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~~~ Tidbits of Memory: Do You Remember When...? ~~~


Tidbits are Informative or Humorous Collection of Sayings Collected, Edited, Used, and/or Laughed at by Bobby Matherne

©2003 21st Century Education, In

This Web Page Contains Material Collected from an Email Received and Edited Subsequently by Bobby Matherne.
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Memory Lane: Do You Remember When...?

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Many thanks to Ray Haiduk, Carol Golden, Ginger Thiele, Tony Celino, and Anna Keller among others for sending along these Tidbits of Memory. Latest Entry on May 18, 2004.

Remember When: Over A Hundred Years Ago
Remember, as you read these prices, that about every fifty years, a factor of ten in prices occurs due to inflation, meaning the same thing costs ten times today as fifty years earlier. Wages a hundred years ago for same level of job are 10*10 or 100 times. If you made 200 a year in 1903, you'll make 20,000 a year in 2003. So, in the 1950s, e.g., a dime was worth a dollar, a nickel was worth fifty cents, a half dollar worth five dollars, a dollar = a Ten Spot, and Ten Dollar bill could buy what a Hundred Dollar Bill can today. Isn't it strange that people are reluctant to make change for a hundred today when no one balked at a ten back in the 1950s? These are the wonders of Inflation! Brought to you by a nearby Coercive Bureaucracy. Remember this and you won't get upset by the so-called HIGH PRICES of today compared to when you were a kid, and perhaps you'll direct your anger instead at the Bureaucrats who use inflation to silently raise your taxes and take money from your saving accounts by printing money.


The statistics and facts for 1903   . . .

The average life expectancy in the US was 47.

Only 14% of the homes in the USA had a bathtub.

Only 8% of the homes had a telephone.

A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost $11. (That would be $110 dollars today, so only rich people make long-distance phone calls then.)

There were only 8,000 cars in the US and only 144 miles of paved roads.

The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California. With a mere 1.4 million residents, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union.

The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.

The average wage in the US was $0.22/hour.

The average US worker made between $200-$400/year.

A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000/year, a dentist $2,500/year, a veterinarian between $1,500-$4,000/year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000/year.

More than 95% of all births in the US took place at home.

90% of all US physicians had no college education. Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as "substandard."

Sugar cost $0.04/pound. Eggs were $0.14/dozen. Coffee cost $0.15/pound.

Most women only washed their hair once a month and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

Canada passed a law prohibiting POOR people from entering the country for any reason.

The five leading causes of death in the US were:
1. Pneumonia &influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke

The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.

The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30.

Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented.

There were no Mother's Day or Father's Day.

One in ten US adults couldn't read or write.

Only 6% of all Americans had graduated from high school.

Coca-Cola contained cocaine. Ice cream sundaes hadn't been invented yet. (In fact, ice cream sodas made with Coke were intoxicating, so most towns prohibited their sale on, guess what day of the week? Sunday! Thus, an entrepeneur decided to make a soda without the cocaine in it to sell on Sunday and it came to be known as a Sunday Treat or eventually a Sundae.)

Marijuana, heroin and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores. According to one pharmacist, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and the bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health." (And it probably is, used in moderation, but being illegal now, it rarely is.)

18% of households in the US had at least one full-time servant or domestic.

Anyone could own and carry any gun they could afford, and there were only about 230 reported murders in the entire US.

That was the world in those "good ole days" that everyone back then called "these trying times" just as some call today's world.

Remember When Quiz

1. In the 1940s, where were automobile headlight dimmer switches located?
a. On the floor shift knob
b. On the floor board, to the left of the clutch
c. Next to the horn

2. The bottle top of a Royal Crown Cola bottle had holes in it. For what was it used?
a. Capture lightning bugs
b. To sprinkle clothes before ironing
c. Large salt shaker

3. Why was having milk delivered a problem in northern winters?
a. Cows got cold and wouldn't produce milk
b. Ice on highways forced delivery by dog sled
c. Milkmen left deliveries outside of front doors and milk would freeze, expanding and pushing up the cardboard bottle top.

4. What was the popular chewing gum named for a game of chance?
a. Blackjack
b. Gin
c. Craps!

5. What method did women use to look as if they were wearing stockings when none were available due to rationing during W.W.II?
a. Suntan
b. Leg painting
c. Wearing slacks

6. What postwar car turned automotive design on its ear when you couldn't tell whether it was coming or going?
a. Studebaker
b. Nash Metro
c. Tucker

7. Which was a popular candy when you were a kid?
a. Strips of dried peanut butter
b. Chocolate licorice bars
c. Wax coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside

8. How was Butch wax used?
a. To stiffen a flat-top haircut so it stood up
b. To make floors shiny and prevent scuffing
c. On the wheels of roller skates to prevent rust

9. Before inline skates, how did you keep your roller skates attached to your shoes?
a. With clamps, tightened by a skate key
b. Woven straps that crossed the foot
c. Long pieces of twine

10. As a kid, what was considered the best way to reach a decision?
a. Consider all the facts
b. Ask Mom
c. Eeny-meeny-miney-mo

11. What was the most dreaded disease in the 1940's?
a. Smallpox
b. TB
c. Polio

12. "I'll be down to get you in a ________, Honey"
a. SUV
b. Taxi
c. Streetcar

13. What was the name of Caroline Kennedy's pet pony?
a. Old Blue
b. Paint
c. Macaroni

14. What was a Duck-and-Cover Drill?
a. Part of the game of hide and seek
b. What you did when your Mom called you in to do chores
c. Hiding under your desk, and covering your head with your arms in an A-bomb drill.

15. What was the name of the Indian Princess on the Howdy Doody show?
a. Princess Summerfallwinterspring
b. Princess Sacajewea
c. Princess Moonshadow

16. What did all the really savvy students do when mimeographed tests were handed out in school?
a. Immediately sniffed the purple ink, as this was believed to get you high
b. Made paper airplanes to see who could sail theirs out the window
c. Wrote another pupil's name on the top, to avoid your failure

17. Why did your Mom shop in stores that gave Green Stamps with purchases?
a. To keep you out of mischief by licking the backs, which tasted like bubble gum
b. They could be put in special books and redeemed for various household items
c. They were given to the kids to be used as stick-on tattoos

18. Praise the Lord, and pass the _________?
a. Meatballs
b. Dames
c. Ammunition

19. What was the name of the singing group that made the song "Cabdriver" a hit?
a. The Mills Brothers
b. The Supremes
c. The Ink Spots

20. Who left his heart in San Francisco?
a. Tony Bennett
b. Xavier Cugat
c. George Gershwin

21. Who corrects these Tidbits?
a. Nobody. They are published as received from Good Readers like you.
b. Good Readers like you who report them to Bobby Matherne
c. Bobby Matherne



1. b) On the floor, to the left of the clutch. Hand controls, popular in Europe, took till the late '60s to catch on. In 1930s US autos also had the starter as a button on the floor board next to accelerator pedal. Quite a trick to switch from starter to gas pedal when starting. Could not be done with high heels on.

2. b) To sprinkle clothes before ironing. Who had a steam iron?

3. c) Cold weather caused the milk to freeze and expand, popping the bottle top.

4. a) Blackjack Gum.

5. b) Special makeup was applied, followed by drawing a seam down the back of the leg with eyebrow pencil.

6. a) 1946 Studebaker.

7. c) Wax coke bottles containing super-sweet colored water.

8. a) Wax for your flat top (butch) haircut.

9. a) With clamps, tightened by a skate key, which you wore on a shoestring around your neck.

10. c) Eeny-meeny-miney-mo.

11. c) Polio. At times, swimming pools were closed, movies and other public gathering places were closed to try to prevent spread of the disease.

12. b) Taxi. Better be ready by half-past eight!

13. c) Macaroni.

14. c) Hiding under your desk, and covering your head with your arms in an A- bomb drill.

15. a) Princess Summerfallwinterspring. She was another puppet.

16. a) Immediately sniffed the purple ink to get a high.

17. b) Put in a special stamp book, they could be traded for household items at the Green Stamp store.

18. c) Ammunition, and we'll all be free.

19. a) The popular singing group: The Mills Bros. It was their last big hit in 1968.

20. a) Tony Bennett, and he sounds just as good today.

21. All answers are true.



17- 21 correct: You are mature with an incredible memory!

12 -16 correct: You are running the world, but you still don't have a clue about how it got the way it is.

0 -11 correct: You are so wet behind the ears, you seem to be perspiring all the time!

Thanks to Jeff Parsons for sending along these 1950s Photos!

Do you Remember When:

All the girls had ugly gym uniforms?

It took five minutes for the TV warm up?

Nearly everyone's Mom was at home when the kids got home from school?

Nobody owned a purebred dog?

When a quarter was a decent allowance?

Cokes cost a nickel apiece. You could buy a six-pack for a quarter?

You could go to the movies and get popcorn and a coke for a quarter?

You'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny?

Your Mom wore nylons that came in two pieces?

All your male teachers wore neckties and female teachers had their hair done every day and wore high heels?

You got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, all for free, every time? And you didn't pay for air? And, you got trading stamps to boot?

Laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box?

It was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents?

They threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed. . ..and they did?

When a 57 Chevy was everyone's dream cruise, peel out, burn rubber or watch submarine races, and people went steady?

No one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the ignition, and the doors were never locked?

Lying on your back in the grass with your friends and saying things like, "That cloud looks like a ..."

And playing baseball with no adults to help kids with the rules of the game?

Stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic seals because no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger?

And with all our progress, isn't it nice to just slip back in time and savor the slower pace?

When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited the student at home?

Basically we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of what happened on the evening news because there wasn't any evening news only movie newsreels on Saturday night.

Our parents with a belt were a much bigger threat!

But we thrived because their love was greater than the threat.

Can you remember:

Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Laurel and Hardy,

Howdy Doody and the Peanut Gallery, the Lone Ranger, The Shadow Knows, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Trigger and Buttermilk?

Beanie and Cecil?

Summers filled with bike rides, baseball games, roller skating on the sidewalks, bowling and visits to the pool, and eating Kool-Aid powder straight out of the pack?

How many of these do you remember?

Candy cigarettes

Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside

Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles

Coffee shops with tableside jukeboxes

Blackjack, Clove and Teaberry chewing gum

Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers. Cream on the top of the milk. Snowballs (snowcones) that came in a square dish?

Penny Candy? A large variety of candy you could buy for a penny? Two-cent ones were expensive: like Mary Janes. Large Tootsie Rolls were a nickel like Milky Way etal. Except the premium candy: Almond Joys and Mounds were a dime each!

Licorice sticks? Kits you got four separately wrapped treats for a penny! Bit-o-Honeys?

Large Jack's Cookies in a big glass jar at local grocery where you could reach in and pick out the one you wanted, for 2 cents each.

Marshmallow pies covered with chocolate for a nickel. Single-decked Moon Pies for a nickel. (Now you can only buy single-deckers at a Crackerbarrel Restaurant, and by the box full.)

Newsreels before the movie? [It was our weekly evenings news before TV.]

Half hour Serials (cliffhangers) between movies? Like Superman, Sir Galahad, Dick Tracy, and many others.

P.F. Fliers, Keds, and high top tennis shoes that cost $2 a pair

Telephone numbers with a word prefix. University 6-5521 JA 2-5277

Party lines with special rings: 2 short rings and you answered.

Howdy Doody

45 RPM records needed a plastic spindle to play on 78-rpm only phonographs, during early days of 45s.

Ads for U. S. Savings Bonds before movies. Also fund-raisers for Polio Research during intermissions with people passing buckets.


Ushers who actually walked you to your seat and ejected trouble-makers and shushed noisy patrons.

Every local movie theater had a balconey for overflow and in which you could smooch without being disturbed.

Metal ice cubes trays with levers

Mimeograph paper

Roller-skate keys uns

Rubber guns made with spring clothespins and rubber strips cut from inner tubes. Remember rubber inner tubes? Great raw material for all kinds of projects.

Cork popguns
Home made china-ball popguns


Henry Js

Washtub wringers

The Fuller Brush Man

15 cent McDonald hamburgers

Reel-To-Reel tape recorders

5 cent packs of baseball cards - with that awful pink slab of bubble gum

25 cent a gallon gasoline

Making pop corn on the stove top

Do you remember a time when...

A big Christmas meant getting one of the following toys?

Lincoln Logs


Erector Sets

Drive-in Movies were fun and the whole family piled into the car to go?

Drive-ins were the closest thing to today's Hooters?

Drive-in Restaurants were the first Fast Food places?

Decisions were made by going "eeny-meeny-miney-moe"?

Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, "Do Over!"?

Catching lightning bugs (fireflies) could happily occupy an entire evening?

Catching mosquito hawks (dragonflies) a whole afternoon? And there were green ones, blue ones, orange ones, tiny ones, and great big huge ones?

You had to buy expensive one-shot flashbulbs just to take an indoor photo?

But outdoor photos could be taken with an expensive Brownie Camera using Kodak Six-20 (620) film?

Riding to the country in family car meant fun reading the Burma Shave signs posted along the way?

Riding in a 50's Studebaker was like riding in a Car of the Future?

When your Black & White TV Station finished regular programs, it ran a test pattern to help you adjust the Horizontal, Vertical and Clarity of your set?

When your favorite Saturday Morning TV program was Sky King?

It wasn't odd to have two or three "Best Friends"?

The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was a cold? And on TV Speedy Aka-Seltzer introduced us to a new way to take aspirin?

Having a weapon in school meant being caught with a slingshot?

A foot of snow was a dream come true?

Pranksters would call people up and ask, "Do you have Prince Albert in a can?" and if they said, "Yes", they would tell, "Then please let him out."

When Red Skelton sold brushes and mops?

When your Mom collected S&H Green Stamps to get free gifts?

When every Sunday afternoon, you had to watch Zoo Parade with Marlin Perkins?

Saturday morning cartoons weren't 30-minute commercials for action figures?

"Oly-oly-oxen-free" made perfect sense?

Spinning around, getting dizzy, and falling down was cause for giggles?

The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team?

War was a card game?

Baseball cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle?

Taking drugs meant aspirin?

Water balloons were the ultimate weapon?

If you can remember these fondly, consider yourself fortunate. Share them with your children and let them know that what they experience today will bring them just as fond memories when they are your age.

You were sent to the drugstore to test vacuum tubes for the TV.
When Kool-Aid was the only drink for kids, other than milk and sodas.
When there were two types of sneakers for girls and boys (Keds & PF Flyers), and the only time you wore them at school, was for "gym".
When it took five minutes for the TV to warm up.
When nearly everyone's mom was at home when the kids got there.
When nobody owned a purebred dog.
When you'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny.
When girls neither dated nor kissed until late high school, if then.
When your mom wore nylons that came in two pieces.
When all of your male teachers wore neckties and female teachers had their hair done, everyday.
When you got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking,.... for free, every time. And, you didn`t pay for air. And, you got trading stamps to boot!
When laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box.
When any parent could discipline any kid, or feed him, or use him to carry groceries, and nobody, not even the kid, thought a thing of it.
When it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents.
When they threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed ...and did!
When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited a misbehaving student at home.


Can You Believe We Made It!

According to today's over-zealous regulators and petty bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's and maybe even early 70's, probably shouldn't have survived.

Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paint. If we dare to chew on our baby we got severely chastised or slapped. That bed was needed for the next baby. We slept on our backs or our stomachs, whichever way was more comfortable. We slept in back rooms with the doors closed so no one would wake up.

We had no childproof lids or locks on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets.

Hitchhiking was what we did to get places when there were no buses and we didn't have a car.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. It was a sad rite of passage, when as a child, you were too tall to stand up in the back seat and look out!

Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat, and the more the merrier.

We drank water from the tap and even the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We ate cupcakes, fudge, candy, and drank soda pop with cane sugar in it, and we were never overweight. Diet drinks were for sick people.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one got sick.

We would spend hours building our scooters from a few boards and a pair of skates. We rode them, and our bicycles, and our skates with no knee pads, no elbow pads, and no helmets. We learned that falling hurt, and we learned to avoid falls.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day , and often well into the night, after we ate supper. No one was able to reach us during any of this time. No cell phones or pagers, just Mom yelling out the front door or calling our friend's house in an emergency.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, no video games at all, no 256 channels on cable, DVD movies, surround sound, personal cell phones, personal computers, or Internet chat rooms.

We had friends! We went outside and found them.

We played dodge ball, and sometimes, the ball would really hurt. We fell out of trees, got cut, some even broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. They were accidents. No one was to blame but us. Remember accidents? They were what we called things that happened usually because of our own carelessness, not because of someone else's. The idea that someone would sue because they spilled hot coffee on themselves would have been a joke!

We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned to get over it.

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and shot our BB guns, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out any eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's home and knocked on the door, or rang the bell or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to get better or do something else.

Some students weren't as smart as others, so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade.

Tests were not adjusted for any reason. Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected.

The idea of parents bailing us out if we got in trouble in school or broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the school or the law. Imagine that!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors, ever.

We had freedom, failure, success, and responsibility --- and we learned how to deal with it.

And you're one of them!


Please pass this on to others who have had the luck to grow up as kids before lawyers and the so-called government regulated our lives for their own good !!!


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