Someone sent Pat Colliton, Fargo, a piece about growing old. Pat passed it to “Neighbors.” Some of you will be able to identify with it:

A kid asked me the other day, “What was your favorite fast food when you were growing up?”

“We didn’t have fast food when I was growing up,” I informed him. “All the food was slow.”

“Well, where did you eat?”

“It was a place called ‘at home,’” I explained.

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“Mom cooked every day and when Dad got home from work, we sat down together at the dining room table, and if I didn’t like what she put on my plate, I was allowed to sit there until I did like it.”

By this time, the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer serious internal damage, so I didn’t tell him the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table.

Here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood if I figured his system could have handled it:

Some parents NEVER owned their own house, wore Levis, set foot on a golf course, traveled out of the country or had a credit card.

My parents never drove me to school. I had a bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds and only had one speed (slow).

We didn’t have a television set in our house until I was 10. It, of course, was black and white, and the station went off the air at 11 after playing the national anthem and a poem about God. It came back on the air about 6 a.m., when there was usually a locally produced news and farm show on, featuring local people.

I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone was on a party line. Before you could dial, you had to listen and make sure some people you didn’t know weren’t already using the line.

Pizzas were not delivered to our home, but milk was, and so was bread.

All newspapers were delivered by boys, and all boys delivered newspapers; my brother delivered a newspaper six days a week. He had to get up at 5 every morning.

There were no movie ratings, because all movies were responsibly produced for everyone to enjoy viewing, without profanity or violence or most anything offensive.

Here are more of my memories:

When my dad was cleaning out my grandmother’s house after she died, he brought me an old Royal Crown Cola bottle. In the bottle top was a stopper with a bunch of holes in it.

I knew immediately what it was, but my daughter had no idea. She thought they had tried to make it a salt shaker or something.

I knew it was the bottle that sat on the end of the ironing board to ‘sprinkle’ clothes with, because we didn’t have steam irons.

Then the writer of this asks how many of these things you remember:

  • Headlight dimmer switches on the floor.

  • Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain guards.

  • Soldering irons you heat on a gas burner.

  • Using hand signals for cars without turn signals.

And then, the writer has a quiz about which items, not that you were told about, but you actually remember:

  • Candy cigarettes.

  • Coffee shops with tableside jukeboxes.

  • Home milk delivery in glass bottles.

  • Party lines on the telephone.

  • Newsreels before the movie.

  • TV test patterns that came on at night after the last show and were there until TV shows started again in the morning. There were only three channels.

  • Pea shooters.

  • “Howdy Doody.”

  • 45 rpm records.

  • 78 rpm records.

  • Hi-fi 33 ⅓ rpm records.

  • Metal ice trays with a lever.

  • Blue flashbulbs.

  • Cork popguns.

  • Studebakers.

  • Wash tub wringers.

If you remembered only up to three of these, you’re still young.

If you remembered three to six, you’re getting older.

If you remembered seven to 10, don’t tell your age.

And if you remembered 11 to 16, you’re older than dirt!


And now, thank you!

This column often receives notes from someone seeking information about someone or something. Then, when these requests are published, readers of this column are terrific in providing the information.

Such was the case last year, when Doreen Talma, Fargo, wondered about the value of a small copper box she has which was given to her grandfather.

Well, several of you came through, giving Doreen the information she sought; estimates ran from $75 to $450.

Doreen, very grateful to know this, sent an email to “Neighbors,” asking it to “please thank all those people who took the time to find the information I wanted. You are all wonderful people, and I appreciate your kindness.”

“Neighbors” is passing this on very belatedly, because as usual it is running behind in getting notes in. But it’s never too late to thank all of you who take the time and trouble to respond to requests for help that are sent to “Neighbors.”

Many of you have done that over the years.

Like Doreen, “Neighbors” thanks you very much!

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If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email