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Monday, 23 May 2011

Our Historic Household??

By Susan Gulliford of Hillsborough NJ Journal

Alarm Clock

Several months ago an acquaintance gave me a catalogue from The Vermont Country Store with the comment, "I thought of you when I saw this and figured you might enjoy it."

Okay, I wasn't sure what to make of the comment but I like country stuff so eventually I sat down and started flipping through it.

A few pages in, I spotted the Pilgrims and Turkey Candle Set, the same as the ones we had in the 1950s. Around Thanksgiving moms would buy them for about 19 cents each. Most kids had a set.

You didn't actually use them; you carefully put them away for reuse - until the year you stored them in the attic over the summer and had to replace them.

Well, the reproductions in the catalogue cost $17.95 for the set of a girl pilgrim, a boy pilgrim, and a turkey. Maybe they figure that we boomers will pay anything for our memories.

The next familiar items were two pages of bedspreads - chenille, the ones that left a pattern on you when you laid on them. While we still have one, it has migrated to the guest room. It was also the material in my grandmother's bathrobe.

There were more things: clothespins, Nivea Skin Lotion, Tangee lipstick, Fuller brushes, colognes - Evening in Paris and No.4711, the German Weather Haus (predicted weather by which figure came out of the two doors).

Ah, Fels-Naptha heavy duty laundry bar soap - one of my mother's indispensable household items always referred to as "yellow soap." This was the spot remover of the 1940s and 1950s and 1960s.

My mother would dampen the men's shirt collars and rub yellow soap vigorously on them before putting them into the washer. She also used it vigorously on us when we had gotten into poison ivy. I have no idea if this works or not - I'm just passing along a memory.

Then there were the timepieces - a wind up watch and a folding Bulova travel winding alarm clock.

Then I spotted the reproduction brass Wind-Up Twin Bell Clock with a Loud Alarm and Friendly Tick. Now look at the picture at the top of this post. That is not a reproduction; it works and it is in our kitchen. By the way, not all twenty-first century people think of the tick as friendly. Some of them find it downright annoying.

I leafed through pages of food: the Liquorice Allsorts that my grandmother loved, the raspberry candies with the soft centers that always turned up at Christmas, the raisin Biscuit bars that my aunt always had with tea at her house.

And, finally, flannel sheets, plaid flannel bathrobes and nightgowns. Now, the acquaintance who gave us this catalogue isn't close enough to us to know about the night wear and the flannel sheets, so we have to ask ourselves: Is it that obvious?

FYI, we also have a working dial telephone in our shop.

Dial Telephone

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Susan - This rekindled a lot of memories.

So much so, that I went on line and ordered a catalog. I am astounded that old dial phones still work in this age of digital beeps! - Sandy

Nice to know about other people in the circle..I love that catalog too, been receiving it for years and years..kept my Bag Balm supply up to date & often find little gifts for friends i.e. the raisin sheets and candy from their great candy page of old time goodies..they were my last place to find oysterettes, those wonderful little soup crackers..now I see they are no longer in catalog..I have outlived oysterettes, rats...
I do not iron much, but every time I do, I use the steam iron my Aunt kate gave me for a shower present l962..during the 60s it must have flown to the floor many times a year off my l939 wooden ironing board, which is one of few possessions I have of my Mother..that was a shower present to her in Nov 39..she would chuckle to see me hauling it out & setting it up..always like a little visit with her in the great beyond..thanks for the reminders of "enduring" things...great piece...

My son, the tech guru, who has every electronic and digital toy imaginable, was here last week-end and said "Mom, where do you get those old plug-in house phones that you have? I'd like a couple of them." "Garage sales and a penny social,my son--I'll pick you up some!"


You have reminded me why I had very few boyfriends while I was growing up.

I always smelled like Fels Naptha Soap! At the very first sign of Poison Ivy my Mother would make a paste of Fels Naptha and water and smear it over every inch of my body.

Now I remember why I couldn't get a date for the Prom!

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