Older than Dirt

Courtesy of Michael B.

'Hey Dad,' one of my kids asked the other day, '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. 'Mom cooked every day and when Dad got home from work, we sat down together at the dining room table, and if you didn't like what she put on your plate you were allowed to sit there until you 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:

Some parents NEVER owned their own house, wore jeans, set foot on a golf course, traveled out of the country (traveled at all) 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 never had heard of soccer and most of my friends never had a car. I had a bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds, and only had one speed, (slow). We didn't have a television in our house until I was 11, but my grandparents had one before that. It was, of course, black and white, but they bought a piece of colored plastic to cover the screen. The top third was blue, like the sky, and the bottom third was green, like grass. The middle 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 ma ke the picture look larger.

I was 13 before I tasted my first pizza, it was called 'pizza pie.' A pie was 75 cents (Large $l.00) 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 a car in our immediate family. Before that, the only car in our family was my aunt &uncles Ford. They called it their 'mean green machine.'

We never had a telephone. The only phone in the house was in a neighbor's apartment and it was on a party line. In an emergency you would ask if you could please use their phone and before you could dial, you had to listen and make sure some people you didn't know weren't already using the line.

Pizzas were not delivered to our home. But milk was.

All newspapers were delivered by boys and all boys delivered newspapers. I delivered a newspaper, six days a week. It cost 7 cents a paper, of which I got to keep 2 cents. I had to get up at 4 AM every morning. On Saturday, I had to collect the 42 cents from my customers. My favorite customers were the ones who gave me 50 cents and told me to keep the change. My least favorite customers were the ones who seemed to never 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 and they didn't do that in movies. I don't know what they did in French movies. French movies were dirty and we weren't allowed to see them.

If you grew up in a generation before there was fast food, you may want to share some of these memories with your children or grandchildren. Just don't blame me if they bust a gut laughing.

Growing up isn't what it used to be, is it?

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