There was Howdy Doody, the Peanut Gallery, the Lone Ranger, the Shadow Knows, Nellie Bell, Roy and Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk. There was Blackjack, Clove and Teaberry chewing gum. Baseball cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle.
During noon recess you walked downtown to the grocery store and bought candy cigarettes and "smoked" them on your way back to school. Then during WWII, you skipped going downtown to buy treats, instead you used your nickel to buy a war stamp. Soda pop machines dispensed glass bottles. A quarter was a decent allowance - and you would reach into a muddy gutter for a penny.
Being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited the student at home. When schools threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed and they did. Having a weapon in school meant being caught with a slingshot. Water balloons were the ultimate weapon.
Basically we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of a drive-by shooting, drugs, gang, etc. Our parents were a much bigger threat! But we survived because their love was greater than the threat.
Do you remember cafes had tableside jukeboxes? How about Hi-Fi's, 45 RPM and 78 RPM records. How about Green Stamps and mimeograph paper. Newsreels before the movie. Laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box. Stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic seals because no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger. Home milk delivery came in a glass bottle with cardboard stoppers.
When tennis shoes came unto the market, they were used for doing chores, worn during gym class, etc., but were never worn to school or when a person "went out." And, they did not cost $200. A woman's stockings came in pairs.
Remember wall phones with short cords? When your mother was on the phone you could "get up to some mischief" because she could not reach you. There was no private line, everyone was on a "party line," and in order to call someone not on your line you had to first call "central" and ask to be connected. If you called in to give a grocery order to the local grocer, the central lady could tell you where he was as she had seen him walk by on his way to the caf. Then there were the "rubber-necks," people on your party line who knew your call (such as two long and three short) and listened in to find out what was going on. One time after one of our cows had delivered a calf, my father called for the animal doctor to "come and clean out the cow." He could hear the receivers slam down on the line.
It was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents. One of the first and few times that we did this as a family, our daughter announced when we returned to the car that, "Look Daddy, you left this money on the table so I picked it up for you."
Remember going steady? And exchanging class rings with your boyfriend/girlfriend and actually wearing it on your finger (boys wore it on their little finger - girls wrapped tape around the inside of the ring so it would fit). I'm sorry to say, I never did wear my class ring.
Radio was prominent - you turned it on first thing in the morning and you listened to Cedric Adams' news program before turning it off at night. People often said, "I go to bed with Cedric Adams every night." Women faithfully listened to the soap operas during the day. Some of these were: "Ma Perkins," "Perry Mason," "One Man's Family," "Our Gal Sunday," "The Romance of Helen Trent," "Stella Dallas," "Young Doctor Malone," "As the World Turns" and "The Guiding Light." On Saturday night, eager to find out what the most popular song of the week was, you always listened to the "Hit Parade."
Television did not make an appearance for the average family until the middle to late 1950s. It took three minutes for the TV to warm up, and you often sat eagerly waiting for the picture to come on - that would break up the snow on the screen. Finally, you might see a faint silhouette appear which caused a person to get really excited. One of the most popular shows was the "Ed Sullivan Show" on Sunday nights that featured Elvis Presley. Sullivan only allowed Elvis to be viewed from the waist up as he wiggled in a provocative way as he sang.
And remember that the perfect age is somewhere between old enough to know better and too young to care. And, if you remember most of the above - then you have lived.