Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Do You Remember?

Do you remember the old Columbus when Valley Dale was way out in the country? When Gambrinus was the beer your daddy drank? When 16 E. Broad Street was the city’s only skyscraper? When Cousin and Fearns had a High Street store with nostalgic hardware smell and you could buy nails right from the keg?

Do you remember when college coaches, after a defeat, called on the student body for more talent? How long has it been since Jimmy Rhodes held pie-eating contests in front of his High street restaurant opposite the Ohio State campus? And there arose like a noon-time sound like thunder as brewery workers pounded up the alley from Front St. Long tables had been set and at every place a bowl of hot soup steamed.

Crossword puzzles came along, then became so popular that a special puzzle was supplied with every dessert in a downtown Columbus restaurant. And people tied money in the corners of their handkerchiefs. When young men wore their pants up around their chests. When the Lazarus book shop was on the first floor.

Remember when a farmstead included both a smoke house and an ice house? When bananas were sold by the dozen? And there were oranges only at Christmas time? When you sent a piece of Grandma’s cake to an ailing neighbor, the plate came back loaded with other goodies. Remember turning the ice cream freezer?

Grandpa daily opened the back of his watch and wound it with a key. Cigar ashes were used for tooth powder. The work day was ten hours long and a pay check suffered no deductions. Cloud of dust rose from country schoolhouses as kids stood outdoors beating erasers together. And when you were through using the phone you rang off. Remember party lines?

When auto doors had pockets on them. Those were the days when it was said, “He’s making so much money he’s got pearl buttons on his shoes.” The country stores had boxes of old-fashion ginger snaps. And when Mother baked lemon crackers they had to cool. It was said that ammonia fumes rising from a hot lemon cracker was enough to kill a hungry tyke.

Do you harkback to those days?

Ben Hayes, journalist

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