Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Good Old Days vs Modern Conveniences

From June 20, 2007
As mentioned in this BLOG I subscribe to a magazine called Reminisce. It is written by it's readers and edited and published in Wisconsin. A topic is given out and anyone with any pictures or stories about that subject will submit their item for review. If accepted, it is put in the magazine. I have been in the publication three times. I currently have four items in for review. Hope at least one gets published.

This magazine brings back a lot of memories that lay dormant over the years. Lately I've been thinking of all the "modern" conveniences that have come about in my lifetime which we take for granted now. Just to name a few -- cell phones, television, air conditioning, digital camera, automatic transmissions in cars, computers, e-mail, CD's and cassette tapes, FAX machines, video recorders, watches with batteries, I-Pods, jet engine aircraft (no propellers) - the list seems endless.

I mentioned earlier that I lived with my grandparents in Ohio from age 8 to 15 years. My grandfather was a minister and was provided a parsonage. It was adequate with all the conveniences of the day. We did heat the house with coal and a forced air system. Then he retired from active preaching and had to buy his own home. He purchased a two story home with a lot of years under it's belt. This house had a water pipe that brought cold water to the kitchen. No bathroom. No hot water. The "bathroom" was in a little house out back -- the outhouse! Baths were taken in the kitchen in a tub after heating the water on the kitchen stove. And on Saturday night! Once a week bath was common for us then. Heat for the home was a coal stove in the dining room that funneled heat to the house including the upstairs bedrooms. We brought coal in from the garage which was a half a block from the house. Convenient? Hardly! My brother and I did that chore.

Grandfather was handy at most everything and decided to add a bathroom with shower next to the kitchen in the pantry. He added a water heater and piping to bring hot water into the kitchen as well. This served our needs for the remaining time we were in that house.

Houses were not air conditioned at that time. The summers in Ohio got very hot and you found the family out on the porch swing a lot in the evening. Sleeping was difficult if there wasn't a breeze.

Families had one (1) car for their use and it was pretty basic. Stick shift only. If it had a radio you had only the AM stations as FM hadn't come around yet. Now cars have CD players and cassette players for your entertainment. Of course most cars now have air conditioning and automatic transmissions. Gasoline was in the teens per gallon then and now we are paying in excess of $3.00 per gallon. Our disposable income is much higher also to compensate.

First Class postage was 3 cents. Now 41 cents (going to 42 cents in May 2008) to mail a letter. Letters are even becoming obsolete as a lot of us have computers with e-mail to keep in touch. Cell phones (with lots of minutes) make the voice connection when needed.

One of my favorite things to do as a teenager was to listen to the radio programs of the day. Radio - that's television without the picture! My favorite program was Fibber McGee and Molly. Who could remember what happened on every show when Fibber opened the closet? Remember Mert? She was the telephone operator which you had to go through to make a call. "Hello operator. Give me Wistle Vista 135 - oh is that you Mert? How's every little thing Mert?"

My home in Ohio had one phone and that was in the dining room. We had to go through an operator too. I can remember our phone number - 1528W. The dining room served most of the year as our living room. During the winter the parlor (front room) was closed off to save heat. During the summer the house expanded when we opened that room up. The piano was in there and the parlor was a better place for guests to be entertained.

At age 14 I thought I needed to get some of this down in pictures and bought an Ansco Box Camera. It got 8 pictures per roll (black and white of course) and had to be developed at the drug store. I was fortunate to have cash to pay for all of that from my paper route. I wish I had taken more pictures as there are many things that didn't get captured on film. Digital cameras now have the capacity of hundreds of images in color and many don't get printed on paper from your computer. You can delete a picture without cost and keep only the ones you want. Pictures can be enlarged, reduced, or changed in many ways to fit your needs. Ask my wife, Ann, what she does with them!

Such memories! My grandfather was born in the beginning of 1883 and passed on to his reward in December of 1984. 101 years and 11 months! Can you imagine what changes he saw in his lifetime?


Anonymous said...

Even though you have told me these stories about your childhood, it was fun to read and to visualize what life must have been like for you at your grandparent's home. They did a wonderful job of raising you!
I am very thankful for them.

Rick Moore said...

My friend in Australia left this note on my blog: Rick, I have tried to leave a comment on your Dad's blog, but the visual verification isn't working, maybe he would be better to dump it and moderate the comments.

He's at

Anonymous said...

Many of my own memories center around that old house in Celina. They are precious to me.

Maybe you should tell how Grandpa sold that old house and built a new one (with a concrete roof) on part of the lot after he was 70 years of age.

I laughed when you remembered Fibber McGee and Molly. It was our favorite show, too. Incidentally, the name of the town was "Wistful Vista", not "Wistle Vista." Since I'm older than you and read a lot, I caught the nuance. It's fun how kids interpret unfamiliar words.

We both had a fabulous heritage.

Cousin Eileen