We have lost quite a bit over the years. The milk man, who used to deliver milk, butter to our homes and put them in the metal box by our front door or in many instances would knock, walk in (we didn’t need to be as paranoid back then) and give it to my mom. Many times they would put it on the table or even in the ice box (what a refrigerator was called back then). Yes I know technically they are different but that was our terminology then for a refrigerator.
For those of you who remember the milk man, you can also probably remember the bread man. Another profession that is obsolete today. Today we all get our bread from a grocery store or some of you might even go to the bakery. For those lucky of us to have grown up in the era of this profession (we did our growing up in the 50s, 60s and 70s) we remember, getting nice fresh bread. I particularly loved the crusty loafs or the powdered bread.
Lost in many areas of the country are bakeries, butchers and little produce stands. I can remember growing up my mom stopping at the grocery store for canned goods, cereals and some household products only. Our meat came from the butcher, our fish from the fish market, and our cakes, pies and donuts from the bakery. We would stop at the produce stands when they opened up for our fruits and vegetables, plus we had our own garden in the backyard. Today you are hard pressed to find these businesses, at least on the West Coast where we are they are non-existent. While the supermarkets of today are nice and convenient, we have lost the quality and service the individual stores used to provide. The produce stands have for the most part been replaced by big U-picks, farmer’s markets, and large co-ops.
Another thing we have lost over the years is doctors making house calls. Yes, they actually did this as part of their practice, there wasn’t a extra fee for it. It wasn’t part of a new type of plan that only the very wealthy could afford. Back then most doctors, at least ours, really cared for their parents. Yes we paid them, but they had time to listen ( we weren’t just a number). They got to know their parents. Plus most people could afford doctors and dentists back then.
I can remember our doctor coming to our home on more than one occasion when one of us got ill and the normal St. Joseph’s aspirin and mom’s remedies didn’t take care of it. Unlike today where a new drug is a doctor’s answer to everything, back then common sense was employed first.
We have also lost our neighborhoods, and the safety they used to provide. The neighborhood welcoming a newcomer. The neighborhood kids playing together. Yes, moms watched and knew where their children were, but they didn’t have to worry about them playing down the street, or riding their bikes without supervision. The neighborhood block parties. All of us getting together for the major holidays and having parties. Maybe not everyone came every time, but a large majority of us did. It was a time of celebration, relaxation and just plain fun. As we wrote in another article today we don’t even have time for game nights any longer.
And probably most sad of all, we lost our ability to keep our word and promises without having to resort to lawyers and contracts. I can remember a time, where your handshake was your bond. When we didn’t live in a sue happy society and people took responsibility for their own actions instead of always placing the blame elsewhere.