Sunday, September 15, 2019

Products with Prizes

My mom never bought us Red Goose shoes - the ones that came with the free toys and candy in a golden egg. We may have gotten a pair of Poll Parrot and Buster Brown shoes, though. To be honest, we never cared about the shoes.  Just wanted the free egg!

So many things back in the day came with prizes or extras. It's as if the product itself weren't enough.  Manufacturers had to sweeten the deal, somehow. Crackerjacks are famous for the prizes (which have gotten lamer through the years).  

Breakfast cereals often included toys buried within their boxes.  

Here is a fun read about some of those cereals:
Some laundry detergents came with free towels or glassware with each purchase.  

You could collect whole sets of dinnerware when you bought Duz detergent - one piece per box. That's a lot of detergent!

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Not A Phone-Y

Yesterday, I called my daughter Kelly, to catch up on our news.
Kelly: "Are you o.k.?  You're not dying, are you? Everything alright?" 
Me: "I'm FINE, just checking in with you."

Look: If I call you on the phone, there will be a good reason for it.  That is because I LOATHE talking on the phone.  I get a sick feeling in my gut when I have to speak to someone via the phone. I have a real phobia about it, partly due to all of the bad news I have gotten through that particular instrument. 

Which is weird, because I am the one who makes the most calls to our customers about their orders and invoices.  

I call my daughter every couple of months or so.  I need to hear her voice, and find out how she is doing. Otherwise, we communicate via Facebook, to let each other know that we are o.k., even if it is just posting kitty memes or funny posts on our timelines.  

There was a time when the only way you knew how someone was doing - in real time, not snail-mail time - was to give them a jingle. 

The telephone was firmly plugged into a wall.  Sharing a call meant stretching that cord a bit further, sometimes. 

What was great about all of that is that when you were not at home, or near a phone - you were FREE!  You had a great excuse for missing a call.  "Oh sorry - didn't get your call - I was out - HAVING A LIFE!" 

Then, the answering machine was invented.  Well, at the least, it caught your calls.  If it was something important, you could return the call.  Though I did have a couple of those that gave me chills. Like: "Hi Deb - this is Sue.  Call me back. Bad news."  Or: "This is the Acme Collection Agency. You owe...etc." 

Growing up in the 50s-60s, the telephone was the portal to the rest of the world.  Phone booths were everywhere.

We no longer need phone booths.....well, maybe Clark Kent does.
In the early days - 1951-55 - we  had  a "party" line.  That means that we shared our phone number with several others, and had to wait our turn to make a call.  There were many times we'd pick up the phone, start to call the operator, and hear: "We're talking on here! Wait your turn!", and it was frustrating - you might have an important call to make, and you'd have to wait while your neighbor recounted her Bingo tournament results with a friend, etc.

It wasn't long before our number became "private".  Not really "private", though, as it was still shared by the family.   Phone numbers back then started out with two letters. Ours was FL5-3870. "FL" stood for "Flanders". Later, area codes were added, and the two letters were just replaced by numbers. 

I don't take after my mom.  She loved talking on the phone, especially with our Auntie Arlene. We couldn't get Mom's attention for hours, when she and Arlene were chatting. 

Sometimes the phone was necessary for socializing, especially when I was in my teens.   I tried for privacy by going into the living room closet with the receiver and closing the door, to talk with friends.  That was an iffy proposition, since my father's banging on the closet door to hang up the phone for other users (or incoming calls) caused much embarrassment.

I used to fantasize about a separate phone line, and one of those cute little Princes phones, decorative and useful, which would be the envy of my friends.  Never happened. 

To make a call back then, you had to DIAL the phone.  
That means that you had to wait for the dial to slow-w-ly rotate through the cycle, before you put your finger in the hole and rotated it again, with the next number.  If you forgot which number you dialed previously, you were outta' luck - you had to dial the whole thing again!  

When touch-tone phones came out in 1963, we all thought we had died, and gone to heaven!  Calls were easier and faster! What more could we need?

Speaking of....there were movies based upon the old-fashioned phone line.  Here is a great site about telephones in movies:

For example:  Who can forget the thriller: "Sorry, Wrong Number",  with a terrified Barbara Stanwyck?  

Or, Doris Day and Rock Hudson's telephone romance in: "Pillow Talk", which was considered slightly risque' in 1959! 

When Kelly was a year old, she got her first (plastic, toy) phone.

The next year, we let her try our Trimline touch-tone phone.

 While we were marvelling over our touch-tone phone,  Martin Cooper of Motorola made the first publicized handheld mobile phone call on a prototype DynaTAC model on April 3, 1973.

It's funny to see old t.v. shows and films from the 70s-80s, showing off the "advanced" technology of their portable phones - and they WERE,  the time! But still hilarious  to see now.
BTW, here is a link to the history of the mobile phone:  

My first mobile phone was a Raspberry flip-phone.   They're now selling in lots on eBay, for peanuts.

When Steve Jobs came out with the first iphone, I had no doubt that it would succeed, even though I thought that the interface needed work: Look how smeary it gets with fingerprints! Ugh! 
These days, I  hand our granddaughter my iphone, and she takes selfies with it, like it's nothing.    I mean....?    

It's a different world, now.  I still have my phone-o-phobia, but I have ways around it, now. Texting, PM, even email (which is becoming passe', even as I write this).  I'm loving the latest technology!  I can text customers their choices for framing and estimates.  My mother-in-law even uses it regularly, with gifs and memes.    What's not to like?   

But still....gotta hear Kelly's voice once-in-awhile.  💕

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Scouting for Memories

My husband Mike and I met in 1957-58, when we were in the second grade. That was around the time he was a Cub Scout in our neighborhood, Westview, Pacifica, Troop 289 (the same boy scout troop my brother Arlo was a part of, a few years later). 

Mike said that his best friend Ira Dahm joined at the same time, a motivating reason for joining. I started to laugh when he told me about the Cub Scout pot-luck dinner at Westview School. Everyone was supposed to bring something. Since Michael's parents were like mine - always working - his sister Janice helped him out by cooking him a TV dinner to bring!  
He then carried that hot tv dinner for two blocks, from his house to the event.  

What then had me feeling sad was Mike's description of the dinner - that he sat alone (Ira wasn't there - Mike thinks he may have quit the scouts by that time), with no one to join him, while the other scouts had plates filled from the pot-luck buffet, and sat at other tables. 

Mike never forgot this incident from his early childhood just as he remembered details about me when we talked about our grade school years, and so many of his other friends, too.  

Why do we retain some memories and not others?  I have written about some of my own childhood experiences, things that stuck out in my mind and stayed there.  The rest - most - went by the wayside. 

I've been wondering lately how much our grandchildren will remember.  They're only 2 and 3 years old right now. They probably won't recall much (if any) of these earliest years, which are so memorable to us.  My daughter doesn't recall much of her early childhood, except in the re-telling throughout her life about what she said and did as a toddler. 

Yesterday, we attended our grandchildren's mother's birthday (Mike's daughter).  Their grandmother "LaLa" had made a nice feast for the occasion of her daughter's birth, and the kids were enjoying themselves. 

Will they remember this day?  There are plenty of photos from their lives to help the memories! But how much - if anything - they will recall from these years?
It is said that we are all a sum of our experiences - good, bad, happy, sad. I wish our grandkids more of the good, and only enough of the sad to give them perspective. Mike has had a great life, with loving family, many friends, and a lot of confidence.  And yet...that one incident is never forgotten.  Perhaps those early disappointments and let-downs help us to learn empathy...and the positive memories give us confidence.