As time passes and technology takes over I find that there are many things we have let go to the wayside, disappear, and forgotten; simple things, fun things, and the not so fun elements of our daily lives. I have started this blog to catalog those "missed" things that when mentioned to a younger generation will cause knitted eyebrows, shaken heads, and a "what's that?” expression; now you have a place to show them just…What

This is a catalog of all the things that I and others miss from their younger days and olden times.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

#94 ~ wing vent windows

Before air conditioning became common, cars had vent windows that canted outward to provide a cooling, and deflected, breeze as you drove.  Wing vents had all sorts of uses and I really miss them. I don't miss that whistling noise that would inevitably appear as your vehicle aged, though.

So, what was a vent window good for? I remember watching cigarette smoke miraculously get sucked out of the barely-cracked wing vent as my mother would drive down the road. Every trace of smoke went straight for that vent window.

It was also perfect for sticking an eight  year-olds foot through on a hot summer day. You could direct as much or little air into the car, send it pretty much any direction you needed; unlike our modern day dashboard side-air vents. In addition, it just doesn't seem as cool inside on a hot summer day with regular windows rolled down. The air blast you got from wide-open wing vents on a hot summer day kept you cool. And… if another window was open, it kept the interior of your car completely free of small lightweight objects.

Then there's access to a locked vehicle. My mother had a 1961 Plymouth station wagon. I remember her leaving the keys in the ignition once with the doors locked. No prob. A kind man with a strategically placed pocketknife blade pried up the vent window's locking lever and she was able to reach in and unlock the car. If your wing vent was unlockable from the outside, it was also the cheapest window to break if all else failed. Today, there is nary a vent window to be seen. Lock your keys in the car and you're better off forking over 50 or more dollars to a locksmith than breaking a big window.

Wing vents disappeared gradually. Camaros and Firebirds were released without vent windows. Who needed them when you had air conditioning and 29¢ gas? As the 70's went on, more and more carmakers did away with the diminutive windows. My 1974 Ford Courier had them, but Ford removed them in the early 80’s. My husband’s 1976 Chevy Monte Carlo did not. Eventually manufactures started to install a Sunroof or Moonroof that were able to open slightly for circulation…and that is only because these items heated cars!

Without vent windows, your only choice is to roll down the windows and get a hair-mussing windstorm --or crank up the AC and waste a ton of fuel. To bring back Wing Vent Windows would add a retro touch and functionality to modern cars.

Monday, March 21, 2011

#95 ~ rainy day sessions

Rainy Day School Sessions  were the days when it rained and all the students would get to go home early; usually a half-day.  I’m not sure of the reasoning behind this practice; some thoughts, it gave parents the opportunity to pick up kids who walked to and from school or a bus stop. The other possibility was that the teachers just did not know what to do with all those kids during recess time when they would have to stay indoors and not out on a wet and drizzly playground.

I Googled “rainy day session” and got a ton of hits for a musical group named Rainy Day Sessions, but nothing about the ‘wonderful to all kids’ practice of half-day school sessions due to rain. I do know that in the snow areas, they have “snow days” but that is more due to heavy snowfall that has shut down travel back and forth a destination.

I loved rainy day sessions. I didn’t care if I had to do chores, extra homework, or simply play when I got home. All I knew was that I didn’t have to sit in a classroom and listen to my teachers drone on and on. Yes, I did have subjects I was interested in and loved, such as history, but still when you had the option to study at school or at home, I always chose home.
The memory of those rainy day sessions are still clear in my mind and filed in my “fun things I did as a child” right next to the most often performed entertainment for rainy days…. Building forts with furniture and linens—remember that? Furniture Fort building is a play that is still going strong to this day.

Too bad, we can’t have rainy day sessions as adults. Look what fun it would be to have your boss come to you and say, “due to the rain, I am giving everyone the rest of the day off.” Wow, that would get some hoorays, but then again what if you were the consumer and needed that business to be open.  There are always two sides to a coin.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

#96 ~ when cashiers could count

 I miss the days when a cashier could actually figure out in their head how much change you would get back during a purchase. Now they have a computer to tell them and they still can't get figure is out sometimes.

In my teens I worked in my father's pharmacy. I remember having to count back change to a customer starting with the amount of the charges and ending in what they gave you. Such as, the sale was 3.18 and they handed me 5.00. You started with 2 pennies, saying 3.20, then a nickel- 3.25, three quarters- 3.50, 3.75, 4.00, ending with a one-dollar bill- 5.00. They knew you had it correct, you knew you had it correct... End of sale.

Now you just get some money slammed into your hand; and, if you really want to know if it's correct you have to count it out yourself. One young cashier snapped at me, "Hey lady there's a line. Its right, computer is always right." I answered, "That may be true...but the computer didn't remove the cash and hand it to me...did it?" She glared at me for a couple of seconds, huffed out a "whatever" and waved me away. (okay, another issue for another day- rudness. I miss simple public decorum.)

New electronic cash registers are to blame for many cashier's inability to count back your change or even know if what they handed you is correct. I also wonder how many of the younger generation would even know if they got back the wrong amount when they are on the receiving end.

 And... have you ever given someone a strange payment, let's say for $17.00, you hand them a twenty and two ones. They almost freak and hand you back the one-dollar bills saying you gave them too much. You will really mess with their heads if you add one or two pennies to any amount you give them. HaHaHa!

     Yeah, I am afraid we have created a world where most can no longer figure numbers in thier heads. What will happen with it all crashes and the electronic gizmos fail?

Monday, March 7, 2011

#97 ~ hand-written letters, cards, & notes

with the new age of texting, emails, and instant messaging the hand-written word is soon to be lost.

I love writing, never have been a real fan of writing by hand, but there are those times when something from the written hand had that special meaning.

My mother taught me to always send hand-written thank you letters. I still do. I have my own stationery, a drawer full of unique cards, notes and letters so I am equipped to write at anytime. Think about how good it feels to find a card or letter in your mailbox amongst the mundane bills.

It worries me to think we’re the first generation to have no written record of ourselves. An article on the importance of writing humorously asks, “If Jefferson had sent text messages to Adams, think what would have been lost to history.” A valid thought, no doubt.

I find it ironic that we e-mail and text and all the massive amounts of information shared through YouTube, television, cameras, phones, networks and blogging which record every second of our lives, however, it can all be deleted or lost in translation. Newsweek author, Malcolm Jones finds the root of this problem “is sifting through the set of data. The most common complaint of our time is that we are overwhelmed by information, unmediated and unstoppable.”

I agree with Jones when it comes to lack of writing in our generation: “The decline in letter writing constitutes a cultural shift so vast that in the future, historians may divide time not between B.C. and A.D. but between the eras when people wrote letters and when they did not.”

Writing isn’t only a nostalgic feeling for us but “when we read a letter, we develop an image of the letter writer unavailable to us in any other way.” We are transported to the writer’s words, voice and personality. The written word is alive to me. It’s like comparing your favorite book, eloquently written and envisioned, to a movie. The two simply do not compare.

Writing is important and writing is real.

I write to clear my mind. I write to understand how I feel. I write to express myself. I write to show my love. I write love letters. I have a box of letters I’ve received over time; I will keep them forever. I write to give. I write lists and notes, everyday. I write what I want in life. I write and I don’t want to stop writing. Pretty soon (if not already) we will be comparing our eras – where people used to write and to now and the future, when we stopped the art of physically writing.

Have you thought about the historical context of hand-written versus online? Do you still write letters or cards or is this obsolete to you?