... when The Baron was Bizarre.

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...the TV set we had when I was real little, which took a couple of minutes to come on. I remember when we got an "instant-on" set, I was amazed.

... floor-model black-and-white TV sets.

... having to wait until Saturday to watch new cartoons on TV.

... half-hour TV dramas.

... when gasoline was under $1 a gallon.

... Watergate when it happened.

... going to the library to look up old newspaper articles on the microfilm machine.

... the DC Explosion when it happened.

... going across town almost every day to talk to my grandmother because she didn't have a telephone.

... "The Battle of the Network Stars."

... astronauts going to the moon.

... happening to be home one Saturday night and watching the first episode of this new cop show called Hill Street Blues -- and being hooked forever.

... the first new, hot-off-the-presses comic I ever bought with my own money: Avengers #158, April 1977. (Before then, all the comics I had were given to me or were back issues, bought cheap.)

...my grandmother being on a party line and talking to her neighbor about half the time I tried to call her.

Commander Benson said:

. . . when the exchanges of telephone numbers were words, instead of letters---such as FAirfax 3-2205.


I'm a longtime fan of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series of police procedural novels, set in a city that is very much like but isn't called New York. As the series began in the 1950s, it cites the police station's telephone number as "FRederick 7-8024" in several of the books. I distinctly felt a jolt when McBain stopped doing that and wrote it as "377-8024."

As it is, I know that number but never have known the number to the real police station! 

I remember that - our number began with "EMpire 1", only later did we start saying "361".

...we were "GReenwood 6."

WRT word exchanges for telephone numbers, I always wondered why Bell Telephone changed that.


Certainly "FAirfax 3-2205" (which was the first telephone number my family had when I was a boy) is easier to remember than "323-2205", especially for a kid.  In fact, I can still rattle off the Fairfax number faster than my own social-security number or birth date.


My maternal grandmother had been an operator for Bell; she tried to explain the reason for the change from words to numbers to me once, and it was about as clear as mud.  Since then, I've read a few accounts of the rationale from other authoritative sources, and the explanations always sound wrapped around the axle.

... my first telephone number. (235-9524. I have no idea if it still works.) 

... teaching myself to type with a manual typewriter and one of my mother's old textbooks.

... my first word processor -- a horrible, clunky, cumbersome thing with less computing power than the average smartphone.

... my first computer -- a horrible, clunky, cumbersome thing with less computing power than the average smartphone and less memory than the average thumb drive. 

... seeing the first issue of Heavy Metal on the newsstands. (No, I didn't get one.) 

... not seeing the first issue of USA TODAY. (It was sold out in every box I saw.) 

... the first time I saw a newspaper publish an extra -- because of the near-meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant.

... staying up all night watching Jerry Lewis host the Muscular Dystrophy telethon. (It was a kid's rite of passage, being able to stay up all night.)

...when Thor's costume wasn't made from one of Mary Jane's old go-go dresses.

I remember
Not too long ago
I went to a theater
And I saw the Kool & The Gang Show
I always wanted
To get into a band
To sing my songs
And then become a bad piano playing man

So here I am
In this Hollywood city
The city of the stars, movies, women and cars
Well, I guess I
I guess I
Stay -- !
Say, hey hey hey
What ya got to say?
Say, hey hey hey
What ya got to say?
Hollywood swinging
Hollywood swinging ....

I remember having milk, in bottles, delivered on our back porch.

If you didn't get to it right away, the bottles would be slippery from the condensation. Adam Benson already mentioned milkmen, but I bought some milk in a bottle from a local dairy farm at a farmers' market this past weekend for the first time in decades which made me think of it. It was delicious! I misread the price tag and thought it was twice as expensive as the milk I usually buy, but it was actually four times as expensive. Worth it, though, just this once.

Our milkman's name was George and my folks knew him since high school. The dairy was two blocks from out house. When I was in kindergarten, our class took a tour. The dairy is gone now. In its place stands a gas station and quick shop. When George retired, he took over The Corner Bar, another block to the west. The Corner Bar is 154 years old and is known for cocked-hat bowling (see link). It's only three blocks from the house where I grew up, but I've only been there once or twice: once for the bowling (but it was too crowded) and once for a beer. 

What was I talking about? Oh, yeah, milk, right. After the dairy stopped delivering, I remember grocery stores used to offer milk in either bottles or plastic. Little by little, the bottles were phased out in favor of the plastic (in much the same way "paper or plastic" (bags) eventually gave way to plastic only. right inside the door was the wire bin to return bottles for deposit. I used to pick up discarded bottles for enough change to buy packs of baseball cards. 

When I was a kid we were living in a housing development in the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles. When we moved there the area was being converted from citrus groves to homes. We would get our milk in glass bottles (which we, of course, would return) from a dairy that was only a couple of miles from the house, complete with cows. It’s long gone now. Except for the Army, I’ve always lived in the San Gabriel Valley.

Fifteen-or-so years ago we followed a vet we liked to an office further to the east. The vet’s new office also treated cows and horses. It was right next door to a dairy that had a lot of cows wandering inside their fence. The cats were very impressed with the sight and smell of the cows. In that area the value of the land for development caused that dairy to go away, too.

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