Friday, January 16, 2009

Call Me Old Fashioned

I'm a member of Facebook and really enjoy staying in touch with my "new" friends there. This week one of my 'friends' Marcy Brown organized a new group called "Call Me Old Fashioned". I joined her group because I've been around long enough to remember doing things the "old fashioned way"!

I'm sharing what I wrote to Marcy yesterday: "What I miss, is that before Radio and Television and BEFORE AIR-CONDITIONING, folks would VISIT. Yes, we would bundle up the little ones, and walk across town, maybe 10 blocks to VISIT some friends. We would sit on the front porch, (every house had a front porch and porch swing) or couple of rocking chairs. The ladies might fix some lemonade or pop corn. That was before Soda Pop, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, etc. People don't know how to VISIT anymore. Few people had a telephone, and if you did it was a PARTY LINE. Everybody had their own ring, one long and 2 shorts. etc. In the winter we would visit our cousins that lived in the country, No anti-freeze then. When you got to their country home, you drained the radiator, and when you come home at 10 PM you would REFILL the radiator. You put cardboard in front of the radiator so it did not freeze from the cold wind. No heaters. Every one was bundled up with those HEAVY BUFFALO HIDE COATS men used to wear. Either bear hide or whatever, they were heavy and long, to the ankles. They had half-inch or one-inch hair on them. It was hair, not fur. They also had a high back collar. Our folks were Volga German Russians, so I don't know if the coats were from Russia or if you could buy them in the USA.
My mother's parents came to America from Kratzke, Russia in 1904. My mother was two years of age. Some of those coats were brown, but I remember most of them were black.
Explanation on the Front Porch: Many homes had a Back Porch, but they were usually screened in, with a Pitcher Pump that you had to prime before you could use it. Often when those farmers moved to town, they had the home builder add on a MUD ROOM, where you came in from the outside and removed your muddy boots. Often the Mud Room would also be the Maytag Laundry Room. It usually had a kitchen sink since that served as a lavatory to wash your dirty hands, etc. Hang up your work coveralls and jacket etc."
Call me old fashioned, but I wish we could still enjoy some of the things from those days--like VISITING!


Greta Koehl said...

Some smaller towns may be a little slower to drop the habit of "visiting." In my little Texas home town during the 70s and 80s we would drop in on one another freely; we didn't really have porches, but you could leave the front door open and the screen door unlatched to indicate that someone was at home and would welcome guests. I remember one of the common "Hello" phrases people would say as they knocked on our screen door was "Got any tea?" (pronounced gotneetee).

Sheri said...

Hi Ernie,

My father and his line of Befort are from the Volga River Valley - Obermonjou, Saratove, Russia - Germans from Russia. Gerhard Befort and his family came to the U.S. in 1878. In fact 97% of the village of Obermonjou came to the U.S. at the same time. They are all Catholics. They settled in Ellis County, Kansas and founded the town of Munjor among others.
Those coats you are talking about probably came from Russia with them. Usually made from Bear. They also had black felt boots and funny hats. My father was the first generation in his family to speak English as the primary language.

Miriam said...

Ernie, here in my neighborhood in Spokane (a city of 200,000 and metro hub of 450,000), we still sit on the front porch and visit with the neighbors, especially on summer evenings. We also enjoy our "back door" neighbors (across the alley).

Beth 'n Chris said...

Your comments on just sittin' & talkin' kinds of visits are great. One of the reasons we love full-time living in an RV is because RVers still do that. Our houses are small & we tend to stay in nicer weather areas, so outside is part of our living area on a daily basis - kind of a combo front porch and living room. Company is always welcome; there are usually extra chairs, or bring your own. Strangers become friends easily because we have a lot of similar interests. It really reminds me of life in my old home town - but the landscape changes more often.

Les said...

Ernie, What a great blog, it brings up so many great memories growing up in New England during the 40's and 50's. Getting kerosene for the stove down at the little store/gas station or latter when in my teens stopping by after putting in hay to get a cold orange soda. "Boy" did I earn that dollar an hour. I still say "Ice Box" and most people have no idea I'm talking about the refrigerator.