My photo
Poetry and snark blogger who also has a creative side (who knew?)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Where Have All My Tchotchkes Gone?

Okay, my last post about the typewriter eraser got me to thinking, and that's always dangerous.  I started remembering all the tchotchkes from my past that are now obsolete.  I think tribute should be paid to these once quotidian, now forgotten relics of MY past.  So, here goes:


The record player in a suitcase:

This little number was an essential item to every child growing up in the 60s and 70s, as it played your 45 records.  When you were done playing your records, you put them in your record case (preferably decorated with psychedelic colors and patterns) and closed up your suitcase record player and latched it. It had a convenient carrying handle and was often a lovely plaid and the outside.

 The 45 insert or adapter:

This indispensable doodad made it possible to play 45 records on a standard turntable by adapting the hole in the middle to the correct size.  They were usually yellow plastic and could often be found under sofas in basements.



The milkbox:

No, not the cardboard containers you got in school with the "Have You Seen Me?" pictures on them but the big, metal boxes you set out on your porch or front steps for milk and dairy delivery. Delivery?!!  Yep, kiddos, our milk, eggs, and other dairy products were delivered by a milkman to our house!  What seems like such a luxury now (think Peapod) was the norm back then.


Ahh, dittos....those purple hued sheets of paper our schoolwork was printed on before copiers and printers became cheap and easy.  The ditto machine used some type of spirit alcohol to make the prints, and all the kids would put the freshly made dittos (you could tell they were freshly made because they were cold and sort of damp) to our noses and inhale.  How many young braincells happily floated off into the classrooms of the 60s and 70s because of dittos? And will anyone in the future understand the rationale for the phrase "ditto" meaning "the same?"

Carbon paper:  

Another relic from the times before printers and copy machines.  Remember coated side down? Remember the black smudges all over your fingers?  Remember trying to use the sheet as many times as possible so as not to waste it and have to buy more?  Remember having to line it up with the sheets of paper in your typewriter (the typewriter again!) so your copies wouldn't come out with the print all crooked?  Can you even find carbon paper today?  The closest thing is that carbon-less paper that makes copies when you press on it (the bottom copy is yours).  When I had to fill out a form using paper of this type, my teenage daughter thought it was magic! She'd never seen anything like it, having grown up in the age of printers and not having had to sign credit card slips yet! I do miss the thin, crinkly, skinlike feel of carbon paper (but not the smudges!)

The rotary phone:

Now that landlines are almost obsolete, it's hard to imagine that once upon a time, endtables, desks, counters, and walls once held these odd looking devices.  You not only had to know the number you wanted to dial, you actually had to dial, not push buttons or speak into the phone!  I still have one of these dinosaurs in my house, and my 14 year-old daughter had no idea how to use it!  I had to explain how to insert a finger into the holes of the rotary dial and move it around in a circular manner.  She found it incredibly difficult and quite amusing.  I, for one, still find it easier than trying to press the teeny, tiny keys on my cell phone without hitting the ones next to them!

I believe it's time for not just one, but many sculptures to honor the mundane but unnecessary tchotchkes of our pasts.  They could join the typewriter eraser (see my previous post) in a garden of ghostly gewgaws.  Each generation could add several pieces to the collection, and class fieldtrips would be required for historical and anthropological studies.  Also, parents could use it as a family destination to torture their children, happily reminiscing about their favorite trinkets and out-of-date technology while their progeny's eyes roll back into their heads in a boredom induced coma.  Don't forget the Polaroid!


  1. I just wrote at least 30 more things from my past & found out that this comment place can only hold so much. LMFAO
    All of a sudden everything went poof & all I saw was lavender. No writng ....just plain lavender. Too funny.
    You have been spared. :0)

  2. I found that list. Ain't you the lucky one. :0)Add to that Victrolla's that you wind up,78 rpm records telephone party lines, wash scrub boards, wringer washing machines, a sieve you add the last tiny piece of your bar of soap to and swish through the sink water to wash dishes, galvanized pails you use to wash clothes in and also use to take a bath, outhouses, hand pumps to get the water out of the ground, A piece of carboard you put in your front window indicating you want ice for your ice bos and how much, a piece of carboard with a star on it indicating you have a loved one in the service. a funeral wreath on your front door indicating there is a wake inside the house for a family member that died, a scissor man peddling a cart around the streets hollering out that he is around to sharpen your knives and scissors, a rag man pushing a cart collecting rags, black out shades, sirens going on after dark for air raid drills and reminding you to get those black out shades pulled down, a man selling chickens to eat from the back of his old truck & he wrings their necks & hands them to you to defeather & clean, the milk man being pulled by a horse & cart with real whole milk with coveted cream that has rose to the top, clamp on roller skates, a beige/brown shade of cream to rub on your legs to look like you are wearing nylons, crochet pieces for your soft chairs & sofas to put on the back and arms, shade pulls ( the pineapple pattern was a favorite), kerosene stoves, coal to run the furnace to keep your ass warm,hair irons that you heated on the stove to curl your hair, no tv, floor radios, douche bags ....oh yeah we still have those only they live & breathe.:0)
    Okay I'm outta here.
    WAIT...there's more!

  3. i was reading about the carbon paper and thinking about how much i love it, and lo and behold, i was mentioned two lines later XD
    you make me sound like such an ignorant twerp...XD

    lots of love!

  4. You are not an ignorant twerp, my dear. It's called "artistic license," but you were, in fact, quite mesmerized by the carbon paper. lots of love!!!


Rant with me. Come on, you know you want to!