In the “olden days” picky eaters had it alot tougher!

August 17, 2012

There was a “conversation” on Facebook about grandchildren who were picky eaters.

And that inspired some of the grandparents to share why there weren’t picky eaters at their house when they were growing up.

Here are my two favorites:

“as a child my family’s menu consisted of two things:  take it or leave it.”

“my mom used to say ‘If you don’t eat it tonight you’ll get it with milk and sugar for breakfast tomorrow!”

These quotes are funny, but it is seriously true that food was not taken for granted then and you were expected to eat what was put before you (including the hard crusts on the bread) or go hungry until the next meal.  I don’t remember very many “snacks” when I was growing up — just three square meals.  And we were all healthy and happy — we didn’t know any different.  In many ways, we were the lucky ones, compared to all the variety of food choices kids have today.

When clothes lines were as important a line of communication as telephone lines!

April 27, 2011

I received the following in a forwarded e-mail today and it brought back great memories of watching my mother hang our clothes on a clothesline to dry.  I especially remember the wonderful feel and outdoorsy scent of the newly washed sheets when they had just been put on the beds.  They were heavenly!


1. You had to wash the clothesline before hanging any clothes – you walked the entire length of each line wiping it with a damp cloth.

2. You had to hang the clothes in a certain order, and always hung whites with whites, and hung them first.

3. You never hung a shirt by the shoulders – always by the tail! What would the neighbors think?

4.. Wash day was on Monday . . . You never hung clothes on the weekend especially not on Sunday for heaven’s sake!

5. You hung the sheets and towels on the outside lines so that you could hide your “unmentionables” in the middle (perverts & busybodies, y’know!)

6. It didn’t matter if it was sub zero weather … clothes would “freeze-dry.”

7. You should always gather the clothes pins when taking down dry clothes. Pins left on the lines were “tacky!”

8. If you were experienced, you would line the clothes up so that each item did not need two clothes pins, but shared one of the clothes pins with the next washed item.

9. Clothes off of the line before dinner time, neatly folded in the clothes basket, and ready to be ironed.

10. IRONED?! Well, that’s a whole other subject!


A clothesline was a news broadcast

To neighbors passing by,

There were no secrets you could keep

When clothes were hung to dry.

It also was a friendly link

For neighbors always knew

If company had stopped on by

To spend a night or two.

For then you’d see the “fancy sheets”

And towels upon the line;

You’d see the “company table cloths”

With intricate designs.

The line announced a baby’s birth

From folks who lived inside –

As brand new infant clothes were hung,

So carefully with pride!

The ages of the children could

So readily be known

By watching how the sizes changed,

You’d know how much they’d grown!

It also told when illness struck,

As extra sheets were hung;

Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe, too,

Haphazardly were strung.

It also said, “Gone on vacation!”

When lines hung limp and bare.

And told, “We’re back!” when full lines sagged

With not an inch to spare!

New folks in town were frowned upon

If wash was dingy and gray,

As neighbors carefully raised their brows,

And looked the other way .. . .

But clotheslines now are of the past,

For dryers make the work much less.

Now what goes on inside a home

Is anybody’s guess!

I really miss that way of life.

It was a friendly sign

When neighbors knew each other best

By what hung on the line.


Sleeping in the Doctor’s Office

April 15, 2011

The big, old house where my family lived the first nine years of my life had previously been the home and office of a doctor.

His examination room became my bedroom.

In my bedroom on Christmas night with my new doll baby and festive clown pajamas that I received from Santa.

It was a big room and I liked it that it was in the center of the house — next to Mama and Daddy’s room (that, btw, had been the doctor’s waiting room), and close to the bathroom and the stairs that everyone else sleeping upstairs had to come down — I never felt alone.  Important to a little girl in a big room by herself.

I don’t remember ever questioning that my room had a sink in it.  Maybe that is because the only times the sink was actually used was when Mama and my sister Martha Lou experimented with developing their own pictures a couple times and made my room a temporary “dark room” and used the sink for the processing.  Other than that, it was just ignored.

I wish I could now go back and look at that house with adult eyes.  I realize now that it had some very unique features like that sink.

I guess it’s fortunate that when that was my bedroom, I was too young for it to occur to me all the interesting things that had probably taken place in that very room like births, surgeries and even deaths.  That’s a good thing because I think thoughts like that, especially of deaths, might have kept me from sleeping peacefully.

Just like having dinner in a diner!

March 25, 2011

In the house my family lived in for the first nine years of my life, Daddy built a booth in a corner of the kitchen.  I remember that it was hinged at the wall so that when Mama needed to sweep under it, she could lift it up against the wall, sweep and then put it back down.  The seats were padded and covered in red Naugahyde.  I can still remember the kind of “plasticy” smell of the Naugahyde when I would lie down on the seat sometimes.

Martha Lou doing her homework in the booth.

Martha Lou, Jimmy, Daddy and me eating dinner.

When Daddy’s brother Uncle Jim lived with us for a while, my two oldest sisters were already out on their own, so the six of us fit in the booth for meals just fine.  I remember that Uncle Jim liked to stir the food on his plate all together before he ate it (or maybe he did that just to entertain me and tease Mama), but Mama wouldn’t let me do that with mine.  I also remember that Uncle Jim had a certain way of saying “One meat ball, pleeeeese.” (even when we weren’t having meatballs) that would always make me giggle.  He was such a fun-loving man.  I think my fondness for him may be the reason that I have always loved to laugh too.

I think I’m probably not alone in feeling that many of my best memories happened while my family sat around the kitchen table — or, in this case, in the kitchen booth!

Friends Remembered from Long Ago

March 15, 2011

For the first nine years of my life I lived in Springfield, Missouri.  It just seemed normal at the time but I now realize it was a very idyllic life.  And the friends I made at Boyd School (which was still an elementary school looking very much the same as I remembered it when we saw it a few years ago) were ones I still remember well.  Why is it that I remember those faces and those names almost better than many that I have met during my adult life?

My friend Dana and I were Blue Birds.  She lived just down the block from the school, and her mother was our kindergarten teacher.  This was taken in about second grade, so I guess she and her mama didn’t hold a little misunderstanding on the first day we all met against me.

On our first day of kindergarten, when Mrs. D took us out to the playground for recess, I didn’t understand why we were putting on our jackets and going outside, i.e., the concept of a recess being a play break in the middle of school.  So, I thought it must be time to go home, meaning once we got to the playground, I just kept on walking and went home. (It was only a few blocks so I knew the way and it only took a few minutes.)

Mama was at home probably patting herself on the back that she had finally sent her last child to school.  She had proudly walked me there just a couple hours earlier so she was, of course, shocked to see me knocking at the door mid-morning (Hey, I was a little kid — I couldn’t open that big door by myself!).  And I, in turn, was shocked to see her shock and learn that I hadn’t, as I thought, already completed my first full half-day of kindergarten.  So Mama marched me back to school where recess was still going on and Mrs. D hadn’t had time to miss me.  I don’t remember hearing any conversation between her and Mrs. D, but Mama may have warned her that I was a slippery little devil and Mrs. D should keep a close eye on me, lest she “lose” me again.  That was one of my first school lessons learned — don’t go home until Mrs. D specifically says it’s time to go home.  This wasn’t a big deal back in those simpler times, but I’m sure Mrs. D was embarrassed that I had gotten away.

Some of the Blue Birds on a trip to the zoo.  I know it was on a Saturday because we would never have worn pants to school.  Blue Birds were to Camp Fire Girls what Brownies are to Girl Scouts.  There were two sets of twins in our group — Jan and Joan in the second row on the left, and Claudia and Clarissa who are the two in the middle in the front row.  I was always fascinated by twins.  I think partially because I didn’t have any siblings in my own age group, so having one exactly the same age seemed like it would be an instant, constant playmate!

We went to school together, had birthday parties together (This is some of the girls celebrating my 9th birthday) and many of us were Blue Birds together.

There is only one girl in this picture whose name I don’t remember — she’s second from the right.  It’s funny that I don’t remember anything about her, so I wonder if she was new to the class.  The others I remember first and last names — Betty H. (she wore hats most of the time and at the beginning of our first day of kindergarten she climbed under her desk and wouldn’t come out.  Obviously, that made a big impression on me since I still remember it happening all these years later), Paula S., me, I’m-sure-nice-girl-but-I-don’t-remember-her and Dana D.

Maybe I remember classmates so well because they were my first friends.  Friends are a blessing from God.  And the first of anything good is well worth remembering.

Who looks like the Bobbsey Twins?

January 21, 2011

A very long time ago when I was a small child, I remember that I read some children’s books about the Bobbsey Twins.  And also when I was a small child (birth until 9 years old), I lived across the street from identical twin girls, Kay and Gay, who were enough older than me that we never really played together.  But they always fascinated me from afar because at that time they were the only identical twins I had ever seen — and they looked exactly alike.

Soooo, sometime in my adult life I think in my mind I must have combined a picture of the twins across the street with the name of the twins that I read about.  Consequently, for many years, if any of my girlfriends would by coincidence be dressed similarly, I would say, “You look like the Bobbsey Twins!”  If any of them actually remembered those childhood characters they may have wondered what I meant.  But no one ever said anything, so I guess while the name “the Bobbsey Twins” was kind of memorable, the stories themselves weren’t.

I should mention here that now I have an excuse for a bad memory … my age.  But I have always had a bad memory.  So, while I try very hard to be accurate when I recall something from long ago, it just doesn’t always work out.  And, apparently, this is one of those cases.

Hubby and I were just talking the other day about how any time we are talking to Gunny about something that none of us can remember a detail, like an important football game several years ago and whether it was played in the snow, Gunny will immediately look it up on his ever-handy computer and supply the correct information.  So, I am now doing a little of that myself — it’s so easy!  But, sometimes the results can be a little surprising, compared to what I remember.

Yesterday when Hubby was working a crossword puzzle, he asked me the names of the Bobbsey Twins.  I was on my computer, so I immediately Googled “Bobbsey Twins” to tell him the names because I couldn’t even begin to remember.  Gosh, it had been so long ago.  I couldn’t even remember what the stories were about, much less the names of the characters.

But imagine my surprise when the information came up for the Bobbsey Twins.  Their names were Nan and … Bert! They were a girl and a boy!

So to all of my friends over the years to whom I have said, “You look like the Bobbsey Twins.”, I apologize.  I really didn’t mean that one of you looked like a boy!

Sometimes you (I) might be better off not knowing.  Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.  “You look like Kay and Gay.” just doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it.  Sigh.

If only we could meet at THIS Woolworth’s for lunch!

January 3, 2011

I received the following menu in a forward today, and couldn’t resist sharing it here.  The e-mail said it was from 1957.  Don’t those prices just make you drool?

I don’t know if Woolworth’s was nationwide, but in our little town it was THE five and ten cent store.  It’s the one my sister Martha worked at as a teenager and brought me home a Golden book each week after she had been paid.

If you go out to lunch today, I bet you may leave more for your TIP than what you would have paid for your entire meal at these prices.

Happy Monday!

p.s.  I just remembered something that seems remarkable now and might be interesting to younger readers.  Do you notice that there’s no price listed for coffee?   That’s because coffee was free with a meal (in all restaurants, I think).  I don’t remember (because I was too young to drink it, “It will stunt your growth!”) what was the policy in restaurants if someone ordered just coffee, but I do remember that it was always free with my parents’ meal.

Halloween Memories: The best door I ever knocked on

October 31, 2010

A few years before I met “the golden goose”

Back when I was trick or treating there weren’t any of the warnings like there are today about what people put in little kids’ bags.  So what we got was a much more interesting variety.  We usually got some homemade stuff, like cookies and popcorn balls.  It surprises me now to say that I don’t remember being particularly thrilled with those — I wanted candy!  And most of the candy we got was small individual pieces, some not even wrapped.  We were thrilled at the houses where we actually got a candy bar.  And there were only full-sized candy bars then, which each cost a nickel.  The candy bars were definitely the “cadillac’s” of treats received.

But having said that, I have to admit that the treat I remember most fondly wasn’t candy.

In 1956 I was 10 years old so toward the end of my trick or treating years.  My friend Cheryl and I were going through an apartment complex a few blocks from home.  It was mostly young families with kids of their own, so they were really into the Halloween thing too.  But we came to one door behind which was a guy with a different take on what a treat should be (or, more likely, what was most convenient for him), and consequently his door will always be remembered as my all-time favorite trick or treat door.

We could hear a bunch of people inside obviously having a party, but that didn’t stop us from knocking (we considered any house with lights on fair game).  At our knock, a very jovial, obviously drunk older man came to the door.  After we said the obligatory “Trick or Treat!”, he reached over to a table next to the door, picked up a roll of dimes and put one in each of our bags.  We were thrilled.  Of course, a dime was alot more money in the 50’s than it is today.  But also, neither one of us had, in “all” our years of trick or treating, ever been given money before!

As we walked on to other doors, we kept talking about our unexpected windfall, and an idea gradually formulated in our opportunistic little minds, “He was really drunk.  He probably couldn’t even see us very well.  So if we happened to go to his door again, he probably wouldn’t even notice!”  So, an hour or so later we made another swing by the door of the “golden goose”.  And the exact same thing happened again — another dime! Wahoo!

Let me just say here that “greed has no age restrictions”.  We were on a roll.  Common sense not being the strong suit of 10 year olds, we decided to go back just one more time.  Well, as the old saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.”  When we returned to that man’s door again, his house was now quiet and dark.  His roll of dimes must have been used up and he was probably now sleeping the sleep of the dead (or rather the drunk).

It’s a little embarrassing to tell you that we were such opportunists when we discovered the “golden goose”, but he was definitely my most memorable Halloween “donor”.  And he usually comes to mind when the subject arises of what people give out for Halloween.

May your Halloween be safe and fun.  And may all our candy be given out so that Hubby and I won’t be tempted by it!

Secretariat — Fast-Moving Art

October 16, 2010

We saw the new movie Secretariat last night.  I thought the casting was perfect.  It was nice to see Fred Thompson.  I just like him and I’ve never seen him in anything I didn’t like.  John Mankovich was perfect as a somewhat quirky horse trainer and Diane Lane was gorgeous as a strong woman in the early 70’s. When there was a close-up of Diane nuzzling the horse playing Secretariat, I leaned over to Hubby and commented, “It’s hard to say whose the prettiest, isn’t it.”  This was one of those movies where every actor seemed believable in their character.

As great as the actors were, I felt that the real stars of the movie were the photography and the horses, specifically the photography of the horses.  It was just a beautiful movie.  And even though you pretty much know how it turns out, it never lost my interest.  And one last plus — I really liked the music that was used.

I definitely recommend this movie.  If you go to see it, be sure to stay through the credits so that you can see pictures of the actual people and read a little update on each of them.

A “Magic” Cure from My Childhood

August 18, 2010

In an advice column in the morning paper there was a discussion of remedies for car sickness, but the one Mama used on me wasn’t listed.

Gross alert here.  If you’re eating, come back later.

When I was very little I threw up regularly when we took car trips.  My family got very efficient at, after Daddy brought the car to a screeching halt, getting me out of the car and into the roadside ditch before the “event” occurred.

I don’t know why I was the only one in my family who had this problem.  All I know is is that at the time cars were biiiiig, and wiiiiiiide and had loosy goosy suspension.  So I think there was lots of sway in car rides, especially in the back seat where I rode.  I can practically make myself sick right now, just thinking about how that felt.  I have one memory of going up a mountain out west and as we would go around a curve I felt like the back part of the car where I was, would swing wayyyy out over the edge of the mountain.  I know, I know, that couldn’t be literally true, but try convincing a 5 or 6 year old of that!

Even though by my teens I had grown out of the throwing up reaction (thank goodness — sooo not “cool”), for most of my life I have had a “delicate stomach” when riding in the car.  I would mainly notice a little uneasiness or vertigo if I tried to read while riding.  Things whizzing by outside the car that I saw out of the corner of my eye would make me queasy even though I had long ago graduated to the front seat.  So, it is somewhat ironic that because you tend to lose your peripheral vision as you age, I have in just the last few years been able to feel comfortable reading while riding in the car.

But when I was little, at some point Mama arrived at her own idea for a remedy that worked for my queasy stomach.  She always carried room temperature 7-up (I don’t think most people had thought about carrying coolers in their cars when they traveled back then anyway) and the second part of the  “cure” was unfrosted orange cupcakes.  If I would say that I felt sick to my stomach she would pour me a little 7-up in a paper cup and give me an orange cupcake to nibble on.  Voila!  I would feel better.  I have no idea how or why that worked.  Maybe it was actually just putting something in my stomach, but you would have had trouble convincing me of that because to me the combination of warm 7-up and orange cupcake was “magic”!

Feel free to try Mama’s car sickness “cure”.  It’s not patented — it’s hard to patent “magic”