I Remember When …from Lake Chapala…

July 23, 2010

Someone asked me recently, 'What was your favorite fast food when you were growing up?' 'We didn't have fast food when I was growing up,' I replied. 'All the food was slow. 'C'mon, seriously. Where did you eat?' 'It was a place called ‘home’ I explained ! 'Mom cooked every day and when Dad got home from work, we sat down together at the kitchen table, and if I didn't like what she put on my plate I was allowed to sit there until I did like it.' Most of the food here is also of the “slow” type at Lake Chapala, Mexico but not because we eat t at home, but because we have time to relax and luxuriate over the wonderful food served up at a whole slew of great area restaurants at less than fast food prices in the USA or Canada. I didn't tell my friend the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table.  Here are some other things I could have told him about my childhood if I figured he would have believed me. Some parents NEVER owned their own house, never wore Levis , never set foot on a golf course, never traveled out of the country or had a credit card. (Like most of the Mexican people in our area). In their later my parents had something called a revolving charge card The card was good at a few department stores My Mom never drove me to soccer practice because she didn’t know how to drive… and there was no soccer practice to go to. 56_Ford_Wagon If I wanted to go farther than I could walk I had a bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds, and only had one speed, (slow).  We have a protected bike path here at Lake Chapala that runs along most of the North shore road. SO, if  you like life in the slow lane (but still with lots of fun) you’ll like it here. When I was a kid my friends and I would ride our bikes to the Saturday movie in the summer and spend all day in the air conditioning watching 5 back to back feature films, 5 cartoons, and a serial or two.. The best part was it cost a whopping 9 cents. And a box of popcorn was under a dime. Here at Lake Chapala Ajijic we get a first run Hollywood movie in English (Spanish Sub Titles… so you can practice your Spanish) for around $2 USD for the matinee and about $3.50 for the evening performances. Our homes did not have air conditioning in Texas where in the summer is got to be over a 100 degrees most days, but it sure would have been nice. Fortunately for us now here at Lake Chapala the temp even in the summer never gets this hot and we never need air conditioning. In Texas we didn't have a television in our house until I was 13. OLd_TV It was, of course, black and white, with a tube of about 8 inches across and the station went off the air at midnight, after playing the national anthem and a poem about God; it came back on the air at about 6 a..m. And there was usually a locally produced news and farm show on, featuring local people. Here at Lake Chapala Ajijic we get hundreds of channels on our very big screen TV sets via satellite or cable with one satellite proving all English language programming including ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN, etc. etc. I was 16 before I tasted my first pizza, it was called 'pizza pie.' Here at Lake Chapala we have some of the best pizza I ever put in my mouth and it’s not from Dominos. As a kid I never had a telephone in my room. Lady_w_old_tel The only phone in my house was in the hallway where you had to stand up and it was on a party line. Before you could dial, you had to listen and make sure some people you didn't know weren't already using the line. Here at Lake Chapala I have two direct USA lines, a toll free USA/Canada line, a local line and a cell phone all fairly priced. Do you still remember your first telephone number? I do. It was TE 2856. The “TE” was short for the exchange “Tennison” . You could tell what part of town people lived in by the exchange. You can do more or less the same thing here at Lake Chapala. 765 = Chapala, 766 = Ajijic area and  763  is either Vista del Lago or Las Fuentes. Milk_Wagon Pizzas were not delivered to our home, but milk was. One of the Milk companies even still used horse drawn wagons with the milk kept cold with blocks of ice. Most folks had “ice boxes then… not refrigerators. We do have home delivered pizza, propane gas for cooking, and heating hot water, and home mail service. Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut. At least, they did in the movies. There were no movie ratings because all movies were responsibly produced for everyone to enjoy viewing, without profanity or violence or most anything offensive. In the subtitles mentioned earlier they clean up the bad words in our Hollywood movies when you read the Spanish. How many do you remember? OK, Here’s warm up for the quiz to follow: Head lights dimmer switches on the floor. Ignition switches on the dashboard. Heaters mounted on the inside of the fire wall. Real ice boxes. Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain guards. Soldering irons you heat on a gas burner. Using hand signals for cars without turn signals. OK, now let’s go for the Older Than Dirt Quiz : Count all the ones that you remember not the ones you were told about. (Ratings at the bottom to see how you did) Double_Bubble_2 1.Double Bubble chewing gum 2.Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water 3. Candy cigarettes 4. Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles   5. Coffee shops or diners with tableside juke   boxes 6 . Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers 7. Party lines   on the telephone 8 Newsreels before the movie   9. P.F. Flyers 10. Butch wax 11.. TV test patterns that came on at night after the last show and were there until TV shows started again in the morning. (there were only 3 channels [if you were fortunate]) 12. Peashooters 13. Howdy Doody 14. 45 RPM records 15.  S& H greenstamps 16. Hi-fi's 17. Metal ice trays with lever 18. Mimeograph paper 19. Blue flashbulbs 20. Packards 21. Roller skate keys 22. Cork popguns 23. Drive-ins 24. Studebakers 25. Wash tub wringers  (still used  in many Mexican homes) If you remembered 0-5 = You're still young If you remembered 6-10 = You are getting older If you remembered 11-15 = Don't tell your age, If you remembered 16-25 = You' re as old as I am.! I scored a 100% and you’ll score a 100% to on finding out about retirement  options here at Lake Chapala Mexico if you sign up for your free subscription to www.ChapalaClub.com, the on line magazine filled with tons of useful information all about living, working, and playing here in our little slice of paradise, Lake Chapala, Mexico. Just go to the top right hand corner of any page right now on www.ChapalaClub.com and put your e mail in the box and Click Go Want to know more about living, working and playing here at Lake Chapala, Mexico just drop me an e mail to Sid@ChapalaClub.com. Please put “Remember When” in the subject line box to set it off from the many e mails I get each day so I can give your e mail priority treatment. Sid

  • Betty

    Hola Sid!
    Boy did you make me feel really old. I have to say I got 100% on your quiz. But life was good and less stress. We lived in the best of times. Thanks for a trip down memory lane.

  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Betty, Think of yourself as fine wine. You;re just getting better with age. Siempre tu amigo, Sid

  • Michael

    I got a 100% on this great quiz….things I have not thought about for years!! Metal ice tray with a lever-these need to make a comeback. Thanks for this wonderful “memory jogger”.

  • Arlene Cooney

    Hi Sid – well I scored 93 but it was fun remembering all those things and reading about our growing up years – I think they were the best times to grow up in.

  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Arlene, Thanks for your comments. Yes, they were good times and the nice thing about living at Lake Chapala is that in mnay ways it’s like living back in simpler times where families still congregate around the evening meal, kids respect their elders, and people still drop in to visit.

    Thanks again. Siempre tu amigo, Sid

  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    HI Michael, Glad you enjoyed the article. Years ago a friend was visiting from the USA and we had lunch at a local dinner. Our food was served on light tan colored Melmac (TM) plates.

    He remarked, “I wondered what ever happened to all the Melmac plates in the USA… now I know.” A lot of the things we remember from our more youthful days are alive an well here at Lake Chapala. Doctors still make house calls here for example and the doctor spends 15 to 30 minutes with you personally in his office. The Mexican people have time or take time for people as part of the culture.
    THanks again for your comment. Siempre tu amigo, Sid

  • Arlene Cooney

    Hi Sid – I have to say I really enjoy your website – when we thought we were going to live in Costa Rica I used to get email from a similar source there for many years and enjoyed it immensely – nice that this just followed in its place and it is such a diversified site.

  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Carlos, Glad you’re enjoying http://www.ChapalaClub.com. I appreciate the kind words.
    Siempre tu amigo, Sid

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