Will Edwinson

Author & Storyteller

Remember When?

Will Edwinson PhotoI was perusing some of my old newspaper columns the other day looking for something to post on this blog  when I came across the following column.  It was about an email I had received that contained a slew of “remember whens” that I found interesting, so I decided to share them with all of you since this blog is primarily about nostalgia. I certainly remember and relate to many of these remember whens myself.

For instance, remember when we would get a school assignment back from the teacher with a message scrawled across the page in red ink that read: “DO OVER,” because it didn’t come up to his or her standards (“Politically Correct” nonsense had not arrived on the scene yet, so we were hit with that “insensitive mean ol’ red ink.”) Boo hoo, hoo. 🙁

Schools actually held kids back for doing failing work (tch, tch, tch. such cruelty). I remember how we looked at our report cards at the end of the school year praying not to see that horrifying word, “retained” to whatever grade we had just completed.

And when we got called into the principal’s office we were in fear of our lives; not from the principal, but of the wrath of our parents when we got home for having gotten into trouble at school.

Remember the 15 cent McDonald’s hamburger, or better still, a burger and a shake at the local café for 35 cents? Old StampA first class postage stamp cost four cents,  and baseball cards were 5 cents a pack?  Gasoline was 28 cents per gallon, and air for your tires was free?( I’ve got a whole ‘nuther post about my disdain of charging for air.  Geesh!  Is there no such thing anymore of a little free service in appreciation for our business?)

Vintage WasherRemember when “moms” spent all day Monday washing clothes in their Maytag washing machines? Running the clothes through the wringer into the rinse tub, and back through the ringer into the laundry basket and carrying them outside to the clothesline to dry? Remember how they used to claim the colors were brighter, and the whites were whiter, if they could get a good dose of afternoon sunshine?  (I swear, I believe the ladies in our neighborhood had a competition going to see who could hang out the whitest, brightest wash.)  Then when these clothes had dried, they would bring them in and spend a half day sprinkling them down, and another day ironing them.

My mom was one of the last holdouts to get an automatic washer.  She said: “The damned things don’t get the clothes as clean as my Maytag.” The first automatics, as I recall, didn’t have agitators.  When they finally did, she gave in and accepted an automatic.

Remember  the times when we made our bikes sound like a Harley—we thought—by sticking a couple of baseball cards in the spokes?  How about when everybody understood what oly-oly-ox-in-free, really meant; or   the worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was cooties?  Remember when cruising Main Street from one end to the other on a Friday or Saturday night, or Sunday afternoon with the car windows down—or if you were in a convertible, the top was down—was a big mainstay entertainment?  Remember, too, the Burma Shave signs along the highways that contained little short messages of sage wisdom?


Shotgun image courtesy of Suat Eman/Freedigitalphotos.net

Remember the time when bringing a gun on school property didn’t cause any great alarm?  I remember during my high school days when those of us who wanted get in a little duck hunting after school during the late Fall would bring our hunting boots and jackets along with our shotguns and shells to school with us in the morning, and leave them in the car or pickup all day. No hassle from anyone, and the car or pickup was rarely locked.  In fact, you hardly ever lost your car keys, because they were usually in the ignition.

You can sing the praises of these modern times with all its technology all you want to, but I don’t buy into it.  Life was a lot simpler back then.  People got along just fine with the long cord on the telephone; or walking over to the TV to change the channel;  or using the pay phone on the street corner or in the local drug store or hotel lobby.  No i-pods,  i-pads, or smart phone.  I still don’t own any of these, I and I manage just fine.

If you like reading about things of the past, you might enjoy my book of adventures entitled, Buddy…His Trials and Treasures.  It’s about a young boy growing in rural America during the 1940s.  Buddy is reminiscent of a twentieth century Tom Sawyer in that he quite often finds himself in hot water for which he must pay the consequences.  Unlike Tom, however, Buddy’s misdeeds are without much forethought, they simply happen because Buddy is….well….he’s just Buddy.  You can click on the free download button at upper right of this page to receive your free copy.  Enjoy.


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