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Friday, September 25, 2009

Memories Sleep

Memories sleep, until a word, a sight, a sound ,awakens them. Seeing as most of us Knights and Ladies have come an awful long way to the Now, so also we've left a few things behind us along the way, in the Then Now.

So come with me down memory lane and wake a few from their slumbers.

Dilly Bars were introduced in 1955. Soft-serve ice cream on a stick, dipped in delicious chocolate. There were also other flavors like cherry, butterscotch, and the infamous lime Dilly Bar, which was coated a light green.

Spy vs. Spy was a staple of MAD Magazine back in the ’60s when it was funny and continues on today. The cartoon was created by Cuban cartoonist Antonio Prohias, who fled to the U.S. days before Castro took over the country’s free press. Naturally, Spy vs. Spy is about the Cold War — but I suppose Black and White never really got the lesson on tit-for-tat.

Nothing guaranteed a future falling out more than these “Best Friends” necklaces, but it’s hard not to appreciate the romantic sentimentality of friendship being represented by, uh, bling. I suspect these were from the ’80s, but I’m not sure. Anyone know when these necklaces were popular?

File Sea Monkeys under “Pets for Kids Who Weren’t Allowed to Have Real Pets,” joining the ranks of the Pet Rock, Chia Pet, and Ant Farm. Sea Monkeys are actually brine shrimp that have entered a natural state of suspended animation called cryptobiosis. Totally sci-fi!

Jiffy Pop Popcorn was noticeably tastier than your microwavable variety. But unfortunately, Jiffy Pop was eventually nudged off the market by its less delicious competitors. An aside: stovetop popcorn also reminds me of that episode of Futurama where Fry puts the “Iffy Pop” in the microwave, which then sends the crew back in time.

Kids today would just hate this. Were we so easily amused??? I remember them being wooden and plastic and often had a big plastic needle and yarn. They were often in shapes like a cat, an apple, etc. Are these even still made?

Here’s how to turn Jenga into a drinking game: write things on the bottom sides of the Jenga blocks; when each player pulls out a block, they have to do whatever is written on it — drink, pick someone to drink, waterfall, ten fingers… you’re only limited by your imagination and desire to get hammered.

Oh yeah, and the person who knocks over the whole stack has to drink ten beers. Sorry, that’s just the way it goes.

Smell The aroma of pages fresh off the Ditto machine was a memorable feature of school life for those who attended in the ditto machine era. A pop culture reference to this is to be found in the film Fast Times At Ridgemont High. At one point a teacher hands out a dittoed exam paper and every student in the class immediately lifts it to his or her nose and inhales.

Concern about the toxicity of the ink and students’ habit of sniffing the pages contributed to the decision of some school districts to abandon ditto machines in favor of other technologies.

It was the original playlist. There was no real way to get individual songs off of all your different cassettes, and there was no such thing as a multi-disc CD-changer, much less a “Shuffle” option on an iPod! All you could do to get your favorite songs from different artists on to a single collection was man your stereo, blank tape inserted and at the ready, listening to your favorite radio station, and prepared to press that “RECORD” button the instant they started playing a song you liked and wanted to capture!

It wasn’t easy! You had split seconds to determine if those first few beats were indeed the song you wanted. You had to avoid DJ’s babbling through the beginning of songs and try and hit “RECORD” as soon as he finally shut up. Miss the timing? Rewind –> Stop –> Play over and over and over again to get the tape back to the proper spot and ready to try recording again. And then, what if that damn DJ started babbling before the song was finished?! Or the radio station inserted their call letters or a jingle in there somewhere?! There was no telling when the next time the station would play that song again, or if you’d even be around to hear it!

Marbles were a versatile toy, whether they were used for games or just collecting. Personally, I really enjoyed building marble mazes (the wood blocks were far superior to the plastic sets). What did you use marbles for as a kid?

Cap Guns represent a time and place when life and the world was simpler. Boys could run around and shoot at each other with toy guns full of blast caps and nobody thought twice about it. They were only limited by their parent’s patience and their supply of refills

Mmmm, delicious cookies disguised as cereal. Did anyone actually eat these with milk or did they just snack on them in the afternoons or stashed in lunchboxes for school?

And finally one for Sir Bowie, whose tools now grow cold as he lies on the couch watching Grid Iron. Lincoln Logs, probably named after the great Kentuckian himself who was fond of chopping down Tulip trees and building real life cabins. These kits gave the budding backwoodsmen a chance to build on on the lounge floor. Let’s be honest, the best, most fun part of building anything with Lincoln Logs was destroying it after.

Sir Dayvd ( whose is today is using things that one day will be as amusing as these ) of Oxford


  1. I had a split heart necklace in 79/80. My mom had to work real hard to talk me into tucking it into my shirt for senior pictures. I sure am glad she did...

    Oh, did I heart me a mix tape. What a gift of love - to make one for someone or to have one made for you... A mix CD is not the same - that love doesn't go into it.

    Totally related to that scene in Fast Times... I could smell the ditto as I read your description... on pages that weren't wet but weren't quite dry... And you inadvertently brought on a Spiccoli flashback, too - nothing wrong with that.

    Thanks for a fun wake up call!

    Lady T. (who thinks it might be fun to wear tube socks and back comb her hair today) of Pickerington

  2. What's this?! Mr. Now living in the past?! LOL! Great trek through memory lane. Ditto that! Though I never sniffed it, couldn't stand the smell and hated the slimy feel.

    Dilly bars...YUM! Didn't have the yarn thing in S. Illinois, but loved Itch-A-Scetch! Not much of a Lincoln Log man...preferring the relative (at the time) modern plastic LEGOS! More versatility and creativity...but equally fun to DESTROY!

    Miss Jiffy Pop...I agree the microwave has destroyed popcorn. I never made a mix tape from the radio, because unlike England in the 60's and 70's, my little home town radio only played elevator music before we had elevators! I always made mix tapes from my vinyls. Lady T is right, much love went into those.

    Never had a broken heart pendant, never bought one, can't remember time frame, but I know I broke a few hearts in my high school days!

    Sir Hook of Warrick Who Always Feels Like I'm 18 and I Like It Until I Look in the Mirror and Ask..."Who the Hell is That Old Fart Looking Back At Me?" of Warrick

  3. Wow -- where to start?

    Used to be a huge Mad fan (before they sold out) as evidenced by the couple hundred mags and books I still have in boxes.

    I never had Sea Monkeys, but I LOVED the cool advertising on the back on comic books (X-Ray Vision Glasses didn't work).

    My father loved poped corn, but we never ate Jiffy Pop.

    Ditto on the Ditto. Only bad thing is that brings back bad test memories.

    Mix Tape -- that was too hi tech for me.

    Marble -- great in a sling-shot!

    Cap guns -- Cowboy for us, of course.

    Cookies? We were more Pop-Tart kids.

    Lincoln Logs. Log Cabins: Now, there is something we didn't see in England. In fact, you wouldn't have seen them on the East Coast of this land when first "settled."

    It's such a classic story: Family finds a plot of woods, cuts down enough trees to build a cabin, clear a patch for farming, kill off all the natives and animals... move on to a new plot of trees.

    There was a time when we were going to buy/build one, but never got around to it.

    Sir Bowie "I don't know what 'st' is or why it is ;ending,' but I always tried to 'Be Friday'" of Greenbriar

  4. you know what popped into my mind as I read...the cd mixes and the split heart necklace that Sir Bowie gave me ...are we retro and don't even know it?
    or just an old-fashioned love song...

    I used Lincoln Logs to build a miniature house and then wrote a story about the people who lived in's up at the lakehouse if you ever want to see it

    (though the first logs I built with were knocked down by Sir Lance when we were kids and I believe he had Sea monkeys...Jiffy Pop was a treat at Grandma's house)

    Lady Suzzzzzzz,

    we did look at a log home once upon a time...didn't have a garage and we usually have at least 3 vehicles...even before the girls were drivers