Friday, September 24, 2010



Byter Leo sent an email which touched off responses from my friends and myself, all of us being in the email group. Although lengthy, Leo’s initial email and the responses are worth posting to bring back some memories…
From Leo:

They were the days.........

Bring back any memories? Older than dirt

Someone asked the other day, 'What was your favourite '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 'home,'' I explained.
'Mum cooked every day and when Dad 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'd figured his system could have handled it:

Some parents NEVER owned their own house, wore Levis, set foot on a golf course, travelled out of the country or had a credit card.

My parents never drove me to school. 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 I was 10. It was, of course, black and white, and the station went off the air at 10 pm, after playing the national anthem and epilogue; it came back on the air at about 6 a.m. and there was usually a locally produced news and farm show on, featuring local people...

I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone 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.

All newspapers were delivered by boys and all boys delivered newspapers --My brother delivered a newspaper, seven days a week. He had to get up at 6AM every morning.

Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut. At least, they did in the movies. There were no movie ratings because all movies were responsibly produced for everyone to enjoy viewing, without profanity or violence or most anything offensive.

If you grew up in a generation before there was fast food, you may want to share some of these memories with your children or grandchildren. Just don't blame me if they bust a gut laughing. Growing up isn't what it used to be, is it?

MEMORIES from a friend:

My Dad is cleaning out my grandmother's house (she died in December) and he brought me 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 my daughter 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 of the car.
Ignition switches on the dashboard.
Trouser leg clips for bicycles without chain guards.
Soldering irons you heated 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. Sweet cigarettes
2. Coffee shops with juke boxes
3. Home milk delivery in glass bottles
4. Party lines on the telephone
5. Newsreels before the movie
6. TV test patterns that came on at night after the last show and were there until TV shows started again in the morning. (There were only 2 channels [if you were fortunate])
7. Peashooters
8. 33 rpm records
9. 45 RPM records
10. Hi-fi's
11. Metal ice trays with lever
12. Blue flashbulb
13. Cork popguns
14. Wash tub wringers

If you remembered 0-3 = You’re still young.
If you remembered 3-6 = You are getting older.
If you remembered 7-10 = Don't tell your age.
If you remembered 11-14 =You're older than dirt!

I must be 'older than dirt' but those memories are some of the best parts of my life.

From me:

I remember all of those except party lines, didn't have those in Blacktown where I grew up. It was all bush in those days, outside toilets... I definitely am getting old.

From Gino:

I too can remember all except the party line and we lived in Bondi and my grandparents in Stanmore. We had the type of phone which required you to hold the ear piece to the ear and the mouth piece to your mouth in order to use it. Strangely I also remember their phone No: LM-4522 but not what I had for breakfast.

From Charles:

Our phone number at Kingsgrove was LY-6626, our grandparents in Campsie had UW-7218 and the number at my first job as an articled clerk at Marrickville was 56 6342.

From John:

I can remember my old Balmain phone number - WB 3344 (ie 82 3344)

I remember the big old ceramic black phone with two beautiful bells in a separate box on the wall. It made a very loud sound when it rang. Sometimes we would put paper under it when my baby brothers were asleep so it did not ring so loud.

From Sam:

I remember the old gas hot water heater in the bathroom which you had to light with a match and remember always being shit scared that the friggin' thing was going to blow up in my face. I remember the old "Early Kooka" cream enamel oven and stove which did in fact blow up in my aunt's face one night and which led to my entirely justified fear of the gas heater.

I cannot possibly forget the outside toilet especially early on a freezing cold winter's morning.

From John:

I remember flavoured straws to improve the flavour of the school milk in summer
- teeth sticking to toffee and the blackening effect of a ‘choo choo bar'
- drunks rolling down Darling Street on Friday and Sat nights
- listening to the footie on Sat Arvo on 2KY "if its straight - its there'
- our neighbour had the first black & white TV on the block and it took about a minute to warm up
- the day JFK was killed

From me:

The memory stirs. If it's straight it's there - Frank Hyde. And who will forget Rex Mossop, The Moose.

Wot about the fact that everything closed at midday Saturday. No shops open, no late night shopping, everything shut at midday Saturday and 5.00pm weekdays. Sunday: nothing, no football, no shops, no pubs open. That is why corner shops and bowling clubs etc developed.

From Tom (age 21):

God I hope I don't end up like you lot in 50 years... "You kids have it so easy these days! All we had were iPhones and DVDs, and we were bloody grateful for it too!"

From Charles:

What's an iPhone, Tom?

From me:

The young bull speaks...

From Tom:

Think two peach tins connected with string, but it has lots of lights and sounds and pretty colours...

From Charles:

In fact, butcher shops were required by law to close by 11.30am on Saturdays and hairdressers and barbers had to close by 1 pm.

From Vince:

I'm older than you all and so my parents' number in Scone where I was born was even shorter than all of yours: 318. Cop that!

From Sam:


Go to the nursing home at once! Do not pass GO. You are definitely past your use-by date.

The Sat. arvo footie you're referring to was Frank Hyde on 2SM. "It's long enough, if it's straight enough, it's there. It's straight between the posts." I can't remember ever not listening to it.

The Saturday match was usually, if not always, at the SCG and Frank Hyde used to comment about the Bulli soil on the cricket pitch areas. Grahame Langlands, Johnny Raper, Eddie Lumsden, Sticks Provan, Poppa Clay etc for St George. Keith Barnes, George Piper, Bobbie Boland, Bob Mara for the Tigers. Don Parish, Noel Kelly & Peter Dimond for the Magpies.

And wiping your bum on squares of newspaper stuck on a nail on the back of the toilet door.

From me:

No light except moonlight, the wet grass, stepping on snails, the heady aroma... and the refugees think they're doing it tough in the refugee centres

From Leo:

What the hell has been going on whilst I have been out to lunch??????? 40 emails on shit Tom wasn't even born before...........

Charles, sausages had to have at least 40% fat and you could buy rabbits everywhere and bags of broken biscuits. You actually got a number of lollies for a penny and milkshakes had names like blue heaven...... There was one good fish and chip shop, milk bar, fruit shop and RSL for cheap meal and home cooking 7 days a week, except for battered cod on Friday nights or orange hake, without colouring or preservatives. Now we glow in the dark............


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