Weather Forecast


Chuck Brooks: Yes, people really did do that

I rarely do this, but this week, I'm targeting the older readers. It's not that I believe the younger ones won't enjoy this journey, but the older you are, the more you'll find your mind returning to a different time than we live in now. So, if you're ready to jump in my time machine, allow me to steer you in the direction of a time seemingly long forgotten.

Technology has changed so much from when we grew up that kids today wouldn't be able to recognize certain items from our childhood. Case in point, I suspect many of you had something similar to what we had on our front porch. A small silver box with a lid. If you asked any number of people today who are perhaps 30 and younger, they wouldn't have a clue. We know, however, it was the milk box where the milkman delivered the milk.

How about when we'd go to the bank. We always carried something with us that disappeared a long time ago. If you showed that same age group the little thin book in that little plastic sleeve, they wouldn't realize we once had to take our bank books for withdrawals and deposits. Banks used their date stamp and then initialed the transaction. But now ... gone. Poof!

How about the television? We watched and enjoyed black-and-white shows. We knew no better. When color entered the picture and if you were lucky enough to have one in your home, life improved by leaps and bounds. I remember the day we got our first color television. It was so special.

How about the antenna box on top of the TV? You'd use it to rotate the antenna on top of the house. Or, if you didn't have that, you had rabbit ears.

Then there was the TV repairman who actually came to our home to fix whatever might be the issue. Nowadays, if and when TVs go bad, don't we simply recycle them and get another? And do any families ever gather around the TV any longer to watch a show together? We did quite often.

If you were to show a teen today a man's handkerchief (I remember they were either red or blue for guys), would the teen have a clue what it was and what was to be done with it? Doesn't everyone just use Kleenex now? I can't say I can remember ever seeing a kid in the classroom pull out a handkerchief to use. They always had their own travel-size Kleenex or they'd use mine.

I suppose by today's anti-bacterial hand lotion standards, it's a gross concept to carry a used handkerchief with you in your pocket. But growing up, it came in handy many a time.

Mom was a bank teller, and she often brought home items from the bank for us. One of my favorites was that little rubber coin purse that had to be held at both ends and then squeezed as to open it for the deposit of the coins. I absolutely loved those coin purses. I'd open it up and close it on my nose because

a) I loved the smell, and

b) I had my weird moments as a kid.

Lots of guys had coin purses. They were so very cool.

If you could take someone born in the last 40 years and transport them back to the 1960s, on any given Sunday, and tell them to run get a loaf of bread, they'd be up a river without a paddle. Businesses were closed on Sundays for a good part of my childhood. If you needed it, you got it before Sunday. It was that simple. And people did just that. Amazing what humans once did.

One of the better improvements over time has been to the profession of the dentist. I still hate going, but there are people alive today who would be absolutely cowed by what we endured in the dentist chair years ago. The noise alone was terrible enough. Then we'd have to lean over and spit into the basin off to the side of the chair numerous times during our visit. Delightful seeing the blood shoot from one's mouth after dental work. Painless, it wasn't.

How about the loss of outdoor theaters? I still find it hard to believe outdoor screens wouldn't be popular today. Every summer I say I want to go to the one I see coming back in to Minnesota from Wisconsin on Interstate 94. And every summer it doesn't happen. I suppose supervision of such a place would be a nightmare today. I still think they're awesome.

There are other items I could have talked about including the rotary phone, doctor house calls, license plates for bikes, scarves on women in church, and the summer bug sprayer truck that went through the streets. I'm hoping this week I've taken you back to a time where fond memories are stored.

Not a bad place to go once in a while, eh? Back to reality, folks.

See ya in a week!