When you think back to the good old days of your life, do you do it through rose colored glasses? If so, I have news for you, there were things in those good old days that you don’t want to go through again. The first thing that comes to mind are those cold houses. The old fireplaces never seemed to get the whole room warm.
You stood in front of them and warmed your back and turned around and warmed your front and that was about all they were good for. Oil heaters became popular in the 1950s. Most of the time they were placed in the halls of homes to get heat into all the rooms and you just ended up with warm halls. It was a common sight to see a can of water sitting on the top of the heater to put moisture back into the air. If you lived on a farm you had something called chores and they really lived up to their name.
There were cows to be milked, eggs to be gathered, animals to be fed, and most of the time this was done before school. I never lived on a farm, but my stepfather raised tobacco. My husband asked me one time why I couldn’t milk a cow since we had a farm and I told him “Honey, you don’t milk cigars”. Then there were times that you had just washed your hair and your mama said she was going to town. We had no home hairdryers in the early 1950s and wet heads were very much a problem when you needed to go somewhere.
On Saturday you pin-curled your hair while it was wet so that it would have some curl in it for church. Then you went outside and sat in the sun to dry it or sat in front of the heater if the weather was bad. Next, I remember those awful home remedies. When they thought you were getting a cold, you were given something called Groves Chill Tonic. After you swallowed It, there were little grains like sand that were left in your mouth. If they didn’t have Groves, they would give you a tablespoon of kerosene with sugar in it.
For girls at their time, it was a tablespoon of whiskey with sugar. Let’s not forget castor oil, which was considered a cure for everything, including overdue babies and Mercurochrome which they painted on every scratch. When they were repairing the viaduct at Old Salem it was closed to traffic. That is where the neighborhood kids went to roller skate in the afternoons when the workmen had gone home.
We would skate from the top to the bottom, and it was like flying. It was all fun and games until the back wheels came off my skates when I was racing to the bottom. I skinned myself from head to foot and when Mama and Grannie got through painting me with Mercurochrome I looked like a red Indian. Then there were the torture devises that we girls had to put up with.
These included girdles, garder belts for stockings with the seam down the back, slips, white gloves and those pointed bras. When you got all dressed up and got into a car with no air-conditioning, you just slowly melted. That’s another thing I am thankful for, Air Conditioning, because I remember life without it. Then there was the devise that I hated the most, the clothesline. You always had to keep an eye out for rain and bugs.
Pollen would get on your clothes and if they ploughed the fields close by the dust would get on your fresh laundry. I know there are a lot of things we miss about the good old days, but if we stop and think about it, there is a lot to be said for this modern day and age. ‘Till next time keep on the sunny side. Gwynn0720@Comcast.net