The Old Geezer: Now and Then!

Editor’s Note:  This is the final entry for Walt Trandum’s “Old Geezer” column.  In special remembrance of Walt who passed away on July 7.

Born and raised in the Seattle area, most of my recollections of what has happened in the ensuing years are based on the years when I was much younger. A transfer to Portland was for two to five years but the return never happened and we raised our kids to be Oregonians. Discovering life on the coast when we retired was pretty lucky so now you folks have made it a wonderful life.

Our serenity has been challenged with some recent happenings that are on the local scene while others are national or even international. Today’s local life got a shock when we were advised that chances are we will no longer be finding the Oregonian newspaper in the box that I always thought was magic. I could watch a football or baseball game on late night television and in just a short time it as in the daily paper and in my box before daylight. The vender for his area is going out of business and the best they could do was offer a maybe for someone to take on the job and if we do get it, the price has been raised. Not only will we not be getting the news, we will also be without the puzzles that have been waking up our brains every morning. Some days you could work the hard ones first or maybe sail through the words in the daily jumble. The two crossword puzzles were a bigger challenge I am sure that Will Shortz will not take this shocking event personally,
On top of all the above there was another event mentioned in the morning news. It sounds like Sears is closing all of it’s stores. That is where most of the tools in my garage came from. We also were pretty used to having appliances that were purchased there no matter what they were named, You could always get their guarantee and if you had a problem, a truck with a nice man would appear in your driveway and it could be fixed.

Some of the slogans we lived with are long gone. “Should have worn a hat Harry” or “Up the famous marble stairway for suits”. Other than men’s clothing there was kind of a pecking order in other clothing. It depended your financial status. For kids and some women, “J.C.Penneys”, was where you bought your underwear and other personal items.. In Seattle the BonMarche’ was next in line. For those with a larger purses it was “Fredrick and Nelson”: My wife’s mother worked at that last store and sometimes when you called her at home she would answer the phone “Authorizing”. so she must have been in the credit department.

I have to admit that I worked in a restaurant at the BonMarche’ I was a bus boy and dishwasher one summer and earned enough money to buy school clothes for the next school year. I also got a free milk shake every day if I asked in the right manner After work. I discovered a pool room just up the street and it was my first experience with people who were unable to hear. I sure never thought that later in life I would learn a little bit of how to talk with my hands. A deaf person I talked with one day said he knew about that place and it was where they could enjoy one another’s company. I also got to be kind of a pool hustler and picked up a few bucks now and then.

Each one of all these stores brings back some events that are only mine and not remarkable but fun to remember.

For some reason I saved a copy of the Sears catalog that lives on one of my office book shelves and it is interesting to look at what things cost thirty years ago. I remember coming home from a store with a brand new air compressor. I had a little problem convincing my wife that it was something we really needed. I told her that I knew she cut out a lot of coupons and saved a few dollars every month and this was a bargain where I saved over $100.00 in one sweep. It turned out to be one of the more handy things that I have in my shop. Kind of funny that I think about that encounter every time I use it for some purpose. I still think it was a good deal.

Thanks for making this nostalgia trip with me and hope you recognize there is not one mention of current events and that should be refreshing.