Reflections of Yesteryear


These thoughts are not in any special order and often are similar, but they each point out how things have changed during the past sixty years or so.



From Nina Nance (1-5-06)


My Mom used to cut chicken, chop eggs and spread mayo on the same
cutting board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn't seem to get food

They used to defrost hamburger on the counter AND I used to eat it raw
sometimes, too. Our school sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper in a
brown paper bag, not in ice pack coolers, but I can't remember getting ecoli. 

Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the lake instead of a
pristine pool (talk about boring), no beach closures then. The term cell
phone would have conjured up a phone in a jail cell, and a pager was the

school PA system. 

We all took gym, not PE... and risked permanent injury with a pair of
high top Ked's (only worn in gym) instead of having cross-training athletic
shoes with air cushion soles and built in light reflectors. I can't recall any
injuries but they must have happened because they tell us how much safer
we are now. Flunking gym was not an option... even for stupid kids! I guess
PE must be much harder than gym.

Speaking of school, we all said prayers and sang the national anthem,
and staying in detention after school caught all sorts of negative
attention. We must have had horribly damaged psyches. What an archaic

health system we
had then. Remember school nurses? Ours wore a hat and everything. 

I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was
allowed to be proud of myself. I just can't recall how bored we were without
computers, Play Station, Nintendo, X-box or 270 digital TV cable stations. 

Oh yeah... and where was the Benadryl and sterilization kit when I got
that bee sting? I could have been killed! 

We played 'king of the hill' on piles of gravel left on vacant
construction sites, and when we got hurt, Mom pulled out the 48-cent bottle of
Mercurochrome (kids liked it better because it didn't sting like iodine did)
and then we got our butt spanked. Now it's a trip to the emergency room,
followed by a 10-day dose of a $49 bottle of antibiotics, and then Mom
calls the attorney to sue the contractor for leaving a horribly vicious pile
of gravel where it was such a threat. We didn't act up at the neighbor's
house either because if we did, we got our butt spanked here too and then we
got butt spanked again when we got home. 

I recall a kid from next door coming over and doing his tricks on the
front stoop just before he fell off. Little did his Mom know that she could
have owned our house. Instead, she picked him up and swatted him for being
such a goof. It was a neighborhood run amuck. 

To top it off, not a single person I knew had ever been told that they
were from a dysfunctional family. How could we possibly have known that? We
needed to get into group therapy and anger management classes? We were
obviously so duped by so many societal ills, that we didn't even notice
that the entire country wasn't taking Prozac! How did we ever survive? 



From Carol Creighton Williams (2-7-06):


Don't get your knickers in a twist if you aren't over 40...just get a bit of nostalgia and history and deal with it.


Black  and  White
(Under  age 40? You won't understand.)

You could hardly see for all the snow,

Spread the rabbit ears as far as they go.

Pull a chair up to the TV set,

"Good Night, David.  Good Night, Chet."


Dependin'g on the channel you tuned,

You got Rob and Laura or Ward and June.

It felt so good.  It felt so right.

Life looked better in black and white.


I Love Lucy, the Real McCoys,

Dennis the Menace, the Cleaver boys,

Rawhide, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train,

Superman, Jimmy, and Lois Lane.


Father Knows Best, Patty Duke,

Rin Tin Tin, and Lassie too,

Donna Reed on Thursday night!

Life looked better in black and white.


I  wanna go back to black and white.

Everything always turned out right.

Simple people, simple lives

Good guys always won the fights.


Now nothing is the way it seems,

In living color on the TV screen.

Too many murders, too many fights,

I wanna go back to black and white.


In God they trusted, alone they slept,

A promise made was a promise kept.

They never cussed or broke their vows.

They'd never make the network now.

But if I could, I'd rather be

In a TV town in '53.

It felt so good.  It felt so right.

Life looked better in black and white.


I'd trade all the channels on the satellite,

If I could just turn back the clock tonight  

To when everybody knew wrong from right.

Life was better in black and white!


Pass this to someone (over age 40, of course), and brighten

  their day by helping them to remember that life's most simple

pleasures are very often the best!

From Sindy Hilton Froman & Diane Brokowski Thorpe:


First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.  They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, and didn't get tested for diabetes.  Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.  We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets; and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets ~ not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking.


As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.  Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.  We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.  We shared one soft drink with four friends from one bottle, and NO ONE actually died from this.


We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!  We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.  No one was able to reach us all day.  And we were okay.  We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.  After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.


We did not have Play Stations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all; no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no internet or internet chat rooms . . . WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!


We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth ~ and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.  We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms; and
although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live in us forever.  We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house, knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!


Little league had tryouts and not everyone made the team.  Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.  Imagine  that!


The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of ~ they actually sided with the law!


This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors ever!  The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and ideas.  We had freedom, failure, success, responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!
And YOU are one of them!  CONGRATULATIONS!


Please pass this on to others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.  Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

From Diane Brokowski Thorpe (12-19-05)


I came across this phrase in a book yesterday -- "FENDER SKIRTS."
A term I haven't heard in a long time. thinking about "fender skirts" started me thinking about other words that quietly disappear from our language with hardly a notice.

    Like "curb feelers"


"steering knobs."
Since I'd been thinking of cars, my mind naturally went that direction first. Any kids will probably have to find some elderly person over 50 to explain some of these terms to you.

Remember "Continental kits?" They were rear bumper extenders and spare tire covers that were supposed to make any car as cool as a Lincoln Continental.

When did we quit calling them "emergency brakes?" At some point "parking brake" became the proper term. But I miss the hint of drama that went with "emergency brake."

I'm sad, too, that almost all the old folks are gone who would call the accelerator the "foot feed."

Didn't you ever wait at the street for your daddy to come home, so you could ride the "running board" up to the house?

Here's a phrase I heard all the time in my youth but never anymore - "store-bought." Of course, just about everything is store-bought these days. But once it was bragging material to have a store-bought dress or a store-bought bagf candy.

"Coast to coast" is a phrase that once held all sorts of excitement and now means almost nothing. Now we take the term "world wide" for granted. This floors me.
On a smaller scale, "wall-to-wall" was once a magical term in our homes. In the '50s, everyone covered his or her hardwood floors with, wow, wall-to-wall carpeting! Today, everyone replaces their wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood floors.  Go figure.

When's the last time you heard the quaint phrase "in a family way?" It's hard to imagine that the word "pregnant" was once considered a little too graphic, a little too clinical for use in polite company. So we had all that talk about stork visits and "being in a family way" or simply"expecting."

Apparently "brassiere" is a word no longer in usage. I said it the other day and my daughter cracked up. I guess it's just "bra" now "Unmentionables" probably wouldn't be understood at all.

I always loved going to the "picture show," but I considered "movie" an affectation.

Most of these words go back to the '50s, but here's a pure-'60s word I came across the other day - "rat fink."   Ooh, what a nasty put-down!

Here's a word I miss - "percolator." That was just a fun word to say. And what was it replaced with? "Coffee maker." How dull. Mr. Coffee, I blame you for this.

I miss those made-up marketing words that were meant to sound so moder n and now sound so retro. Words like "DynaFlow" and "Electrolux." Introducing the 1963 Admiral TV, now with "SpectraVision!"

Food for thought -- Was there a telethon that wiped out lumbago? Nobody complains of that anymore. Maybe that's what castor oil cured, because I never hear mothers threatening kids with castor oil anymore.

Some words aren't gone, but are definitely on the endangered list. The one that grieves me most "supper." Now everybody says "dinner." Save a great word. Invite someone to supper.  Discuss fender skirts.

From Diane Brokowski Thorpe (11-3-05):






Comments made in the year 1955:
cid:83006CA7-8310-4199-BC1F-91828E9F09C0"I'll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, it's going to be impossible to buy a week's groceries for $20." "Have you seen the new cars coming out next year? It won't be long before $2000 will only buy a used one." "If cigarettes keep going up in price, I'm going to quit. A quarter a pack is ridiculous." "Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging a dime just to mail a letter?" "If they raise the minimum wage to $1, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store." "When I first started driving, who would have thought gas would someday cost 29 cents a gallon. Guess we'd be better off leaving the car in the garage." "Kids today are impossible. Those duck tail hair cuts make it impossible to stay groomed. Next thing you know, boys will be wearing their hair as long as the girls." cid:8A21A354-1CE9-441A-9237-911EDF80C8ED"I'm afraid to send my kids to the movies any more. Ever since they let Clark Gable get by with saying 'damn' in 'Gone With The Wind,' it seems every new movie has either "hell" or "damn" in it. "I read the other day where some scientist thinks it's possible to put a man on the moon by the end of the century They even have some fellows they call astronauts preparing for it down in Texas." "Did you see where some baseball player just signed a contract for $75,000 a year just to play ball? It wouldn't surprise me if someday they'll be making more than the president." "I never thought I'd see the day all our kitchen appliances would be electric. They are even making electric typewriters now." cid:32EEE137-FE7D-44A3-91B0-1698AEB2EB4F"It's too bad things are so tough nowadays. I see where a few married women are having to work to make ends meet." "It won't be long before young couples are going to have to hire someone to watch their kids so they can both work." "Marriage doesn't mean a thing any more; those Hollywood stars seem to be getting divorced at the drop of a hat." "I'm just afraid the Volkswagen car is going to open the door to a whole lot of foreign business." cid:521A8093-2A67-4393-BD8E-BCB64413D1AD"Thank goodness I won't live to see the day when the Government takes half our income in taxes. I sometimes wonder if we are electing the best people to congress." "The drive-in restaurant is convenient in nice weather, but I seriously doubt they will ever catch on .." "There is no sense going to Lincoln or Omaha anymore for a weekend. It costs nearly $15 a night to stay in a hotel." "No one can afford to be sick any more; $35 a day in the hospital is too rich for my blood." "If they think I'll pay 50 cents for a hair cut, forget it." Know friends who would get a kick out of these? Pass it on!







And finally little quiz from Diane Brokowski Thorpe (10-19-05):


Subject: Dr. Phil's Test - I'm a 39


Dr Phil's Test

Here ya go. Try this. Below is Dr. Phil's test. (Dr. Phil scored 55; he gave this test to Oprah-she got a 38.)  Some folks pay a lot of money to find out these little details.  Read on, it's very interesting!

Don't be overly sensitive! The following is pretty accurate and it takes less than 2 minutes.  Take this test for yourself and then send it to your friends.

The person who sent it placed their score in the subject box. Please do the same before forwarding to your friends (also send it back to the person who sent it to you).  Don't peek but beg! in the test as you scroll down and answer the questions.

Answers are for who you are now...... not who you were in the past.

Have pen or pencil and paper ready.  This is a real test given by the Human Relations Dept. at many of the major corporations today.  It helps them get better insight concerning their employees and prospective employees.

It's only 10 simple questions, so..... grab a pencil and paper and keep track of your letter answers to each question.

Scoring key is at the bottom.

Make sure to change the subject of the e-mail to read YOUR total. When you are finished, forward it to family and friends. Also, send it back to the person who sent it to you.  Make sure you put YOUR score in the subject line.

Ready?? Scroll down to Begin...

1.  When do you feel your best?

      a) in the morning

     b) during the afternoon &and early evening

     c) late at night

2.  You usually walk...

      a) fairly fast, with long steps

      b) fairly fast, with little steps

      c) less fast head up, looking the world in the face

      d) less fast, head down

      e) very slowly

3.  When talking to people you..

      a) stand with your arms folded

      b) have your hands clasped

      c) have one or both your hands on your hips

      d) touch or push the person to whom you are talking

      e) play with your ear, touch your chin, or smooth your hair

4.  When relaxing, you sit with..

      a) your knees bent with your legs neatly side by side

      b) your legs crossed

      c) your legs stretched out or straight

      d) one leg curled under you

5.  When something really amuses you, you react with...

      a) big appreciated laugh

      b) a laugh, but not a loud one

      c) a quiet chuckle

      d) a sheepish smile

6.  When you go to a party or social gathering you...

      a) make a loud entrance so everyone notices you

      b) make a quiet entrance, looking around for someone you know

      c) make the quietest entrance, trying to stay unnoticed

7.  You're working very! hard, concentrating hard, and you're interrupted, you.....

      a) welcome the break

      b) feel extremely irritated

      c) vary between these two extremes

8.  Which of the following colors do you like most?

      a) Red or orange

      b) black

      c) yellow or light blue

      d) green

      e) dark blue or purple

      f) white

      g) brown or gray

9.  When you are in bed at night, in those last few moments before going to sleep you are...

      a) stretched out on your back

      b) stretched out face down on your stomach

      c) on your side, slightly curled

      d) with your head on one arm

      e) with your head under the covers

10. You often dream that you are...

      a) falling

      b) fighting or struggling

      c) searching for something or somebody

      d) flying or floating

      e) you usually have dreamless sleep

      f) your dreams are always pleasant


1. (a) 2 (b) 4 (c) 6

2. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 7 (d) 2 (e) 1

3. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 5 (d) 7 (e) 6

4. (a) 4 (b) 6 (c) 2 (d) 1

5. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 2

6. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 2

7. (a) 6 (b) 2 (c) 4

8. (a) 6 (b) 7 (c) 5 (d) 4 (e) 3 (f) 2 (g) 1

9. (a) 7 (b) 6 (c) 4 (d) 2 (e) 1

10. (a) 4 (b) 2 (! c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 6 (f) 1

Now add up the total number of points.

OVER 60 POINTS: Others see you as someone they should "handle with care." You're seen as vain, self-centered, and who is extremely dominant. Others may admire you, wishing they could be more like you, but don't always trust you, hesitating to become too deeply involved with you.

51 TO 60 POINTS: Others see you as an exciting, highly volatile, rather impulsive personality; a natural leader, who's quick to make decisions, though not always the right ones.  They see you as bold and adventuresome, someone who will try anything once; someone who takes chances and enjoys an adventure. They enjoy being in your company because of the excitement you radiate.

41 TO 50 POINTS: Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone
who'll always cheer them up and help them out.

31 TO 40 POINTS: Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful & practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest.  Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who's extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expect the same loyalty in return.  Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over if that trust is ever broken.

21 TO 30 POINTS: Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy. They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder. It would really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment, expecting you to examine everything carefully from every angle and then, usually decide against it.  They think this reaction is caused partly by your careful nature.

UNDER 21 POINTS: People think you are shy, nervous, and indecisive, someone who needs looking after, who always wants someone else to make the decisions & who doesn't want to get involved with anyone or anything! They see you as a worrier who always sees problems that don't exist.  Some people think you are boring.  Only those who know you well know that you aren't.

Now forward this to others, and put your score on the subject line
(Example:  "Dr. Phil's Test,  I'm a XX") D