Daily Archive for March 23rd, 2009

What my parents did, and what my children don’t

Cardinal Red Tile Polish. There was a time when no self-respecting house-wife would not have the front door-step regularly polished with ‘Cardinal’. Haven’t seen it around for ages, though I think you used to be able to get it in Woolworth’s – and indeed what happened to that too?

It got me thinking a bit about practices of the generation before us, things that we (generally) no longer do; and of some of the things we do, but our children have given up on. I thought I might try and make a list of things that now seem so anachronistic… Do join in, and add more in reply comments.

Cardinal Red, courtesy of Billogs@Flickr

Cardinal Red, via Billogs@Flickr

How about fountain pens and inky fingers? Ball-point pens were anathema at my school; and I remember having to regularly re-fill my pen, using the lever on it’s side, from the Royal Blue Ink bottle on the windowsill of the classroom. Little scratching of the fountain pens heard these days; mainly replaced by the tap-tap sound of fingers on laptop keyboards instead.

Music reproduction has changed enormously. In 1960s rural India, we didn’t have a radio; but we did have a gramophone with some records. Even the old brittle 78rpm shellac ones. (I remember my sister standing on a favorite record, and breaking it; or hearing stories of people –philistines– heating old records to recycle them in to flower pots.) All a long way from the iPod, and higher quality music available for instant download in greater quantities than ever before in history. I suspect Bach and Mozart would have been tempted to give their right ear to have access to the huge catalogue of music we largely ignore.

Items heading towards the local museum:

  • Dress-making patterns
  • Telegrams, and telephone boxes
  • Hand-cranked meat-mincers
  • Shoe polish
  • Update: additions from the ‘Comments‘…

  • twin-tubs
  • ironing underwear (!)
  • old fashioned slideshows with family snaps
  • napkin/serviette rings
  • sugar tongs & sugar cubes
  • paper doilies
  • This is not all about nostalgia not being what it used to be, though. I may need to consider another post on things that grandparents have start to pick up from their grandchildren – surprisingly, to show it’s not all one-way…

    And then there is the list of things we don’t yet have, but really could do with – but I think Dave Gorman already has that one covered.

    In the mean-time, do add (in reply comments) to the what ever happened too… list

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