Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Geezer Test

I'm not sure of the original source or I'd post a link, but this "Geezer Test" has been floating around the Internet lately:

Could I be a geezer? Let's see what I remember—

1. Cap guns: I had several when I was a kid. I also had a cowgirl outfit, and I pretended my bike was my horse:

2. Home milk deliveries in glass bottles: Yep. I can't remember if we got our milk from Garst Brothers Dairy or from Clover Creamery, but I remember those bottles. Cream was at the top, so you had to shake the bottle to distribute the cream before you removed the bottle's cardboard cap. I have a bunch of old glass milk bottles—here are two. They make great vases.

3. TV test patterns early in the morning: Yep. As I recall, one of the two local stations didn't come on until later in the day, so the test pattern was on for a long time. I remember the Shot of the American flag flying when one of the stations went off the air at night, but I didn't usually stay up that late.

4. Curb finders for your car: I remember seeing them on some cars, but I don't think our car had them. We called them "curb feelers." You can still get them.

5. Stamp books and redemption centers: Mama always saved S&H green stamps from Mick-or-Mac. I got to paste the stamps in the book. She acquired a lot of stuff with the stamps we saved. I still have the glassware she bought with stamps.

6. Phone booths. I remember those well. I used to see them downtown and inside some buildings. When I was a student teacher at Hermitage High in Richmond, the school had a phone booth in the hall. One day at lunch, a teacher (I think it was the band director) was in it when some kids turned it around so the doors faced the wall. 

7. Aluminum ice cube trays with pull handles: I still have some of these somewhere.

8. Subway tokens: No subways in Roanoke, but I remember bus tokens. I used them when I was in the seventh grade had to ride a city bus downtown to Lee Junior High.

9. Crazy Eddies: Didn't have one in Roanoke. But we had Lee Hartman and Sons, which is still around after 75 years.

10. Earl Sheib's auto paint jobs: I used the Roanoke Earl Scheib to get my first horse trailer painted in the mid-80s. I remember the ads on TV, too. Heck, the person Earl Scheib might have died, but his business lives on—just not in Roanoke. 

11. Mobile rides that came around the neighborhood: What the heck are those? In Roanoke, we had a vegetable man whose truck came around once or twice a week. In summer, we also had Jerry the Popsicle Man.

12. Free Road Maps at Service Stations: My daddy ran the Sinclair Station (earlier it was Conoco) on Williamson Road, and he had a rack of free maps. Besides pumping gas, he also cleaned the windshield and checked the oil.

13. Seltzer bottles: Clarabelle the Clown on Howdy Doody used to squirt people with one on TV. Never saw anyone I knew use a seltzer bottle, though.

14. Doctors who made house calls: I can remember my grandmother being visited by a doctor who made a house call.

15. Cigarette vending machines: They used to be all over the place. I think there was even one downstairs in Founders Hall at RPI in the little alcove where the candy machine and drink machines were. I can remember when businesses gave their clients ashtrays.

16. Flash cubes: Heck, I even remember flash bulbs. The cubes were a later improvement over the bulbs. My first camera (l.) didn't have a flash capability, but my second camera (center) did. I can remember having my picture taken with Mama's Kodak (r.) many times. It was way before home camera used a flash. 

17. Lincoln Logs: I had a set, but I was never able to build a cabin with them. I mainly used them to make corrals for my Roy Rogers Western Town.

18. Johnny on the pony, running bases, stoop ball: These must be games from big cities up north. I remember the pony rides on Williamson Road though. Three times around the ring for a quarter. 

19. F.W. Woolworth Company: It was in downtown Roanoke—in the same block as Kress's, McLellan's, Lerner's, People's Drug Store, the Mr. Peanut Store, and Pugh's Department Store. Miller and Rhodes came later.

20. Checkered Cabs: I remember Checker Cabs and also Yellow Cabs.

I can remember other stuff that I'm pretty sure qualifies me as a geezer:

21. I remember when everyone's mama sewed on a treadle sewing machine. many of my clothes were made on this one.

22. And everyone cut buttons off clothes that were worn-out and saved the buttons in canning jars.

23. I can remember when women wore aprons, like this one that Mama sewed on her sewing machine. Women wore house-dresses, too.

24. I can remember when mamas packed their kids a lunch, and the kids carried the lunch to school in a metal lunch box. I loved my Roy Rogers lunch box.

25. I can remember when you actually dialed phones. When I was a kid, phone numbers had only five numbers. Later a two-letter prefix was added, and then that was converted to a seven-digit number.

Yep, looks like I'm a geezer.

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Blogger Elena DeRosa said...

Count me in as a geezer too since I know every single one of these! Crazy Eddie's was a commercial that ran in NYC for an electronic store called Crazy Eddie's. It was a most annoying commercial.

Mobile rides were flatbed trucks that had a ride on them such as, the whip, a mini ferris wheel, or gondola-like swinging ride such as the ever so popular King Kong. They would come down the streets and for a dime us kids would get a ride, and when it was over an ice pop as a parting gift. I hated the rides but loved getting the ice pops so the ride owners would let me buy one for a nickel, or sometimes just give me one for free.

Stoop ball is exactly what it sounds like. One would thrown a Spalding against the stoop and the other person, or persons depending upon if there were enough kids for a team, would try and catch it before you ran the bases which were usually parked cars as 1st and 3rd and sewer plates as 2nd and home.

Johnny on the Pony had nothing to do with horses :) One kid, usually the largest kid, would bend his back parallel with his head against a wall or some sort and the rest of the kids would run and jump on it to see how many of them the "pony" could carry before falling down. Good times, good times! Thanks for the memories...

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was great to read! I have similar glassware, except it originally belonged to my college roommate's mom.

4:45 PM  
Blogger R.M. said...

I remember most of these, but, like you, lived in a more rural area and didn't have the big city stores. I referred to CVS as People's just last week and my husband laughed at me. Yikes!

11:00 AM  

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