Monday, May 15, 2017

Great Memories Captured on Film by J.Q. Rose

Great Memories Captured on Film by J.Q. Rose

My Mom in 1958

Yesterday, Sunday, May 14, in the US we celebrated Mother's Day. The photo is of my mother sitting and resting on a wall of limestone. She, my Aunt Elizabeth, and I toured Starved Rock State Park near Utica, Illinois. Needless to say, after walking up all the steps to the top of Starved Rock, we were very warm and very tired. Do you remember these old photos that always had the date stamped on each one? My Aunt Elizabeth took the photo with her Brownie camera.
Brownie Camera

I remember my aunt flipping up the top and peering down into the little square glass, sometimes shading it so she could better see to take the picture of the scene. She was always taking pictures.

But of course, the pictures had to be developed from the film. I never took many pictures because the film was expensive and many times when developed, there were only a few good ones. No digital photos that are free to take and easy to delete with no regrets.

How about those amazing Polaroid cameras that developed the photos right inside the camera. Pure magic to me. Do you remember the smell of those developed photos? How would you describe it?

Now with digital cameras, I am a picture-taking nut. I love photography. Not exactly an artist with it, but so much fun to capture simple every day scenes as well as big events.I just wonder if in the future, my kids and family will take time to open a digital file and look through those images of long ago. Not like I had to do when my mom passed away. I sifted through boxes and boxes of old photos and spent a wonderful time remembering those good old days with her and all the people on the developed film.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Remembering Road Trips by J.Q. Rose

Hello and welcome to the good ole days. Stay a bit and linger in your memories.
Remembering Road Trips by J.Q. Rose
My husband, Gardener Ted, and I just completed a road trip from Florida to Michigan last week. My how travel has changed since I was a kid.

No GPS, no four-lane roads, no fast food places, and no rest areas in the good ole days.

My Dad was an undertaker, so he was tied down 24 hours a day to his job. He also ran an ambulance service. We lived on Route 66 and he picked up a lot of victims of car crashes in those days--dead and alive. Hospital for the live ones...I guess our funeral home for the dead ones.
Even with so much responsibility every day, he managed to get-away for some great family trips. But there were rules. The main rule was "do not order hamburgers." He was scared of unknown meat at unfamiliar restaurants fearing the meat was tainted with bacteria. I must have survived on grilled cheese sandwiches and snacks in the car as we traveled.

I remember I had a LOT of sour chocolate milk on our travels. I guess the refrigeration was lacking at some of the greasy spoons we stopped at along the way. 

I actually don't recall any horrendous traffic jams like we experience now as we go through construction areas and around cities. Of course I was too young to drive, so I may not have noticed.
Road construction
But what did we do in the car as we clicked off all those boring miles on a trip? No tablets or DVD movies to watch. I remember singing a lot. Sunday School songs and songs like I Been Workin' on the Railroad or Oh Susannah and the Wheels on the Bus and probably more. We also looked for all the different states' license plates and to find something along the way that matches the letters of the alphabet like A=automobile, B=bank, C=cow, etc. 

Did you take road trips when you were a kid? How did you entertain yourselves along the way?

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Gilmore Car Museum Spurs Great Memories

Gilmore Car Museum Spurs Great Memories by J.Q. Rose

The beginning of the car industry in the USA.
Do you wanna reminisce? Then take a trip to the Gilmore Car Museum, Hickory Corners, Michigan, near Kalamazoo. What an adventure into the history of cars! We were there for the third time this past weekend. I never tire of it. Visitors now enter through the new heritage center which connects to the old restored barns housing all the historic vehicles. From Ford's model T's, Checker cabs (made in Kalamazoo), Franklin air-cooled cars, muscle cars, classics, racing cars, and more. 
Vintage camper, basically the same floor plan as in travel trailers of today minus the wood burning stove!
So many captains in the industry are profiled I wish I could remember them all. Did you know the Dodge Brothers who founded the Dodge Company were "real hellions?" Henry Ford failed in his first two attempts to build cars? Henry Ford burned all the scraps of wood from car making and collected the charcoal for sale as the Kingsford Charcoal Company? Electric cars were popular with women at the turn of the 20th century? Kalamazoo is known as the "other motor city?"
Gorgeous muscle cars on display bring back lots of memories and fun times.

Not only the mechanics of the car are on display, but also the pure beauty of design. Cars are works of art. Go visit if you get a chance and you too will learn to appreciate the automobile even more.

The vehicles are housed in these original old time barns brought in from around the local countryside.
The old gas station really takes us back to the good ole days. Our grandsons loved the bell that rang when a car drove over the cable strung on the concrete pavement.
1966 Mustang
The production Mustang was shown to the public for the first time inside the Ford Pavilion at the New York World's Fair on April 17, 1964 — two months and nine days after the Beatles first came to New York to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show. It went on sale at Ford dealers that same day.

Ford Mustang History - Edmunds.com


Ford Edsel manufactured only from 1958-1960, a dismal failure for the Ford Motor Company.

So what car did you love way back then? What was your first car?
If you'd like to see more of our trip to the Gilmore Car Museum, click here to view myYoutube video.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Photo Albums

The other day, I was in search of an old memory.  My mind could place where the item was & I had hoped it would be where I last thought it should be.

To the plastic bin tote I went.  Yes, this is where it was.  I had accumulated so much over the years that there were no longer room on bookshelves to hold them so they all went into the bin totes.

What's in the totes, you ask?  Remember photo albums?  Yes, actual printed photos you hold in your hands. The pictures we printed, held & admired for days at the memory of the shot taken.  The anticipation of how that shot would look when taken had to be held until the final day the pictures were picked up at the photo processing store. Sometimes you were pleasantly surprised, but more often than thought, (at least in my case), would be left a little disappointed that maybe the auto-flash on the camera didn't work right in that setting or yet, worked too well so that there was too much of a light flash around your subject.  Or the dreaded disappointment that maybe the anticipated picture never even took & there you are with a blank, black 4x6" of glossy paper in your hand to show for your efforts.

My love of looking at pictures goes back as far as I can remember.  My grandmother always carried a handful of pictures in her purse to share with the family the next time she'd visit.  Often than not, these were loose pictures she carried.  No mini-photo albums, not sorted.  Maybe in an envelope.  There were different sized pictures she'd carry to brag about when showing that were sent to her.

People took pictures with a real camera.  Took them to be developed (unless you were really high-tech & used a Polaroid.  Instant development!).  Then they'd also maybe take a little time to write a message on the back of the printed photo, along with a handwritten note, to address to you & mail that you might get in a few days.  Your mail could be enlightened to see the picture of your loved one on their latest vacation or maybe the grand-kids' latest school activity.  Often school pictures of your little tyke were shared in this way with family & friends.

As in my case, not only did I love to look at pictures, I loved taking pictures.  Hence, there became my next step.  Albums.  In the case of Grandma carrying loose pictures & sharing the pictures off great-relatives pictures that were kept in metal cookie tins, I determined to keep my pictures in albums.  I could almost remember which particular picture was in a particular album for quick look-see.  However, reality sets in when one gets ready to move & box up items.  Albums.  Lots of albums!

In the digital age, we no longer have to worry about physical space or clutter of all & every picture we take or keep.  Instantly can preview a picture to see if it's to our liking, deleting if it's not.  Editing along the way & adding scrapbook-like features without all the extra messy, time-consuming artsy-crafty hands-on experience.  Share instantly with friends & family on social media so anyone can see or screen-shot your photos to their own device immediately so they can show to their friends/family.  No personal mail with an individual's handwriting to remember them by.

Yes, I still get printed copies of my pictures.  Force of habit, I suppose (& fears that the "cloud" could delete my life's pictures).  However, I no longer have to go to my local photo shop where we could only wait one hour to get a roll developed.  I preview on my digital camera, upload it to my favorite picture site where they can hold all my digital albums.  I can have the date set on my camera so the pictures are dated.  If one takes the time, you can also type in the description of your pictures so that they will print it on the back for you. All done & delivered to your mailbox.

However, actual albums are scarcer to find in your local stores these days.  Scarcer is shelf-space for years worth of pictures.  The albums were moved into plastic bins for storage.  Now I find myself having prints stored in bins without being in albums.  Just like in Grandma & Great-grandma's days!

(photo purchased from Fotolia)

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Demon Typewriter

My grandfather Streator and grandmother Maw
in the center of the picture
The Demon Typewriter by J.Q. Rose

Old pictures bring back good memories for me. The picture above is my mother's side of the family with my grandmother Maw in the center. I've been thinking of her lately because this month she would have been 125 years old.

Maw was my first reader and publisher She took the scribbled notebook pages of a story about a girl and her horse and typed up the whole "novel" on her old typewriter.
Antique typewriter
Courtesy of  thaikrit at freedigitalphotos.com

What joy when I saw that type-written manuscript! I knew I wanted to be a writer and I'd have to learn how to type in order to offer readable manuscripts. When I was in high school, I took a typing class. All the machines in the classroom were manual typewriters---except one. That electric typewriter was a demon as far as I was concerned. The letters jumped on the page with just a light touch of the finger and the carriage magically returned to the beginning of the line with no warning.

Using that dang machine to take speed typing tests was gut-wrenching for me because I wanted to ace every test. With only one electric in the class, we drew straws to see who would have to take the test on that scary monster. After practicing all week on a manual, hopping on the electric typewriter was like driving a sports car with an automatic transmission when all I'd driven was a  manual geared beat-up pick-up truck! But not as thrilling. 

The automatic functions played havoc with my word count, not to mention the mistakes caused by my heavy-fingered touch on those quick responding keys. As I look back now, I think the teacher factored in using the electric typewriter for the test instead of the manual. Otherwise I would've flunked the class!
Typing in the 21st Century
In the 21st century, we can type out a manuscript in no time, delete whole paragraphs, auto correct misspellings, move entire scenes to a different chapter in seconds. The only way to change errors was to use the white corrector "paint" to fix typos. We had to dab a bit on the one wrong letter (or many wrong ones) and type over the top making sure the carriage was lined up exactly with the space where the correct letter should be. Any change to a story resulted in re-typing the whole thing.

I remember the stress and churning stomach when trying to type a carbon copy. Absolutely no errors allowed or I'd have to start all over because it was impossible to correct the carbon copy.

I know taking that typing class was probably the best for me because I have used the skill all my life. How did you learn to type? Or can you type?

Share some memories of your typewriter experiences or times with your grandparents. Thanks.

Monday, March 20, 2017

3 Short and 1 Long

Who remembers the rotary dial phones? And who remembers party lines? And of how your phone number was so closely associated to the other three, four, five residences on your "party" that mis-choosing one digit meant a wrong call?

When I say party line, I do NOT mean this:

Around either 1963 or 1964, we had our first telephone installed.

Yes, installed.

Having a telephone in those days was quite the procedure. You didn't stroll into Walmart (for one thing, Walmart didn't exist back then), race to the phone aisle, and cry, "I want that one!"

There were no telephone "stores", period.

You had to be home, or someone had to be home and wait for the telephone man to drive up. (It was always a man, never a telephone woman)

He got out of his van and got to work. First, he needed to come inside, find out where you wanted the phone to set, and then installed the "jack". Next, he went outside, climbed a few telephone poles because he added a new line all the way down to our house. Finally, he came back inside and plugged the end of the wire into that new jack.

And then he brought in your phone.

And, amazingly, you were allowed to choose any color you wanted - as long as it was black.

This photo is of the 1970's telephones. Yep, color was in vogue. Note the coiled cord. 

Back in the 1960's, though, all phones were black and came with a straight, spaghetti thin cord. It did curl, however. After usage, that cord would become so coiled with knots, when trying to straighten 'em out, you felt like you tussled with a boar in a sack.

And the fight didn't matter, either, 'cause that cord would always tangle again.

So, after the telephone man left your house, you had your phone.

One phone to a residence, people. Only millionaires could afford an "extension". 

And now you possessed a wonderful, exciting, brand new telephone number.

A number that you shared with a "party" consisting of your four neighbors. The numbering system ran something like this: the Smith's number was 555-4354, the Jones' number was 555-4355, the Lloyd's was 555-4356, the Winter's was 555-4357, and Your Number was 555-4358.

And your ring was three short and one long.

Because the Smith's was two short and two long.

The Jones' was one long and three short.

The Lloyd's was two long and two short.

The Winter's was four short.

So that left yours to be three short and one long.

Got it? 

The phone would ring a lot, because someone was always getting calls. You stood still, listening. 

Count it down - is that your ring? Oh, nope. That was the Jones. Hmm. Someone was calling them a lot today. They'd already gotten four calls. Who in the world could they be talking to?

So you'd tiptoe over, gently lift the receiver, and listen in.

Oh, yeah.

Everybody eavesdropped on everybody else. And, of course, sometimes everybody would talk to everybody else. That's how it'd be a party. See?

But if some moron, after they decided to stop yakking, forgot to put their receiver back on the hook...Well, that was worse than bad manners. That'd get you a snub, a glare, and a freezer shoulder next time you met up at your local five-and-dime.  


Because that unhung phone receiver meant that four other families could NOT CALL OUT. 

You always prayed that no one figured out you'd been the moron who hadn't set the receiver just right. 

It was just too embarrassing to try and explain that your mind was elsewhere - like ordering your legs to gallop past the kitchen door on your way to the nearest outhouse. (Yes. Outhouse. That's a topic for another post)

Ah. Those golden years of the 1960's. 

I can't remember our phone number, but I do remember the number of the rings.

How about you? Were you part of the fun of belonging to a party line?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

What Was That Jingle?

As a kid growing up in the 1960's, television was pretty cool. The commercials were original, and downright fun.

I still remember lots of jingles from those ads.

Who all recalls, and can answer with the product name, of some of these...

"...peanuts and a prize, that's what you get with...."

"...plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh, what a relief it is!"

"...it's two, two, two mints in one..."

"...put a tiger in your tank!"

"...stronger than dirt, stronger than dirt..."

"...Yaaaahoooo, it's....?"

"...that's what I'd truly love to be..."

These are just a few that I remember, and some from my local stations (which not everyone would recall, so I won't put those here.)

What are some that you remember?

But, just as an incentive, did anyone watch these? :)

Kerns (1970's commercial)