Geezette brand proves more

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 15, 1999

stubborn than dirt


Published Sept. 15, 1999

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Falling into the "older than dirt" category makes one want to struggle to his feet and get clean again. Alas, once you’ve been branded a "geezer" (or geezette) by the Internet, the stain is forever there.

Still a novice to some Internet dangers, I innocently took the cyberspace test of "How many do you remember," and scored 23 for 25.

Blackjack chewing gum and Butch wax stumped me, but home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers made me recall that milk never tasted quite the same in waxy cardboard and my grandmother’s phone number in California was Metcalf 3-7406.

Amazingly my mind was flooded with memories as I approached each number on the list.

My intro to 45 rpm records came from my Aunt Ruth, who, at 14, must have played "Slow Boat to China" a kajillion times on her record player. My skinny little 9-year-old body would lay in the floor in her room and long for the day when I would have bosoms and a record player like my Aunt Ruth.

S&H Green Stamps were saved more religiously than Baptists at our house when I was growing up and I remember going to the S&H Redemption Center with my mom to get "Santa" for my little brothers and sisters when there was no money to shop.

It was my job to moisten the green stamps and fasten them to the pages. It took two books to get a Betsy Wetsy doll for my little sister and every licked-stamp put our hoard that much closer to the doll Donna wanted and the five-year diary with a key I was coveting for myself.

At 12, washing machines and the sneaky wringers that came with them made a big impression on me in the garage out back of the house as it took my arm and tried to flatten me like a pancake.

Dressed in my brand new grown-up bathing suit, navy blue with daisies across the top, I thought I was too cute for words and certainly too cool to be paying attention to my family wash chore. I don’t know which was harder, my scream or the way I hit the release lever before my arm actually left the shoulder socket. For days I walked around with my arm matching my bathing suit.

Number 20 on the list was Beanie and Cecil, a puppet show started by Daws Butler (he later became very rich with commercials, i.e., Sunsweet Pitted Prunes, as in "Today the wrinkles, tomorrow the pits." Anyway Beanie and Capt. Huffinpuff were favorites at our house along with Cecil, the seasick sea serpent.

And what of party lines? Golly whiz-bang, we never had a telephone at our house. I would go over to Rita B. Watt’s and we would wait for her neighbors to get off the line so we could make giggling calls to boys we liked and ask stupid questions, such as what do you feed a baby bird that’s fallen out of the nest or any such nonsensical excuse we could makeup to have a conversation. One of the party-line members ratted us out to Rita’s mom and we got in trouble. Nice girls don’t call boys, we were told. My how times have changed.

I wore my roller-skate key around my neck on a purple ribbon and loved the cracks in the sidewalk that would sing to me as I zoomed along.

How delightful to remember all those happy times with just a movement of the mouse at my computer and how thoughtful of my friends in Georgia to send it to me even if their motive was to prove I’m two years older than they and in much worse shape.

Smiling is good exercise for this old geezette.

Fran Sharp is a freelance writer in Alabaster who will share her copy of the list with other oldsters by e-mail at