Abruptly the poker of memory stirs the ashes of recollection and uncovers a forgotten ember, still smoldering down there, still hot, still glowing, still red as red. William Manchester
I remember when Asians were called “Orientals” and the only time I saw one was when a Japanese gardener mowed my neighbor’s lawn. And African-Americans/Blacks were called Negroes until about 1970. There were no Asians or African-Americans in my classrooms from grades 1 through 8. Same for Terri at her school. We did have one Hispanic kid at my school and we teased him at times (with no repercussions in those days) for being a “beaner.”
I remember when my mom ironed our bed sheets. She used an appliance called a mangle that was popular in the 1940’s and 50’s. And when it came to individual items such as pants and shirts, they were dampened using water from a sprinkler bottle and rolled up before they were ironed. Steam irons and spray starch would eventually change that.
My brother Larry remembers when the mail was delivered twice a day. This practice ended in 1950 but continued during the holidays for another 10 years.
My brother also remembers when pennies were made of steel, not copper. This was due to metal shortages during WWII. I looked at my penny collection that I kept as a child and sure enough, the pennies from 1943 are steel, and one is starting to rust.
In the 1950’s nothing was yummier than Jello. It was so popular that housewives started to experiment with molds, creating unique and at times scary concoctions with fruit, vegetables and even cold cuts. When people finally looked up where Jello came from the fad died a justifiable death.
I remember when cars didn’t have seat belts. They were first introduced around 1960 when some car makers offered them as an option. By 1966 they were standard equipment in all cars and Americans hated them, with only about 10% of drivers/riders buckling up. The fatality rate due to car accidents was soaring however (60,000+ a year in the 1970’s) and gradually seat belts became accepted as a safety necessity.
I remember when there were no paramedics. Ambulances were often Cadillacs that resembled the car the Ghostbusters drove. When called to the scene of an accident the ambulance driver and his helper, often with dubious medical and first aid skills would toss you in the back and take you to the hospital. The first paramedics came on the scene in Seattle Washington in 1970.
I remember when a dinner salad in the 1950’s was iceberg lettuce with mayonnaise as the dressing. That’s it. If you added a little ketchup to the mayo the salad actually had some color.
I remember when a woman had a baby she didn’t have to come home from the hospital the next day.