I Remember When
I may forget what I had for breakfast this morning, where I put my car keys when I came in the house with my groceries, and the name of the neighbor who moved in last week; but I remember lots of other stuff. For instance, I remember when ...
Almost everyone covered all their hardwood floors with wall-to-wall carpeting.
Only those who couldn’t afford such plush luxury made do with bare floors.
We women wore agonizingly tight girdles to flatten our rear ends, instead of padding to emphasize them.
We wore bathing caps when we went swimming.
High heels were three-inchers, not the six-inch stilletos of today We wore those heels when we were “dressed up” — and never with jeans. In fact, we never wore jeans.
We wore dresses and skirts and crinoline petticoats; we wore hats and white gloves and silk stockings; and I remember when those stockings had seams up the back which we struggled to keep straight.
Men also wore hats — felt fedoras with brims, not baseball caps or visors — except on the golf course. And they didn’t wear them backwards or sideways, and never ever inside.
Men never wore earrings, or dresses — at least not in public, and especially not in parades down Fifth Avenue.
Planes had propellers; flight attendants were stewardesses, and stewardesses were always young, slim, and gorgeous. And they always served you free meals on flights over an hour long.
Cameras used film and flashbulbs; and Polaroid stunned the world by making a camera that would actually allow you to see a picture minutes after you snapped it!
Knowing how to type was a liability because it classified you as a secretary — those poorly-paid women who often were smarter than the bosses they typed for.
In fact, I remember typing, before word processing, and even before the IBM Selectric typewriter that let you choose among three different fonts. Yes, three!
Amazing! We never would have believed that some day we’d be able to choose from hundreds of fonts with the click of a key.
I remember the advent of personal computers (that cost $3,000!) with floppy discs that really were floppy, held only about 2,000 words, and restricted file names to eight letters or fewer. I remember how phenomenal we thought it was and how we were sure technology could not get better than that.
Students had to make do without calculators and laptops, and super market cashiers had to figure out the customer’s correct change manually. In fact, I remember the little neighborhood grocery store that preceded super markets.
A first class mail stamp cost three cents, and mail was delivered twice a day.
Milk was also delivered to your door; and because it wasn’t homogenized (the milk, not the door), if you left it outside for a short time in winter, the cream would rise to the top.
Photograph of a crinoline from the 1950s, Wikipedia; photograph of a typical typing pool from the timesunion.com
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