As seniors we have seen so many changes in our lifetimes that sometimes we forget how many there are around now. The first one I remember is the old ice box with the tray under it to catch the water that melted from the block of ice. Of course, it was my job to empty that tray every day, and many times I forgot to do it.

That left a big mess for me to clean up when I did empty it, but I never seemed to learn that lesson.

We all loved when the ice man came to deliver the new block of ice to the house. My friends and I would stand by the end of his truck and beg for chips of ice to suck on. For some reason, they always tasted better than the ones of the block of ice in the house. I guess the odors from the food stored in there got into that ice and stayed there.

Remember how we had to wind up all the clocks in the house? No electric clocks back then for us, and we also had to wind our wristwatches each day to keep them running on time. I think I have one or two watches that are the windup kind, and it makes me so grateful for the battery-operated ones we have now.

Making toast in the morning was a real job in the old days. The bread was placed on each side of the toaster and then placed up next to the electric element that toasted it. But you had to watch it like a hawk to get it flipped down before it got burned on that side, then turn it over and do the same thing to the other side.

I just love today's toasters where you just drop it in the slot and when it's done, it pops up all by itself.


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Washing clothes was a real chore back when we were kids. That old wringer washing machine just did one thing, and that was swishing the clothes back and forth to clean them. Then you had to wring them out, one by one using the wringers and make sure you didn't let them go around more than once or let the wringers grab your fingers.

The soapy water had to be drained out of the washing machine and clean water placed in there to rinse them out. Then back through the wringers and out to the clothes lines hanging in the back yard to dry them. It was an all-day job with no time for anything else.

No automatic transmissions then; all cars had to be shifted using the clutch, and in perfect order or you would grind the gears. You also had a throttle and choke knobs to set properly to get the car started and running properly. There was a small heater to warm you in the winter but no air conditioning in the car or your home for comfort in the heat of summer.

We had a gas-burning kitchen stove with one oven, and you had to use a wooden match to light them. Kitchens had a metal box nailed to the wall next to the stove that held the wooden matches in the box they came in.

The side of the metal box was open to allow you to light the matches using the sand paper that was on the side of the match box.

Here I am on a roll with this subject, and I'm already out of the space allowed me for this column. Hope you enjoyed remembering.

Carol Olson grew up in South Dakota and Walnut Creek and now lives in Pittsburg. Contact her at carolleeolson@aol.com.