Come on, boomers. Add to this list. Make some suggestions. Recall some of the simpler and most fulfilling experiences you value from your younger days. Let’s see how many I missed!
Clean Cotton – it’s more than a Yankee Candle fragrance or room deodorizer scent. Thoughts of clean cotton take me back to the days when, as a young girl I begrudgingly had the chore of hanging the laundry on a clothesline. The sheets would come off dried naturally by the Florida heat and breeze, crisp and far from soft. But, oh, the smell. I loved to just grab a bedsheet in my hand, draw it to my face and deeply inhale the aroma – without Downy or Snuggle – and anticipate crawling into a freshly made bed that night, surrounded by the bright scent and crisp feel of the linens. There was no such thing as permanent-press material back then. Here I am, edging up on 60, longing for a clothesline in my backyard, if only so I can smell that smell once again.
Remember having one television, and it only televised in black and white?
How many of us recall when most every mom stayed at home, was not part of the workforce, and the family had only one vehicle?
Groceries – ah, yes, gone are the days of paying 99¢ for a gallon of milk or a pound of ground beef. Bread was four loaves for $1. We would have never considered purchasing a gallon of sweet tea. The toughest decision was whether to buy Lipton, Tetley, Luzianne or A&P teabags. And dare I mention “gas wars” when we could fill up the tank for under $5.00?
This has set me off to wondering how many things my generation and those before were able to experience that my children or grandchildren will never know. How many of the following have you done, or not done, and what can you add to the list of “extinct experiences” that you feel YOUR children and grandchildren will never have in their lives?
Let’s see how many you can add!
- Have you ever washed clothes in a wringer washer? (Do the Gen-Xers even know what a wringer washer is?). How many times did you catch a finger in the wringer? Was yours the crank version, or automatic? Do you remember the days it was considered a luxury to have a clothes dryer in the home? Clotheslines were a staple in almost every back yard.
- Gone on a Sunday drive? After Sunday dinner (which is what we southerners call Sunday lunch!), it was customary to load up into the family car and just take off for points unknown. There was no set destination. We just rode until Daddy felt it was time to return home.
- Been to a movie theater that had only one screen? Not the multi-plex where you have a bevy of films to choose from, but one single movie shown on one single screen.
- Eaten honey from a honeycomb? Chewed the wax? Not something from a jar, but from a hive you happened upon in the woods or around your house?
- Pulled a handful of moss off the nearby tree and fed it to the cow?
- Grown, harvested and prepared food you grew yourself? The whole process. Cleared the land (whether an acre or a 5’X5’ plot, watered it faithfully (or prayed for rain), pulled the weeds, picked the ears of corn off the stalk, shucked them, got grossed out to find a worm (or its entire family) inside the ear, cleaned it, boiled it and ate it, right along with the peas you personally picked and shelled yourself?
- Changed your own tire? Worked on your own vehicle? Remember the days when it was totally unheard of for someone, especially a lady, to pump their own gas? And you got your windshield cleaned and oil checked as part of the process.
- Sending your children outside to play, in the dirt, rather than plopping them in front of the television, the glorified one-eyed babysitter? And our idea of a water park was going out into the yard in our underwear, turning on the hose and squirting each other. That’s how we escaped the Florida heat, considering few of us had air conditioning in our homes.
- Playing an entire round of golf without the use of a golf cart? I mean, carrying your own bag of clubs without a caddy?
- Spending part of your Saturday ironing clothes for Sunday morning, being sure the “church clothes” were clean, pressed and ready to go?
- Shopped exclusively downtown, angle parking (and later parallel parking), since it was the only place available to go shopping? There were no such things as malls, and W.T. Grants, Kress store or Woolworth’s were the places to go.
These are only a handful of ideas. If you read this and some of it seems foreign, perhaps you might consider adding to your bucket list. Unfortunately, for many of our younger generations, those opportunities are no longer available. You won’t be able to buy your clothesline or clothespins at Grants or Kress and black & white television is considered art nouveau these days. But, what is still out there for you to experience before it’s gone forever? (Regardless of your age or generation).