The Good Old Days
From bottle openers to bunk beds, our old furniture brings back the best of memories for me. During those wonderful days of the 60's, I can recall many wonderful peices and decorations around the house that became a part of us. Everything was sleek, new, space-age, and just plain fun. It was a pleasure to come home to furniture and furnishings that had absolute style!
Like the cars, many peoples' homes were furnished with carry-overs from the '50's era. We had furniture at one point from the '40's, and I spent portions of my childhood riding in '50's cars. The old furniture had such style. Living rooms were often adorned with braided rugs that carpeted wood floors. The antique furniture that we inherited from previous decades were wonderful-and built to last.
Remember pole lamps, velvet paintings, multi-colored ashtrays, and can openers? There was a time when we had to open a can with those great old "church key"contraptions, punching a small hole first to let the air out, then a larger hole to drink out of. In my neighborhood, it was completely cool to shake up the can of pop, then punch the small air hole first to create a spraying fountain of soda!
In our living room hung one of those wonderful old sunburst wall clocks so relevant to the 60's. We also had a console stereo, and I can remember listening to a mix of my Mom's music and my Dad's country and western. Songs like "El Paso" , "He's In the Jailhouse Now" , and "Crazy" always bring back the strongest of memories of those times. Console stereos were fun and had class. You could flip the top open to store albums inside, or sometimes the radio was on the inside. There was always some sort of interesting storage nooks and crannys.
How about those old turntables? Remember stacking albums on the spindle? You could flip the little lever down below to drop the next one down. The bigger console stereos only had two speeds: 33 and 45. Our old record players actually had four speeds: 16, 33, 45 and 78. The 16 speed was for educational, or story records, especially for LP's for the blind. We had a couple of "16's" in our household.
Dial "R" for Rotary
It's hard to believe that we actually had to dial our phones. How did we survive? Those old rotary dialers were commonplace--especially on the wall in the kitchen. The coil cords always tangled, driving everyone who used the phone nuts. They also had really loud rings, nothing like the phones of today. We also didn't have to go through a list of options when getting a telephone answering service, back then we were connected to an operator right away to help us with whatever we needed.
Our prefix was PR5 which stood for "Prospect" . Once I tried using the end of a pencil to dial like I'd seen done on TV. The eraser kept sticking to the plate causing me to screw up my dialing. Oh well, I guess I just wasn't cool enough.
It's fun for me to look back, remembering the retro furniture and the things we had in our house. Most of the things we had, cars, furniture etc., were relics from the 50's. I can remember our old bunk beds with the head and footboards that looked like wagon wheels. Fantasy in formica: I loved our formica dining room. Teardrop and Kidney shaped coffee tables were pretty darned cool too. My brother Kenny had one.
Welcome to the Space Age
Post-Modern space age living! The 60's were a creative time and the lifestyles certainly reflected such. Design was innovative, a pleasant departure from the norm, yet mildly reminiscent of the 50's.
I can recall that there were many living room sets similiar to these in the neighborhood. However, the most of us who were of working class backgrounds, had carry-over furniture from the 50's. I'm not sure what was more fun, the old stuff, or the new. Everything was sleek and glamorous. I love this era.
1965-67 saw a sort of "Tiki Fever" set in and everyone and everything seemed to go tropical. During our hottest days in the pacific province of Portland, Oregon, it was great to imagine a whole new laid back lifestyle. My Mom went a bit Tiki by going hula, decorating Hawaiian, and rendering with faux bamboo. The Tiki bars were very commonplace in basements of better-to-do homes. I can recall the velvet paintings of some tropical scene on a black velvet canvas.
A fond memory for me is sitting around the kitchen table on a frosty morning with my dad and someone who came over to help him with the chev, or drop the tranny on the ford, or to put a new gasket in the Merc. Guys with grease black hands sat at the table slurping coffee and smoking cigarettes. Mom made toast and more coffee, while the men talked about everything under the sun. In the end, it all revolved back to that one special place of worship: the garage. sometimes I can still hear the loud clanging echo of a jack handle hitting concrete, or that "darh-harh-harh-harh-Vrooom-Vrooom!" of a successful automobile tune up.
Beer, cigarettes and coffee seemed to be the social regalia of the era. It's really hard to forget such loveable ad campaigns such as the "I'd rather fight than switch" and of course, the loveable "from the land of sky blue waters" Hamm's bear.