Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Olden Times (When I Was Young)

When you talk to a young person about pretty much any item in daily use now, and that item was in daily use years ago, it's important to realize that you and that young person are not seeing the same thing in your minds' eyes.

Many things that come in plastic bags nowadays didn't.  Bread came wrapped in waxed paper, which could be reused for wrapping sandwiches in school lunches.  Because we didn't have baggies.  People who weren't poor had brand new waxed paper from a roll, but, at our house, the bread wrapper sufficed.  And the waxed paper came home to be reused all week.  We had lunch boxes...plain metal ones, with no superheroes or cartoon characters on them, and the thermoses were metal and lined with glass.

Tubes for toothpaste and hand cream and such were metal.  Lead, probably.  They were very flexible, and stayed rolled up when we were trying to get that last little bit of stuff out of the bottom...

Milk cartons were waxed cardboard, and they didn't have that little screw cap on top...we had to open them by hand.  Hardly any such containers were resealable in any secure way.

Butter didn't come in sticks, it was one solid block, and you cut off part of it to put it in a butter dish, which was usually square or round rather than the stick of butter shape we see today.  If we bought margarine, it was white and looked like lard.  It came with a little packet of colour than could be mixed in so it looked more like butter.  That was because the gubmint thought people were too stupid to read the package and tell the difference, so manufacturers were not allowed to make it look like butter.  Stores were not allowed to display it next to butter, either, for the same reason, I guess.

Cigarettes came in two sizes:  regular and king.  The king sized ones are the ones we refer to as short ones today.  We didn't have those 100s.  A lot of people smoked plain end cigarettes, without so much as a filter in sight.  Many more rolled their own than do today.  Most people used matches, as there were no butane lighters, let alone disposable ones.  The zippo was extant, as were "table lighters," which frequently were made of silver and quite expensive.

Plastic bottles were all glass.  Even shampoo and other slippery shower items.  We didn't have conditioner...there was something called cream rinse, which did the same thing.  Most of us rinsed our hair with vinegar.

I don't know if there was dish detergent, because, if it was available, my parents didn't buy it.  We used a bit of laundry soap powder in the dishwater.

The first deodorant my mom bought for me was a cream in a jar, like cold cream.  I remember roll-on deodorant, but it was sticky and I didn't like it.  There were no antiperspirants.

There also were no baby wipes, makeup wipes or cleaning wipes.  We used rags and washed them.

No disposable diapers, though we did have disposable menstrual pads.  Hallelujah...complete with belts and hooks and pins...

No pantyhose, either; just stockings and garter belts.  No proper running shoes.

No velcro, no microfiber, no headphones or earbuds.  No pop-top cans, no screw top soda bottles. No blow dryers.

It really seems odd to think back on it now...


  1. Those were the days indeed. We could do with reviving those some of those early practices. Less plastic, more glass and I'd completely do away with wipes except for travelling.

  2. Travelling with cloth diapers and cotton washcloths could be something of a nightmare. SSS used to always wonder where the diapers went, as we always seemed to be running out. I never told him about the ones I abandoned rather than carry them around in a plastic bad inside the diaper bag till I got home.