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Archive for the ‘The Good Old Days’ Category

I have a phobia of sorts.

It is shortness of breath when faced with too many choices like shopping in cluttered overstocked stores or having to decide between zillions of television channels

When we were young and living in “remote areas of California” I was happy to do all the shopping at one local general store.

And we didn’t even own a t.v. or a computer or a cell phone.

But there is no accounting for progress.

We moved to the Virginia countryside where life promised to remain simple and uncluttered.  There were only three restaurants, no department stores, and no big box stores.

We put an antenna in the attic to get two clear television channels and one fuzzy station and decided we were living in Paradise.

And time marched on.

And suddenly there was a bigger, wider, more enticing world of satellite television with a zillion optional programs.

We were among the first 20,000 people in the United States to have Direct TV.  There were no installers then (at least in rural Virginia) so Bill installed everything himself.  Imagine the joy in surfing around with a remote thing!  And imagine being given a whole menu of options!  I could feel my breathing phobia kicking in.

And time marched on.

There is no accounting for progress.

I recently learned how to record t.v. programs for later viewing.  For those of you who are still novices like I was, you just push a button that says REC on your remote.  I have gone a little balistic with this new power (but symptoms of my short-of-breath-phobia are emerging too).

I have R E C’d enough programs to keep me recliner-chair-bound for the winter.

  • The Young Pope is mesmerizing.
  • But then Mercy Street is enticing.
  • And Victoria is a must.
  • I like the History channels.
  • And nature things.
  • And all those recommendations we get from friends.
  • And we currently also have three Netflix discs on standby.
  • And I want to get back into blogging.
  • And there is so much to do in cyberspace anyway.

Progress?  I call it “overkill” and there is simply not enough time in a day anymore.

Do I want to go back to three channels on the t.v.?  No.

Well maybe 10 or 20 options max?

As for shopping I sometimes yearn for the good old days.

A visit to Ernie’s General Store in Hayfork, California sounds good, simple, easy.  I could get paint, gifts, clothing, hardware, and maybe even a television set – all in one place.  Those were the days when we rented a trailer from Ernie and it was in his back yard!   That was when we were young and living in the wilder more remote places of California.  It is now many decades later and there is no accounting for progress.  I recently heard Ernie’s store was for sale.  I wonder if it is still there.  

ernies-gen-store

Ernie’s Department Store Hayfork, California

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For Milk Delivery

This old building in downtown Lexington, Virginia features a small set of doors on a side wall.

I thought the little doors were a local curiosity and my own curiosity prompted a small research project.  Google is quick to respond so it didn’t take long.

The old doors were called a “milk chute”.

Evidently they open to a platform where the milkman (they used to have milkmen in the old days you know) could pick up empty milk bottles and replace them with full ones.

The homeowner would retrieve the delivery (not the man – the milk bottles) from inside the house.

And if something extra was needed  (not the man) or  something different (well, maybe the man) from the usual order, the owner could leave a note in the neck of one of the returning empty bottles (hmm…secret messages?).  Actually, you could order vegetables or bread too.  The chutes were multi purpose.

And if you locked yourself out of your house, a little kid could usually crawl through the chute to get inside and open the door for you.

Clever huh?

Although home deliveries of perishable products came to a halt by the late 1960’s, there are still many old buildings with milk chutes (unfortunately, not milk men).

But, discovering little doors like this made me yearn for the good old days of  home deliveries, milkmen and mystery doors.

milkman2

vintage milktruck

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Pedometer 1

The final indignity that has opted me out of modern gadgetry was an old reliable pedometer that finally ran out of batteries .

And of course, no one could figure out how to open the battery box.

Maybe it was frozen in shock at how few steps I walked in the last five years.

I mourned that little pedometer and somehow knew a substitute would require a Masters’ Degree in Programming and hours of frustration to get up and running walking.

Forced to buy a new pedometer- three or four new ones  to be exact- they all challenged my intelligence.

It’s not that I’m not intelligent.  I used to be considered a bright child.

But that was in the good old days when life was simple.  There were no huge technological innovations calculated to make things easier.

Life was easy enough with Off and On switches you might have to get up for.

But I am ranting.

Even after hours of reading and re-reading I could not decipher the directions to all the new pedometers stacking up in a secret hiding place reserved for storing complicated gadgets.

Asking for help, as you may know, is humiliating.

But trying one last time, I ordered a supposedly SIMPLE  PEDOMETER that “is operational right out of the box!”

Really?

I could hardly contain my excitement when it came – a simple little drop-in-your-pocket pedometer with great big Easy Read Numbers and a little pull-tag.

I pulled the tag (according to the directions) and it was ready to go!  No intelligence required!

But where were the instructions to program calories burned, body mass indexes, breaths per minute, miles consumed, muscle contractions, levels of perspiration, or all that other irrelevant stuff?  Not there.  What a relief!

All I ever wanted to know was STEPS!

And, although I hardly believe it, this little gadget ONLY REGISTERS STEPS!

No need to purchase another 550 page book on Pedometers for Dummies (I wonder if there really is such a book)!  I already have Computers for Dummies, Windows 10 for Dummies, and Office for Dummies, plus a few more.

“By golly,” as they used to say in the good old days, when I was intelligent,  “Someone has figured out how to regress to simpler times.”  Kudos to the inventor of this precious little Steps Only Pedometer!

And  now maybe I can fool the world into thinking I have a Master’s Degree in Programming.

Why can’t everything else be this easy?

Why do I always have to pull out the directions for my self cleaning oven?

Shouldn’t I just be able to hit “Clean??

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Groundhog-Standing2

This looks like Walter but the image is from en.wikipedia.org

I wasn’t ready to believe it but the sun came out yesterday – all day.

And I found myself reclining on a deck chair with bared arms and legs in way of confirmation.

They say twenty minutes of exposed skin to sunshine helps your body create its own Vitamin D.   Ahhh – warmth that seeps into your bones and Vitamin D too!

Yes, it’s here!  

   It is truly summer!  

It must be summer because the sun is shining.

Even our resident groundhog (who I secretly call Walter) came out of his underground den.

I could not get a closeup shot but I saw him all stretched out on the warm concrete pool deck.

At first I thought Walter was dead and was making plans for a decent burial.

Can you see Walter?

Can you see Walter?

Then Walter stretched!   It was one of those big luxurious catlike stretches.  Walter was lying flat on his back and his little legs came straight out and he looked soooo happy.

Then there are the summer shadows and shady places that take me back to childhood somersaults and playing in the grass.  Those were the days when Mom urged us to get out of the house (unsupervised) and “Don’t come back until I call you for dinner!”

Childhood Memories Under the Maple Tree

Childhood Memories Under the Maple Tree

I’m too creaky for backbends and cartwheels, roller skating and climbing trees.

But it’s summertime in Virginia now.

I think I will join Walter in another big sunny stretch.

 

 

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washtubtn

Photo courtesy of the Lone Tree Museum, Lone Tree, Iowa

 

“Wash on Monday, 

Iron on Tuesday,

Mend on Wednesday,

Churn on Thursday,

Clean on Friday,

Bake on Saturday,

Rest on Sunday.”

~ From Pioneer Journeys of the Ingalls Family, Pepin, Wisconsin,  Household Chores

It’s Friday again in Virginia!

I vowed to send off an events diary every week for your reading pleasure

and to share my own life in capsule form.

But I am failing to meet the challenge.

My life has been a panorama of dedication to routines and commitments.

Time to let go right and make some serious life changes?

I’m washing today and it’s FRIDAY!

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I have just returned from a trip down “memory lane” with my friend, Kate of CoffeeKatBlog who wrote Things About My Youth.

We sort of grew up during the same era and many of Kate’s memories are mine.

Her funny, delightful post reminded me of a poem I wrote a long time ago about a girl in a photograph.

Who is that girl in the photograph,

the one with the spark of youth

dressed for a prom in a silken gown

with a faraway look of hope?

Who is that girl in the photograph,

the one with the faraway dream,

dressed in her best to celebrate?

I think she may have been me.

I remember that dress in the photograph

and the boy who was just as scared,

that soft starry night of the senior prom,

I remember the night clear and fair.

But who is that girl in the photograph?

She seems someone else I once knew,

the child I was, growing up and out

in a world that was changing too.

And onward time marched in quick-step

When a different boy called her wife

while the glowing girl in the photograph

stayed young and full of life.

The seasons passed and the years ticked on

while the picture stayed the same,

through challenges of work and home

and a son making Mom her name.

Running and running the years went by.

Now a grandma looks to the past

at an image of hope for an unknown life –

the young girl in the photograph.

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Chownings Mug Sign

Chownings Tavern – Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

The Way We Were

Chownings Tavern Welcome Team

Tavern Reception Team

Bill and I have been escaping the past several days, on a brief trip to Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia – not the first time for sure.  There is always something to see and do and never enough time for any of it.

The main allure of this incredible place is the ability to experience a “living museum”

where you can see and feel the past

whilst knowing you are viewing it from the future.

O.K. I know this doesn’t make much sense but it is perfectly true.

But we had another reason to visit the area this time.

We stopped at the MAI Conference being held at the Williamsburg Lodge!

Our friend, Pete, is the organizer and MAI stands for Mid Atlantic Innkeepers, so it was a conference and trade show for Bed and Breakfast people.

Attendees are either eager Hosts and Hostesses, eagerly Aspiring hosts and hostesses, or eager Suppliers of eager hosts and hostesses.

In any case, they are all delightfully friendly energetic people enjoying courses, classes, and camaraderie dedicated to optimizing the travel experience in today’s bustling new world.

Here are photographs of our friends who were working so hard to make the conference a success.

MAI Organizer Pete Holladay http://midatlanticinnkeepers.com

MAI Organizer Pete Holladay
http://midatlanticinnkeepers.com

MAI Ladies

Beautiful Friends Phebe and Katherine

Where Are We

Bill Wondering Where We Were

Believe it or not, the Williamsburg Lodge was a stop on our bus route around the periphery of Colonial Williamsburg.  We had lunch at Chownings Tavern along the way.

Bill tried the Shepherd’s Pie with Root Beer to swig it all down.  And I had Brunswick Stew and hot apple cider.  We were serenaded by a lovely lady in period costume who played the fiddle and then we were visited by a fellow who looked like John Adams. Then we heard a fife in the back room.

Talk about being transported back in time!

How I would love to vacation again in Colonial Williamsburg – but via a time machine back to 1734.  Then I would return of course, to all my modern conveniences!

Well, a lunch hour at the Tavern in the restored Old Towne will have to do.

A Colonial Street of Homes

A Colonial Street of Homes

John Adams Maybe

 

Wood Pile at the Ready

Wood Pile at the Ready

 

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