Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Retro Thinking

We've all seen those images on Facebook that are so popular these days that encourage us to click on like if we remember the item and share it. If you are like me, you click on some of them and don't click on others, even if you do remember them. I'll have to admit that I've only seen one of those things that I didn't remember. It's making me feel OLD (even if I don't feel old at all).

The other day someone posted a photo of an old hair dryer. I got to thinking about the one we had in our house, and I wondered what had ever become of that hair dryer. I have decided that I'm going to have to look in that master bath at my dad's house the next time I'm down there or in the back corner of a closet because I just cannot imagine that my mom sold that thing in a garage sale.

It took forever (or so it seemed) when you sat under that stretchy cap with those old rollers for your hair to dry. Then there was that hose attachment through which the air was piped that you had to wrap around the dryer when you stored it in its case. Those of us who remember that type of dryer are grateful that blow dryers made drying one's hair a much faster process.

However, I also remember thinking back to the times I would go to Gladys' Beauty Shop with my mother and grandmother. Mom and I basically only went for haircuts, but there were ladies who were always there who were having their hair "blued" or streaked (which was popular back in the 1960s). On one occasion, I had taken one of my dolls with me to the beauty shop. I had a habit of making a handle out of the doll's hair at that time in my life. (I was definitely a preschooler.) On this occasion, Gladys had some leftover color from a streaking job that she had done. Before I knew it, she had taken my doll (that I called "Cindy") and put some of that streaked color which was some shade of silver in my doll's hair. I was very upset about it, and, of course, the color would not come out. I don't think I ever played with that doll as much after Gladys had ruined her hair.

I do, however, remember that we would almost always get a Coke at Glady's Beauty Shop. The small 6 1/2 oz. bottles cost 6 cents. The larger 10 oz. bottles were a dime. You put your money in an old timey coke machine to get your bottle. (Yes, the machine took pennies.) My family always said that the Cokes always tasted better in those smaller bottles. They thought that the smaller bottle was actually a different formula than what was in the larger bottle. However, for me, the real thrill of purchasing a Coke in one of those bottles was seeing where it had been bottled. You see, on the bottom of each Coke bottle, there was a town's name. We always wanted to see whose bottle had come from the most distant location. If I didn't know the location, I would want to see where it was on a map.

Readings maps was pretty much always a part of my life. We always had a map around, and we'd often pick them up at the Gulf Station when we were going to go on a trip. Gas stations in those days were usually full service, and they had a wide selection of maps for people who were traveling. I loved maps. When Mom and Dad would get a new one, I'd usually get the old one for my own. Then they could have a map in the front seat, and I'd have one for myself in the backseat on trips, but I'd also have one that I could study at home.

I remember when gas was about 30 cents a gallon for regular. That was before they took the lead out. Unleaded and Premium gasolines were priced higher back in those days. I think Premium was about 34 cents a gallon (and it was the most expensive). Of course, gas prices gradually rose. It was at record highs back when I was in high school, but it came back down during the Reagan era. Gas prices today are ridiculously overinflated!

It's strange how thinking about one thing from your past can lead you to another thing and then to another and then to another. Who would have thought that a hair dryer could lead to gasoline prices? I may not want that old hair dryer back, but I'd sure take that 30 cent per gallon gas!

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