Madcap humor

This is from a Country Pleasures column I wrote in 2010


 I liked the phone company much better when there was only one. And a real person, not a robot or a recording would answer and give you a number and you didn’t have to think about what long distance carrier to sign on with because there was just Ma Bell.

There was no cable company, just rabbit ears.

You could walk into a shoe store and actually get fitted. And your salesperson wasn’t twelve years old.

You could find a parking spot in San Francisco’s North Beach or Seattle’s Pike Place Market in less than 5 minutes.

There was no such thing as karaoke, hip-hop and rap.

Phony, unethical politicians remained behind locked doors in smoky rooms on Chicago’s eastside. Now every tiny detail of their sordid affairs is in your face every night on the news or the Internet. I prefer to be kept in the dark.

Students memorized poetry and studied Shakespeare in school and there was a greater emphasis on English, history and geography. How many 7th graders can tell you the date of the attack on Pearl Harbor or who wrote Hamlet?

Chocolate bars didn’t taste like wax.

Potato chips tasted like they came from real potatoes.

Nurses wore starched white uniforms, winged caps and had a real air of authority.

The public library was a tranquil, quiet, odorless place where people went to read and study.

You could get a dental appointment in a couple of days, now it takes a year.

There were no impersonal HMOs, and family doctors made house calls.

Juice came only in apple, grape and orange. There were no kiwi raspberry non-caloric taste-free spritzers with a twist of papaya.

Shoes were made to last and you could get them resoled.

More people could afford to own their own homes.

Music was melodious and the singer wasn’t naked.

Actors and actresses needed talent in order to be successful.

The Bon’s Azalea Room, the lunch counters at Frederick and Nelson in Seattle, Meier and Frank in Portland, and the City of Paris in San Francisco–all gone.

Covered bridges.

Trains ran everywhere and at convenient times.

Local “Breaking news” was real, not contrived for the 5 PM newscast.

A kitchen remodel cost less than $50,000.

Shoelaces were short enough so you didn’t trip over them.

Girls wore skirts, dresses, hats and gloves, matching sweater-sets and carried matching handbags.

Men gave up their seats on the bus for pregnant or elderly women.

Movie stars were glamorous, mysterious, and elegant. If they had drug or alcohol problems or an illegitimate child with Clark Gable the studio PR department covered it up.

Celebrities, professional athletes and TV anchorpersons were not paid $15 million a year while there were starving children in Africa.

You could easily tell a person’s gender by his or her hairstyle.

Tattoos were only for drunken sailors on shore leave.

It was ok to say “Merry Christmas.”

There was no road rage. Everyone kept his or her hands on the wheel and was respectful of other motorists.

There were nun teachers. Now there are no nuns.

Courtesy clerks were courteous and sales people actually KNEW about the products they were selling.

There were no zip codes, area codes, PIN numbers or passwords to memorize.

People said please and thank-you, sent cards and letters and RESPONDED to phone calls.

Walmart did not exist!

I wore a size 8 dress.

Elvis was still alive.

What do you miss about the “good ole days?”

Madcap Mary welcomes your email. Reach her at

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