Older than dirt, part 2

These are the items from the list that I do remember:
Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water. You could find these in any convenience store when I was a kid. They seem pretty pointless to me in retrospect, but at the time I bought and consumed them like all the other kids.
Candy cigarettes. Of course! They still exist (Ben brought some home a couple of weeks ago), but to satisfy the demands of political correctness, they are labeled as “candy sticks.” The boxes still look exactly like cigarette packs, though, and everyone knows what they’re supposed to be.
Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles. I remember the machines that had a tall, skinny door behind which the tops of the bottles were visible. You could open the door at any time, but the bottles were firmly gripped by the machine — until you put your money in the slot, you couldn’t pull a bottle out.
Home milk delivery. I know that we had home delivery when I was a child, because I distinctly remember a milkman who came through our neighborhood on horseback. He gave me a ride once; I must have been six or seven years old. I don’t remember milk in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers, but it’s certainly possible that that’s what we were getting.
Party lines. Yes, we had one when I was a child. We shared a phone line with another household, and sometimes when I picked up the phone to make a call, I would hear the voices of strangers talking. I would have to hang up and wait until later to use the phone.
P.F. Flyers. Sneakers! Back in those days, we didn’t associate rubber-soled canvas shoes with sports. They were just the shoes you wore when it wasn’t Sunday. And they weren’t a big business with celebrity endorsements, because they were marketed to kids, not adults. I remember brands like P.F. Flyers and Keds that came with toy prizes inside the box, like breakfast cereals.
S&H Green Stamps. My mother used to have a kitchen drawer where she kept the strips of stamps that she got every time she went grocery shopping, and the books she pasted them into.You could trade filled-in books for merchandise at an S&H Green Stamps store. (The stamps don’t exist anymore, but the program has been revived as S&H Greenpoints.)
Metal ice trays with levers. These didn’t work very well. You had to pull up on the lever to pop the ice cubes out of the tray. I don’t miss them. Flexible plastic ice trays are better, but icemakers are best of all.
Blue flashbulbs. My first camera (a Polaroid Swinger, circa 1968) used these. You had to plug a fresh flashbulb into the socket before every shot (unless you were outside), so it was necessary to carry a box of them around with you.
Roller skate keys. Yeah, whatever happened to those roller skates that clamped onto the soles of your leather shoes? You had to have a skate key to tighten or loosen the clamps, if you lost your key, your skates were useless. That’s why we put them on chains and wore them around our necks. And you could buy replacements in toy stores, of course.
Cork popguns. Actually, I don’t remember the wooden guns that fired corks, although they must have been commonplace when I was a kid. What I remember was a red rubber gun that fired ping-pong balls. You jammed the ball into the muzzle of the gun and then squeezed the grip until the pressure forced the ball to shoot out with a POP! Much more fun.
So what’s my score? I remember eleven items out of 25 — just barely enough to put me into the “Don’t tell your age” bracket, but nowhere near the sixteen required for true Older Than Dirt status. Oh, well.

2 thoughts on “Older than dirt, part 2

  1. You have a really good memory, Pat–better than mine. I recall most of the details you mention, and at one time we did have home milk delivery, but I’m not sure when that was. I’m pretty sure we had home milk delivery in Bryan when you were very young. It was just easier to know that milk would always be there and saved some trips to the store. We had only one car and Dad usually needed it to go to school. We did have glass milk bottles. The term “cardboard stoppers” doesn’t quite describe the bottle tops, but they were cardboard disks which snapped into the top of the bottle. I believe there was a foil seal when the bottle was unopened. For the life of me I cannot remember a delivery man on horseback. Could that have been at Grandma’s house?
    It was fun reading this! I had some other blitherings but went over my 1000 character limit.

  2. No, my memory of the milkman on horseback is associated with the Lionel Street house in Monroe, LA. But it’s possible that I’m confusing two unrelated memories, or a memory and a dream, or something.

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