Community Opinion

The Old Geezer: Old stuff, things and people

It is probably a natural thing that happens to very old people, they spend much of their time remembering how it used to be.

By Walt Trandum
The Old Geezer

Looking around at the state of our communications capabilities it is obvious that we all grew up in the dark ages. I worked for the largest Telephone Company in the world and I can remember big changes that were met with much hoop a la in the business world. Such huge

The Old Geezer, Walt Trandum
The Old Geezer, Walt Trandum

innovations like the Princess phones that came in a whole bunch of colors including the old fashioned black numbers that had been around since they did away with the wooden phone boxes with crank handles. Hard to imagine what they would be thinking if they saw what has happened in the information industry. One smart phone does more than several rooms full of equipment did in the old days.

One big difference was that the phone equipment that we had in our private homes and business places actually belonged to the telephone company. There were rules against anyone repairing or calibrating any of that equipment other than phone company employees. I remember having a service man knocking on my door to advise me that he had found some illegal activity being conducted in my neighbors home. Someone had adjusted the bell volume. He had noticed that I occasionally drove company vehicles home when I was leaving town early in the morning.

All this thinking about the past brings me to realize that we all have many more opportunities to manage our own lives on our own terms. We have options at the grocery stores that were never even thought of many years ago. I am talking about things such as organic and gluten free vegetables and dairy products. I guess those things are a good healthy way to live, but I seldom read obituaries that give them much credit. A friend always answered the question about what kind of bread he wanted in his sandwich with “Give me that Killer White stuff”. I had another friend who was very old and his favorite food was rare bacon. It should have killed him but I think he died from old age in his late eighties.

I am so old that I remember when they first homogenized milk and many people were sure it would never be popular. There was nothing wrong with those big old bottles that were left on our porch and above the milk was where the cream had risen to the top. Mom had a little device that would siphon that off to be used in cooking and for Dad’s coffee. Once in awhile she would buy a small bottle of whipping cream for some special occasion. Now days we can buy cans of that cream already whipped and use it every day. I guess I think about those old days every time I douse my dessert with that magic potion.

Another thing that happens quite often is when I find myself being amazed when I see our great grand children being carried about in elaborate portable cribs and buggies that have every safety device known to man kind. They all make sense but I have to think about the fact that our five kids came along before all those things were invented and we didn’t even have seat belts in our car. Somehow they all survived rattling about in the back seat where the older ones got the window seats and the others leaned over the front seat and bugged mom and dad.

When today’s kids go out to play I know that helmets are recommended for them right from the start and I am sure they save lives, but way back when I was a kid they didn’t exist and we worked pretty hard at not falling off our tricycles or bicycles. Some of us built our own versions of race cars or jumped in the little red wagon that we had forever for dashing down the hills by our house. Of course we didn’t think about having brakes before that first trip where running into a bush or tree was the only way to stop. I’m sure that I still have some of the scars that came from those childhood adventures. Maybe they are there just to help recall those things that happened during this wonderful experience called life. I also can remember the people who helped me along the way and even those I was able to give a boost when their lives were a bit complicated.