Tarzan's Tripes Forever, and Other Feghoots

The Web's Original Shaggy Dog Story Archive


Older Than Dirt

Category: Rated G

The first part came from Shayne Gad.  I proposed the second part.  (Shayne says I am Jurassic Dirt, BTW.)  Stan Kegel added the third part.


I’m older than dirt.

Someone asked the other day, ‘What was your favorite fast food when you were growing up?’

‘We didn’t have fast food when I was growing up,’ I informed him.  ‘All the food was slow.’

‘C’mon, seriously. Where did you eat?’

‘It was a place called ‘at home,” I explained! ‘Mum cooked every day and when Dad got home from work, we sat down together at the dining room table, and if I didn’t like what she put on my plate I was allowed to sit there until I did like it.’

By this time, the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer serious internal damage, so I didn’t tell him the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table.

But here are some other things I might have told him about my childhood, if I figured his system could have handled it:

Some parents NEVER owned their own house, wore Levis , set foot on a golf course, traveled out of the country or had a credit card.

My parents never drove me to school. I had a bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds, and only had one speed, (slow).

We didn’t have a television in our house until I was 19. It was, of course, black and white, and the station went off the air at midnight, after playing the national anthem and a poem about God; it came back on the air at about 6 a.m. and there was usually a locally produced news and farm show on, featuring local people…

I never had a telephone in my room.The only phone was on a party line. Before you could dial, you had to listen and make sure some people you didn’t know weren’t already using the line.

Pizzas were not delivered to our home… But milk was.

All newspapers were delivered by boys and all boys delivered newspapers –my brother delivered a newspaper, six days a week.  He had to get up at 6AM every morning.

Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut. At least, they did in the movies. There were no movie ratings because all movies were responsibly produced for everyone to enjoy viewing, without profanity or violence or most anything offensive.

If you grew up in a generation before there was fast food, you may want to share some of these memories with your children or grandchildren. Just don’t blame me if they bust a gut laughing.

Growing up isn’t what it used to be, is it?

MEMORIES from a friend:
My Dad is cleaning out my grandmother’s house (she died in December) and he brought me an old Royal Crown Cola bottle. In the bottle top was a stopper with a bunch of holes in it.. I knew immediately what it was, but my daughter had no idea. She thought they had tried to make it a salt shaker or something. I knew it as the bottle that sat on the end of the ironing board to ‘sprinkle’ clothes with because we didn’t have steam irons.

Man, I am old.


How many of the following do you remember?

Head light dimmer switches on the floor. Ignition switches on the dashboard.

Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain guards.

Soldering irons you heat on a gas burner.

Using hand signals for cars without turn signals.


Older Than Dirt Quiz:

Count all the ones that you actually remember, not the ones you were told about.

Ratings at the bottom.

1. Candy cigarettes

2. Coffee shops with tableside juke boxes

3. Home milk delivery in glass bottles

4. Party lines on the telephone

5. Newsreels before the movie

6. TV test patterns that came on at night after the last show and were there until TV shows started again in the morning. (there were only 3 channels [if you were fortunate])

7. Peashooters

8. Howdy Doody

9. 45 RPM records

10. Hi-Fi’s

11. Metal ice trays with lever

12. Blue flashbulb

13. Cork popguns

14. Studebakers

15. Wash tub wringers

16 Bob Keeshan (Look him up.)

If you remembered 0-3 = You’re still young

If you remembered 3-6 = You are getting older

If you remembered 7-10  = Don’t tell your age,

If you remembered 11-16 =You’re older than dirt!

I might be older than dirt but those memories are some of the best parts of my life.


My additions to the “Do you remember” list were the following:

Sad Irons (aka flat irons) — heated on the stove, and they had removable snap-on handles.  They also were wonderful for leg pains at night (growing pains)

Large storage batteries in the basement (do you remember basements) for electricity generated by wind chargers.  Also, direct current house lights powered by the batteries.  This was before the REA got there.

Cletracks — little track layer tractors that would pull the big John Deeres out of the mud.

Fence stretchers

How to recognize and kill rattlesnakes, even the baby ones.  Houses were pier and beam, and it was cool under the houses. The snakes liked it there.

When a jeep was military surplus, and it would be destroyed by going over 45 mph.  And driving from Colorado Springs to California in that jeep.

Cattle food hay drops by B29 bombers east of Colorado Springs because of the severe blizzard.

It was explained to me that the smell in the milk cattle barn was that of money.

Uncle Henry flying into our part of the country with his Luscombe Silvaire, a much higher class of craft than the lowly Piper Cubs.  And how the adults would block both ends of a flat stretch of the dirt road with their cars to allow him to put it down.  He must have buzzed the house to let them know he was here.  I still have a picture of my uncle, the airplane, and me.

Itinerant sheep shearers who would arrive in a caravan like gypsies (as I think of it, they may have been).  And climbing into wool sacks much taller than an adult to help tamp down the wool.

Going to school in K-12 one room and two room schools.  I did this more than twice.

Sticking cherry bombs into red ant nests.

Horehound drop candies (disgusting beyond belief)

Foot X-ray machines in shoe shops.

Having my very own single-shot 22 rifle

Parnelli Jones and the Pikes Peak hillclimb.

A 427 Cobra (this was much more recent, but no less obscure.  The 289 Cobras don’t count.)

Bug-eyed Sprite, and the MG 1100 sedan with its liquid suspension — the first car that was really ours.

Slaughtering and dressing hogs

My pet weather sheep named Zeb, raised as a lamb.  I seriously do not remember what happened to him.  As I think about it, I’m highly suspicious.

Wood stoves for cooking

Making adobe blocks for buildings — needed lots of straw to hold them together.


Stan Kegel had the following addition:

I remembered 14 of these. The only one I knew about but don’t remember having was party lines.

I would add: ice trucks, wash boards, cranks on cars (no automatic starters), rumble seats, soda fountains, spritzer bottles, clothes pins, slingshots we made out of a forked branch and thick rubber bands, “Lets Pretend”  “Jack Armstrong, the All American Boy”, & “I Love a Mystery.” Penny candy, pickle barrels (at 5 cents per sour pickle which you could pick out from the barrel yourself), Fleet’s Bubble Gum with the cartoon inside, phone booths, serials at Saturday matinees, papers with little drops of candy on them and wax bottles with sweet colored liquid in them, phone numbers that started with a prefix (ours was WEbster). And how about decoder rings for your favorite radio program so you could find out what was going to happen on the next program.

I could go on and on. Thanks for the memories.

« Previous post

Leave a Reply