The View From My Cup – Things Gone

The view from my cup…things I don’t see anymore. Now and again, I think of something I haven’t seen for quite a while. As in, not for years, and in some cases decades. Take, for instance, carhop trays. BC (before COVID), you could occasionally dine at a hotdog stand or drive-in restaurant such as Sonic, and the server brought you the tray that attaches to your window to hold your food and drink. Now, you get a bag and drink thrust through your window. If you are lucky, they remember the straw. I think I’ve seen the last of the rubber-clad feet of the tray holding my feast at shoulder height.

Then there were green stamps, or yellow or plaid. Grocery stores and gas stations gave them out with every purchase. I recall green stamps at the gas station, yellow stamps from Kroger, and plaid stamps from the A&P. I think anyway, it’s been a few years. My job was to lick and stick them in the little books. Then you could ‘buy’ things. Pretty cool deal. They should bring those back!

And the time lady. The faceless, nameless, every-so-pleasant voice you rang up on your rotary phone to ascertain the correct time. You know, in the event you had neglected to wind your watch.

I should probably insert a remark about now about how some younger readers are thinking, ‘what IS she talking about?’

Encyclopedias are still around. You can find multiple sets any day of the week for a fraction of their original cost at thrift stores, yard sales, and Goodwill. When I was in junior high school, my mother bought a black leatherbound set of Encyclopedia Brittanica. Large, weighty, and costly tomes. Replaced today by Google and Wikipedia on my cellphone. One hundredth the size of a set of encyclopedias.

Other things you see from time to time also used to be a staple in our home: a wall-mounted ice crusher, needle threaders, and phone books. The yellow pages, following the white pages section, were a well-thumbed wellspring of information. When I moved to Cincinnati for a few years in my 20s, the Yellow Pages comprised an entirely separate book from the residential listings. We still get a phone book every year in the mail—tiny, half the size, and one fourth as thick as the one of my youth. We don’t even save it. From the mailbox to the trash can. Such as waste.

Ticket stubs have just about vanished from the landscape as well. I saved all the stubs from movies, concerts, and the theatre from dates with the hubs. Now, we can’t do any of those things, so no stubs to save. I read the other day that our local TicketMaster went out of business. Unbelievable.

Reading a newspaper is also going by the wayside. And that is a shame. I love to sit on the deck or by the fire and read the paper. I grew up with both a morning and evening paper. A few years ago, they combined into one. Monday editions went by the wayside several months back. The latest bastardization of my paper reading pleasure is the size adjustment. The columns are more narrow, and the entire paper opened fully isn’t as wide as one single page used to be. I’m just going to say it – size matters.

I know many other things have disappeared or are on the brink of extinction. Carbon paper, card catalogs, and mail slots in the front door. What gizmos, do-dads, and thingamajiggers do you miss?