New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
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Modern Conveniences

How many conveniences did we do without (us boomers and slightly "pre-boomers")!

Microwaves, cellphones, air conditioning, automatic transmission, color tv, and about a million other things! Please post some more. I can think of about 40 right now but would like others to post some.
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My children talked me into a built-in microwave about 11 years ago when I remodeled the kitchen. I would never use it for fear it would explode. I just do not trust an energy source I cannot see, but can hear. I ripped it out for more cabinet space. Smile.

I have never driven a car with an automatic transmission. I don't get it. I learned to drive in a 1940 Chevy. Now that was a car. Sturdy, reliable, plain and simple. They came in one shade of black. I understood what I was taught about the clutch, gears,shift and brake. I do not care to understand further. Besides, being a handy person, I could probably change the clutch in my car if need be. Can't say the same about an automatic. Therefore, in my opinion, automatic transmissions are not practical.

I will never forget when the store delivered our new Bendix front loading washing machine - hummm, 1949?. Very impressive. I loved to watch the water fill up and the suds expand. Also it had two required rinses.

Then, somebody thought up the top loader automatic. So, we got rid of the front loader and got the new kind. We were moving up in the world, we thought. That was until my mother went to use it and discovered it only had one rinse. She thought that shorcoming to be very unsanitary.

My top loader went to washer heaven last year and I went to buy a new one. The appliance salesman told me that top loaders are out and the new fangled front loaders are in. New fangled?

Anyway, he proceeds to tell me about all the latest research which proves front loaders to be far superior to top loaders - and - I only have to spend $758 more for the machine of the twenty-first century that will clean my clothes like nothing I have ever seen. hummm. His explanation was a lot of technical jargan about the drum and its balance, back and forth motions, springs, etc., etc.

I bought it. You know why? Because I believed the saleman's pitch that it would clean my clothes better. Why? Becaue it has an automatic two rinses.

Now, dishwashers are a different story. Dishwashers are a necessity of life. You can clean and sanitize many, many things in a dishwasher - many things that you have no other practical way of cleaning without either ruining them or not cleaning them throughly enough.

For example, the fine mesh metal filters on hood vents cannot be cleaned as well by any other method, excepting at the carwash. Just pop them in the dishwasher once a week and they will sparkle and be grease free forever.

I do spring cleaning with the dishwasher, I can - put up - figs, strawberries and okra in the dishwasher, I wash the flower pots, my jewelry, hats, junk found in the neighbor's trash, and the dog bowls - all in the dishwasher.

I think I got off the subject. I'll start a new post. This one is beginning to sound like one that should be signed by Heloise.
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We lived in the 2600 block of Dauphine in a shotgun double - three rooms each side - with no running water. The center of the block had a large common area that had outhouses, a hand operated ringer washing machine and a well pump.

The streetcar ran on regularly.

The third/last room of the house was the kitchen with an ice box - a real ice box - and a wood stove. The ice man delivered ice daily. The rag man and the vegetable man, pasted daily. The ironing board was homemade of wood and had a lot of layers of scorched muslins. I cannot quite remember the iron, but I think it was heated on the wood burning stove and was black.

We bathed in a large metal tub that was placed in the center of the kitchen floor, and closest to the stove in the winter. The water was brought in, heated on the stove, and poured into the tub. I thought it was cozy.

A small section was later added onto the back of the house that provided for a small entry hall from the rear. and a bath. A porcelain tub with one faucet - cold - was installed, as was a commode. I no longer liked taking baths because there was no heat, unlike the toastiness provided by the stove next to the kitchen floor tub. It was freezing in that addition. I decided right then and there that I was not found of modernization.

About the same time, a porcelain sink with one faucet - cold - was installed in the kitchen. The wood stove went and we got a tall-legged, porcelain gas stove with a high oven and shelf - circa 1949. That wasn't bad, but it was not as much fun as putting in the wood and watching the sparks of cinders.

Then we got the elecric ice box. That's what my grandmother called it until the day she died 30 years later. It was a General Electric and kept things cold without the ice man's delivery.

That is the total of all "conveniences" in my early memories. A different era indeed.