Others Also Miss Kodak and Twinkies
Last week's column - "A World Without Kodak and Twinkies?" - created quite a bit of Web comment on thepilot.com. And refreshingly, not the nasty kind.
I can't resist sharing some nostalgic excerpts.
"Time, taste and technology wait for no man." Ain't that the truth! ... My wife and I were, just today, discussing the old Texaco TV commercials. They were the ones with the crew of guys in Texaco hats, white Texaco shirts and bow ties that came running out of the station as you pulled up to the pump. Each guy had his job: one to pump the gas, one to check the oil, another to clean the windshield while another checked the air pressure in the tires. This was why gas stations were called service stations back in the old days. All this, and gas was 35 cents a gallon.
Anybody remember taking your date to McDonald's after the movie and getting a couple of hamburgers, two fries, two small Cokes and change back from your $2 bill?
I remember when we got a quart of milk out of a machine on the corner for a quarter. A Royal Crown Cola and Johnny Cake (big vanilla cookie) were 10 cents (together). Stanly Home Products and Fuller Brush were the "in" home parties. Just brings to mind the saying that everything that lives - dies.
I recall Dad telling stories about working in the old theaters where he grew up and the movies cost 9 cents. At the age of 13, he ran the projector and cleaned the floors between shows and said he could buy a lot of things on the pennies he would find that fell out of the children's pockets.
Soda was 8 ounces and an occasional treat. My grandfather was always in a coat and tie, except when he was doing manual labor; then he'd take off the coat. Going out to dinner was an event, and I don't recall anyone eating in their car. Two of my favorite places to go were Western Auto and Sears when we went to the city (which happened once a year maybe). They both had the latest fishing, hunting and camping gear.
On weekends, we'd leave the house with the rising sun and wouldn't come home again until it was going down. Nobody molested us, kidnapped us or otherwise, and our parents knew we'd be home in time for dinner. No TV, video games, no cell phones. Just us and our Raleigh Choppers and our pennies to lay on the trolley tracks.
I'd spend all day playing in the dark sewers of L.A., riding my bike to the next town (25 miles away) or catching a bus downtown to catch a Braves game (25 cents for bleacher seats). Never had a worry of any weirdos bothering us. Those were the days, my friend; we thought they'd never end.
Who was the biggest retailer in the country 30 years ago? I bet your first thought is Sears, but it is wrong. How about the old five-and-dime, Woolworths. That's right.
I never wore shoes in the summer until I was about 10 or 12. No shirt, either. Didn't go inside until Mom or Dad chased me down, and never thought twice about it. So fun!
All the nuns and priests who taught us had Irish accents, and if you messed up you got whacked! I recall they did a very good job teaching us and training us and guiding us. I also spent hours out and about in the creeks and hills of Texas and California with my buddies. ... I remember growing up wanting to please my parents, not the other way around.
I wonder if, in 50 years, someone will look back and recall this time in their lives as "the good old days." Change occurs because we make it occur. Maybe we should slow down a little and enjoy life a little more rather than rush to make it easier or faster or longer.
Definitely. Stop and smell the roses.
Steve Bouser is editor of The Pilot. Contact him at (910) 693-2470 or by email at email@example.com.
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