Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday Thirteen: Past Times

Down memory lane ... thirteen things from my childhood that my children have never known.

  1. Coal - I grew up with coal fires. I remember regular deliveries by the coal man and houses with "coal holes". I doubt my daughters have ever so much as seen a lump of coal.
  2. Records - the black round things with a hole in the middle that came before CDs.
  3. Juke boxes - do you remember putting a coin in the slot, choosing your music and hearing the machine make clunk-clicking noises as it loaded the record.
  4. Mutton - we often had mutton chops and roast mutton on Sundays. Now all mutton is apparently dressed as lamb.
  5. Dripping - spread on bread, or bread fried in dripping (bacon fat). Nobody had heard of cholesterol in those days!
  6. Operator-connected phone calls - yes, I am old enough to remember a time before all telephones were on the direct-dial network.
  7. The test card - no round the clock TV in my childhood. During the times when nothing was transmitted, the BBC used to show the "test card" - a picture intended to demonstrate that yes, you were receiving a signal, but no, there were no programmes to watch. The testcard was, of course, in black and white. (I remember seeing my first ever colour TV in the home of an affluent friend when I was ten.)
  8. Wind-up watches and clocks - no battery operated timepieces in those days. Although my girls have seen a wind-up clock (my mother has an antique grandfather clock), they have certainly never had to remember to wind a watch.
  9. Old money - pounds, shillings and pence. Twelve pence to the shilling, and twenty shillings to the pound. Money problems in arithmetic were not fun, even to the mathematically inclined. ("If John bought a table for £5.13s.4d and six chairs for £1.2s.11d each, how much change did he get from £20?" Ugh!) We used a completely different set of coins, not to mention pound notes instead of coins.
  10. Inkwells and dip pens - for most of my schooldays, school desks had inkwells that were always kept filled as we were only allowed to write in "real" ink. I am even old enough to remember a year or two where we had to use old-fashioned dip pens, provided by the school. Fade ... smudge ... splatter ... blot ...
  11. Log tables - the alternative to the yet-to-be-invented pocket calculator. After a certain age maths meant an ever present book of "log tables" - logarithms, sines, cosines and more - to make impossibly long-winded arithmetical calculations possible without electronic assistance.
  12. Sweet (candy) cigarettes - so we could pretend to smoke like the grown ups. How un-PC is that!
  13. School milk - little bottles of milk we had to drink at morning break every day. Room temperature, and sometimes no longer quite at their best. Drinking your milk was not optional. Consigned to history by Thatcher the Milk Snatcher.


Anonymous said...

Ooh that's a real blast from my past. Although I did have a letter from my mother so that I could be excused from drinking the milk - still makes me gag just thinking about it!

Elizabeth said...

Great list. Amazing how quickly things change -- several on your list are foreign to me, too (and I'm no spring chicken!)

I do vividly remember that milk, though. On one occasion somebody Left Their Milk. Our teacher gave us a talking-to. No-one owned up and she threatened to call the police!! (Turns out it was a new girl called Ruth who didn't realise what a heinous crime it was...)

Dorothy said...

Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

Oh the torture of trying to learn to write neatly with an ink well and a scratchy nib!

Karen E. said...

Great list! Brings back some fun memories -- esp. records, jukeboxes and candy cigarettes. :-)