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Do You Remember When?

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Some of my younger readers may not recognize what the two items above have to do with each other. Sometimes the best way to rewind a cassette tape was with a wooden pencil which fit perfectly into those little holes.

I received a fun e-mail a while back that reminded me of all sorts of items from my youth. I thought it would be fun to reconstruct that e-mail in today's blog post, with several twists of my own.

You older folks will recognize the following item, no doubt.

45 Spindle Adapter

That is an adapter to play 45 r.p.m. records on a record player.

Remember big, clunky reel-to-reel tape recorders?

Reel To Reel

Remember Brownie cameras?

Brownie Camera

And flash bulbs?

Flash Bulbs

Much less "hi-tech" is this aluminum ice cube tray.

Ice Cube Tray

A homemaker's work was made much easier with a wringer washing machine like this one.

Maytag Wringer Washer

Her life was also improved by door-to-door salespeople whose products were just what she needed, like the Fuller brushes.

Fuller Brush Man

Or ... Ding Dong! Avon Calling!

Avon Calling

If you couldn't afford Avon, there was always Evening in Paris for her...

Evening In Paris

...and Aqua Velva for him.

Aqua Velva

Several other products for his grooming were Brylcreem ... a little dab'll do you!


or Vitalis ... to avoid "greasy kid's stuff!"


TV was still in its infancy during my childhood. Much of the day all we saw was a test pattern like the one below.

Test Pattern

When the test pattern was gone, we had great shows like Sky King.

Sky King

And Ed Sullivan with his little friend Topo Gigio.

Topo Gigio

In retrospect, the commercials were really bizarre back then, unlike those of today. Remember Speedy Alka Selzer?

Speedy Alka Seltzer

Remember the ads for Jiffy Pop? You just had to try it out for yourself!

Jiffy Pop

TV commercials got us kids to beg our parents to buy us some neat toys for Christmas. For the girls there was Chatty Cathy.

Chatty Cathy

One of my personal favorites was American bricks. I wish I had saved mine. Any of you other guys play with those?

American Bricks

There was also the very popular cork pop gun.

Cork Pop Gun

This next item was essential for one of our childhood toys.

Roller Skate Key

That's the key we used to tighten our sidewalk roller skates to our shoes.

If our toys were a little dangerous, at least children's lives were made safer with fire escape tubes at school.

Fire Escape Tube

Christmas time for many included an aluminum Christmas tree with a revolving color wheel.

Aluminum Tree

If only I could recover all the time my sister and I wasted lying on the living room floor watching the tree change colors! 🙂

Christmas time also included ribbon candy.

Ribbon Candy

The rest of the year we actually had for real "penny candy."

Penny Candy

And kids would make endlessly long chains with gum wrappers.

Gum Wrapper Chain

But gum was cheap back then, as were many other things. Here are several things we could buy for 5¢.

5 cent Coke

You could buy gum with baseball cards in the pack for 5¢ back then!

5 Cent Baseball Cards

You could send a letter first class for 5¢.

5 Cent First Class Postage

And gasoline was only 25¢ a gallon!

25 Cent Gasoline

You could get a hamburger at McDonald's for 15¢.

McDonalds 15

We didn't have drive-thru restaurants back then. We had drive-in restaurants.

Drive-In Restaurant

Orders were taken and food was delivered by car hops on roller skates.

Car Hops

The drive-in restaurant with car hops on skates is actually making a come back today, like at Sonic.

I hope this has been a fun history lesson for my young readers and a nice nostalgia break from "grown-up life" for those of you closer to my age.

It's fun to reminisce, but quite frankly I like living in our current era, even with all of its problems and frustrations.


"Holy doesn't mean holier than thou. Holy means character like Jesus." — Drew Conley


Nostalgia isn't what is used to be.

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7 Comments on “Do You Remember When?”

  1. #1 Michael
    on Feb 13th, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Why was there an Indian chief on the TV test pattern?

    It might be nice to have a post in the future about fads of the past. That might not be the right term for them, but I’m thinking of things like eight track tapes and beta video tapes.

  2. #2 David
    on Feb 13th, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Here are a couple Alka Seltzer commercials:

    Coke stayed the same price for over 70 years. It’s a bit of an economic puzzle and a very fascinating story. The NPR report was very good.


  3. #3 karen
    on Feb 13th, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Thanks for the memories. The only one I don’t remember is the plastic building set. Great pics! Great memories!

  4. #4 Diane
    on Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Enjoyed this…so many memories. Life was so much simpler, wasn’t it? Or, maybe it was because I was a child without responsibilities… 😉

  5. #5 Emily
    on Feb 14th, 2013 at 11:42 am

    After reading this blog article yesterday, I happened to watch a re-run of a futuristic TV show I’ve seen several times before. For a brief moment they showed a screen with that television test pattern inage. I had never before noticed, nor would I have gotten the joke! 😀 Thanks for all the fun information you provide, Mr. IVMan!!

  6. #6 bj
    on Feb 15th, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    WOW! I am only 36, but I remember a lot of these! I don’t remember the test screen, but I do remember getting our first color tv. We used a wringer washer. I made lots of gum wrapper chains, competing with my brother for longest chain. We played with pop guns, and rubber band guns, I had some skates requiring a key, then I got some that were new, and just snapped over my shoes.:-) We had one of those ice trays, and though I can’t remember how well it worked, I think the idea is great! our local general store had penny candy and one store near where I lived in Cecil, Alabama even had sodas in glass bottles, sold out of wooden barrels filled with ice, for only .15 or a quarter. Not sure which. This store was even featured in an old Christmas special. I still have the family brownie camera. I lived near a McDonald’s that looked just like that, without the cool cars. My mom’s favorite candy was the ribbon candy. The real kind that was almost paper thin. When I was 5, I remember spending many an afternoon helping sort and stuff into bags the Avon order, then I got to help deliver them door to door. Okay, I will stop now. I am feeling very old….

  7. #7 Ray
    on Feb 19th, 2013 at 10:12 am

    When I was a kid… we occasionally had a 16mm film in the church I grew up in – they were rented and mailed around as they were more expensive than a DVD to own. I was reminded of that with the reel to reel recorder – which is what my parent’s wedding was recorded on.

    There used to be Lionel trains, Erector sets, and Old Spice aftershave. Other items from the past can be found in the Vermont Country Store.