What was your favorite fast food when you were growing up?”
“We didn’t have fast food when I was growing up,” I informed him. “All the food was slow.”
“C’mon, seriously. Where did you eat?”
“It was a place called ‘at home”, I explained. “Grandma cooked three meals everyday, breakfast, lunch, and when Grandpa got done with the work, we sat down together at the dining room table, and if I didn’t like what she put on my plate I was allowed to sit right there until I did like it.”
By this time, the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer serious internal damage, so I didn’t tell him the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table. But here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood if I figured his system could have handled it;
Most parents NEVER owned their own house, wore Levis, set foot on a golf course, traveled out of the country or had a credit card. In their later years they had something called a revolving charge card. The card was good only at Sears Roebuck. Or maybe it was Sears AND Roebuck. Either way, there is no Roebuck anymore. Maybe he died.
My parents never drove me to soccer practice. This was mostly because we had never heard of soccer. I had a bicycle that weighted probably 50 pounds, and only had one speed. (slow, unless I really pedaled hard or got it going down a steep hill.
We didn’t have a Television in our house until after I had left home, but my grandparents had one before that. It was of course , black and white, but they bought pieces of colored plastic to cover the screen. The top third was blue like the sky, and bottom third was green like grass. The middle of third was red. It was perfect for programs that had scenes of fire trucks riding across someone’s lawn on a sunny day. Some people had a lens taped to the front of the TV to make the picture look larger.
I was 15 before I tasted by first pizza, it was called “pizza pie.” When I bit into it, I burned the roof of my mouth and the cheese slid off, swung down, plastered itself against my chin and burned that, too. It’s still the best pizza I ever had.
We didn’t have a car until I was five, before that, the only car in our family was my grandfather’s old Ford Pickup that was driven only around the ranch except for Saturday shopping and maybe a movie matinee in town.
I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone was at grandma’s house in the kitchen and it was a party line. When you picked up the receiver and put it to your ear and wound the crank, and a woman would say “number please”. You would give her the number you wanted to call and she would put you through. Of course, the operator woman could listen to your call anytime she wanted too. That’s the way gossip was spread. Grandma’s number was 9J3.
Pizza’s were not delivered. But milk was, and all the newspapers were delivered by boys and all boys delivered newspapers. I delivered a newspaper, six days a week. It cost 7 cents of which I was able to keep 2 cents. I had to get up at 4am every morning. On Saturday, I had to collect 42 cents from each of my customers. My favorite customers were the ones who gave me 50 cents and said “ keep the change”. My least favorite customers were the ones who never seemed to be home on collection day.
Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut. At least, they did in the movies. Touching someone else’s tongue with yours was called French kissing. I don’t know what they did in French movies. French movies were dirty and we weren’t allowed to see them.
If you remember, Blackjack chewing gum, candy cigarettes, using hand signals cause your car didn’t have signals, Butch Wax, milk delivered in glass bottles, pea shooters, blue flashbulbs, wash tub wringers, metal ice trays with a lever and Howdy Doody, you are probably like me. Older than dirt.