Monday, April 1, 2013

Do You Remember?

There is an old song named "Dearie," which was recorded by several different people in the 1950s. When done as a duet (the version I remember), the chorus went like this:

(First Voice:) Dearie,
Life was cheery,
In the good old days gone by.
Do you remember?

(Second Voice:) Yes, I remember.

(First Voice:)  Then, Dearie,
You're much older than I!

My grandmother was born in 1886. During the early part of her life, transportation was powered by horses. She lived to travel across the country by jet plane and to see, via TV, men walking on the moon.

I was born in 1941, just a few months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. There were no jet planes, no air conditioning, no electronic tools and gadgets. Automobiles, while common, were a great deal more primitive that those of today. I learned to type in high school on an upright manual typewriter that required a good deal of finger strength when striking the keys, and mistakes required a coarse eraser that would leave a hole in the paper if too energetically applied. Television did not reach our town until I was a teenager, and then it was one, often snowy, black and white channel. Then came the computer age, first affecting my life with punch card billing. Then the electronic age blossomed, changing everything.

My granddaughter was born in 1997. She has never known anything but the electronic age. It is a strange thought that everything in the first half century of my life is definitely the Olden Days to her! Such extreme changes in the way the world works over the span of five generations, each member of each of these generation being part of my life.

So, here is a picture that includes something from those Olden Days that you just don't see anymore (I don't mean the little girls!). The quality of the photo is not good, but my eye was drawn to the object fastened to the front bumper of the car.

The girls are sisters Terry and Grace.
That object is a waterbag. If you remember traveling with one of those, you may not be "much older than I," but you are likely getting up there!

The waterbag was made of canvas and had a spout on one end. When it was filled with water there was a slow seepage that dampened the canvas. The wind generated by the moving car caused evaporation, with a cooling effect on the water in the bag. Of course, if someone needed a drink, the car had to stop to gain access to that cooled water!

Today when starting a trip we fill a cooler with bottled or canned drinks and ice, which is readily available at every convenience store, and have a supply of whatever drinks are favored by the passengers. Of course, in those Olden Days there weren't any convenience stores either!

Do I miss those Olden Days? Well, some things in the social order, yes. (Other things in the social order, not at all. But that is another topic.) But I love modern conveniences. Cell phones are wonderful and nowadays I wouldn't even feel safe travelling without one. (Making a long-distance call during my growing-up years was a lengthy process through many operators just to get the connection.) And computers! I'd really hate having to go back to those old typewriters. Central heating and cooling? Wonderful! Comfortable, air conditioned (or heated) automobiles? Marvelous. And I adore good plumbing. I am rather glad I experienced living before these wonders; and I'm really glad I've lived long enough to enjoy them!


  1. I, too, love the conveniences. However, I also love your posts from days gone by.

  2. Me too! I love the pictures, and learning about how you and mom grew up.