Some of the Changes I've Seen in My Life Time

I was born at the end of the Great Depression. Though sometimes my dad didn't have a job, we always had a roof over our head and food on the table--though sometimes it was odd. I remember suppers of milk toast--buttered toast in warm milk. I thought it was a wonderful treat. When I gave it to my own kids once, they thought it was horrible.

We listened to the radio--my first memories of the radio are the soap operas my mom listened to: Ma Perkins, My Gal Sunday and others I can't remember the names of. Later I remember listening to all sorts of mysteries, The Shadow, Inner Sanctum, Perry Mason.

For Christmas one year my dad made me and all cousins great scooters. Another Christmas he built me a two-story doll house and my aunt made all the furniture.

My dad made a contraption for our early camping trips that was a trailer that opened up like a tent. Too bad he didn't patent it since later a commercial model almost the same became available.

Dad made lots of things, a small row boat out of a gas tank from an airplane, an outboard motor boat, and finally a great inboard ski boat--he also made our water skis.

We had the first TV in the neighborhood because my dad made ours from a Heath Kit. Sister and I helped--we brought him all the wires he asked for nearly all night long. We also helped with the guide wires for the antenna on the roof--as did all the kids in the neighborhood. Everyone came to our house to watch TV--we watched what ever was on, Beanie and Cecil (hand puppets), wrestling, variety shows, roller derby.

Dad also made my two wheel bike because during the WW II, you couldn't buy bikes. He made one for my cousin too. Dad was a plumber at Paramount studio and he fashioned the bike frames out of pipes.

We also had an automatic washing machine as soon as they were available, my father liked to have anything that was new.

When I was in Jr. High (that's what middle school was called back then), I put out a teen magazine. There was no such thing as a copy machine. I used a hectograph, which was a jelly like substance that you heated up and put in a pan. When you typed the original you used a special kind of carbon that you then pressed into the jelly. You could make about 15 decent copies that way. If you wanted pictures, there were special colored pencils to use. Each time you did a new page you had to melt down the jelly and start over. I charged 5 cents for each copy.

Our telephone number was Blanchard 71848. You dialed BL and the numbers.

We lived in Los Angeles and rode the bus that connected with the red car (streetcar) that went downtown.

Our house had two bedrooms and one bath--so did most of my friends' homes.

Movies had two features, a cartoon, newsreel, and Keno which was much like Bingo and winners got prizes like a set of dishes.

After I got married and started a family, my babies wore cloth diapers, when we went somewhere and my husband drove, I held the baby in my arms, the other kids sat in back without seat belts.

The first apartment I lived in had an ice box, no refrigerator.

I didn't get a dryer until I had my fifth child. My grandfather took pity on me hanging up a huge wash every single day and bought me a dryer. I've never been without one since.

My first airplane flight was out of LAX and I had to walk across the tarmac and climb the stirs to the plane that had two engines with propellers.

When my husband was in Vietnam, we wrote letters and occasionally talked via ham operators. Service men can now talk and be seen by their wives via computers. Wow!

When I first started writing I had a portable typewriter. To make copies I used carbon paper. I sent out my manuscripts in a box with another box inside with enough postage for it to come back to me if it was rejected and I could send it out again.

Next I got an electric typewriter that made corrections. Was I thrilled when the computer became something ordinary people could buy. My first one had two floppy discs (and yes, they were really floppy) one with the program on and one that copied what you were working on.

And everyone knows how much the computer and printers have changed since then. My life as a writer became so much easier. When I submit a manuscript now it's as an attachment through e-mail.

I'm not even going to talk about the other wars, the space programs, changes in our government, it's all too mind boggling.

And that's just a tiny bit of the changes and I'm thankful for them all.



Wow, Marilyn! Even though I was a few years after you, we experienced some of the same things.

I was born in WWII, but we also had some strange suppers, as we called them; Saturday night supper was a special treat of cornbread and syrup in milk.

Radio listening was another thing we did. We curled up around it, almost like it was another person in the room. There were shows where they read stories. Sometimes in serial form, so you had to tune in again.

And of course, we had the "Lone Ranger."
We called it supper too--dinner was only on Sunday after church.

When I was little, I thought there were people inside the radio. Of course we had a great big radio in the living room. I had my own little Philco in my bedroom.

I had to chuckle about that "people in the radio" comment. I, too, was SURE there were people inside!

And you're right about "supper" vs. "dinner." We actually had mid-day "dinners" on Sunday.

I was much older before that all changed, but not at my parents' house. They continued calling it "supper" until they died!
Oh, and that thing about telephone numbers...ours was TUXEDO 3-2111!

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