Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Phones Used to Just Be Phones

When my parents moved many years ago to be closer to us my Daddy cut the cord to his old rotary phone and brought it with him. I found it packed away in an old chest after they passed away. And I still have that old black phone.

In my childhood home it had a special niche in between the studs in the hallway, framed nicely in fancy molding with a place underneath for the phone book. When I was little, our phone "number" was STATE with a few numbers after it. Sometime during my teens it changed to being all numbers, but it was still dialed - finger stuck in the appropriate hole and pulled clockwise all the way around to the metal stop at the end.

I don't remember us ever having a party line, but I knew people who did. They each had a special ring, so they knew when the call was for them. But it was easy enough to pick up the phone and listen in or join in with the conversation of another party line member. Some had 2 party and others 4 party lines.

I have a vague memory of my grandmother using a phone in Chicago without dialing - she picked it up and told the operator the number she wanted to reach. She was blind in later years, so it may be that it was a regular rotary phone that she could not use easily.

Way back then phones were just phones. They didn't DO anything else. My, how things have changed. I remember distinctly the first time I ever saw a portable phone. We were in Radio Shack, and this man was at the counter purchasing a phone he could carry around with him!! We were amazed! As I recall it was a little smaller than a loaf of bread and came in a carrying bag with a shoulder strap. And I think it sold for around a thousand dollars!

Now phones are like cyborg extensions of many people's bodies - either with a Bluetooth ear piece or grasped tightly in their hand all day long. And they're not just phones any more, either. With cameras and internet connections it seems they can do anything the heart desires.

They carry people's lives - photos, credit cards, games, music, movies, work product, heart monitor, you name it - you can have it - there's an app for that.

My hubby and I are luddites when it comes to cell phones. He has a flip, because he kept butt dialing me. I have a touch screen one, but I barely know how to text on it. I'm really good with computers, but phones? not hardly. And I'd just soon keep it that way.

I guess my age is showing LOL.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Memories of Benjamin's Old Garbage Can Chicken Rabbit

Our main focus on the internet for many years has been to help people find cherished plush lovies. We sell soft toys on our own Dirty Butter Plush Animal Shoppe and run our free Plush Memories Lost Toy Search Service Facebook Group.

We have read thousands of stories from people searching for a reincarnation of their childhood beloved toy. Benjamin would appreciate your help in finding another one of these yellow and white rabbits probably from the 70's or 80's.

Benjamin's Old Garbage Can Chicken Rabbit

When I was 2 I lived in Pensacola with my grandparents while I was very sick (1982-84). One day my aunt Becca brought this little dude home for me. She found him in a garbage can at KFC covered in the worst of the worst. She washed him up, and he was good as new. I fell madly in love with him, and to this day I guard him with my life. Now he is my son's, and my son is crazy about him.

This rabbit has been all over the world with me. Virginia twice, Alabama twice, Germany and ...all over Europe. I never left home without him, even up until I was 9, I carried this little guy on hikes, played in the forests with him, and rode my bike with him belted somewhere to me. 
At one point when I was in second grade, I lost him on a Boy Scouts trip, I was devastated for months. I searched Maxwell Air Force Base on my bike for weeks searching for him. I could not sleep knowing he was out in the rain and cold without me. 2 years went by, and I moved to Germany(89-94), certain I would never see him again.

A year after arriving in Germany I joined the Cub Scouts and another camping trip was planned. Late that night, I crawled into my sleeping bag, and I felt something brushing my foot, I dove to the bottom of the sleeping bag to find him, 2 years later. He had been at the bottom of the sleeping bag, and when I rolled it up the next day, I had forgotten he had been there. 2 years .....

I did not let go of him at all that trip, 4th grade or not, I did not care at all. I had rescued my friend. I felt like I had saved the POW from the prison, Mario freed the Princess, and she was not in another castle, Zelda got the tri-force, etc.

I guard him with my life now, just shy of breaking into a brawl when someone jokes around with him in the wrong way. It is a war crime to offend my rabbit in my household. He is my rabbit, and I, 33 years old, will walk straight into the mouth of a dragon, and walk right down its throat to get him.... again, if I had too. If a fire breaks out in the house, forget the awards, forget the records, get the family and the rabbit and bolt.

He represents a bookmark of all the stories of my life. He was there on the long walks and playing in the mud, cold snowy days, when I was sick, etc. He is something that holds those memories for me. He holds those for me when I can't remember all the details, when my memory slips me, I can recall bringing him on that trip and it all comes back.

I want to know more about him, and if there are more. My son claims ownership of him now, but I wouldn't mind having another one.

This old, garbage can, chicken rabbit, he is my friend.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

If you can help Benjamin find a twin of his special rabbit friend, so his son does not destroy his garbage can chicken rabbit, please comment on our Plushmemories Facebook group! His name links to his post on our Facebook group where our Fabulous Finders search the internet, thrift stores, and yard sales to reunite people with their special childhood pals.

If you can't help Benjamin, please take a look around our Facebook group anyway. There are plenty of other people who have asked for help finding their special lovie. Who knows - you may have one in the bottom of a storage box, lonely and ready to be loved again!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Dirty Politics Backfire?

Back in 2012 I wrote a post about how boring the television coverage of the Republican and Democratic Conventions had become, compared to what I remember from my childhood.

Well, one thing's for sure, the TV coverage of the Republican and Democratic DEBATES has been far from boring! The level of name calling, crude language, and hateful speech seems to have escalated beyond anything before. That's probably not true, but it sure seems that way. I'll leave that call to the true historians.

We live in a state where the incumbent Senator has been in office since Moses, and for the first time in memory he is scrambling to defeat a young whippersnapper of an opponent.

And, likely following the lead of the presidential primary races, the local TV advertisements have become decidedly "dirty politics". I WAS still debating on voting on the incumbent, mainly because of his position on some powerful committees, or voting for "new blood", figuring it was time for new ideas.

But the incumbent has released a particularly nasty TV advertisement that just hits me the wrong way, and it had the exact opposite effect the candidate intended. It has tipped me over to the young candidate.

So how about you? Are you willing to gloss over the offensive speech of these heated campaigns, or do you get swayed to vote more "against" one candidate, rather than a true "for" another one? Do the robo-calls, television advertisements, billboards, etc., sway you? Or is it the substance of what the candidate says he or she will do once they are in office?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Going Green in the Good Ole Days

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days."

The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."

She was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day. Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were truly recycled.

But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn't do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's diapers, because we didn't have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working, so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty, instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink, instead of buying a new pen. And we replaced the razor blades in a razor, instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked, instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were, just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

This post was copied from Facebook. Post by Richie Bulldog.

The textbooks we covered with grocery bag paper were used over and over again with each new class of students up until some time in the early 60's in Alabama. And any package we mailed was always carefully wrapped in that same brown grocery bag paper.

We didn't need to run on treadmills, because we played outside! And we ate wholesome REAL foods that didn't come in lots of cardboard packaging and had not been genetically modified or filled with antibiotics and hormones. So obesity wasn't such a problem back then - it was actually rather rare. I only remember one girl and one boy that I went through elementary school with who were at all fat - and they were far from obese.

Those automobiles we were driving way back then? You could actually replace parts on them easily and cheaply! Now even a fender bender turns into a major bill.

Yes, I really do remember TV screens no bigger than a handkerchief. We did have more than one electrical outlet to a room (for lamps and maybe an alarm clock), but other than that, the lifestyle this poster describes fits my early years perfectly.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Segregation - Integration Memories

Yesterday was the end of a week long 50th Year Celebration of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham.

So it seems like a good idea to pull together in one place the links to previous posts I've made of my memories during the Civil Rights Era. I lived and went to school in Birmingham, Alabama, until after I married in the 60's and then taught nearby when Integration was just beginning. So I think my memories represent some unique views on the events of that time. With that said, here are some posts you might want to read. Your comments are certainly encouraged!

See Dick See Jane

Jim Crow Rides the Train - Chicago Train Memories Part II

Historic High School Memories Part I

Historic High School Memories Part II

Integration Memories Part II - Stand in the Schoolhouse Door

Integration Memories Part III

Black Like Me

Integration Memories

Integration Memories - A Final Look

If you are old enough to have memories of that era, I would love to hear from you. I realize some of my old students may read some of these posts, but I have written how things seemed to me at the time.

I have grown to love the community we have lived in for the last 42 years and have tried my best to be equally considerate of every student I ever worked with, regardless of racial or economic background. I can only hope that they would agree with me on that.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Breathes there the man with soul so dead...

As I think about America's Independence Day celebration this week for the 4th of July, my thoughts turn toward this excerpt of Sir Walter Scott's Lay of the Last Minstrel:
    Breathes there the man with soul so dead
    Who never to himself hath said,
    This is my own, my native land!
    Whose heart hath ne’er within him burned,
    As home his footsteps he hath turned
    From wandering on a foreign strand!
    If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
    For him no minstrel raptures swell;
    High though his titles, proud his name,
    Boundless his wealth as wish can claim
    Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
    The wretch, concentred all in self,
    Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
    And, doubly dying, shall go down
    To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
    Unwept, unhonored , and unsung.

Our prayers go out to those patriots who honor their country with service in our military, and to those family members who wait expectantly for the day when their loved one's footsteps are turned toward home.

God Bless America!!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Clean Water Memories

When our children were little I used to walk with them down to Pump House, to the overflow of the spring that provides our town with drinking water. We'd take the dog along, and I'd let them wade around in the cold spring water to their hearts content. I didn't need to worry about snakes with the dog splashing around with them. They would pick watercress to use in salads, try to catch the minnows and frogs, and marvel at the Water Boatmen and Dragonflies.

Thanks to homeland security concerns, the pump house and spring have been fenced off for some years now, and the old pier we used to walk out on is long gone. But you can still hear kids laughing and playing in the creek behind our house in the Summer.

Sometimes their friends would invite them to go swimming in nearby Lake Logan Martin, which is fed by the Coosa River. They would get mad, because I wouldn't let them go. I knew that the e-coli count was high. Even back then it was polluted.

Today, Logan Martin and the Coosa River are favorite haunts of plenty of water sports enthusiasts. And plenty of fishing is done, but very few people eat the fish they catch in the Coosa. It's just way too polluted to be safe.

Hubby and I belong to the Coosa River Keepers, a non-profit organization whose goal is to clean up the Coosa River and restore it to a living river. You can help the River Keepers win a cash prize by voting and giving 5 stars for this short video in which a long time resident of our town recounts her childhood memories of the Coosa River.

I urge you to find a local group working to protect a habitat near you.