The Good Old Days

by Louise

Posters mention now and again their days as children and young adults. I find these a fascinating description of time and place.  Though most of our experiences may be positive, some may not be.

These days pictures and slide shows on Facebook pop up to remind us what happened a couple of years ago.  But prior to that there was just memory, faded pictures and some of you have mentioned home movies.

Describe your good old or bad old days.


107 thoughts on “The Good Old Days

  1. Mine are more impressions, memories of feelings.

    Y’all know my feeling of being poor, of being embarrassed to shop at the thrift store, of being frustrated at never being able to get the thing that I wanted, of watching my half-brothers get giant Christmas hauls while I got a couple of things, of internalizing the feeling that I just must not deserve nice things.

    There’s also the sense of disconnect, of being sort of in my own head, of being aware that there were some sorts of rules or expectations that applied but not knowing what they were and messing up without even knowing what I had done, and figuring it out after the fact. The relief of finally finding friends I truly connected with near the end of junior high.

    And then on the happier side of things, I remember freedom — riding my bike around forever, climbing on the roof or making mud pies after school when my mom wasn’t home yet, playing down by the riverbank, etc. My favorite summer was the summer after the first year of law school, when I had a job for only half the summer, and took the long way home (TX-San Diego to see Eddie Murray play in LA-OR-MN-PA-MD). That was when the car overheated in W.TX, and my window fell off the track, so I drove straight through from E. of El Paso to San Diego overnight, windows down, singing at the top of my lungs to stay awake. Or driving until 2-3 to get back to school just because I was on a roll, and then ending up in the single scariest motel ever because turns out there was a trade fair where I decided to stop, and the place with the super-filmsy plywood door was the only one with rooms. The epic fail of hitting Mt. Rushmore at night, only to be fogged out, and then driving across S.D. all night because all the hotels around the monument were booked.

    And coupled with that comes the realization: my God, I was stupid. It’s amazing that I survived. :-)

  2. Let me pull up my rocking chair here….

    I could tell stories for days. My dad told us stories from when he was little as he tucked us in. I loved them then, and think it’s a big part of why I feel so connected to him even now. My son and I are ridiculously tight without a lot of stories. What he likes are stories about himself when he was too little to remember. Now that he’s old enough to remember past ages and stages in his own life, he also likes revisiting certain scenes and telling his story. For the past week, we’ve been switching our computers around. He’s gotten into the old laptops and the video cam from when he was a baby, which has footage I never transferred into the computer. That’s been a lot of fun.

    One of his favorites is really simple: my parents visited for his third birthday. He had just learned to pour beverages. Dad was amazed when I said that, so I gave them a glass and a jug of milk. Isaac got set up and started pouring. Dad looked impressed, kiddo was pleased. The level of milk in the glass rose higher. Their faces looked concerned. It overflowed. He knew how to pour, but not how to stop. I’d forgotten to mention that. The craziest part is how they both saw the impending disaster, but were frozen, so watched incredulously as it happened. Idk why, but that story cracks him up every time.

  3. I’m on the subway right now. There are definitely service issues due to aging infrastructure, but it’s so much safer and cleaner now vs. my childhood.

    Most trains are a/c, no graffiti and there is so much less crime now in the system. It’s much safer all over NY vs. when I grew up in the city.

    Most of the women in my subway car today are wearing jewelry. It’s all exposed because it’s the summer. Wearing a chain or diamond ring would have attracted way too much attention when I was a kid.

  4. “the realization: my God, I was stupid. It’s amazing that I survived. :-)”

    Me too!

  5. I had that Sprint flip phone just a few years ago. My youngest found it about a month ago, and it’s in the garage on a tricycle.

    LfB – Do you ever think that your feelings of being poor were almost entirely created by a combination of your mom’s frugality and anti-consumerism, your personal insecurities, and maybe some of the contrasting situations you observed with other family members whose parents weren’t so frugal?

  6. This is hard to describe, but there was a time when we didn’t expect everything to be instaneous and it allowed us to produce a reasonable amount of product in a reasonable time. Given my current work project my example has to do with reports. At one time, you knew that it would take the typist a full day’s work to type a 50 page report. If you made changes after it was typed, it could take another entire day to have it retyped depending on what page the change was made on. Therefore, you tended to make sure it was what you wanted before sending it to be typed. And, you made corrections of actual errors, not just because you wanted to wordsmith a sentence. You thought about how much time this all would take.

    Now, we edit over and over and over again, not to mention often print multiple times when the product was truely good enough to begin with. But, it is so easy to change a few words on page 3 and reprint the entire thing.

    I think this concept of there is time to make just one more change add a lot of stress without sufficiently improving the project. Plus it allows us to run right up to a deadline.

    Now…must run…off to get my intern DD, take her to lunch and then see whatever this “closing ceremony” parents are invited to is.

  7. My favorite memories are those of my grandparents homes (like these houses posted in the picture). Both sets grandparents had their houses, when I was growing up. My paternal grandparents had a wonderful tropical garden with mango, coconut and mulberry trees. Hibiscus, crepe myrtle, jasmine. I think Hawaii would be closest.
    My first ten years were idyllic playing on the garden with my cousins, family all close, Sunday dinners and celebrating festivals with my cousins. It went downhill when my grandmother passed away and my grandfather decided to sell. My one set of cousins moved to temporary housing with my grandfather. The new apartment building took years to complete. We grew up and apart.

  8. There’s also the sense of disconnect, of being sort of in my own head, of being aware that there were some sorts of rules or expectations that applied but not knowing what they were and messing up without even knowing what I had done, and figuring it out after the fact.

    Thinking back it was mostly a sense of having no resources and no control. From an adult perspective imagine you were forced to take the job that you are the worst possible fit for. Like being assigned to the US Olympic team and going to work everyday and this happening

    day after day in front of everyone and you quit…

  9. “I think this concept of there is time to make just one more change add a lot of stress without sufficiently improving the project. Plus it allows us to run right up to a deadline.”

    Austin Mom — Your comment made me stop and think. In some ways it makes us less efficient in our work although on balance we are more efficient, I think. It can be a trap for some workers.

    LFB, I don’t remember the part about your half brothers. I guess there could have been ways to mitigate that sort of thing, but it can be complicated. I know my childhood was very different from yours, but some of your memories are similar to mine. Like the freedom of taking a bike to wherever and making mud pies. We didn’t have a river but we had an awesome irrigation ditch.

  10. We used to go on these camping trips with my parents and their friends. This photo reminds me of those days. Oh, those puffy down jackets!

  11. “LfB – Do you ever think that your feelings of being poor were almost entirely created by a combination of your mom’s frugality and anti-consumerism, your personal insecurities, and maybe some of the contrasting situations you observed with other family members whose parents weren’t so frugal?”

    I would honestly say that that’s probably 50-75% of it. There was a period of 4-5 years when we were objectively poor — she was a single mom, my dad paid very little in child support, and I qualified for the government-subsidized daycare, and then we went on food stamps. Once she got married and found her permanent job, we couldn’t have actually been poor any more, but it felt that way because of both her own frugality and anti-consumerism and because she and my stepdad split expenses 50/50 even though he made 2x what she did. And part of it was probably that *she* still felt poor — I mean, we went camping every summer as vacation, even though she fricking hates camping; I don’t think we stayed in a hotel room until I was in HS.

    I think the problem is that those lean years were the years in which I was learning who I was and to figure out my place in the world — basically call it 5-11. So everything after that I interpreted consistently with that story.

  12. LfB, so a few years after the food stamps era, your mom felt financially secure enough to pay for a hotel room? Makes sense to me. And yep, those middle years of childhood are hugely important in shaping who we are. Louise’s relationship with her cousins changed at 10 or 11, and she apparently felt close enough to them throughout her teen years to feel they shouldn’t be apart.

  13. I remember summers with many trips to the local library because it was one of the few places that had AC. One of my sisters had to accompany me because my mother didn’t want me to walk there alone. They hated it. If my mom was in a generous mood, she gave us 25 cents to get an Italian ice on the way home. Also, roller skating around and around the block on the metal roller skates that you tighten with a key.

  14. Growing up I was the biggest reader in my family. So, all kinds of books landed up with me, including more adult type novels that my uncles read and left around. One of my uncles had a huge collection of books, I was free to borrow any book. Books in general were just hard to come by. I used to buy books sold by roadside vendors cheap. Some of them were discarded American textbooks. I enjoyed reading those :-). I was in awe when I saw a typical college library and the intercollegiate book loan system.

  15. I don’t feel I’m old enough to have “good old days”… or my interpretation of my childhood (like LfB’s) so shaped who I was at the time and how I measure myself today, that it’s too “close”/real?

    Arguably, I’m older than a classic car, and remember things 1st run that are now considered hipster cool… so there is that.

    I remember being bullied before it was a platform-du-jour for the Dutchess of Cambridge and the First Lady. And I mean bullied. It was terrible and the school did nothing. When HS told me I was making it up, I realized I was on my own. A lot of how I see myself is still shaped by those years (7 through 14 or 15).

    I do remember fondly going to the beach or Lake Luzerne (near Lake George) and only being expected to be a kid. I remember family dinners with everyone (grandparents, parents, aunt, uncle, cousins) and Christmas with my mom’s entire family (her parents/sibling, aunts, uncles, their kids and grandkids… so what’s that? 1st and 2nd cousins? maybe some of them removed?).

  16. Houston – I try hard to leave my kids with good memories but it doesn’t always work. Anyway what good is a childhood without a bit of drama ?

  17. I remember that we only got things at Christmas and birthdays, not random things throughout the year just because we wanted it.

    Until I was 6 we lived in Philadelphia, a few blocks from my grandpas rents. My grandad was newly retired and would come get me and take me around with him. I was the first granddaughter after 12 grandsons, and I very much remember being adored and indulged. I would stand on the backseat behind him and monitor his speed, and was in charge of telling him to stop and go at lights. Like Louise, I remember lots of time at grandparents with all the cousins there, trapping a neighborhood rabbit and catching lightning bugs. I distinctly remember when my grandmother died when I was 23 the feeling that no one would ever love me like my grandparents did.

    And – I remember being bored! I spent so much time feeling bored, looking for. Mercifully, I got a phone in my room with my own number so I could waste hours on end on the phone.

  18. Louise, both my kids complained that their drama-free, stable upbringing left them with nothing to write their college essays on. So you’ll be doing them a huge favor is really mess them up in some way 😉

  19. Rotary phones. Black and white TV. Garter belt for my first pair of hose. I am really old

  20. Remember these?

    I was thinking about them on the Maine Turnpike the other day. I remember when, based on where we were living, I could not have been older than four, and my mom let me throw the coins in from my window from the backseat.

  21. their drama-free, stable upbringing left them with nothing to write their college essays on.

    It reminds me of when I was out with some friends and someone mentioned being a kid and not having a care in the world. I later turned to my other friend who has stories as crazy as mine and said, “Isn’t that the craziest thing you ever heard?” “Yes, yes it is,” was the response.

  22. Milo,

    My first guess was a urinal but then I couldn’t figure out the reason for the holes.

  23. iirc, the bridge over to Newport, RI had them (and maybe didn’t even accept EZPass) as recently as a decade ago, but it took specific tokens, of which I had a wrapped roll in my console.

  24. even the opening sequence to the Sopranos, which to me doesn’t seem like *that* long ago, begins with Tony emerging from the Lincoln Tunnel and haphazardly grabbing the NJ Turnpike toll ticket from the machine.

  25. it’s also hard to believe that James Gandolfini passed away in 2013 !

    Remember being a kid when a year was an eternity? You’d head back to school in September and those 9 months would roll out before you for ever.

  26. I remember not really understanding that many things were specific to California. You can ride your bike to school year-round, for instance. And yeah, all the freedom and running around unsupervised. And as Rhett said, sometimes like being trapped in an unending nightmare.

    And those sanitary pads that you had to wear with a special belt with clips. Why was adhesive such a difficult concept? It shouldn’t have taken til the late 70s to invent.

  27. RMS – I have this very romantic/idyllic picture in my mind of California in the 60s/70s. With my favorites – mid century modern homes and golden beaches.

  28. Louise, we had plenty of mid-century modern homes — Eichlers in particular — but the golden beaches were mostly in Southern California. Northern California beaches are beautiful but more rugged.

  29. “And coupled with that comes the realization: my God, I was stupid. It’s amazing that I survived. :-)”

    I don’t get to this blog every day, but when I do, it’s gems like this that keep me coming back.

    Things we did that *could* have been dangerous but were wonderful could be an entire blog topic on it’s own. Or simply a definition of childhood.

  30. I really enjoy Louise’s posts today. So interesting.

    I have fond memories of Indian Princesses weekend trips to a Y camp with my dad and our friends. At night the dad’s would play poker and the girls would be up late running around the camp, telling ghost stories, braiding each other’s hair. At one camp in particular our “tribe” would always skip out on the Saturday evening programming and go play minigolf and get ice cream.

    I also distinctly remember the linoleum kitchen table at my grandparent’s house, as well as the aluminum glasses that kept a drink cold all day.

  31. Corded phones in the hallway, and you had to drag them down the basement stairway (sometimes stretching the cord a bit too much) so that you could talk in privacy.

    Making sure to have a dime or quarter to make a call from a phone booth

    Losing the AOL connection when someone picked up the extension by mistake

    Having to shake out your towel in front of a staff member between the locker room and the public outdoor pool, to make sure you weren’t bringing in forbidden items

    Having to drink warm, metal-tasting water from a canteen at Girl Scout camp

    Having to erase all of the pencil marks from the math book before turning it in at the end of the year.

    Writing computer programs by hand and then typing them onto punch cards

  32. “You can ride your bike to school year-round, for instance.”
    This was me. Every day. Kindergarten thru 7th grade. Then we moved and the distance to my school(s) became an issue for riding my bike every day.

    Plus also, do you remember starting school really late because California Admission Day was Sept 9, so they didn’t want to break things up with 1 or 2 3-day weekends early in the school year?

  33. Remember mapquest when you’d have to print out the directions before you went somewhere?

  34. Remember being a kid when a year was an eternity? You’d head back to school in September and those 9 months would roll out before you for ever.

    Typical of my late development; i remember my parents visiting as I was settling into some post-college place, or maybe my last year of undergrad when I moved off campus, I wanted to do something like put a pull-out towel rack under the kitchen sink. My dad was incredulous that I’d want to do that for just a year. To me it was “a whole year!!”

  35. you’d have to print out the directions be

    I remember that as amazing, not as a “have to” chore.

  36. Rhett, I remember BEFORE mapquest, when we needed to keep a whole set of ADC street map books in each car for traveling around the DC area. And also a set for the house so you could plot out weekend swim meet or birthday party trips without having to trek out to the car to fetch the maps.

    And then there were triptiks….
    So of course Mapquest was a very big deal.

  37. We went back to school in June at the start of the monsoon season, so along with books we bought umbrellas, raincoats and rubber shoes.
    Some people enjoy the monsoon weather, I don’t – gloomy, raining and damp for about three months.

  38. Game shows. On many a hot, lazy summer day like today, if I didn’t have day camp, I would spend all kinds of time watching game shows. My favorite was The Price Is Right.

    As for day camp, it was a big part of my summers growing up. I remember the swimming lessons (which I hated — I’m not a natural swimmer at all), the free swims (which I liked), and the arts and crafts sessions (which I loved). I used to make and bring home lots of potholders that I wove on those little plastic looms, and countless gimp creations. I also liked the outdoor games we used to play at camp after lunch. I was a particular fan of capture the flag — I was pretty stealthy and enjoyed sneaking around.

    Lunch at camp generally consisted of a fluffernutter on Wonder bread, doritos or jax as a side dish, and a twinkee or ring-ding for dessert. The camp supplied the kool-aid (different colors on different days). Ah, the 1970s!

  39. Ahhh, ditto sheets. . . .

    Captain Chesapeake — channel 45, after-school stuff.

    Visits to the grandparents every summer — always driving; Grandma spoiled me rotten, Granny had me pick and can green beans, blackberries, peaches, etc.

    Those horrible camping trips every summer. Six of us (I was allowed to bring a friend), squished into a Dodge Colt, arguing about who got to lie down in the “way back,” because it was sooo much more comfortable than sitting three-across in the back seat.

    My parents’ clutch going out literally in front of the Apollo Theater in Harlem, in the pre-gentrification days, and them driving in second gear all the way back to MD.

    And buses — lots of buses. Taking the local bus down to my orthodontist appointments. Taking the Greyhound up to DE to see my dad. Both by myself, of course (see “freedom,” supra).

    Weeding that $#@*$!$@&~$ garden in August, then having zucchini boats and zucchini pizza and zucchini fritters for meals for seemingly weeks on end. I effing hate zucchini.

    Waking up on a summer morning, with the fan blowing directly on me and just a sheet, and just for that moment being perfectly relaxed, knowing I didn’t need to do anything, and at just the right temperature before it got dreadful.

  40. Fred, I remember school starting much later than it does now. And it was SO HOT, and the schools didn’t have AC.

  41. And girls had to wear dresses to school. All you folks with daughters who refuse to wear a dress would have been in a world of hurt.

  42. Oh, crossing the bridge or tunnel into Canada without having to show any ID. Just pull up to customs, they’d ask what country you were born in, occasionally ask the reason for your crossing, and send you on your way. Sometimes I was with my parents, sometimes I was with friend’s and their parents. No one cared that a minor was crossing the border without legal guardians or ID.

  43. oooh…triptiks. I’ve posted before about my trip out west with a few girlfriends after college. There were computers, but no internet yet so we went to a AAA office and told a guy where we wanted to visit. We said we had 33 days and we told him where we wanted to start and end etc. He took out several paper maps, and then started with the triptiks. he calculated by hand approximately how many miles we could drive a day etc. We had to take the trip tiks and the guide books he gave us to find and book hotels in the popular places such as yellowstone. We only knew about a motel if it was in one of these guidebooks or a major chain. I actually have a postcard in a photo album from one of the motels that confirms our reservation for a two night stay in Wyoming near Yellowstone. We would call the motels on a pay phone using a calling card and make reservations. If there was a confirmation, they would send it by letter or postcard! 8000 mile trip in over ten states planned by hand.

  44. RMS, most of the public schools around here STILL don’t have A/C and it can be very hot in early September and most of June. Some of the school buses don’t have A/C. I don’t force DD to take the bus in June because the kids come out of the school so hot, and the seats and seat belts on the buses can be brutal since the buses wait in the sunny parking lot for pick up.

  45. I share LfB’s memories about the abundance of zucchini. I have never cared for it.

    One of the things I don’t miss is how common death by heart attack was to men in their 50’s or 60’s.

    One thing many/most Totebaggers will miss is becoming grandparents young enough to be active with and remembered by their grandchildren, because we were older by historical standards when we had our kids. I really notice this chatting with my 50-something female technicians who have grandkids the age of my kids.

  46. We also had to wear dresses to public school until about 1970 or so when everything suddenly changed. But when we were kids, the concept of a girl refusing to wear a dress was inconceivable. For that matter, any kid refusing to wear a category of clothing. We weren’t generally consulted on wardrobe choices.

  47. At the first school I attended, many of the classroom buildings had corrugated metal roofs. When it rained, which was quite frequent, the sound of raindrops hitting the roofs made it impossible to hear what the teacher was saying, so we’d automatically default to doing things like math problems, reading, practicing our letters, or sometimes just putting our heads down on the desk and resting.

  48. For many years I was AAA member primarily for the maps and guidebooks. When I lived in SV, I took a lot of road trips, and would always get a full set of the appropriate maps and guidebooks, and the guidebooks were my primary resource for identifying and booking hotels.

  49. WCE,

    , I spoke with Medina over the phone. ‘‘I would not leave my wife to go with Angelina Jolie, as exciting as that sounds,’’ he told me. ‘‘And I would not leave Voyager to go to the new Mars missions. I will not leave Voyager until it ceases to exist. Or until I cease to exist.’’

    I got a little verklemt.

  50. WCE,

    Both Voyagers will orbit the galactic center for several billion years, and dip in and out of the galactic plane as do most orbiting stars. The orbits will not be purely elliptical, because the gravitational field is not purely central. The aforementioned possibility of orbital capture by a star is actually negligible. Galaxies are actually much emptier than atoms because the sizes of stars (and even their gravitational cross-sections) are on the order of a trillionth of the galactic scale. This means that the next major event for the Voyagers is the Milky Way’s collision with the Andromeda Galaxy, which will start in about 4 billion years. Again, because of the scale differences, it’s almost a certainty that they will not collide with anything. What is unknown is whether they will remain in orbit in the resulting merged Galaxy, or be ejected into inter-galactic space along with several million stars, free of both parent galaxies. In either case, the timescale now becomes very, very, very long: the Voyagers will outlast our Sun, and just about any other star now burning. Unless we launch more probes that escape the Sun’s gravity, the two Voyagers, the two Pioneers, and New Horizons will be the only evidence left that humanity ever existed. They will last as long as matter: some 10^43 years.

  51. I have lots of good childhood memories. some very specific. But I think the best part of having had a good childhood and stable family is that, even today, when I go to my parents’ house, I feel like the weight of being an adult is much easier. Like even if things aren’t ok, everything will be ok. I hope my kids grow up and feel like that about our house/family.

  52. I just got back from registering the kids for school. The whole thing makes no sense. There is an on-line portal where you need to register, so you can do that ahead of time. Then when you are there, they have to verify you registered and print out the confirmation. I shocked the woman because I actually brought my confirmation. Then you have to pay your fees. Ours came to $210 – $35 for registration fee for each kid, $20 each for gym fee, $35 for DD’s AP Human Geography book, $60 athletic fee for DD to play softball, and a $5 credit card fee because I forgot my checkbook. You only have to provide one payment, but the woman had to hand write three separate receipts (one for the registration fees, one for the classroom fees, and one for the athletic fee). You can prepay the AP exam fees if you want, but I’ll wait until the spring.

    Then I had to register DD for softball, since it’s a fall sport and practice starts in a week. It’s an online registration so they have laptops you need to use. You have to register for a website, then you get a confirmation email to activate your account (what do the people who aren’t able to get the email on their phones do?), then you have to actually enter all the registration info. Then you have to wait for the one person working the desk to verify the registration, give her the completed sports physical form that you remembered to bring (one of the perks of being an NP is I could fill it out and sign it without having to take her to the dr), and show proof of payment (either from the cashier or you can pay online when you do the registration). Then the student gets their “golden ticket” allowing them to play, and they need to give that to the coach at the first practice.

    Denver Health has a clinic in the school, so I did the paperwork to allow the kids to see the provider there (I completed it while waiting online at one of the stations). And we stopped at the locker assignment station, but DS forgot he needs to find a partner (freshman and sophomore share lockers) so he couldn’t get that done. Freshman get them at 9th grade academy next week. They weren’t doing student IDs there this year, freshman will get them next week and the rest will get them on the first day of school.

    It took about 45 minutes for something you should be able to do completely online.

  53. DD, you are right. It makes no sense. This is not rocket science and unless the school is trying to get the parents to bond in a “we’re all in this together against the administrative idiots” thing, it seems extremely inefficient. Parents are supposed to bring checkbooks?

    When is the last time you left your house with your checkbook?

  54. I remember having to wear dresses to school. Oh my god how I hated it. It meant scratchy tights in winter – this was pre-Lycra, so the dang things always sagged down to my knees. It meant not being able to play rough with the boys because your legs had no protection if you fell on the blacktop and no one had invented bike shorts then, so if your stupid little miniskirt flipped up, everyone laughed.
    In Germany, girls could wear pants to school. Usually cords. Finally, I was comfortable and warm in the winter and we could play hard on the blacktop.
    When we moved back to the US, the dress codes fell away. Best thing ever. That is why I am so against strict dress codes or uniforms in school.

  55. Finn, we had classes in trailers in KY because there were too many kids to fit in the building. Same problem with the rain noise!

    The university where I went to grad school still held classes in WWII era quonset huts!!!

  56. During the summer, I spent maybe two weeks at my Mom’s parents house. This was just a couple of miles away but was considered to be a vacation. My unmarried aunts (Mom’s sisters) who lived with with my grandparents were very cool. They would take me by train to the city. We would go window shopping at the luxury stores in the few grand hotels. They would try on impossibly high stilettos. Then they would go into the by lanes where a skilled Chinese shoe maker replicated the expensive designs.
    My aunts took me to movies in the city. I saw the ABBA movie and became a fan. Also, after all our rambling around, we landed up at the one and only French patisserie in the city. The pastries were delicious.

  57. “we had classes in trailers in KY because there were too many kids to fit in the building”

    We have trailers at our highly regarded elementary school. They are nice, but they are still akin to double wides.

  58. “no one had invented bike shorts then”

    Actually, bike shorts had been already invented, but at that time they were probably only being worn by cyclists. Back then, they were also probably made of wool, not Lycra, but that still would’ve been better for you, as long as they didn’t have the chamois pad that required a lot of extra care.

  59. Finn, you are right about bike shorts, but they didn’t have them for 8 year olds!!!

  60. “We have trailers at our highly regarded elementary school.”

    Our public school system uses trailers all over the place, most of which stay in place once installed. I recently drove by my old elementary school, and it looked like a couple of the portables installed when I was a student are still there, but now as part of a larger cluster of portables.

    As a local radio personality has sagely observed, “There is nothing more permanent than a temporary classroom.”

  61. “the dang things always sagged down to my knees.”

    Yes, I remember that happening to my classmates.

    While bike shorts had already been invented, albeit not yet adapted for non-bike use by 8yo girls, I’m guessing that yoga pants had not yet been invented.

  62. “$35 for DD’s AP Human Geography book”

    Wow, that’s cheap. Is that a used book?

  63. DD, you are right. It makes no sense. This is not rocket science and unless the school is trying to get the parents to bond in a “we’re all in this together against the administrative idiots” thing, it seems extremely inefficient. Parents are supposed to bring checkbooks?

    When is the last time you left your house with your checkbook?

    They take cash and credit cards, but I didn’t have enough cash and they have the extra charge to cover their credit card fees, which I think is reasonable. I knew ahead of time I wanted to pay by check but I totally spaced it when we were leaving.

  64. That is why I am so against strict dress codes or uniforms in school.

    If they allow girls to wear pants or shorts would you have a problem with them?

  65. Wow, that’s cheap. Is that a used book?

    I have no idea. We’ll find out in a couple of weeks.

  66. I think the only day that I take my check book out of the house is for the back to school open house. The dues for the PTA, spirit wear, etc require cash or check. I don’t think anyone wants to take the hit from CC fees so they require cash or check. I actually received a pretty Coach checkbook cover as a graduation gift when I graduated from college because I used to carry around checks in my bag.

  67. Growing up with extended family within 10 to 20 miles and lots of cousins the baptisms, first communions, confirmations and graduations were great celebrations. My maternal grandparents lived with us and I went many places with them. My grandmother took me to the Lancaster Central Market for our Easter ham. Apparently the Reading Market Amish hams weren’t good enough. Taking a train to Wilmington to meet my great aunt and taking another train to Rehoboth beach. My grandfather would take me to movies and racetracks.

    I remember dirt streets in Avalon, NJ and Long Beach Island had shacks on their beach front – families would knock them together.

    Freedom to bike, walk and take the bus to Camden or Philadelphia.

    While expensive, flying was much nicer.

    Garter belts were a pain – thank God for pantyhose.

    I don’t use it much, but my checkbook is usually in my purse.

    Some of the things I love today.

    No long distance, Cell phones for peace of mind. Very reliable and safer cars. EzPass. Internet. Nicer lodging on the road. Different kinds of food available at decent prices. Nicer hospitals if you need to stay.

    One thing I don’t like is the proliferation of bad food and restaurants. Hard to find a decent place to eat when you get off the road.

  68. Milo – RI just got EZ Pass about 8 years ago. Until then we kept our NJ ones to get cheaper fares crossing the Tappan Zee. We xfered ours when we found out a trip to Newport would cost $1.60 instead of $8.

    I remember a time when Legos didn’t have a gender…

  69. And I’m just going to complain that I’ve had the chorus from Carly Simon’s “Anticipation” going through my head since this got posted. “And stay right here/’cause these are the good old days”.

  70. RMS, I had the same song playing in my head all day.

    WCE, I saw a young woman in an Iowa State shirt at the Bon dance tonight. I thought of you.

  71. “I remember a time when Legos didn’t have a gender…”

    Not intentionally, but their marketing data showed that they essentially did in practice. They created LEGO Friends to market to girls, since very few were interested in them previously. And it worked.

    Keep in mind that they don’t specify “Boy LEGOs” and “Girl LEGOs.” Friends is just an additional line, in purple, not pink, that includes four high school girls who are featured in some very simple novels of accompanying stories, and who happen to be allowed incredible amounts of freedom with their families’ many recreational vehicles, yachts, Caribbean retreats, and so forth.

  72. Speaking of Legos and memories, my oldest finally gave away his Legos to the neighbor’s kids. It is the end of an era.
    No more trying to transport a creation to the local toy store for a Lego competition and then finding it has started to rain while trying not to slip and make it through the parking lot.
    No more sneaking past the Lego aisles or negotiating on how whether to buy one big set or two smaller ones.

  73. Louise — does this mean that you will never again experience the uniquely excruciating pain of stepping on a lego?

  74. NoB – both my kids were good at cleaning up as well as moving half built creations to the side, so I can’t say that I ever stepped on a Lego. I did find stray Lego pieces under the beds and in the corners though.

    I was wondering at Totebaggers mentioning clutter. Are these in the main living areas or tucked away in the basement or attic ?
    Most homes I have visited or dropped in – the main living areas appear to be very presentable.

  75. I worked full-time this week, canned 18 quarts of peaches last night and we’re dog sitting. My living room currently has Duplos, doll house people, books, someone’s shoes, dog toys, a toddler computer, a toddler CD case, someone’s backpack from Y camp that has not been hung up, remote control helicopters on the stereo and probably other stuff on the living room floor.

    Other than when the housekeeper comes, my house is rarely picked up.

  76. In the living room we have laundry all over the folding couch (no laundry room ; the machines are down in the carport), miscellaneous school supplies that people haven’t finished claiming and packing away, a Sterilite drawer that’s supposed to go down to my daughter’s room where she’s been redoing all her storage, a guitar that should be down in my daughter’s room, and a faucet in a box that my husband was planning to install sometime soon; and in the dining area we have newspapers and mail needing to be recycled / sorted on the dining room table.

  77. Milo, in what era are you saying Lego were gendered, in lractice? In the years before Friends, when they already had all the space and fighter kits, or a little earlier with the City and construction sets, or the Lego bitd, which were bricks with very few specialty parts? We had a huge set. The most specialized pieces in it were probably the red wedges, for making pitched roofs, or maybe the windows. That was as fancy as it got. Is that what the data you’ve seen show wasn’t used by girls?

  78. We have downsized the toy collection over the years but not a single LEGO brick has ever been purged. College DS still plays with them and before long nf the grandkids will be big enough to join in.

  79. The good old days…oftentimes I focus on the sadder and tougher parts of my childhood. At the moment, I am heading towards a 30th high school reunion and a friend from those days (who I have mostly lost touch with) just texted me that her Snapple lid included the weight of the moon – something she remembers us having quite a philosophical conversation about in the wee hours one summer evening. Happily that brought back lots of memories of driving around with friends, 80s music, parties on dirt roads and lots more things that only small town kids would ever understand. While those things were great, part of it was because by the last couple of years of high school, I knew I was going to be able to escape that little town.

    Also, Lord, how glad I am that I didn’t have a cell phone to stay in touch with my parents at every moment. And that there was not social media to document those moments. Ahh, and to echo LfB, how stupid was I?!

  80. We had family over today. After listening to them I had a few good memories – of my mom and her mom teaching me to cook. I now know why my dad can’t cook. His mom couldn’t. His sisters couldn’t (and still can’t).

    I also remember fondly of a time when you had to go over someone’s house to see if they were home. Well you could call beforehand but if someone was on the phone the line just beeped at you.

  81. If social media existed when I was a kid I would never have been hired anywhere…. and I’d probably be in jail.

  82. I had a Kodak Instamatic and occasionally I’d bring it to school or parties and take (terrible) snapshots. Now a bunch of my high school friends thank me profusely because it’s the only photo documentation of our adolescence.

    Now kids have pictures of everything, all the time, from all angles.

  83. Saac –

    “The launch of Lego Friends came after a $40 million global marketing push, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. “This is the most significant strategic launch we’ve done in a decade,” said Lego Group chief executive officer Jørgen Vig Knudstorp. “We want to reach the other 50 percent of the world’s children.”[1] According to the company, boys comprised 90% of Lego’s customers in 2011 before the launch of the Friends line.[3]”

  84. Milo, yeah, that’s pretty much what I thought. When they moved away from basic bricks, they did it in a way that appealed more to most boys.

    I posted this on the Challenge page, but I’m not sure how many people are over there. I’m looking for things to do between Atl and Asheville on Sat, Aug 19. Any ideas?

  85. My clutter is usually hidden in closets and drawers and messy bedrooms. The main living areas usually look neat.

    Last night my son attended a concert featuring an aging 70’s rocker. The audience was full of middle-aged people of a certain type that my son described this way: If you had picked up a misplaced NPR totebag and asked “did anyone lose this” everyone there would have had to look down to check if it was theirs. Yeah, I told him, I know the type. ;)

  86. “I had a Kodak Instamatic”

    Remember having to buy single-use flash bulbs, and having to be careful not to burn your fingers on them?

  87. I remember the bulbs. I also remember that it was important to get the pictures right because taking too many pictures would use up the flash and the 110 film cartridge.

  88. For the first time got myself insulated Totebag. I used to be very confident that my cold items would be fine by the time I got home. I started to take too many detours so I need the insulated bags.

  89. @July – HAHA!

    I missed this thread & a few others as we were on a long weekend vacation. I remember a lot of these things wistfully.

    Iowa might be an easy place to buy a house, but it’s not the greatest place to find a job outside of certain areas. If I wanted to MMM-it right now, I could probably retire there today. But then I’d have to live there.

    Funny enough, I saw one of those coin-toll machines just yesterday as we drove past in the IPass lane. They still have them on certain exits on the Illinois Tollway. And I would guess that they still take pennies too – here in the Land of Lincoln.

    @WCE – I have friends who swear by those containers. They are cheap and “disposable” but reusable. Easy to clean since it is only 2 pieces. And also easy for toddlers to open. That is a big problem with some of the fancier sets – lots of little containers with tight fitting lids aren’t great for little fingers. The only issue is that they do leak liquids a bit between compartments if knocked around in backpack, but that may not be a big deal depending on your kids and what you generally pack.

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