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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Everything was different

When I grew up most of what we think of  as normal today wasn’t there. For example what we could buy in the grocery store. I had a grand uncle who owned a ‘General Store’. There you could buy everything in loose weight. Peas, Beans, lentils, rice, sausages cold cuts, cheese, even butter, all that was put on a scale and the price calculated per pound. Of course not that pound we know over here but rather a metric ‘Pfund’, which is 500 grams or half a kilo. Now, let’s not get into this metric/imperial tumble. The only thing which resembled processed food was tin cans. No taco-food, no quick on-the-run microwave jumble, cause we simply didn’t know what a microwave was. We had never heard about popcorn or pizza or burritos. We grew up on food cooked from scratch.

Did I mention candy in loose weight?  It was my favorite, cause I loved candy. (still do)  I think my uncle had milk too. Milk wasn’t put into cartons or even plastic containers. Milk was in a steel tank under the counter and on top of the counter there was a pump. I was often sent to our ‘milkman’ with one of these aluminum cans. It was put under the pump and we paid pr. liter. However some milk was sterilized and sold in bottles. Now, THAT, I know was the case over here as well. Except for that milk was never delivered to our entrance. We had to go get it ourselves. Our town had no supermarket. But there was a grocery store down by the harbour. It was a store like my grand uncle’s just a bit smaller.
There were separate stores for most everything you needed. When Grampa went to fill gas in his black VW-bug he could not buy beer, chocolate or milk and bread there. But the gas station (it was an ESSO-Station) had grease, oil, oil and air filters. They could also fix a tire and grease the drive train. They knew what they were doing and if you wanted to know how to get to the next town you could also buy an ESSO roadmap there.

Speaking of maps: Most people had them in their car. GPS wasn’t invented.
Hey, there were no computers, no Digi-cams, no nothing. IF a car was equipped with a radio it produced a lot of scraping and static. I remember Dad saying that he would NEVER care about having a radio in the CAR. It wasn’t worth to listen to. Besides they just had gotten a huge squawk box for use at home and that would be the end of it. As long as I lived home and that was until 1975, he never had a radio in the car.
The only ‘gadget’ we knew was that old black rotary telephone. It was only used for real necessary purposes and business. Oh well, now I forgot Pa’s typewriter and calculator. None of that needed a plug-in. I guess I don’t have to explain more of that. When somebody wanted something he either stopped by or wrote a letter.

What else was different? Travel was sure different. People drove down the German Autobahn to cities like Hamburg or Hannover or even farther south. It wasn’t so bad back then. The Autobahn would be empty most of the way. There were no Stop-and-Gos anywhere. And there were very few trucks on the road.

For most people there was no way to fly to America for vacations. The last passenger ocean liner in regular traffic went in 1967. After that, air-traffic took over. What about camping and RVs? I must say I never saw a camping trailer before 1962. First after 1965 there were a few on the Autobahn, but they were rare. Entering a campground one saw a lot of tents. People took camping for what it was. Living 2 or 3 weeks in a tent was heaven. My Dad’s first tent was only good for sunny days. When it rained we moved into the car! We never complained. Boy, this is fun. I must make mention of the wonderful set of orange colored  plastic plates and cups we had acquired for camping. You could eat all kind of cold food from the plates or have a cold drink from the cups, but as soon as the food was hot the soup bowl got so soft that there was danger the soup would run from the bowl. It was downright dangerous to drink hot coffee from the cups. The heat had them turned wobbly and the coffee or whatever we had in it, tasted plastic. Those were the days.

When kids were playing they were outside and played, rainy days were spent indoors with all kind of games. We painted, did crafts and played with the train set. There were no computer gizmos and war games. The war was played outside with the kids from the neighbourhood. Sure we had plastic guns and water pistols. In the evening we were so tired we slept before we ever hit the pillow.

When we got a cold or the measles our parents called the doctor and she came that same afternoon. She looked at us, listened with a stethoscope (I haven’t seen one in decades) and had a prescription for us.  I’d like to see the doc who still makes home visits today.

I think I might have covered the basics here. Most of us older gals and guys would probably have similar experiences.

It’s hard to publish anything tonight as the Internet seems to have taken a break from business. Well, it’s Saturday and most kids do computer games this time of the day. Can somebody please make them go to bed?

Thanks for being here.


  1. Your post sure brought back a lot of old memories. Did you also play with yo-yo's and marbles?

    1. Yes, we did. Playing in the dirt. No thoughts about germs. My grandma used to say that a little dirt is good for the stomach! Maybe she was not so far off the mark here. I guess our immune system was more up to date that way.

  2. Times have certainly changed. Who would have thought? Maybe, who would have known? I grew up in a family that did a lot of traveling but only back and forth to visit family ... 2500 miles away. We never thought of visiting Europe. We didn't have the money. Then ... I went to work for an airline. Travel changed.

  3. I can remember the milkman bringing the glass bottles of millk and the 'fuller brush man' and the avon lady!!

    1. I just found a quarter pint bottle in the garden. Probably a cream bottle. I have cleaned it and it sits on the window sill. My mother used to buy stuff from the A lady. Funny - and I got the perfume and lip-stick samples! :)))

  4. This was an interesting nostalgic trip...thanks.
    I can't imagine living today without internet,cell phone,GPS but we did not miss things we did not know about and we sure had a great time then too.

  5. Those were the days, simple, uncomplicated lives and great memories. Thanks for sharing.

  6. A great look back at the past - I remember all of it. I remember the ice man delivering big blocks of ice for our 'ice-box' too before we had a new fangled refrigerator. Great post.

  7. My grandma had a cellar where everything was placed on the stairs accordingly. Butter higher up to stay soft and milk down low to keep cold. The whole cellar was full of preserves and home made juice. But we were hankering for the carbonated lemonade. We got an allowance in the summer holidays of one bottle a week (shared among two kids)!

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