OLDER THAN DIRT "Hey Gramps," one of my kids asked the other day, "What was your favorite fast food when you were growing up?" "We didn't have fast food when I was growing up," I informed him. "All the food was slow." "C'mon, seriously. Where did you eat?" "It was a place called 'at home,' " I explained. "Grandma cooked every day and when I got home from work, we sat down together at the dining room table, and if I didn't like what she put on my plate I was allowed to sit there until I did like it." By this time, the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer serious internal damage, so I didn't tell him the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table. But here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood if I figured his system could have handled it: Some parents NEVER owned their own house, wore Levis, set foot on a golf course, traveled out of the country or had a credit card. You didn’t spend money you didn’t have for things that were luxuries and rarely for necessities! You did without rather than going in debt! In their later years they had something called a revolving charge card. The card was good only at Sears Roebuck. Or maybe it was Sears AND Roebuck. Either way, there is no Roebuck anymore. Maybe he died. When kids told parents the teacher grabbed them by the arm the parent said what did you do to make the teacher so angry! I was smart enought not to tell my parents if I didn't want some more!! My parents trusted the teacher until evidence proved different! My parents never drove me to soccer practice. This was mostly because we never had heard of soccer and they also figured I had legs. I had a bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds, and only had one speed, (slow). We didn't have a television in our house until 1950. It was, of course, black and white and their were programs on for just three hours at night. Some people had a lens attached to the front of the TV to make the picture look larger. My parents didn't help me with my homework, but they still expected it to get done! I had to be quiet when we actually did go to a restuarant or be taken outside for a seat warming. If I raised a fuss in a store because I didn't get what I wanted my life was in jeopardy. I was not expected to cry unless sick or hurt! I didn’t interrupt adults talking, but waited to be recognized instead of shouting a demand for attention. Child abuse was hitting a child in anger, not corporal punishment used as a last resort in discipline. I was 13 before I tasted my first pizza, it was called "pizza pie." When I bit into it, I burned the roof of my mouth and the cheese slid off, swung down, plastered itself against my chin and burned that, too. It's still the best pizza I ever had. We only had one used car in the family. It had a heater and a radio! I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone in the house was in the living room and it was on a party line. Before you could dial, you had to listen and make sure some people you didn't know weren't already using the line. Pizzas were not delivered to our home, but milk was!! The cream was sitting on top of the milk in the glass bottle! If you were lucky a Good Humor Ice Cream truck came by in the afternoon and you could get a nickel ice cream bar! All newspapers were delivered by boys and all boys delivered newspapers. I delivered a newspaper, six days a week. It cost 7 cents a paper, of which I got to keep 2 cents. I had to get up at 4 AM every morning. On Saturday, I had to collect the 42 cents from my customers. My favorite customers were the ones who gave me 50 cents and told me to keep the change. My least favorite customers were the ones who seemed to never be home on collection day. Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut. At least, they did in the movies. Touching someone else's tongue with yours was called French kissing and they didn't do that in movies. I don't know what they did in French movies. French movies were dirty and we weren't allowed to see them. They had to have one foot on the floor in the bedroom scenes if they kissed! People liked dirty jokes and nasty pictures then too, but they knew not to make others who didn’t like them embarrassed. They kept them to themselves. You knew where to swear and where to watch your mouth! Not everyone waited to get married to have sex, but most were responsible enough not to have children until they were married and able to afford raising them. Those that did not were not respected. So we didn’t! Morality and manners were about caring about how your actions affected other people. It wasn’t just about you!! A granddaughter found an old Royal Crown Cola bottle. In the bottle top was a stopper with a bunch of holes in it. I knew immediately what it was, but she had no idea. She thought they had tried to make it a salt shaker or something. I knew it as the bottle that sat on the end of the ironing board to "sprinkle" clothes with because we didn't have steam irons. Man, I am old. How many do you remember? Head lights dimmer switches on the floor. Ignition switches on the dashboard. Heaters mounted on the inside of the fire wall. Real ice boxes. Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain guards. Soldering irons you heat on a gas burner. Using hand signals for cars without turn signals. Older Than Dirt Quiz: Count all the ones that you remember not the ones you were told about . Ratings at the bottom. 1. Blackjack chewing gum 2. Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water 3. Candy cigarettes 4. Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles 5. Coffee shops or diners with tableside juke boxes 6. Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers 7. Party lines 8. Newsreels before the movie 9. P.F. Flyers 10. Butch wax 11. Telephone numbers with a word prefix (OLive-6933) 12. Peashooters 13. Howdy Doody 14. 45 RPM records 15. S & H Stamps 16. Hi-fi's 17. Metal ice trays with lever 18. Mimeograph paper 19. Blue flashbulbs 20. Packards 21. Roller skate keys 22. Cork popguns 23. Drive-ins 24. Studebakers 25. Wash tub wringers If you remembered 0-5 = You're still young If you remembered 6-10 = You are getting older If you remembered 11-15 = Don't tell your age, If you remembered 16-25 = You're older than dirt! I might be older than dirt but those memories are the best part of my life. Older than dirt!