Email Memory Tests

April 25, 2012

I long ago lost count of the “older than dirt” type quizzes that get passed around by people of all ages… I think. I could be wrong on that. Younger folks may be embarrassed by their low scores and simply hit the ‘delete’ button.

In any case, I received another one today and decided to expound on it. (In truth, it has been a while since I’ve added a post to my blog – that brags about something new every day – and this is basically writing itself.)

We begin with Blackjack chewing gum. Do I remember it? Of course. I also remember Bemen’s Pepsin, Clark’s Teaberry, and my father telling me about how he and his friends chewed on tar.

By the way, this “quiz” was a simple one. Do you remember it? Yes or No?

Next on the list was wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water. I don’t know who puts these lists together, but this confection is still available, as is the next item on the list – candy cigarettes.

Now, soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles are from the past, but why stop there? What about the coolers that were filled with icy water and rows of bottles. To purchase a beverage, you reached down and grabbed the bottle by the top and slid it along the metal guides to the point where it could be removed. Inserting the ten cents released the lock so you could pull your choice up and out of the cold water.

Coffee shops or diners with table-side juke boxes? Why is this on any list? They are still in use in various locations. (Of course, with my short-term memory fading fast, I can’t recall where I last saw them, but I know they are still there!)

Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers are easy to remember. My uncle worked for Meadow Gold. They delivered every other day. In between, the Otto milkman made his rounds. If we ever ran short, he was glad to sell us any of his products.

Party lines on the telephone are another thing I remember vividly. To take things a step farther, I wonder how many of my grandchildren have ever seen a telephone with a dial.

I vaguely recall the newsreels before the movie. But I do remember that every movie was preceded by a cartoon and selected short subjects.

My P.F. Flyers were high top. In fact, until I was in middle school I don’t think low cuts had been invented. I could be wrong on that one.

Any one who had a flat top haircut knew Butch wax. Many of us also were very familiar with Wildroot Cream Oil and Bryl-creem.

TV test patterns that came on at night after the last show and were there until TV shows started again in the morning were there to help us fine tune our set. In addition to the rabbit ears, there were several knobs for vertical and horizontal hold, focus, brightness, and contrast. When we got our first TV, we could watch channel 3 – the Dumont Television Network, or snow.

I don’t know of anyone who ever had a professional model Peashooter. Straws and paper wads served the purpose for us.

Howdy Doody was one of the few TV shows way back then. My favorite show was Captain Video and the Video Ranger. Rocky King was a favorite of my parents.

One should not mention 45 RPM records without talking about one of two associated devices. In order to play those records with the big hole in the middle, you had to either place a plastic disk into each record, or put a large adapter on the spindle of the record player.

S&H green stamps are the tip of that iceberg. We had merchants giving out Plaid Stamps, Blue Stamps, Yellow Stamps, dishes and glasses, dish clothes, and other freebies. Of course, filling up at the gas station meant having a person run out, pump the gas, clean your windshield, check your oil and tire pressure, and offer to walk your dog. (Just kidding about the dog,) All of that service for 18 cents a gallon at the cheap “Fair Price” station. My older brothers always got upset with me for not paying 25 cents a gallon for the ‘good’ stuff. (They fell for the Atlantic Gasoline ads.)

Hi-fi’s were the forerunners to stereos, which were the forerunners of the surround sound, which were… you get the idea. High fidelity sound was a step above opening the louvers on the Victrola.

Metal ice trays with a lever were pretty handy if the freezer in your refrigerator was large enough to handle them. Our freezer could barely hold a half-gallon of ice cream (when it really was a half-gallon).

Mimeograph paper is one item that illustrates the ignorance of teenagers. There never was such a thing. The paper used in a mimeograph machine was plain old typing paper. Calling it a mimeographed copy would be more accurate. And I never knew anyone to get high smelling their test papers.

The blue flashbulb was supposed to reduce the glare caused by the older version of the flash bulb, which was much easier to use than the flash powder of earlier photography. My favorite thing about flashbulbs is that you could peel away the covering after the bulb had been used. It felt like plastic, but I really don’t know what the substance was now why it was used. Perhaps someone who reads this knows and will be kind enough to leave a comment.

How can we think about Packards without mentioning all the other car companies that have gone out of business over the years? Fifty years from now these quizzes will be asking about Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles, Plymouths, and who knows which car might be next to go away.

Roller skate keys might still be around. I’ll have to take a closer look in the toy stores.

Cork popguns were one of the many ways mothers thought boys could put their eyes out. We also had guns that fired Ping-Pong balls. Of course, BB guns were on the top of many Christmas wish lists.

Drive-in movies bring back many memories. Many teens went there to watch the submarine races.

Studebakers – refer to Packards above.

Wash tub wringers were a step up from finding a good rock along the river.

And that was the last item on today’s list. That’s good because I didn’t get upset with the mistaken belief that the Ink Spots had a hit recording of “Cab Driver.” For the uninformed, it was the Mills Brothers who made that record.

And now you know that at least one of the answers on those quizzes is most likely wrong. Makes you wonder about others.

We’re Debt Free!

April 5, 2012

This is OUR Home - not the bank's!

It’s taken a lot of years and a lot of fiscal restraint, but it has been worth it. There is a great feeling in being able to say “We’re debt free!”. If you’ve ever listened to the Dave Ramsey show, you’ve no doubt heard the exuberance in the voices of those who are able to say it.

My eyes were open to the evils of debt back in 1992 when I left my job with IBM and sat down with a co-worker with whom I was considering partnering in buying a business. He had been a manager – I had not; yet IBM saw fit to pay me a higher wage. Therefore, I had to be better off financially – right? Wrong! DEAD WRONG!

He and his wife lived with a simple plan. If they couldn’t pay cash for something, they didn’t buy it until they could. The only exception to that rule was their home, which was modest by most IBM managers’ standards.

Bottom line: he had almost a half million dollars of assets that could be liquidated. I was lucky to have one hundred thousand.

It made me look back at all those minimum payments on credit cards. I figured I had given the banks over two hundred fifty thousand dollars in interest payments over the years. Had I not wasted that money, it could have been invested and paying me interest.

Ever since that time I’ve worked to reverse that trend. I’ve driven cars until they fall apart and then replace them with new used cars. I take my garbage to the dump and pay 50 cents per bag rather than paying some guy in a truck $20 per month. I could be considered cheap in many ways, but I really don’t care; I am out of debt!

And that does not mean we are now rich. It simply means we do not owe anything that cannot be paid in full to avoid interest charges. We still have to pay the electric bill, the phone bill, the water bill, and the credit card bills.

Yes, we still buy things on credit, only so our money can gain interest until we need to pay the bills.

More importantly, we are now working on building our emergency fund and putting money away for our retirement.

One of my main reasons for reaching this point in my life is based on seeing elderly folks forced to move in with their adult children because they are no longer able to live alone and cannot afford to live in an assisted living facility. I’ve also seen elderly people who have made the effort to cover their own “end-of-life” expenses. They made it much easier on their children.

My bride and I both have long care insurance to help pay for nursing care as needed. We’re also building up the funds so we can afford to live on our own as long as possible.

Someday our children might thank us for being so frugal.

Let ‘er Rip!

April 2, 2012

I’m sure I’m not alone. Many of us have written things over the years and looked at getting it published as a losing battle. Today’s technology has changed everything.

I now have four books available online. Three of them can be downloaded to your Nook. All four are there for your Kindle.

Take a look and see what is involved. You can do it too!

This is a collection of articles I’ve written over the years/

This is a “how to” book encouraging people to travel. It has a ton of helpful hints so you can take that dream trip without it costing you your life’s savings.

A murder mystery that should make every parent and grandparent more aware of the importance of keeping an eye on the children.

And every writer has to write at least one romance novel.

Using the latest technology to get your materials published is fantastic! No more messing around trying to find an agent and no more paying a vanity press thousands of dollars so you can store stacks of unsold books in your garage.

Visit and Barnes & Noble. Learn about the e-books that are available at very reasonable prices and learn how you can add your works to the libraries.