Saturday, December 27, 2014


Reminiscing---from a post on New Year’s Eve, 2009

We’ve been conversing about other times, simpler times, my friend Janie and I, and of the things we miss in this fast-paced, ipod, texting, wheatgrass, flashmob, WarGames, CGI, please hold, Muzak, next, please, sugarfree, non-fat red tape Bluetooth white flag greenpeace black Friday Yellow Pages agent orange purple Jesus twitter tweet world.

During our e-mails today, she added these, as well:
Ice cold Cokes in the little bottles (it never tasted so good!)
Wurlitzer jukeboxes with the pretty lights
Sonny and Cher
Flip Wilson
Father Knows Best
Old time tent revivals with rickety wooden benches
Burma Shave signs
Full service gas stations
Crinolines and bobby socks
The Smothers Brothers tv show
Debbie Reynolds in the Tammy movies
Tommy Sands

I’ll concur, and add a few of my
own, since we’re reminiscing. I MISS:

Grady Nutt---Miss Minnie Pearl---Walter Cronkite---Gladys Taber---church bells--- Christopher Reeve---Beah Richards---chenille spreads---Pam &; Jerry North---the scent of the earth at First Turning---orange popsicles---Gee, Your  Hair Smells Terrific---Kraft Theater---going caroling---Richard Boone---All-Day Singin's and Dinner on the Grounds---screen doors with springs---Andy Williams---letters in the mailbox---Martha Rae---mud pies---snow cream---caftans ---the scent of burning leaves---Rob and Laura---vanity skirts---John Ritter---Plum Nuts ice cream--- throwing bread to the bears---hayrides---Vacation Bible School---watermelon cuttings---black telephones---TAXI---those prickly Christmas corsages with artificial greenery and pinecones---Gilmore Girls---Andy Sipowicz---pink Desert Flower lotion---individual iced cakes at parties---crew cuts---wooden ironing boards---real clothespins---Alfred Hitchcock Presents---Mr. Rogers---the scent of Coppertone---Imogene Coca---Fred Waring---Alice at Tea in My Cup---jerky, screechy black-and-white Julia Child on Saturday afternoon---Miss Frances and Ding Dong School---Twilight Zone---mercury thermometers---the REAL Monday-Night lineup which included Designing Women and Hearts Afire, and culminated in Northern Exposure.

Photo by my friend Janie at Southern Lagniappe

Reaching into a cooler or a Coke-box---the kind with lift-up lid and the vague scent of salty metal, with the arctic water and floating ice surrounding the little glass bottles of Coke.

The old pump-organ which occupied one whole wall of my Mammaw’s “middle room,” with its furbelows and fancy carvings, the old rough keys yellowed as horses’ teeth, and
how the decades of layers of hanging hats, pincushions, ribbon, bias tape, seam binding, tape measures, Cardui calendars, tussy-mussies, hatpins and dogtags gave it the look of a melted closet. I know I dusted the thing---I REMEMBER dusting it---I just can’t think HOW. I’d sit on the floor, put both feet onto the pedals, and pump madly for a moment, then hop up onto the stool, and quickly one-finger through “Wha—aat a Friend we Haaa-ve  . . .” before the air supply wheezed silent.

Our little corner “caffay” with the floor of inch-square black-and-white tiles, where the eight red boomerang-formica booths and six counter-stools served thousands of those sublime mustard/pickle/onion crinkle-paper hamburgers over the years, and a little steel sherbet-cup of vanilla ice cream with a string of Hershey’s syrup was the most elegant dessert on Earth.

And speaking of ice cream---there’s nothing to compare with a hot Sunday afternoon out under the mimosas, cranking up a freezer or two of banana ice cream---Eagle Brand, whole milk and a big hand of smooshed bananas---to serve soft and rich into wide soup bowls. I can feel the dust-heat and hear the scrape of those spoons.

Sample sizes. The tiny lipsticks, usually white plastic, about as big as a good squeeze of toothpaste, with a teensy real cover and a tiny cylinder of real lipstick---the ends usually flat on two sides, like a roof on an elf-house. The little pots and jars of real cold cream and moisturizer and astringent, and wee stoppered drams of cologne---the real stuff, not those magazine tear-outs or those nose-clogging “cards” foisted out by brittle women in Nordstrom and van Maur.

The ladies-in-black at the really elegant clothing stores in the larger towns. I imagined they had a training school for these take-no-prisoners, brusque women, like some sort of college with courses in “No-nonsense” and “Abrupt.” They all wore their glasses on chains around their necks, had crisply-permanented or upswept hair, and wore thick-heeled old-lady laceup shoes; every look at you seemed delivered through a lorgnette. Thank goodness I was only there to hold Mother’s purse..

Net or organdy or dotted Swiss skirts on kidney-shaped vanity tables.   I coveted one of those with my whole heart; the trendy-chic teen across the street had one, with a low gold chair to match---it looked as if our town seamstress had made a house-call to stitch Spring formals onto both pieces of furniture.

The scent of old-time grocery stores, with hints of spice and onion skins and the arid crisp dustiness of dried beans, the pungent hit of flyspray, the exotic float of musk from the big hanging stalk of bananas, and the sweet vanilla/licorice/chocolate mingle of the candy case. All enhanced, of course, by a flappy screen door with a green-painted metal “Nehi” or “Grapette” guard-strip just at hand height. Bell optional, but gratifying.

Photo by my friend Robert Walker, of GritsPhotography

Dishes in products---many a little home kitchen was furnished with one-at-a-time wheat-pattern dishes from boxes of Duz, and I once had quite a nice collection of pale blue glassware---goblets to juices, extracted carefully and excitedly each week from boxes of Rinso, the powder as blue as the glass. Gas stations had dish-a-week giveaways, too, with a fill-up.

Cartoons and newsreels and the Saturday serial at movies. This new practice of filling up the gaps before and between shows with thunderous car and Coke ads, and the seat-shaking noise of “trailers” for twenty minutes just isn’t the same, somehow.

Soft-walking, quick-handed waitresses in uniforms, especially pink ones---nylon a bonus. Extra points for Dr. Scholl’s shoes and a pencil through the perm---their stern, no-nonsense style of hospitality was more than made up for by THOSE SUBLIME HAMBURGERS...

It seems I must have had a word-quota to use up, and I’ve just flung them all out amongst you on this last week of the year.    They come with warmest thanks for dropping in, passing by, speaking out, or in any other way participating in this odd and welcoming possibility called LAWN TEA.

I look forward to the days ahead, full of promise, and wish you all well and warm and happy in the New Year.



donna baker said...

And the best new year to come for you.

Jeanne said...

Oh Rachel, You sure brought some great memories. Coke in a bottle beats anything they offer today. I do not touch any of that stuff they sell now. I miss so many of the same things you and Janie mentioned. Life was simple back in the day. The Avon sample lipsticks and the kidney shaped vanity tables with pretty skirts to match the curtains... I remember my cousin Marilyn had her own room because she was an only child. She was so lucky and we loved visiting her. She had a kidney shaped vanity with a 3 way mirror. Her room was all pink. My sisters and I shared one large bedroom and I slept with my sister until she was married. There were also bunk beds made by our dad. I can honestly say we never gave sharing a bedroom a thought. We are all still close to this day. Our mother forbid us to fight and I can tell you we did not fight.

Entertainment on TV today is too graphic and we hardly watch TV at all. Electronics are over the top. Give me the good old days...big smile here.

I enjoyed your post as always.
Love, Jeanne

GSL said...

You just jarred a lot of memories from the first 25 years of my life and with many of those memories including faces then adored now missed but never forgotten. Rachel, you are a treasure and hope your Christmas was sunny and bright at least in spirit and 2015 will bring you and loved ones many more events and memories the young ones will long cherish!

Debbie@Debbie-Dabble and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

O MY!!
I stopped by to Thank you for your very kind and heart felt words!! Thank you , sweet lady for lifting my spirits this morning!!
And then I had the pleasure of seeing this wonderful post filled with so many memories, those that brought back well tucked away memories in this very cluttered mind of mine!!
Fantastic post!!
Thanks so much for your visits and for encouraging me along the way. I had a bit of a rough time this Christmas season even though I did not mention it on my posts and your words helped me through it.
I will be doing a few posts about this in the future over on my regular blog and tomorrow when I post my One Little Word for 2015! I hope you will continue to stop by and looking forward to enjoying your blog in the New Year!!



Karen said...

Hi Rachel,
Wow! Lots of reminiscing today as I visit you. I loved those mini lipsticks. My mom used to get them and give them to me. Also in your previous post - Joe Cocker..... I waited in line for hours to see him in Vancouver, B.C. about 40 years ago. Thank you for the memories! Happy New Year Friend! It was such an enjoyable visit with you today. Karen

Kim S. said...

Oh, my dear! I miss so many of those things, too. Even the ones that are borrowed memories (those talked about so much by my elders that they seem like mine). Pam & Jerry! Vanity skirts – do they even make these kinds of vanities anymore. I remember that you could buy them at the unfinished furniture store – the bare skeleton of one. Daddy could paint it to match your room and Momma could sew a skirt to match your curtains and dust ruffle!

Beverly said...

Ah, sweet memories. I'll add a few "I miss" to the list.

Charles Kuralt, orange trees in the backyard, my daddy and my grandparents, my girlfriends, getting lots of pretties in my Christmas stocking, petticoats and dresses with full skirts to twirl and twirl in, playing Barbie, singing in the car with my daddy on long road trips, my mother's love.

Okay, now I've made myself cry, so I better stop. Sending love from me to you, Rachel.

Jeanne said...

Hello dear Rachel, Thank you so much for your very sweet comment on my PS post. Your words are very kind as always and I appreciate it so much. Each day that I look at my hair I am liking it more. Now the gray should take over and it is a relief not to color my hair anymore.

The ice flowers do amaze me and I still have a few more to share. Mother nature is amazing.

Keep warm and seize each day. That is my goal for 2015. However, in the summer, I dare say I will try to keep cool. Big smile here.
Love, Jeanne