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This is a list of tools and toys and other artifacts that used to occupy tremendous mindshare in American culture. Yep, it could be considered nostalgia but I think it's more than that, and more than just a barometer.

Several of these items are surface phenomena of larger social structures: home milk delivery, movie newsreels. Remembering them reminds us of what used to constitute community in its many regional or ethnic flavors (and still does, but less and differently). Every kid used to have a P. F. Flyer or a popgun. Today, most kids have a PC or a PSX. Obviously they're not literally the same thing, but do they even mean the same things to them? I don't think so.

I'll reserve judgement as to whether things used to be better then or not, but lest we forget, here's some ways we were different.

Candy cigarettes
Blackjack chewing gum
Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water
Soda pop machines that dispensed bottles
Coffee shops with tableside jukeboxes
Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers
Newsreels before the movie
P.F. Flyers
Butch wax
Telephone party lines
Telephone numbers with a word prefix (Olive - 6933)
Peashooters
Howdy Doody
45 RPM records
S&H Green Stamps
Hi-fi's
Metal ice trays with levers
Mimeograph paper
Blue flashbulbs
Beanie and Cecil
Roller skate keys
Cork popguns
Drive-ins
Studebakers
Washtub wringers

If you remembered five or fewer: You're still young
If you remembered six to ten : You are getting older
If you remembered eleven to fifteen : Don't tell your age
If you remembered sixteen or more : You're older than dirt!

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