered plates had more gas days in the year).
    Fortunately, during that period, I had the full time unrestricted use of a unmarked Department car with all the free gas I could eat. And used that vehicle with a free pass on the NJ Turnpike to commute to south Jersey every day. A full tank of Gas in my private vehicle most likely lasted the whole year, because I only used my personal car once or twice a month… When I think about that now, even being an allowed use, it seems like a sin. I wonder how much of that practice still prevails in government agencies today?


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