Sunday, November 8, 2009



I’m not really sure why but I’m feeling a wee bit nostalgic today. Today is like any other day and yet it’s got me thinkin’. And that can’t be good. I have a relative in the hospital in my home town. The same hospital where I was born. The same hospital where My Harley Stud had emergency surgery while we were there for my Mother’s and his Grandmother’s funeral services. It was and still is the only hospital in the area. I guess it was thinking about the hospital that got me thinking about how much things have changed since I was a girl two hundred just a few years ago.

Remember when……….

  • Our local newspaper listed the hospital admissions and discharges everyday. This blows my mind when I think about our current privacy laws and the hoops a poor family member has to jump through these days to get information about his ailing loved one. “I’m sorry, Mr. Smith but if you’ll just step into the interrogation booth over here where Special Agent Rapp of the CIA we will break you need you to answer a few thousand questions. I have no idea how people in my hometown get their gossip know who to pray for these days.
  • Some families had telephone party lines. We never had one but I thought it was such great fun to visit a friend and discover a juicy conversation just by quietly listening on the line. Don’t be judgin’, people. I was eight. What? You would have excused yourself and hung up? Where’s the fun in that? By the way, did you hear that Mrs. Robbins………
  • While we are on the subject of telephones……….The phone company in my hometown was privately owned by a local family. Our phone book was no larger than a Better Homes and Gardens magazine. The phone company was listed in the white pages under its company name and under “telephone company”, “phone company” and just in case……”fone company". Really. And if we were placing a call within the same town, we only had to dial 5 numbers. Those were the days.
  • Did you ever fill your gas tank or ring up a week’s worth of groceries only to find that you had written your last check at the drug store? No worries. In my hometown, the proprietor was OK with it as long as you made it back with the check by the time they made their deposit the next morning. I’m pretty sure that they shoot you leave your cart in the cooler in the back until you return with the funds these days. Oh and does anyone still write a check for groceries any more?
  • Every teacher and principal had a wooden paddle and knew how to use it. I’ll probably get a lot of flack for saying this but I think the world was a kinder, gentler place when the threat of a good beating was hanging over our heads. I know that it kept me in line. My father? Not so much. He had it down to a science. He developed a system where by watching the shadow of the paddle coming his way he could give with it and reduce the pain factor in half. Maybe if he would have used that scientific mind for his physics class instead of shenanigans, he might not have been in the boiler room to start with.

Well, that was fun. We should do this again sometime. What do you remember about your childhood that is oh so different now?

Smart Mouth Broad


otin said...

I just remember kids playing. We did not need leagues or parents to drive us anywhere. Your best friends were dictated by how close they lived to you!

only a movie said...

I remember party lines and dialing 5 numbers to call someone in town.

And a lot of other stuff that will make me feel old.

Now I'm off to a craft fair to prove that I am truly middle aged.
xo - Happy Sunday, SMB.

blueviolet said...

Wow, this was awesome! I LOVE looking back at the changes. I never had a party line either but I was so jealous of my friends who did!

I had forgotten all about the hospital listings in the paper. You're right! And birth announcements had every bit of information in there!

You know...I still write checks. All the time. I'm so old.

Bombshell BLISS said...

Oh my goodness that brought up memories. I remember running to the store for my mom when I was in Kindergarden. It was at least six blocks away. I'm uncomfortable now if my teenagers go out to get the mail. What a different world we all live in isn't it!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Loved this SMB; I've been feeling nostalgic myself all week....

I'm like Otin and am nosstalgic for days when kids where let out to play for hours at a time, with not much more than our imagination, a bike, and a big block of time...

demainca said...

Yes, I can remember when every birth was listed and party lines were the thing I can still remember out old phone number! We didn't have a party line very long my mother wouldn't hear of it, but I loved it when we visited my grandmother on the farm, she had all the different rings and knew who they belonged to too. Thanks for the memories today.

injaynesworld said...

I remember all that stuff and more. I remember a real ice box and an ice man, and a milkman. And when hospitals were non-profits and would treat anyone and nobody had even heard of insurance. And when nickles actually bought you something, and pennies, too. And you'd got outside to play and nobody expected you back till dinner time. I remember skate keys. OMG... I am so freakin' old. But I'm glad I grew up when I did and, with any luck, I'll get off the planet before it all goes to hell.

Reader Wil said...

I remember that my mum had a funny way to teach me good manners. I was four or five years old and my mum wanted me to speak with "two"words; if somebody asked me something, I had to say:"Yes/No" Ma'am or "yes/No"Sir, but I said just "yes".My mum was angry and said:"What "yes"? "yes dog"! I was obedient and copied her, saying:"Yes dog", not understanding why everybody laughed.

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

Like Otin, I remember being able to play outside within our neighborhood with no worries. We just had to make sure we were home in time for dinner.

And I remember we had a little cooler on our front porch - we got milk, butter and eggs and all sorts of fresh yummy dairy products delivered from the local dairy that was in our small town.

Anonymous said...

i think that 's one of my proverbial "35 reasons" why we moved from the left coast to montana.. so we could recapture some of that ... yup you can pay me later mentality and trust... Plum amazes me every time someone does that.. I'm so not used to it anymore

how about ye ol rotary dial... also like the song says.. i love back when :) now go get a jump rope and start a neighborhood conteest :)

happy trails

rxBambi said...

what fun memories. I remember walking to the 7/11 and not wanting to walk back so we'd ask some stranger to give us a ride. Often. Or leaving after breakfast and not coming home til dusk and parents not worrying. Or sneaking out to the lake to smoke cigarettes... what? Don't tell me you never tried it.

tera said...

I remember playing outside in the street all day, riding bikes and stuff. Building forts in the empty lot next door. (I'm sure we'd be busted for trespassing these days!) We also lived in a town small enough for 5 digit dialing. Now that same town has 3 different phone prefixes! I also remember walking over a mile to school by myself when I was 5. Sure wouldn't do that anymore!

Beth said...

I have vivid memories of how my 4th grade teacher could quickly quiet the class by simply reaching into her desk and placing Big Red out for everyone to see.

You are such the nostalgic one!

Heather said...

First thing I thought of was cloth diapers. There was no option for pampers and every other day a man would come and get the bad ones and leave freash ones. Due to our landfill problems, I'm thinking maybe we need that back.

I haven't written a check at anystore for at least 6yrs now, but I still write them for bills. Can't quite let go of some habits.

All the schools I went to had paddles in every room. Teachers werent afraid to use them!

Brian Miller said...

i hear you otin...i remember being able to walk for miles through the woods without worrying or having my rents principal did the claw too, like th evulcan nerve pinch with his 8 inch fingers...if he got to the was al over.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Not as many choices in regard to TV. Playing outside all the time. My mother never knew where we were. Having grandparents nearby. Riding our bikes or taking the city bus to get places. Or we walked. The ice cream man rode a bicycle with a freezer on the front. The milkman came. And on and on.

JOE TODD said...

Emailed a story to go with the photo of operator

The Peach Tart said...

I remember school spankings too

Gaston Studio said...

Also agree with Otin and others about us growing up without Soccer Moms and play dates. Don't miss the party lines though, not at all!

Arkansas Patti said...

Boy did you stir up recollections.
I remember never whining to my parents that "I am so bored."
My mother would not allow TV for she said we would cease talking to eachother and using our minds.
We played games that required us getting off the couch and that had no buttons to push, joy sticks to move or wands to wave.
Kick the can, riding bikes, and stick ball could entertain for hours.
No wonder we have become the "fattest nation".
Great post.

smiles4u said...

What a great post SMB!

You are so right about how times have changed. I am with so many that brought up playing outside and with an imagination and not with all these toys that required parental supervision or batteries or buttons to push. I refused to lose that with my older kids and continue to refuse to now with my little people. They are forced to play on their own and I do not entertain them.

I remember all too well having a party line. I hated it because my grandma was on ours and she would sit and listen to my phone calls...I could hear her heavy breathing the! And we only had to dial 5 numbers.

I also remember cloth diapers and hanging clothes on the line to dry. I also remember people out visiting a lot more and bringing cake and cookies and meals to homes of someone sick or just to be neighborly.

I also remember hitch hiking all over the parents knew and didn't care because a lot of people did it. It most likely had a lot to do with the fact that we were in the middle of no where and all the towns were small.

Thanks for taking us down memory lane! XXOO Lori

KrippledWarrior said...

I remember when the mail came twice a day. Right to your front door. I remember the Avon lady coming once a month. I remember when kids could walk home alone from school, and the only worry was rain. I remember kids used cuss words only in the absence of adults.

Tony Letts said...

nothing wrong with nostalgia - I used to have a candlestick phone

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

Great comments!
Yeah, we were let out the door and told to be home in time for supper or else.
And we had to get up to change the damned TV channel, such hardship...
(I still pay for groceries with a check, but then, I still wear hoop skirts too)

midlife slices said...

I remember being able to take off on my bicycle in the morning and not come home until dark and no one worried because there was nothing to worry about.

Buying a hamburger, Dr. Pepper, and fries for .50.

Ah hell.....remembering the good days just makes me sad. Kids today are missing so much of the simple pleasures in life. *sigh*

cafay1 said...

Oh, wow. Party lines, yes and going to the drive-in movies, the milkman and diaper service. We didn't have disposable diapers then. Wow, all kinds of memories. Thanks for the great post.

Mrsupole said...

In kindergarten class I got to take naps everyday. We had PE classes everyday too. And recess, lots of fun there. Coming home doing homework, then going out to play until dark and Mom would yell "Dinner time". And other kids would come find you to tell you that your mom was yelling this.

I remember when we all sat around a table to eat and talk. No TV, no cell phones, no regular phones. We actually talked to each other. Then we all had to clean up the dining room and kitchen together. I remember that we had to ask if we could please be excused from the table when we were done eating. We were also not allowed to speak to an adult unless the adult spoke to you first.

I really remember that we never ever were brave enough to talk back to our parents, or any adult, because we knew what would happen if we did. In school the kids got paddled in front of the whole class, and no one wanted to have it done to you. I remember we had manners.

Oh and we loved our party line, it was a form of entertainment for us because we rarely watched the TV.

I remember the slide rule, and the computer was your brain reading a book or just lying in the grass thinking of the future.

Are we better off today, no I do not think so. Back then we had this thing called personal responsiblity and personal control of how we lived our lives. Then an incidious thing started to creep into our lives, it was called government control, and the more they tried to take away our personal controls and tell us how to live our lives, the worse things seem to become.

Children are no longer safe, they no longer behave, they all seem to have some kind of learning disability in this or that, they do not have to do what the parents or teachers say because the government tells them this.

The world is now no longer balanced and our children's childhood is suffering for it. There is always an underlying fear that controls everything now. The fear of the paddle was one thing, but the fear today is a fear of everything out there. Children stay holed up in their rooms, never experiencing the life that we once knew.

Somehow we need to fix it, we need to give their childhoods back to our children and grandchildren. Future generations may someday ask us why we let this happen. What will your answer be? Will you say that you were afraid to do something? We need to stop the creeping evil that is forcing their views on us in the world. Change, that takes aways the parents rights to be the best parent they can be, is never good. Go ahead, ask for change, ask them to them to give back your parental rights. Tell them that you want choices, not their changes.

Uh-oh, I better stop, I get sidetracked sometimes. Thanks for such a great subject.

God bless.

Duchess said...

I used to go to the store and say, Charge it to my mother. And no one asked who my mother was.

My brother and I delivered papers before dawn and when we came home the milk was frozen on the doorstep.