Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Peek Into My Childhood

When we were kids, it was hard to understand why older people talked about the good old days.  They'd start their conversations with things like, "I remember back when.......".

Well, slap me silly.  Here's another example of what goes around, comes around.

Don't ask me what made me think about green stamps and gold bond stamps, but the memory flitted through my head like a butterfly when I sat down to blog this morning.  Me, sitting at the kitchen table, and mom getting me set up with an unfilled stamp book, strips of perforated stamps that had been hastily tossed in a big bowl, and a saucer of water.  She didn't want me licking the gummed backside of the stamps, so I dipped my pointing finger into the water, smeared it onto the back of the stamps, and glued them into the trading stamp book the stores gave us.  Pasting trade stamps was my job, just like it was daddy's job to milk the cows and mom's job to feed the chickens.  My family needed me.

S & H stood for the Sperry and Hutchinson company, founded in 1896.  In the 1960s, the company put out three times as many stamps as the U.S. Postal Service.  Gas stations and supermarkets gave the stamps to their customers based on the dollar amount of their purchase.  Consumers could then exchange filled books of stamps for premium gifts, which were mostly housewares of some sort.

Our 1950s family kitchen table was rectangular, with a red Formica top with chrome trim and chrome legs.  Our chairs were a red and white strong vinyl with chrome legs.  Even though some of the chairs had been torn and the stuffing was poking out, my parents wouldn't have dreamt of replacing the set.  Instead, they poked the stuffing back in and put strips of tape over the tears.  Back then, the kitchen table was like an altar, where we gathered three times a day to eat and visit and laugh about stuff.  Brother and I spatted over certain parts of the chicken, like the gizzard.  The family patriarch would settle our spats by cutting the gizzard in half, giving each of us a half, and telling us to keep still.  Our kitchen was small, so the table stayed pushed up against the wall while we ate.  Bro sat on one end, daddy on the other end, and us girls sat side by side.  The family of the 1950s functioned with unspoken routines.  We knew where we belonged, just like the cows that went directly to their same stanchion, morning and evening to be milked.

Yes, it is now I who am spouting off about those good old days.....which, in reality, weren't really all that good.  It just seems that way cuz we can't ever get them back again.  More than anything, maybe it's the way the 1950s farm family worked together, prayed together, and stayed together that makes those days so dear.  Yea, that's probably what it is.


Pizza Rock