These are random musings of my life journey, the people, animals, places, and events which have woven, and continue to weave, a tapestry that is me. We all know there is no real destination, only the ongoing experiences which blend together, creating the trail. Each step gives a glimpse of what is to come, without allowing me to see the end result. It is exciting. I have a home base that is mine, that gives me a place to rest. This is it. This is where my heart is, no matter where I journey...................

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Days past

Recently, some things have crossed my mind having to do with my memories of my life. And I've really mulled a few of these over, a couple have become topics of conversation with friends.

As I was preparing for the potluck last week, I was ironing my linen napkins. I had decided since we had to eat inside, I was going to dress the table, not to a formal level, but certainly to include table cloths and cloth napkins. As I was ironing, I recalled when I learned to iron as a small girl. Mother started me out with my dad's handkerchiefs. In those days, the early 1950s, men still carried handkerchiefs. This was before "permanent press," a term that might be lost on some of you even today! But that's another story, as many of my thoughts have ancillary tales to tell. Back to ironing....

I was remembering that in those days, we ironed our sheets and pillowcases, too. "Tea towels" or dishtowels were ironed. Everything was ironed. Our jeans were ironed, and oh how frustrating where those denim legs that twisted! Getting them to "iron down" was a nightmare, but so essential to our appearance. Anyway I remember how thrilled I was to iron Daddy's hankies and then later, the tea towels and pillowcases. I never learned to like ironing sheets, but Dad bought Mom a Mangle, an automatic presser for large flat items, and that made her life so much easier. Our clothing choices in the last few years has returned to many of the natural fabrics, so more of us are ironing than did in the '80s, but it is still nothing like those days when everything but our sweaters and underwear were ironed!  BTW, even Dad's boxer shorts were ironed. Jes' sayin'.

OK, here's another that flashed into my memory a few days ago ....
Nytol. Do you remember the medication by that name? It may still be on the market, I don't know. It is/was a sleep aid. There was a way people used it as a joke, by saying "Nytol," instead of "Night, all." Several times lately I've started to say "Nytol" when signing off the computer or to friends. I haven't, because I don't know that anyone would get the joke after all these years. Do you remember Nytol? Did you ever use that to say good night?

Next, dial phones. I know there are still a few out there, although they don't work on the technological systems in place. I suspect there are a bunch of people who have never used one IRL. Yet we still "dial" when we call people. I wonder why we haven't begun to say we "punch a number," or something similar. But no, we still dial. The other day I was listening to a child, about seven years old, talking to her grandmother, and she was playing with an old dial phone, a "Princess phone," do you remember those? Anyway, it had a rotary dial, and she was looking at it. She was amazed that the letters on the numbers matched in the same way they do on a touch tone phone! isn't it funny how our knowledge shifts?

We live in a time when there is a huge number of people who don't remember life without email. Isn't that amazing? The technology that we all rely on for our communication, research and entertainment, even though it is commonplace, and advancing at a dizzying pace, morphing every moment, it is still relatively new. Yet many among us can't actually remember living without. Thinking of my 40-something kids, they do remember when it wasn't so commonplace as it is now, but they've never been without it at school or work.

I'm thinking of a number of others .... drive-in theaters; soda shops; Friday night sock hops .... so many things that were part of my life are things that a lot of you have never experienced. I wish you had. I wish you knew about the fun and the drudgery, as well. Bad or good, it is all a part of our history. Those of you who are old enough to remember some of these things, chime in and tell about some of your memories that are lost on today younger folks. And if you're younger, tell about something that you recall from earlier days in contrast to life today. I think it is fascinating.


  1. Oh my, this is hilarious, and my friend I DO remember all these things. Dont forget I have a few years on you LOL I remember sprinkling the cotton clothes and rolling them up and putting them in the ICE BOX to keep them cool before ironing. I also remember the days when showers were a luxury,and not available in most homes, and baths were once a week...same as washing ones hair. I could go on forever....everytime I think of something, something else pops in my mind. Life is way more complicated now, but much easier in lots of ways. I also remember cars with NO automatic transmision and NO signal lights. Roll down window and put arm out to signal, and who could see that arm in the dark? LOL Memory Lane is not always good!!

  2. It's funny, isn't it, Ruth? I remember a few times when I sprinkled the clothes and didn't put them in the fridge (not ice box n my case) and forgot them. Then in a couple days, I had mildew all through them. Yuck!

    I'll bet you had a party line, too. I remember when the phone rang, you had to listen for "your" ring, 2 longs and a short, or whatever. Nosy neighbors would pick up the phone and listen in!

    Good memories, for sure!

  3. My mother had a mangle too. I was afraid of it.

    There are/will be so many things that are coming to be common now that we won't really be comfortable with.

    Times change, things change, but people are still the same.

  4. Merikay, I don't remember being afraid of it, but Mom expressed great respect for it. I was in a utility room, and we didn't really go there but to go out the back door. I can tell you she was glad to have it, but she was equally glad when no-press sheets came out!

  5. just addressing the ironing topic...

    we didn't have a washer or dryer so had to go to the laundramat and hang the clothes on the the clothes line to dry. my Dad was a barber so his shirts were starched; a very thick paste like mess that they were dipped in and then the excess was squeezed out. then they were rolled and put in the fridge to be ironed after everything else. it seems that i recall them taking extra time and elbow grease to get dry and STIFF. the starch was to help the tiny fine hairs from the electric clippers getting into his skin. he would often have little infections from that happening. we also "sprinkled" with an attachment atop a pop bottle to dampen the other things that had dried on the line because this was before steam irons, don't you know!!!

    i have my Mother's first little toy iron...

  6. MM, I forgot to mention the sprinkle top! I thought of it earlier! Yes, they plugged into a soda bottle, fitting like a cork would, with holes in the top, and you filled the bottle with water to sprinkle clothes. Did you ever have one fall out as you were shaking it over the clothes? All the water would gush out, and you'd have to re-dry the article and try sprinkling again.

    Your remarks about starch reminded me in the late '50s we starched our "can-cans" or some called the "crinolines." They were super full, mega thick net gathered into skirts or, as my grandma said, "petticoats," that we wore under our full-circle skirts to make them stick out very, very full and wide. We dipped them in a starch solution and dried them so they were stiff as possible. I used to dip in the thick starch, then spread the can-can out on the lawn to dry. You should have seen us trying to scrunch all that starched netting into school desks!

  7. I remember the sprinkle top my mom IRONED everything even our underware! and socks.....she used to say when she iron it was so mom passed away when I was 16 so thank you making me think of her again.....and I remember when we first got daughter was 6 weeks old....(she's 31 now) wow I am and cell phone everyone has one now even 6 and 7 year olds...why do they need one......oh heck that's another blog......we had 1 tv in the house and I remember when we got a color my dad sat the old tv next to the new one and we would watch the show and kept looking at the black and white one and the the color and wow

  8. Oh Lyn I remember all of those things! My grandmother taught me to iron and I remember her saying how much she loved to iron and that she had to do it barefooted or she would get too hot!
    Jake and I were having a conversation the other day. He was talking about something that our grandkids probably won't even know about unless we tell them. And know for the life of me I can not remember what the heck it was!!
    Katie won't even watch a black and white movie, so sad. Anyway, great post, I gotta get ready for work, Love Ya!!! Di ♥

  9. Mimi, I'm glad you enjoyed the walk down memory lane! I have, too, and it's even better with each person who adds another. I might have to do this again in a few months. BTW, do you remember how awful the color was on those early color tvs? The best part was the NBC peacock!

    Di, I used to do my ironing at night in the summer, especially when I was a newlywed in the mid- late 60s and we lived for a while in a house with no air conditioning. One of my friends and I used to get together, set our ironing boards up facing each other, put our babies in the playpen close by, and gab away while we ironed all day long. It was so fun!
    If you think of the Jake-moment, come back and drop it in! And as for Miss Katie .... oh my! Hopefully, one day she'll "get it"!!

  10. I remember my mother ironing and sprinkling first with the bottle with the cork top. She also had one of those clothes washers with the wringer on top

    My dad just described for me this past week how they had an ice box instead of a refrigerator. He described for me how it worked (the ice went in the top and drained through coils to the bottom).

    We still have a dial phone in our garage. When the power went out, it was the only phone that worked. I didn't realize that I couldn't call out on it, but I see now that you're right.

  11. Dave, I remember my mom using a wringer washer, too. I'd forgotten that!

    I discovered the phone thing during a power outage a year or so ago. I kept two old phones for the purpose of safety during power outages (what I use daily is cordless), so I got one out and plugged it in. When I tried to dial out to report the outage, it wouldn't work. I checked the other one, and it was touch tone, so I was OK. Isn't it interesting what we lose and don't even realize it?


If you have something to say about it, just stick out your thumb, and I'll slow down so you can hop aboard! But hang on, 'cause I'm movin' on down the road!!! No time to waste!!!