Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dazed In Future Past


As is my ridiculous wont these days, I took an internet quiz. This one purported to tell me how old I would live to be. The result – no joke – was 128.

First, given my personal habits both past and present, the odds of my living that long are about the same as my becoming Queen of England. Second, and more important, God forbid. As MY WIFE said, taking into account our financial prospects for the next 70 years, “I guess welly cheese must be extremely good for you.”

Getting to the real point here: You may be searching your memory banks for “welly cheese” (unless you actually grew up having to eat it, in which case you might be cursing me out for reminding you of your unhappy childhood.) In any case, “welly cheese” was cheap American cheese handed out by the government to poor folk. The certainty that many people under a certain age (and over a certain income bracket) wouldn't have the slightest idea what MY WIFE was talking about got me to wondering what other things we'll probably throw into conversations when we're in our 120's and which the staff at the nursing home won't understand while waiting for us to croak. Here's a short list I came up with...

Wite-Out (and its cousin, Ko-Rec-Type). Speaking of which, typewriters, carbon paper and mimeographs. When we try to explain the joys of sniffing purple ink, they'll probably sedate us.

Walkie-Talkies. Pay Phones, as well as phone booths, party lines and any reference to 'dialing'. We'll talk about having called a recording of a lady for the correct time and they'll probably wrap us in wet sheets.

Astroturf, which in a roundabout way brings to mind, “Rut-Roh!” and “Jane! Stop this crazy thing!” When we elucidate further, with “Bang! Zoom!”, “Up your nose with a rubber hose!” and “Aaaaaayyyyyyyyyy!”, we'll become candidates for lobotomies (except nobody will know what those are and we'll quote Latka Gravas: “Thank you very much!”)

Record stores, phonographs, jukeboxes, VHS and Beta, which will remind us of 8-tracks, cassette recorders and reel-to-reels. “Catch you on the flip side!”, we'll say with big smiles while they tighten the straps on our straitjackets.

Pay Toilets (I still find it hard to believe there was actually a time when some people charged other people a dime to poop, so I won't blame the staff when they up our meds again.) And when our nurses ask, “What in heck is a five-and-ten?”, we'll tell them - and they'll give us the maximum dosage, to which we'll gratefully say, “Sock it to me!”

I'm sure you can come up with many more stupid things I'll say in the future, but I guess that's enough for today. In the meantime, since I have no desire to become a superannuated freak, I'm going to double my bad habits and take that test again. Wish me rotsa ruck.

Soon, with more better stuff.

34 comments:

The Broad said...

Very enjoyable list! I remember many of them well -- but not 'welly cheese'...

OldAFSarge said...

Ah, the good old days.

(I can't believe I just said that. I have become my parents...)

Suldog said...

Broad - It may particular to the Northeast; maybe New England, or even just Boston. Don't feel ignorant!

Sarge - It happens to the best of us (even those of us who don't have kids...)

Shammickite said...

Whaaaa? Welly cheese? Really? Never heard of the stuff. Wite-out, yes. Still have a couple of dried up bottles in the back of my desk drawer. Pay phones, party lines, yes, I remember them. Loved playing the jukebox, wish I had one of my own with all the flashing lights. What's the rubber hose quote? Sounds awful.

Suldog said...

Shammickite - Just to clarify - "welly cheese" is welfare cheese; given to very poor folks who collected welfare. The 'rubber hose' quote comes from the TV show "Welcome Back, Kotter".

Mariann Simms said...

I knew them all - I grew up in Jersey. :)

Suldog said...

Mariann - Well, there you go. We have now verified that "welly cheese" is known in at least Boston and New Jersey. If I get a couple of folks from the Midwest or West Coast saying they know what in hell I'm talking about, maybe I'll submit this someplace.

Michelle H. said...

I'm surprised you didn't say slinky.

Tabor said...

We were poor when I grew up, but we lived on a farm...so welly cheese was not something with which I am familiar. I was reading a story to my 7-year-old granddaughter yesterday and we came across the term handkerchief...which she thought might be like handcuffs!

Jackie said...

Didn't recognize the cheese...but smiled and love the walk down memory lane regarding all of the others. Keep 'em coming, Jim, while you can still remember them.
Hugs,
J.

Suldog said...

Michelle - If I ever run into a person who doesn't know what a Slinky is, I'll just have to wrap them in Silly Putty.

Tabor - Handkerchief! Perfect. Not too many people carry snot around in their pockets these days.

Jackie - Remember what?

Buck said...

Tail fins! Is all.

Suldog said...

Buck - Yup. And, somewhat connected, white bucks.

joeh said...

At 120 you'll still probably say, "Let's play two!"

And then take a nap.

joeh said...

I heard it called Govmnt Cheese. I never had the pleasure though.

Ami said...

Government cheese. Never heard your term for it.

I wrote something a long time ago about the things we have now that I couldn't have dreamed of as a kid.

I remember just about dying when I first saw a telephone in a car. It had a cord attaching the handset to the phone. The phone was attached to the center console of the car and there were two large antennas on the roof.

My hubby and I always wonder if the nursing homes of the future will have video games.

Suldog said...

Joe - Two? That's always been for pikers. I'll take three any day.

Ami - I think the most outstanding feature of nursing homes of the future will be all of the droopy tattoos.

messymimi said...

Except that i raised my kids to know what most of that stuff is, so they can translate! In fact, we still keep an old rotary dial phone in the house, and all the children know how to use it. After a hurricane, it's often the only kind that will work!

Suldog said...

Mimi - It's always amazing to me when a kid DOESN'T know about such things. When I was a kid, I knew about telegraphs, silent movies, horse-drawn streetcars, and a thousand other things that didn't exist any longer or were mostly relics.

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

Whitewalls, fender skirts, and continental kits... it isn't so much that I remember as it is I have a number of friends who remind me in emails... all of the time, over and over

Suldog said...

Skip (not necessarily my uncle, though he may be yours) - Yeah, those "Do you remember these things?" e-mails are almost as aggravating as this piece was. By the way, test patterns.

Hilary said...

Ha.. as soon as I read the word "mimeographs," I could smell it. And that was before I read your next line. I remember taking the top test paper, and sniffing it and the rest before passing them back.

I'm thinking about your response to messymimi's comment. We knew about what came before us because things didn't change as rapidly then as they have between our generation and the next. Too many things have come and gone - which were only around for short periods of time - unlike those things we learned about from our parents' time. There's a whole lot more crammed into the past 50 years of history than any time before it.

Fun and fine post as always.

Daryl said...

so i can't remember what year it was but it was definitely pre-2000 my parents were alive healthy and living in Florida .. i visited and in the fridge was this humongous block of cheese .. 'what the heck is tha't i asked .. mom replied 'they were giving it away' … i didnt ask anything else because my mom was a bit like Gracie Allen and having grown up during the Depression she never turned down anything that was free …

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Suldog said...

Hilary - I wonder if you can still buy that ink anywhere? Since I'm working from home, I could spend all day huffing it. It probably wouldn't hurt MY writing.

Daryl - My knowledge of such cheese is, thankfully, second-hand. MY WIFE, however, grew up in the projects, so...

Anonymous - I pleased am being so.

Eddie said...

Dried egg - just after the war! . . . for Brits courtesy of you guys. As a kid I loved it nut it was rashioned.

Winkle Pickers

OxFord Bags

Abacus . . . . lol

The words please and thank you

Loved the stroll down Memory Lane, albeit from this side of the pond ~ Eddie :)


Didn't have Welly Cheese here, jut smelly cheese!!

Eddie Bluelights said...

Dried egg - just after the war! . . . for Brits courtesy of you guys. As a kid I loved it nut it was rashioned.

Winkle Pickers

OxFord Bags

Abacus . . . . lol

The words please and thank you

Loved the stroll down Memory Lane, albeit from this side of the pond ~ Eddie :)


Didn't have Welly Cheese here, jut smelly cheese!!

Suldog said...

You reminded me of one My Mom used to complain about - oleomargarine!

Now, what is a "winkle picker"? It sounds slightly dirty, so I already like it.

Suldog said...

Eddie replied via e-mail...

"Winkle Picker is a type of shoe worn by men in the days of the Beetles. Sharp points on the end of each toe."

Thank you, Eddie!

lime said...

you may be right on many counts here but i am here to tell you vinyl is having a resurgence. both my daughters have acquired turntables and actual vinyl records, which they hold precious. and my understanding is they are not some weird anachronistic mutants among their peers. whoda thunk it?

Suldog said...

Lime - Some people swear the sounds reproduced on vinyl have a "warmer" tone than those from CD or other digital forms. I'm probably too overwhelmed with pleasant nostalgia to fairly judge that.

Craig said...

You know I love stuff like this, Sully. . .

Where I grew up, it was government cheese. . .

Lime stole my thought of vinyl records. But how 'bout the 45rpm ones, with one song on each side, and a big ol' 1-inch hole in the center?

Dial telephones; phone numbers with two letters and five numbers (or a word and five numbers; you only dialed the first two letters of the word).

Or, TVs that only got 12 channels, and you had to get up and walk across the room to change the channel. By turning a rotary dial. Going to the drug store to test and replace burned-out vacuum tubes from the TV. . .

Riding, loose and unbelted, in the back of a station wagon or pickup truck. Heck, station wagons. . .

"I'm comin', Beanie Booooyyyy!"

And, "Klaatu barada nikto". Just sayin'. . .

Suldog said...

Craig - That is a load of good stuff. And good on ya for realizing that although the channel knob went to 13, it was actually 12 stations (having started at 2, and I once heard why there was no channel 1 but I've forgotten the reason.)

I can still recall my childhood phone number: CYpress 6 - 9243.

Barbara Shallue said...

My grandmother used to get a huge chunks of government cheese, and she would share it with the rest of us. I'm not sure if it's the same as 'welly cheese' because we actually kind of liked it - it made great grilled cheese sandwiches!