Tag Archives: old age

Older Than Dirt

With a couple of new major projects going on, and another move of my entire office, I will continue to be absent from my blog until at least mid-December. So, I thought I would post and leave up some comments and a little quiz about a time when life was simpler…for readers to see just how old you all are—at least in mind and memory.

The following comments and quiz were sent to me by a reader, and they do bring back a few memories:


Someone asked the other day, “What was your favorite fast food when you were growing up?”

“We didn’t have fast food when I was growing up,” I informed him. “All the food was slow.”

“C’mon, seriously. Where did you eat?”

“It was a place called at home,” I explained. “Mom cooked every day and when Dad got home from work, we sat down together at the dining room table, and if I didn’t like what she put on my plate I was allowed to sit there until I did like it.”

By this time, the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer serious internal damage, so I didn’t tell him the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table.

But here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood…if I figured his system could have handled it:

Some parents NEVER owned their own house, never wore Levis, never set foot on a golf course, never traveled out of the country or had a credit card. In their later years they had something called a revolving charge card. The card was good only at Sears Roebuck. Or maybe it was Sears & Roebuck…either way, there is no Roebuck anymore. Maybe he died.

My parents never drove me to soccer practice. This was mostly because we never had heard of soccer. I had a bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds and only had one speed (slow). We didn’t have a television in our house until I was 19. It was, of course, black and white and the station went off the air at midnight after playing the national anthem and a poem about God. It came back on the air at about 6 a.m. and there was usually a locally produced news and farm show on featuring local people.

I was 21 before I tasted my first pizza—it was called pizza pie. When I bit into it, I burned the roof of my mouth and the cheese slid off, swung down, plastered itself against my chin and burned that, too. It’s still the best pizza I ever had.

I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone in the house was in the living room and it was on a party line. Before you could dial, you had to listen and make sure some people you didn’t know weren’t already using the line. Pizzas were not delivered to our home. But milk was.

All newspapers were delivered by boys, and all boys delivered newspapers. My brother delivered a newspaper six days a week. It cost 7 cents a paper, of which he got to keep 2 cents. He had to get up at 6AM every morning. On Saturday, he had to collect the 42 cents from his customers. His favorite customers were the ones who gave him 50 cents and told him to keep the change. His least favorite customers were the ones who seemed to never be home on collection day.

Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut. At least they did in the movies. There were no movie ratings because all movies were responsibly produced for everyone to enjoy viewing, without profanity or violence or most anything offensive.

If you grew up in a generation before there was fast food, you may want to share some of these memories with your children or grandchildren. Just don’t blame me if they bust a gut laughing.

Here are some MEMORIES from a friend :

My Dad is cleaning out my grandmother’s house (she died recently) and he brought me an old Royal Crown Cola bottle. In the bottle top was a stopper with a bunch of holes in it. I knew immediately what it was, but my daughter had no idea. She thought they had tried to make it a salt shaker or something. I knew it as the bottle that sat on the end of the ironing board to ‘sprinkle’ clothes with because we didn’t have steam irons. Man, I am old.

How many do you remember?

  • Headlights dimmer switches on the floor.
  • Ignition switches on the dashboard.
  • Heaters mounted on the inside of the firewall.
  • Real ice boxes.
  • Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain guards.
  • Soldering irons you heat on a gasoline blowtorch.
  • Using hand signals for cars without turn signals.

Older Than Dirt Quiz :

Count all the ones that you remember, not the ones you were told about. (Ratings at the bottom.)

1.    Blackjack chewing gum

2.    Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water

3.    Candy cigarettes

4.    Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles

5.    Coffee shops or diners with tableside juke boxes

6.    Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers

7.    Party lines on the telephone

8.    Newsreels before the movie

9.    P.F. Flyers

10. Butch wax

11. TV test patterns that came on at night after the last show and were there until TV shows started again in the morning (there were only 3 channels…if you were fortunate)

12. Peashooters

13. Howdy Doody

14. 45 RPM records (or even 78’s)

15. S&H greenstamps

16. Hi-fi’s

17. Metal ice trays with lever

18. Mimeograph paper

19. Blue flashbulbs

20. Packards

21. Roller skate keys

22. Cork popguns

23. Drive-ins

24. Studebakers

25. Wash tub wringers

If you remembered   0-5 = You’re still young
If you remembered  6-10 = You are getting older
If you remembered 11-15 = Don’t tell your age,
If you remembered 16-25 = You’ re older than dirt!
I might be older than dirt but those memories are some of the best parts of my life.

*  *  *  *

Well, there you have your quiz to determine if you’re “older than dirt.” To the younger generations these things probably sound pretty funny and meaningless, but they represent a time when life was simpler and kids had to use their minds and their imaginations instead of some electronic gadget to do their thinking for them.

Take a look at the quiz and let me know how old you think you are in relation to these items. I’ll be checking in from time-to-time, and will be back in full force before the end of the year.

The Art of Aging

In our youth-oriented society, aging is something to be avoided at all costs—or so we think. Yet, as Sam Cooke’s famous song says: “Change is Gonna Come”…and there is nothing any of us can do to stop, or slow it.

So, how are we going to handle this inevitable change in our lives? To answer that question, I thought we might take a look at Richard and Alice Matzkin—two highly acclaimed artists who recently wrote a book about getting older, titled “The Art of Aging.”

Here is a short video of Richard and Alice discussing their book and their experiences with the process of aging that were the inspiration for the book.

(email subscribers, view on my blog)

Richard and Alice have embraced the inevitable, and handled their fears by expressing them through their art. They have determined that old age is a time for living, rather than a time of fear and despair. Each of us also needs to face our fears of growing old. We need to embrace those fears, so we can diminish them through our own endeavors. Growing older is a time for celebrating life—the life we are living and have yet to live.

There is something each of us can do with the time we have left, whether it is producing great art, joining the Peace Corp, or doing anything in-between. Older people “know things”…they have wisdom…and it is a shame if society does not appreciate and take advantage of that.

One hundred Baby Boomers turn 60 every 18 minutes—how are they going to approach this phase of their lives? My suggestion is to begin with Richard and Alice’s book “The Art of Aging.”

Alice Matzkin has two paintings hanging in the permanent gallery at the Smithsonian Institution, and during the Clinton Administration, her portrait of Chelsea Clinton hung in the White House. She has achieved national recognition by the media, and has appeared on Oprah.

Richard has achieved national acclaim through numerous one-man shows. His work is also sought after for many collections throughout the United States