When you didn’t dial a phone number, but give it to “Central.”  When there were no loud speakers on radios and a group had to share a part of a head phone.  When only the rich paid taxes and then only a token.  When doctors made house calls and rarely collected old bills.  When an automobile had to be cranked.  When touring cars had to carry isinglass side curtains that had to be snapped on when it rained, and windshield wipers had to be operated by hand.  When a long drive was 75 miles that meant a flat tire or two to be repaired, and tires had to be inflated by a hand pump.  When each home had a coal scuttle and ice tongs.  When the ice box was the refrigerator and the water pan had to be emptied.  When you went to the ice dock and carried the ice home on the car bumper or when you had an ice man deliver the size you needed by looking at the card in your window.  When rugs or carpets had to be carried out to the lawn to be beaten by hand with a carpet beater.


When children were told to be seen and not heard.  When a slicker was a raincoat.  When there were cardboard fans at home and in church.  When men and boys wore spats and young men wore short pants and then graduated to knickers.  When children were born at home.  When each house had a lantern rather than a flashlight.  When a pianist played varying music to fit the mood of the silent films.  When you wrote with a quill pen dipped in an inkwell. 


When the general store had its cracker barrel, pickle barrel, pot bellied stove, spittoon or cuspidor, and the grocer sold only loose crackers.  Butter was hand cut from a tub and coffee ground to your need.  When the “bakers dozen” (13) was the rule.  When the butcher gave the children a slice of bologna while waiting on “mom.”  When the wonder drugs were quinine and castor oil.


When the outhouse provided “plumbing” and the cistern the water.  When there were penny post cards and large dollar bills.  When women wanted to be captured rather than liberated.  Telling ghost stories was standard children’s pastime.  When you went to the doctor to fatten up not thin down.  When flappers rolled their stockings below their knees.  If you felt poorly you got a mustard bath and a hot lemonade instead of a shot of penicillin.  When you could go into the 5 and 10 cent store and buy something for 5 and 10 cents.  When you mailed a letter with a two cent stamp.


When you could get a full course dinner for what you now leave for a tip.  When your banker would have thought you were out of your head if you wanted to borrow money for a vacation.


Remember?  When?


(Used by permission , History of Dade County Georgia, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, 1981.)

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