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?