Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A Walk Down Memory Lane

By C. LaRene Hall

Time marches on and so do we. Nothing stays the same, but sometimes I wish it did.

When I was a teenager, we rode in cars with no seat belts or air bags. There were no laws, or else they weren’t enforced, that told us how many people could be in a car at a time. We climbed in the front or back seat, it didn’t matter, and we all had a blast. We drove up and down the main street in town honking as loud as we could. No one called the cops because everyone did it, and it was just for fun.

It didn’t matter if no one could reach you all day because we didn’t carry phones everywhere we went. We only had one phone that hung on the wall in the kitchen. You had to be careful what you said, and you didn’t always get to use the phone when you wanted to because we had party lines. No one endangered someone’s life by having to talk into a gadget while driving on a freeway, or trying to make a turn.

If you worked in a store at the cash register, you had to know how to count the change back to your customer. You didn’t have something telling you how much change to give out; you had to use your brain. This week, at Wendy’s, I gave the girl a five-dollar bill and was searching for a couple of ones. The amount of money I owed was $6.95. As I started to hand her two ones, she was handing me back three ones. I had to explain to the girl that she had put the wrong amount of money received into the register. I know how to do it in my head, but still had to explain to her how to do her job.

We hung the clothes out to dry in the fresh air. The dryer sheets or fabric softener you buy today smell great but not as good as fresh air. Doing the washing in a wringer machine was not so fun.

We really did have five and 10-cent stores, and you could buy penny candy. I wonder if you can buy anything today for only one cent.

Ice cream cones cost a nickel when I was a kid and you could sit at a soda fountain while you ate it. When I was in England a few years ago, I ordered an ice cream cone. I had to buy the ice cream separate from the cone.

When I was a child, gas was 11 cents a gallon. You could fill your entire car for less than five dollars. Now it costs a small fortune to fill the tank.

To listen to music we had a few options – 45-RPM records, tableside jukeboxes, or the radio.

There is one thing that I’m grateful has changed and that is the typewriter. I was excited when it changed from a manual to an electric one. However, with both of them if you made a mistake you had to start over. No way would I tackle being a writer if I didn’t have a computer.

I love walking down memory lane, but I’m glad that some things have changed. Other things I wish were the same. As a writer, it’s good to have those old memories to rely on for a good story.


ali said...

Connie, I enjoyed walking down memory lane with you! I'm a tad younger, so some of those things were not MY memories, but the gist of it was the same.

Today, we just aren't as self-reliant as we once were. And, though all our technology has supposedly freed us up for more fun time (or more free time) we are, surprisingly, less free than ever before. Hmm.

But I'm right there with you on the computer thing ... What a blessing it is to writers! Hurray!

Weston Elliott said...

I remember sitting on the open tailgate of the pickup while we toodled through town. I also remember sitting on the wheel well in the back, holding on to two or three rubber inner tubes on our way out to the river to go swimming. Strangely enough, we all survived it just fine.

Keith Fisher said...

Thanks for reminding me. IT was a good time. of course we tend to forget the pain of being rejected for a date, pimples in the middle of our chin, curfews, and peer pressure. It was easier though. Life was slower people were calmer. careers involved loyalty, both from the worker and the employer. It was something you could depend on.

I agree though, I love my word processor and computer.

Connie Hall said...

Thanks everyone for commenting. I needed to have those memories now. Maybe because I would like a slower pace. I agree sometimes technology frees us but other times I'm not sure if it's a good thing. Somedays I'm amazed that I did survive my teen years because I did so many dumb things.