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Good Old Days ?

During these winter days when we find ourselves somewhat confined to the inside of the house, and there is nothing interesting on TV; we have tired of sitting in one place and reading; the internet seems to have taken a pause, and we start to feel ?antsy?, isn?t it interesting how our minds will wander back over the years ?

In such a moment recently, when we had all been advised to stay off the roads as the weather forecasters had raised a severe winter storm warning predicting heavy amounts of snow, I found myself caught in that ?wandering? whirlpool.

The good old days ? I?m not so sure. Today my driveway is short with a solid surface, and is easily cleared with the snowblower. In those ?good old days?, it was probably a quarter of a mile from the road to the house and easily rutted in wet weather.

In the good old days, we had chores both before and after school. Of course, animals always came first, even before people. Feed; fresh water (after breaking the ice on the tank); cleaning the stalls and replenishing the bedding.

In those days before natural gas and electrical appliances, and thermostats, became common place in homes, chores included assuring there was firewood for the kitchen stove, and, being in a modern home, making sure the furnace, in the oversize cellar beneath the house, was properly stoked with coal and the ashes removed.

And, of course, there were school days.

Back to the days before school buses. When we walked to school, yep, ?.five miles, ?.uphill both ways. I was fortunate. We had progressed beyond the one room school house. We had four rooms. Two grades in each.

I can remember having to study from two books - Prose and Poetry. I can specifically recall John Greenleaf Whittier?s ?Snow Bound?. For those who have been denied the pleasure: http://www.darsie.net/library/whittier_snowbound.html

And then came high school. Three miles further than ?grade? school.

I?m ready to believe the ?Good Old Days? are NOW !

Well, guess that?s it for the moment, ?just lost my train of thought.

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No snowplows....

In reply to: Good Old Days ?

..... that came on residential streets, much less on private driveways. In fact, I never saw a snow plow while I was growing up.

Maybe some people in rural areas had a plow they could attach to their tractors, though.

There were no school buses except for the county schools. I don't know the miles, but I walked from 10th Street to 29th Street, then 3 more blocks over. It seemed like everybody walked to school. Maybe some parents did bring them, but times were tough, there were no 2 car households, and then WWII.

Our place was heated with a free-standing flat top gas heater. That's how I burned my neck so badly. I climbed on a chair and fell on it. (Not much treatment for bad burns back then, either.)

My husband went to a one room school for 5th and 6th grade. He said he learned a lot by listening to what was being taught to the 6th graders while he was in the 5th.

My Dad talked a lot about the McGuffey Readers, and how he was taught to "cipher". He was great at math, but always called it "ciphering".

I remember the "Palmer Method" of learning to write long-hand.

As a senior, we had to write a "term paper". It tool lots of research which was noted on cards, and Ibids, etc. were used. Al in long hand, and spelling and grammar counted. The public library was a busy place!

Neighbors didn't care if we hid under their bushes or ran across their yards while playing.

Some kid was bound to have a "show" in their detached garage, and admission was charged. Lots of budding artists performed.

Back to the snow. Snow angels. Snow cream. Snow boots that rubbed the back of my legs raw. Snow pants that were hard to put on and take off. Ear muffs.

Colds. "Kleenex" was just coming in, so mostly we carried handkerchiefs.

Houses being quarantined for measles, diphtheria, etc.

When I was in grade school, one died of "lockjaw", and another of diphtheria.

I agree. There were some wonderful times in those more innocent days, but most is better today.

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Did your school have a "cloak room"?

In reply to: No snowplows....

I remember there was a partition in the school room behind which we hung our coats. In the wintertime, girls could wear leggings under their skirts/dresses while walking to school but had to lose them while in class and would do so in private behind the cloak room wall when the teacher would announce it was time. Happy

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Sure did!

In reply to: Did your school have a "cloak room"?

But by the 4th grade, I don't think we took any time to put on any leg coverings at recess. Would have interfered with jumping rope, especially "Double Dutch".

And frankly, by that time I had outgrown the snow pants I had.

The best I remember, most of us wore blue jeans (boys, as they didn't make them for girls) for playing in the snow.

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The thing I liked best...

In reply to: Good Old Days ?

about those old school days, was recess and shooting marbles. Was pretty good at it too. Course, there was the spit ball shooting with rubber bands in class too. I didn't learn much in school academically.

When someone got in trouble, old lady Newbegin, (our teacher) would tell you to hold out your hands and rap you across the knuckles with one of those hard 12" rulers. Ouch. Then make you sit out in the cloakroom as you mentioned Steve. Sort of like, go sit in the corner.


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cloak rooms? yep, used for discipline? yep, dual-purpose

In reply to: Good Old Days ?

rooms for many things. the cloak rooms had windows overlooking playground, so you watched others have fun while incarcerated. no a/c, had to use long pole with hook to lower upper sash of the windows. in the early grades the desks were not bolted down, 3rd grade you became immobile. all the desks were pushed to the side for various activities, indoor playground in bad weather.

city boy so I walked a mile to the grammar and same for hs in different direction, shortcut over rr tracks. one car families the norm, but not used for commuting, public transport for that. the only kids in hs that had cars either stole them or had dropped out. 20yr old dropouts still hung around the hs snack shop.

when it snowed, you dug out a spot for the car on the street. you would never move it or leave chairs, garbage cans or similar inanimate watch dogs if car needed for emergency. unwritten law: you never took the spot a neighbor dug out for themselves. offending vehicles would be buried by locals in snow or worse.

when the city plows came there would be hard packed snow up to the door handles. enter passenger side. start the car and let it run every few hours to charge the battery when the temps were +10 or less.

we always made snow forts with connecting tunnels, igloos with indoor plumbing for boys (old gutter). snowmen that were too big and heavy to lift or put on the head.

I did shovel the coal from the bin into the hopper, which auger fed the furnace. it was an all-white, blue collar neighborhood. the first african-american I ever saw; delivered the coal from his truck in the street, into wheelbarrow, through narrow gangway, and then dumped through unlocked access panel into basement bin.

can you hear the distant future conversations of the good old days: remember when we drove 5 miles to school, my cell phone was breaking up, ipod had dead battery, my 'total home comfort, maintenance and security system' had only 100 trillion mega bytes. remember those days?

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Hey, I'm trying to forget the "good old days".

In reply to: Good Old Days ?

Guess in the distant past I experience everything said by other old timers except the snow and coal. I had to cut kindling for the wood stove we used for heat to get the logs burning (no coal). We did have modern luxury with a kerosene cooking stove,lanterns/candles. Grandma tho had a wood stove to cook on and we shared a roof rainwater cistern in some places we lived. Outhouse was too cold in the winter, so Mom conveniently had 'slop gars' for indoors. We ate a lot of rabbit, chicken, squirrel, fresh pig/calf, deer, milked our own cow(s), grew and canned our own great vegetables.

Yeah, used to hide my recess bees in the cloak room. Walked, rode a bike or horse to school.
Got my share of the 12" ruler.

We never had it so good...we thought back then.

Believe my good old days were the past 30 years, especially since being married to my current wife of 27 years.


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