Thursday, April 6, 2017

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

Other things that I remember was my mother in my early years was a happy woman. She would sing while dusting or cleaning, doing other chores.

I remember we used to have company. Uncle Joe, Uncle Alfred, Uncle Louie, Uncle Vincent, cousins, etc.

I remember one Christmas when Aunt Philomena and her husband, Uncle Mike, spent that Christmas with us.

Uncle Mike brought me a gift, a wind-up, toy car. I played and played with it that Christmas Eve until I over-wound it and that was the end of that.

I remember that my father made wine and my mother put up vinegar peppers. Which was a community custom.

This period [ed: 1920s] was a happy one. And on certain months attention was paid to Christmas, Easter, birthdays, holidays.

The men worked long hours. The women stayed home. As young ladies, they worked as secretaries, garment industry, chocolate or candy factories. Schools up to 14 years old and work. Not many attended high schools. The cities and states encouraged education. And it was not unusual to have many to sent to work at 14 years.

The days of the supermarkets was still off. One went to the local family run store for food, fruits, cold cuts and canned goods.

A lot of fruits, fish, and vegetables were purchased from vendors who would come with their horse and wagon or push cards and hollering of their wares to attract the attention of the women. It would be quite a bargaining event as they bargained to bring the price down. Usually, it did [ed: work] because one woman in the crowd would say forget it. Wait for so and so, he'll be along soon, he's at such a street and should be here in a short while. And he's selling at giving the price. Usually a penny or two less. The price would go down.

Fruits were bought by the dozen starting at ten cents a dozen and 15 cents for larger sizes. Canned goods were sold by the ounces at 16 ounces or tonic [ed: soda pop] bottles which came at 10 cents for the quart plus two cents to insure return of the bottles. All glass and the legend printed thereon "made from all natural products" Our food in those days tasted a lot better.

Just First National, and coffee and butter and local grocery stores, pushcarts and wagons.The men who earned their living in this manner awoke at 5 am to go to the distribution centers to buy their products for resale. Meat, veggies, fruits, etc. And some delivery.

In Winter it was rain and snow for those with pushcarts, would stop. The horse and wagon vendors would return to the barn, unhook the horse from the cart and hook up to the sled and back where they left off.

Not many vehicles. But lots of carts and wagons and it continued right after WWII when things began to change. Even pies and baked goodies were sold in this manner.


  1. I love hearing about the "old" days. I know my grandmother was youthful in the 1920's and that was true for her. She left school after the 8th grade to help support her family. I wonder if that's why education was so important for people of our generation and maybe even why there's such a push for lower drop out rates. Yup, educations is really important. :) Always enjoy reading these throwbacks for little glimpses into the past. Hugs-Erika

    1. I'm sure the push for education was big because of those who had to leave school early to support families. They wanted better for their children. I love looking at dad's memories, too. Some I had heard. Others are new.

  2. He makes it sound so charming and quaint. I have a feeling it wasn't always a bed of roses.

    1. I think before the Crash it was easier. Not always a bed of roses but manageable. After the Crash things changed ddrastically, but still to us looking back things would appear charming and quaint.

  3. What wonderful memories you have to look back on, CJ. I remember my grandmother hummed when she worked.

    One year I was in Kansas City, KS at their food market. It was 5 am and the vendors were there in VANS, loading everything from meat to fish to veggies. They don't normally allow epoeple in who are not buying, but I had a friend get me in to see this fun treat. I bet your father didn't think it was as much fun and glamorous as I did. I would have enjoyed it even more if there had been horses, buggies, or sleighs.

    1. I remember as a kid being taken to Haymarket Sq. in Boston where all the vendors were. Ma liked to do her fruit and vegetable shopping here. I just remember it being noisy and crowded. I certainly didn't think it was fun or glamorous. Horse and buggy wouldn't have added to the charm either.

      I remember as a kid during the Summer at my Auntie and Grandma's (Ma's mother and sister). Trucks would come down the street from Haymarket and the men selling fruits and veg. They would yell things like Waddameloan. Fresh Waddameloan Here! People would come out of the houses to buy. I especially loved the vendors selling slush (frozen lemonade) from pushcarts. A Dixie size cup (5 oz?) was filled with the tart, icy treat all for a nickel.

  4. CJ; would that the mom and pop stores were still around; we could all use less "chain retail" me's a thinkin.

    I grew up going to a mom and pop store; the DELL it was called; penny candy; my best friends parents owned it. we would warm our feet by the stove they had in back on the walk home from school

    I can recall my grandmother telling me about the ice man; and how in the winter a hole was dug in the ground outside by the back door before freeze set in; a daily trip to the market was avoided in winter then because they placed the meat in the hole; covered it with snow and a rock to keep out wildlife !!

    enjoyed this post today !!! ☺☺♥♥

    1. We had a mom and pop store in the town where I grew up. Penny candy, bread, milk, eggs, some canned goods. Dad stopped there on Sundays after church to buy the newspaper. They also sold fruit and veg from their farm. The store is still there. Still going strong. The kids expanded the little store. No more penny candy.

      Clever idea for a makeshift freezer.

  5. I love the sound of the good old days! I can't believe the prices! It was probably a lot harder, then what we think everyone went through!