There was a quiz on Facebook awhile ago designed, I think, to make me feel bad. And old.
It listed 19 things from years past and quiz-takers were to check the ones they remembered. Things like home delivery of milk in glass bottles, tiny wax coke-shaped bottles with colored water in them, phone numbers with a word prefix (CYPress-3396) and roller skate keys. Stuff like that.
I not only remembered all 19 items, I remember when phone numbers had no prefix at all – ours was 606. The post office where my dad worked was 35. My best friend Marilyn’s was 380. And you just picked up the receiver and told “Central” what number you wanted.
The smart-alec conclusion of the quiz decreed that if you remember everything on the list, “You are older than dirt!” The author was probably a smug 30-something brat.
Although I can wax nostalgic as well as anyone, and much as I would like to put the 30-something quiz brat in his place, I can’t in truth say that those days were better and isn’t he sorry he missed out.
For one thing, the glass milk bottles broke when dropped on the driveway by a somewhat clumsy child (not I, of course – my sister did it).
The roller skate keys, which we used to tighten the clamps on our shoes, got lost all the time. Or else, the tightening didn’t hold, leading to the skate twisting off, throwing the skater to the ground. (Not I, of course – one of my somewhat clumsy friends).
The little wax bottles we sucked colored water out of were a huge disappointment – they held barely two drops of water. Yet, some ever-hopeful children kept buying them in case they somehow magically would produce more water. (Not I, of course).
The neat thing about having “Central” on the other end of our phone line was she provided great entertainment for when we were bored. “Hi, Central – you sound pretty – my brother would like to date you.” I didn’t do that, of course – I didn’t have a brother. Or, “Central, listen to this: Knock-knock, who’s there?, Red. Red who? Red Pepper, ain’t that a hot one?” This was followed by gales of laughter, probably giving long-suffering Central a headache and a firm resolve never to have children. I, of course, never did that.
Other stuff I never did includes, but is not limited to, throwing popcorn at the screen in the old Iowa theater on Thorington Street, ringing doorbells and hiding when the hapless resident answered the door, stealing a shiny pink rock from the West Bend Grotto. Okay, I admit I did that last one. The rock was lying loose on the ground and was so shiny and beautiful I had to have it.
I stuck it in my pocket but when I got home and pulled it out, the sharp edge had cut my hand and it was bleeding. I was sure God was punishing me on the spot and now I would never get to heaven.
I’m really hoping God has a short memory.