"Remember The Cool Stuff?"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Wednesday, April 16, 2014

It seems most younger people think their elders are dumb. They can’t remember much is what some of the younger set believe. Well let me tell you, they remember a lot of things the young people know nothing about.

They remember what a Henry J. was — do you? They also know what a radio flyer was. No it’s not a kid on a skate board with a boom box on his shoulder. The old-timers know what a Daisy was and no it was not a flower, not even close. If you had one you probably got in trouble for breaking glass with it, so it was taken away from you for punishment. How about Wham-o’s? They were another thing that got a lot of kids in trouble — some more than others.

Elders remember when you could buy something for a penny. In Port Austin, it was at Clark’s penny candy store. They had dum-dums — do you remember them? No, they weren’t goofy kids working there. They were penny candy.

Something old-timers remember and are now being re-introduced to are snow shovels. They work when the blowers don’t. Remember galoshes? They were boots you could wear over your shoes. Warning: They are really hard to put on over Nike’s or any other rubber-soled shoe.

Does anyone remember the dial phone? There are still a few around, but most young people are unaware they will work if the electricity goes out and the push buttons don’t work. If you still have one in the back of a closet, keep it handy in case you lose power and still want to make a call.

I remember some of the first “small” cars. The fuel savers that were before their time. Dodge Omni, AMC, Pacer and Kaiser-Frazer who made the Henry J — just to mention a few. There are still a few around Huron County like the red and white Nash Metropolitan. You can usually see them at local car shows. Do you know where you can find elephant ears or Jimmy Jones skirts? They too are from the old days. They were accessories on custom cars.

In the old days, every new car came with a full-sized spare tire. Today, you’re lucky to get a can of air with a sealer.

Remember Duncan’s or Cheerio’s? No, they were not breakfast food. They are still produced, but the weekly yo-yo contest, sponsored by the two companies above are long gone.

They used to give out great prizes; jackets, sweaters, and sailor hats to the most skilled tricksters. It was a high honor to wear one of them.

Here is a real oldie: time was if you were sick you could call the doctor and instead of sitting in a waiting room with people sicker than you, the doc would come to your home. Sometimes a shot in the rear was the easy way to find a cure for not wanting to go to school and off he would go to his next call.

In the old days, a fishing boat was most often powered by oars. If there was a motor of 25 hp, it was one of the biggest on the water. Of course, boats were only 14- to 18-foot and fish were waiting just offshore a short distance.

In the old days, if you planned to go fishing the next day you would water the grass, give it a real soaking. After dark you would head outside with a flashlight, pull the night crawlers out of the moist earth and put them in a coffee can to use for bait. If fishing from shore, a bamboo pole, a few hooks and a cork was all that was needed. When you caught enough for supper you would rush home and clean the catch.

There was a phrase often repeated, “The fresher the fish, the better the dish.”

Another thing we did in the old days was pick dandelions. Once the picking was done, the greens were washed and cut up in a salad that went good with the fish. Some people even made wine with them.

I remember going camping a lot, often with the Boy Scouts, other times with the family. Camping in the old days usually meant taking a tent, Coleman gas lantern, white gas for the cook stove and a big cooler. Today’s campers load the trailer and car with food and clothes and head for a campground. You still see a tent once in a while, but trailers, fifth wheels and motor homes (some priced at more than $500,000) are more common. They are rigged out with full kitchens and wash rooms. No more trips to the outhouse.

Many of us elders remember a lot you youngsters never knew. We even know how to add and subtract without a machine and how to spell a whole word, which we often do instead of texting.




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