Monthly Archives: February 2016

Blast from the past…

Follow-up to my previous post about reading my mother-in-law’s Grandparent Book.  See the post here.

I received comments on that post from some of you agreeing it was a good idea to write about your growing up years for the benefit of your offspring, but indicating you didn’t think your life was very interesting.

I shared my disappointment about these comments with my husband.  I countered that just describing everyday life from many years ago would intrigue and interest next generations because everyday life has changed so much over the years.  The world is a very different place than the one we knew as kids.

RC and I then had fun recalling memories of how things were when we were children in the 1950s.  I think it will be obvious to you how these contrast with what children of today experience.

  • Gasoline – 25 cents/gallon and an attendant would pump the gas for you while washing your windshield and checking your oil.
  • Radio – only AM stations.  If we were lucky, late at night we could sometimes pull in stations from far away.  My favorite memory is being able to listen to WLS which was broadcast from Chicago (I lived in Austin, MN).  Somewhere late in the 50s or early 60s transistor radios were all the rage.  They were small and ran on batteries so could be carried in our pocket wherever we went.
  • TV – access to only three network stations – ABC, NBC, CBS.  In fact, we didn’t have a TV in my family until I was about 5 years old.
  • Printed mattermanual typewriters.  If we wanted multiple copies of a document we used carbon paper.  Correcting a typo was risky business as we used a special eraser which would rip the paper if we rubbed too vigorously. (How exciting, the day erasable bond paper was developed!)
  • Telephones – rotary-dial wall or desk phones.  Long-distance calls were made by dialing 0 for the operator who assisted you; phonethe calls were expensive and if you talked too long you could rack up quite a bill.  Party lines were common so it was not unusual to pick up the receiver to make a call and find the line already in use.  If you were out and about and needed to contact someone, you found a phone booth and paid a dime to make your call.
  • Automobiles – no air-conditioning or seat belts.  Car trips on hot summer days involved riding with all the windows down.  Child car seats were either non-existent or some sort of contraption that just hung over the back of the seat.  It was not unusual for small children to ride in the front seat of the car standing next to the driver.  In the event of a quick stop, the driver would just throw their arm out to prevent the child from being thrown forward.
  • Microwave ovens – didn’t exist.
  • School – filmstrips and chalkboards.  If teachers used a filmstrip to enhance learning, some sort of a beep would indicate when the filmstrip was to be advanced. As students we sometimes had the job of erasing the blackboard at the end of each school day…messy white chalk dust everywhere.  letter
  • Mail – letters written in longhand, and sent in an envelope via snail mail.

This is just a starter list of changes.  If you decide to write down some memories for your children/nieces/nephews to read in the future, perhaps this list will jog your memory.  You could likely elaborate on each of the points above.  I’m quite sure even those of you in the generation after me could write about the many changes that have occurred in your lives.

It would be fun to expand the list above.  If you can provide some memories or more detail for any of the points, I’d love your comments.





Finding the light…


I know I have previously written about or mentioned my issues with lack of daylight during the winter months.  But, today, though we’re still in the midst of winter here in MN, I have found some light/bright spots.  Read on…

  • We sang the hymn, Christ Be Our Light in church on Sunday – a very favorite hymn of mine.  Google the lyrics (and, read through all the verses) and see if you don’t agree it has a powerful message.  And, the message it sends me personally is there are many people in the world with far greater problems than my measly issue with not having enough daylight.  Get over myself and get out and help others find some light!

Christ be our light! Shine in our hearts, Shine through the darkness.

  • So, one of the things I am doing is volunteering at my grandsons’ school on Wednesday mornings – helping in a Kindergarten class and a 2nd grade class.  I get to help the kids paint or read or recognize their numbers and letters.  It is fun to see how some of the kids bask in the extra attention their teacher doesn’t always have time to give to them; and, I believe it also lightens the teacher’s load.
  • I received an Aero-Garden by Miracle Grow as a birthday present from RC.
    The Aero-Garden
    The Aero-Garden

    Basically, it is a grow light and some sort of phenomenal plant food that is causing my 2 kinds of basil, mint, dill and parsley to grow so quickly I have to raise the light nearly daily.    It is great to be growing something green and useful when all outdoor plants are dormant under a foot of snow.  I don’t even need a bright window to make the plants grow – the light does all the work.

  • There are places in the metropolitan area in which I live that offer indoor garden-like settings – great for mid-winter field trips to provide a taste of summer.  I spent an hour or so on Saturday wandering through the Como Zoo Conservatory in St. Paul where I was able to feel warmth and humidity reminiscent of MN summers as well as smell that wonderful earthy fragrance of plants and flowers growing.  Helpful too – it is a very bright, light place to hang out.
  • Como Zoo Conservatory in St. Paul
    Como Zoo Conservatory in St. Paul

    The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum also has a conservatory.  Both of these places are great for providing a respite from the dark and cold of winter.

  • January and February, though they can be bitterly cold in Minnesota (thank heavens not as much as usual this year), can provide lovely, bright sunny days.  Add clean, white snow reflecting the sun’s rays and the brightness can be almost blinding…though, certainly beautiful, in my eyes.
  • For Christians, Lent begins this week – that means there are only six weeks until Easter which signifies, among other things, rebirth/new life, more light, and spring!
  • Lastly, we now have daylight until at least 5:30 in the afternoon.  The days are getting longer!  We’re going in the right direction.

Maybe the fact that I have been taking a Vitamin D supplement (the sunshine vitamin) all winter has helped me tolerate the darkness better this year.  Probably doesn’t hurt that I am now also retired so my stress level is greatly reduced.  I find joy in each day.

It’s Valentines Day on Sunday – find the light, make it special and show somebody how much you love and appreciate them.

(Really, let’s do that every day!)