Life was a lot less complicated than it is now. I remember when the only phones we had were dial phones and everyone had only one phone per household. I remember when the only food choices to purchase were at the corner meat market, the grocer and a drug store where you could buy a wonderful ice cream cone for a nickel and an ice cream soda for 15 cents. Most of our vegetables came out of my grandmother’s garden and she had chickens too and we had all the fresh eggs we wanted. I guess everything we ate was organic without our knowing about it.
There were no ipads, ipods, cell phones, computers, or televisions. The only individual means of communication was a two way wrist radio that was owned by Dick Tracy and the only pods we knew were pea pods that grew in my grandmother’s garden.
Books were on pages made out of paper and usually we got them out of the library. The only books we bought were paper backs because they were affordable and I remember my mother and father reading them almost every night. There were no kindles or nooks and you actually had to turn the pages yourself with your fingers and not by just touching something lightly with one finger.
The only movies we saw were at the local theaters and our town of Stamford, Connecticut had six of them. People used to walk to town and pay sixty cents for adults and 30 cents for kids to get in. One of the theaters, the Rialto, used to show only second or third run movies and would also give a dish away to every patron. I still have some of my mother’s Blue Willow plates that she got there. When TV came out and started showing old movies, the Rialto closed down. The other theaters used to show an A picture, like a Betty Grable musical, a B picture like Boston Blackie, a cartoon, a short subject like Lash Laroo, my favorite, or the man who was behind the 8 ball, I can’t remember his name, and finally a newsreel. By the time we left the theater, we were bleary eyed but happy. We had eaten our jujubes or Black Crows and enjoyed every mouthful.
At home we had a wonderful big, brown, radio that sat in the living room where the family could listen to Jack Benny, Amos and Andy and my favorite – Lux Radio Theater which enacted movies with big stars playing the parts. There was another small white radio in our kitchen where my mother and grandmother used to listen to Stella Dallas and One Man’s Family while they went about the housework and cooking.
Life was much simpler then and children were outside playing and didn’t come in until lunch time, ran out again and came in for dinner and then went out again until dark. None of us kids were overweight or got out of breath when we ran or jumped rope. I also had a favorite hiding spot inside my grandmother’s grape vine where I used to sit and read and watch the Japanese beetles fly around the lovely smelling purple grapes.
That was my childhood with macaroni and gravy on Thursdays and a visit to my uncle and aunt’s house on Sunday after mass. My Aunt would prepare a huge meal beginning with soup, macaroni with meatballs and sausage and then either chicken or some type of roast beef, a salad ending the sumptuous meal with fruit and nuts. There was lots of conversation, music and laughter. This was accompanied by my uncle’s homemade wine and milk for the kids although we were urged to try the wine as it was good for you. I hated it. Today, however, I would love to have some of that rich homemade red wine that he made in the cellar.
As I said, life was much simpler then. It was a wonderful time and I remember it well.