The Old Geezer – A neat and tidy world

I don’t think that I am what you would call a “neat freak,” but I do like to see things in order and clean.

By Walt Trandum

It probably goes back to my mother being fussy about how I looked as I went off to school every morning. Never had any fancy or stylish clothes but what I had on was washed and pressed. My shoes were mostly the high topped pair that I got every year before school started. They were kept greased to make them look good and it made them pretty water proof. Girls wore dresses or skirts and boys wore pants and that was just the way it was.

My mom would comb my hair every morning with the comb being dipped in a gel solution. That all dried and my hair stayed where she put it until I got to messing with it by breaking each hair. I must have looked pretty goofy at the end of the school day.

All this neatness carried over into my Navy and working days. Everyone in the military kept themselves in the proper manner and I don’t remember there being much facial hair among the salts that I lived with. I know that we had morning inspections and even the condition of our ears and nose got checked. At one point when I was a squad leader in boot camp, I carried a handkerchief and would check all the ears to avoid getting gigged.

At one point in my life I drove a milk truck and like every other driver I wore the striped overalls with a starched collar shirt and tie. Pretty natty and impressing the customers was part of the game. Later I advanced to sales jobs where a suit and tie were normal wear. It was customary to wear a different suit every day and that meant you usually had one at the cleaners most of the time. A real concession in the business world was when women started wearing pants and men opted for sports coats and slacks.

Men were allowed to shed their coats while in the office and that brought about another problem in that if you spent the majority of your time there, the suit pants and slacks would wear out long before the coats showed any wear.

When I retired I had a closet full of suits and coats but something happened to all of them. They all shrunk! Even the shirts got smaller. The only things that survived were the ties and some of them look a little skinny.

Lots of things in life give me some pleasure that maybe nobody else pays that much attention. A well kept yard or lawn gets my eye and some times I chuckle when I see an obvious mistake. Somebody went to all the trouble to mow the grass very carefully and even clipped the edges but right behind the flower bed is a jungle of weeds and brush. I notice that same things in public parks and other city properties. I think all that mowing and trimming kind of care pays off as people respect the property and hesitate to leave behind their debris.

In my early days there were both written and unwritten dress codes. As those went away just about anything you can imagine seems to work. One big loser was the women’s hats that they wore any time they left the house for anything but garden work. One of my Aunts worked in a millinery store and my mother always complained about the high prices. I suppose a few women still wear them to church and other big occasions.

One of my sons told me that when he was in high school and I happened to go there for one reason or another, the kids thought I was a cop or an FBI Agent, when I walked in the door. Anyone in a suit was looked on with some suspicion. Maybe being all dressed up or at least neat and clean is a good way to get some respect and kid’s could learn a thing or two during these days with a lot of unrest and suspicion lurking at every corner.

We are all here living in the manner that we were taught and experienced when we were young. Launching those young people into the world is a big responsibility, do it right and you will be proud!






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