My parents were magicians when they drove into a service station back in the day.
Bells would ring to announce their arrival and a service station attendant dressed in a jumpsuit would appear to grant their every wish.
Their first magic command was “Fill ‘er up with unleaded.” Unleaded, being a code word for “we can afford a newer car and therefore have successfully kept up with the Jones.” Immediately our attendant (Ernie) would insert a nozzle into the gas tank and begin to clean the windshield. (My windshield only gets cleaned now if it rains.) Continue reading
For those of you who may need a bit of a review, a “record” is like a big vinyl CD and was how really old school people used to listen to music. (a CD is how old school people listen to music)
Back in the day, old school people heard a song on the radio, then went to the record store and bought the record (see previous paragraph). A 45 had 2 songs – the A side (which was the song you really wanted) and the B side (which became popular simply because it was on the flip side of the hit song.) If I remember correctly, 45s cost about 75 cents. Continue reading
The first school that I attended had no bus, no gymnasium and definitely no cafeteria. The kids that lived close enough went home for lunch, but I lived to far, so I ate my lunch in the classroom, so my lunchbox was an important part of my school day.
I still remember my first lunch box, it was a Flipper (you know, the dolphin). It was metal and had sort of a hook thing on the inside to hold the matching Flipper thermos.
That thermos was quite a feat. It had a plastic cup on the top that screwed off. That was the easy part. The hard part was unscrewing the inside cap which was always screwed on very tightly. You had to be especially careful because the thermos liner was made of glass and it would break if you dropped it. Continue reading
Back in the day, this was the time of year for the new shoe dance. Mine was a combination of a tap dance and the twist. This dance was done when I put on my new school shoes.
Just about everyone I knew had 3 pairs of shoes – shoe shoes, play shoes and dress shoes. This time of year was time for new school shoes and since we only usually got one pair per year, we did the new shoe happy dance when we put them on.
Buying shoes back in the day was very different, almost a ritual. Continue reading
Everyone watched. Even though there were only 3 choices and maybe PBS and a UHF channel or two, there seemed to be more to watch, or maybe it’s just me.
Remember UHF and carefully turning the dial until the picture came in clearly – then you never touched that dial again or else you might lose the channel. Of course you could always move that funny half-round antenna and hope for the best. After all of that work you, still ended up with bad re-runs. Continue reading
I was teaching a class the other day when I mentioned to them that one of my first jobs was at a Fotomat booth.
Explaining that it was a little shack in the middle of a shopping center parking lot where people could conveniently drop off their film only lead to more questions.
“What’s film?” “Why didn’t they just download them to a flash drive and then print them?” Continue reading
Congratulations to Timothy Chesson of Denver, winner of “Dunbar’s Mask” at the Colorado Black Arts Festival last weekend in Denver’s City Park.
Our booth at the festival received a lot of love, the people of Denver are awesome. In spite of the 102 degree temperatures, the event was a great success. Old School Lane wishes to thank everyone who was part of the planning of the festival for their professionalism and hard work.
I will never sell this piece because it is very special to me. It is one of the first portraits I did and it was of my grandson a few years ago.
There are no video games at grandma’s house, but grandma has bubbles. Like fragile dreams that are easily popped, he can continuously breathe life into thousands of bubbles and become mesmerized as they slowly ascend, carrying troubles with them if only for a few brief moments. He and his friends spend hours with grandma’s bubbles, giggling and chasing them through the yard.
This picture hangs next to my television set and I often find myself looking away from the evening news, looking away from stories of mass shootings, ISIS and politics, looking into the innocent eyes of my precious grandson and making a mental note to buy more bubbles and somehow make the world alright.
Say it ain’t so. The largest VCR manufacturer in the world announced that it will cease production at the end of this month. OK, I am probably the last person in America who still owns a VCR, but I can’t seem to find the time to convert my “Fraggle Rock” collection to DVD. Oh–yes, I still own several DVD players as well.
You are reading OLD SCHOOL Lane, what did you expect?
I really thought I had arrived when I bought my first VCR. It cost over $500 and I was proud that I did my research and decided that VHS was better than Beta. My VCR was my personal declaration of independence from the networks. I could tape Phil Donahue and watch him at midnight if I wished.
I had power in the form of a remote control. I no longer had to listen to “plop, plop, fizz, fizz” unless I wanted to (it was a catchy tune.) I had a fast forward button.
I haven’t been this distraught since AOL stopped sending me 10 floppy discs a month….
OK, I’d admit that this wasn’t the smartest way to ride a bike but we all did it…and somehow survived. My grandmother used to say “God takes care of babies, old folks and fools.” Not sure which one we were, but we didn’t have helmets or knee pads in those days. I’m not sure we would have worn them if we had.
But – we had high handlebars, banana seats and (if you were really cool) high sissy bars in the back. My bike was turquoise with streamers on the handlebars, a basket AND a bell. My brothers clipped a clothes pin and a baseball card to the spokes in such a way that it sounded like a motorcycle. Oh, if they had only kept that Roberto Clemente card…