Posted in Back in My Day

TAKE A PICTURE! It’s easy!

My first camera was a Brownie, you opened the top, and looked down to line up and take your shot. The one I had didn’t have a lot of fancy settings, and while I did get a few good shots, I wasted a lot of film on shadows, glare, and yes, even my thumb.

It’s not just the film, I had to take the whole roll of 20 or 24 images to a little kiosk in the Valu-Mart parking lot, where a crabby teenage girl would collect my film and often sell me a fresh roll or two, depending on how much money I could hustle up. (Being in the fifth grade and having a girlfriend of sorts already, made it tough to rub two coins together.)

Then I had to pay for processing on the whole roll, it would be nice if they could just toss the obvious failures and only charge for the good pictures. But that’s not how the fotomat business worked.

I wonder what happened to those little parking lot structures. I could use one to store my rakes and shovels.

Posted in Back in My Day, This explains everything

How did this get in my pocket?

I was fixing to throw these jeans in the laundry, and found this old tally sheet from 2017. I haven’t worked there for many months. It begs the question, how long have I been wearing these pants?

It was a graveyard shift job driving an order picker forklift. Some nights I miss it, but not much. Doesn’t look like I spent much time on the machine that night!

I recently had a dream that I was working there again, hadn’t been there 15 minutes before the second shift lead ambled over and said that day shift was saying that I was “doing it wrong”! This made me so mad that I woke up, and I was fuming about it for several days.



Posted in Back in My Day, Grey Gardens West

Fred Flintstone’s toilet was a… pelican?

My mother loved anthropomorphic characters, like Fred Flintstone’s turtle lawnmower, who would pause, look at the camera, and say “It’s a living.”

So it’s no surprise that she cut this (cat litter ad?) out of a magazine, framed it, and hung it in the bathroom for everyone to enjoy.

Later I inherited it, and it hangs in the bathroom here. It was my sisters-in-law’s first visit since we moved, and they were taking turns going in the bathroom, turns out they all wanted to giggle at the cute picture. Thanks mom!

Posted in Back in My Day

Pencils down, it’s happy hour

Not sure where I dug this up from, but I am pretty sure my dad worked here or in a very similar situation, when he was a draftsman.

He once told me that for a while, they wouldn’t issue a new pencil unless you brought them your used-up stub, and they would measure it to make sure it was used up enough. Have you guessed Boeing yet?

The guy with the pipe seems to be looking at a vacation snapshot. It’s tough to get back into the groove after a nice vacation. You have to adjust your depth perception so your rut feels like a groove.

Posted in Back in My Day, The postcards

Beach Adventures

We haven’t been to the beach yet this summer, my mother psyched me out too much when I was a kid, she was so concerned the undertow would drag me out to sea while she was sneaking a Kool behind the restrooms. This is why we joined the Y, nice 4 1/2 foot deep pool, no fish or crabs, no sunburn, and you don’t track sand into the car. I think Elmer would prefer it.

Posted in Back in My Day, Flotsam, Tripping

Be the life of the party until you’re not

When I was a kid, some comic books would have ads proclaiming that you could “Throw your voice”; as I recall, it strongly implied that I could do things like make my mother think that my sister was talking back to her. Apparently they would send a non-rusty version of this device, and instructions of some sort. But what if someone asked you something? Were you supposed to keep a handkerchief or Kleenex handy to pretend to cough into?

This is some Jeff Dunham level stuff here. That would be most amusing to see what would happen if mom heard Evelyn say “I keeeel you!!” But I would have started cracking up and probably end up with this thing lodged in my trachea.

Posted in Back in My Day

What happened to kites?

When I was a kid, about this time of year the stores would all have inexpensive kites available. Kids would be out flying them if there was the slightest breeze, or even gale force winds; our parents never knew where the hell we were, or what we were up to. I guess they knew most of these kites were only good for a few inept launchings. What could go wrong? If I was able to get one aloft for like twenty minutes before I lost interest and went down to the high school to watch the rich kids fly their R/C airplanes, that was a good day.

Storekeepers knew that the winds of commerce only allowed for a relatively short kite season. They were just waiting for the Duncan Yo-yo rep to stop by to get an order in advance of the school assemblies featuring the guy who could “walk the dog” and all those fancy Yo-yo moves. Then the smart shopkeeper would also get extra Band-aids and lamps, and call cousin Kenny who is in the window-glass business.

I don’t know how this whole system fell apart, but my world is poorer for it.