I remember when …
Doctors offices expected cash — not insurance cards or “bill me.”
Doctors smoked cigarettes during and after examinations, and dentists would steal a smoke between patients – and use air from cleaning tools to expand their gloves.
Needles were reusable – after you a got a shot, they were sterilized for the next patient.
Pharmacists would blend some prescriptions using liquids and solids behind the counter – you could watch them using a mortar and pestle.
If you wanted to smell a shampoo, you just opened the bottle – no tamper-proof seal.
If you bought aspirin or allergy pills, they came in a simple a twist-off glass bottles, no child-proofing.
The Muzak in hospitals often was played a mind-numbing 24/7.
Dislocated knees and other joints were popped back into place in the ER by bare-handed MDs with patients given no anesthetic.
A party line was a phone line you shared with many other households, folks you didn’t necessarily know. Each of you had different phone numbers, but if they were using the line and you needed to make an urgent call, you had to persuade them to sign off.
The first pop-top soda cans were so tough they required a pair of pliers to open, and ER’s saw many kids who’d swallowed the pull-off tabs.
Grocers totaled up your purchases with a pencil on the same paper bag used to sack your food.
The most important mirror in the house wasn’t used for shaving or makeup but by the TV repair man to see how well his behind-the- set, black-and-white, picture-tube tinkering was restoring images.
A genius was a handyman who could use a mechanical snake to unclog a plugged toilet. Sometimes you even got back your soggy toys or shattered marbles,
Butchers, wearing stained aprons, covered their shop floors with sawdust to absorb the blood from the meat carcasses they hauled in from trucks as customers and their kids watched and waited, noshing on sliced bologna.
Bacon grease was stored on the kitchen window counter for reuse, especially for baked goods and more frying.
The best-tasting medicine was orange-flavored St. Joseph aspirin. That and Benedictine brandy.
One toothbrush was good enough to last for years.