A few weeks ago, a young woman had dinner at our house. After the meal, she kindly helped clean up the kitchen.

At some point, she asked me where to store one of my serving bowls or pans or something.

I said, “Just put it in the dish drainer.”

She scanned the kitchen and then asked, “What’s a dish drainer?”

I didn’t want to laugh at her but thought, “Who doesn’t know what a dish drainer is?”

Every house I was ever in as a kid had a dish drainer sitting to one side of the kitchen sink.

My mind reeled backward to other things that were just givens in 1960s homes. 

There were those metal, knuckle scraping, nail breaking ice cube trays with a lever that, when lifted, eventually released ice cubes.

Most houses had ash trays because most adults smoked. The prominent ash tray of the day was a heavy square, glass one, suitable for use as a weapon, if needed. 

We had a TV antenna planted outside next to the house. When the television acted up, one lucky family member was sent outside to twist the pole of the antenna, calling out often, “Any better?” or “How about now?” After too many negative responses, the antenna twister came back into the house and snarled, “Someone else can go out and twist the stupid thing.”

We sat on plastic seats in the car that, in the summer, got hot enough to burn a layer of skin off the back of the thigh. We tapped the steering wheel and steered in short bursts of motion the first mile or so because it was too hot to hold on to. No AC to cool that thing down. We didn’t have power steering, so the driver strained mightily and leaned almost into the lap of the front seat passenger to make a right turn.

Our phone was mounted on the wall or rested on a table, and when we made long-distance calls, we had to speak to a real person and say, “I want to make a person-to-person call to Sadie Stevens in Mississippi.” The operator eventually got us through.

Every homemaker had a clothes pin bag (New ones made for much appreciated Christmas and birthday gifts.) and a clothesline in the back yard. Inside the house were an ironing board and an iron. These things weren’t stashed away in the closet or attic; they were used once or twice every week.

We went to church every Wednesday night and twice on Sunday. We held songbooks in which hymns and musical notes were printed, and we waved the heat away from our faces with cardboard fans furnished by the local funeral home.

We drank grape Nehi from thick, bumpy (returnable) bottles whose caps had to be pried off with a metal opener, and we licked the back of every postage stamp we ever used. At school, we said the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag every morning and sometimes listened to the teacher read aloud a Bible passage. 

What do you mean, “Which flag?”

Yes, I know these things are old-age indicators, and there are many others. 

My husband and I routinely yell, “You know I can’t hear you if you can’t see me!” and “How many remote controls do I need to switch from watching Amazon Prime to playing a DVD?”

We stare blankly at anyone who says to us, “Just scan the QR code with your phone.”

Our mantra is, “I’m too old to live in this world.”

We’ve become accustomed (grudgingly) to cashiers patting our hands and saying, “There you go, Sweetheart,” when they hand us grocery receipts.

This week my sister sent me a text that read, “I’m making a chicken pot pie for supper using your quick and easy recipe.”

I responded, “What quick and easy chicken pot pie recipe?”

She texted me a picture of a piece of paper on which “Debbie’s quick and easy chicken pot pie recipe 1997” was written. 

Who is the woman who gave her that recipe and where is she today?

20 thoughts on “A RECKONING”

  1. Did your mother sprinkle her laundry.

    We got to talk to a telephone operator for each & every call, once the party line was clear!

    Thank goodness you’re posting again! I love it.

    1. And, if Mom didn’t get around to ironing a basket of sprinkled, all cotton clothes quickly enough, she put them in the refrigerator so they wouldn’t mold. THEN if she didn’t get around to ironing them soon enough, she had to put them in the chest freezer where they stuck to the sides of the icy walls. Oh, my. Good old days?

  2. What a lovely walk down memory lane! Back then we could have Christmas and other holiday parties in school and Christmas programs family came to see. God bless you dear lady. Merry Christmas to you and Dan!

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Sharon, those good old days vanished, along with carbon paper and those cheap magic slates you could write on and then lift up the second layer of plastic and your drawing would go away. Now THAT was entertainment!

  3. Oh! What wonderful memories. I’m so blessed to have gotten to experience these things with you! 🥰🥰🥰

    1. Blessed? Are you kidding? You know you were wishing with all your might that you had someone else with you who didn’t have brush rollers in her hair, thin white socks held up with rubber bands, and a pair of shorts and a shirt that didn’t match? Don’t give me any of this “I was so blessed” stuff. I was there. Remember?

  4. Today’s world is SO MUCH different than the one we grew up in. I enjoyed remembering some of the differences. Thank you for sharing.

    Along those same lines, we were in a parking lot the other day and heard the car near us who’d stopped for a moment start up. Like that car, our car will turn off and start again when we’re ready to take off unless we tell it not to do that. We took the time to remember the”Beast.” That van had a horrible carburetor! Starting the Beast was never a quick process. Maybe I should also say I’ll always hate carburetors! And don’t forget how cars would flood so that we had to hold down the gas pedal to start them.

    Oh, the good old days!

    1. And cars that would overheat when you were out in the middle of nowhere on some county road with no water in sight to pour into some open vertical tunnel under the hood after it had had time to cool down and you had your face turned away and one hand shielding it, after shoving all the kids to the side of the road for their safety? Hmm? That is AFTER you walked a mile two ways to borrow water from someone with barking dogs and a front yard with weeds in it that closely resembled poison ivy?

  5. I appreciated this post, Debbie. 🙂 My adopted grandparents (well, they may as well have been) who lived next door when I was growing up had ash trays, and just reading that one snippet brought back happy memories spent with them. I had to laugh, because we currently have a dish drainer – I didn’t know that’s what they were called! lol

    1. Oh, Pearl, it’s so great to hear from you. Where are all those creative, motivating, perfectly-pictured posts I used to get from you? Girl, step it up! We old women are counting on you! What DO you call those ugly, metal, overloaded contraptions filled with clean dishes waiting to be put away?

      1. We just call it a drying rack. But I call it the kids’ job to put away the clean dishes! Lol Blog posts, ah yes… nothing-to-say turns procrastination turns excuses turns stage fright… But I did start a magazine for our homeschool campus and that’s been fun!

  6. Welcome back. You did bring up so many happy memories. We say the same thing about being too old for this world. I had lab work done yesterday. I was the only one in there and I couldn’t just hand my paperwork to the lady at the desk, I had to check in on a kiosk. Made me want to scream just for a tension reliever. Another thing that makes me want to scream is paying to watch TV. I liked the simple life. I wish you lived next door to me.

    1. I wish we lived next door to each other too. Maybe one of these days some forward-thinking person will create a platform I can step on and say, “Take me to Pam’s house.” (Kind of like, “Alexa, play 70s soft rock.”) Then, through the magic of inventive wizardry, I will find myself standing in your kitchen where you’ve just taken a pan out of brownies out of the oven. Mmmmm

      1. If you would come see me, I will make you a pan of brownies.
        When Rena spends the night she always makes a pan of brownies but it’s usually after Jimmy goes to bed which aggravates him.

  7. So good to read your post again. It’s a shame this younger generation don’t know what they are missing.

  8. You may be surprised to hear I still have a dish drainer and a clothesline, and a homemade clothes pin bag. Lol But I didn’t make the clothespin bag.

  9. Thanks for getting me back on your blog. I assumed you had stopped writing them. I’m wondering if my outlook email address is the problem. I’ve tried to place an order on two different websites in the last couple of weeks that told me their system didn’t recognize it. When I entered it on your blog it said it was incorrect also so I’m not sure what’s going on. Have a Merry Christmas!

    Sent from my iPad

  10. Debbie, I’m so glad to hear from you again! I love your blogs, especially as they pertain to things long gone by. I’d forgotten about those crazy metal ice cube trays with the pull up levers. I’d give anything to see one of those contraptions again! And I have distant memories as a small girl grabbing those cardboard fans from the songbook rack at my childhood church. I remember the pictures on them were lovely.

  11. Ooh Debbie, thanks for that trip down Memory Lane. Some of the objects I didn’t recognise, but I can really relate to the ‘hardly touching the steering wheel’ scenario, when it’s scorching hot inside the car. The Amazon Prime quip made me chuckle too. What I struggle to accept the most is having to download apps to operate electronic gadgets. I watched a video yesterday about a hand-held sticker / label printer and the girl doing the video quite proficiently scanned the QR code on the back of the device, downloaded the app to operate the machine and began using it immediately. Yea, it must be old age when we cringe at the thought of technology. Ha ha! Great post! xx

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