Service of Old Fashioned Things

August 30th, 2010

Categories: Old Fashioned Things, Tradition


Buggy whips and typewriter ribbons came up in a comment about “Service of Ensuring Work,” inspiring a post about the old fashioned things we continue to use and enjoy, no matter what , such as firewood and knitting needles. In fact, there’s a premium attached to a working fireplace.

babyshoesHand knit sweaters and scarves are extra special. If you know what you are doing, knitting can also be soothing. A friend of mine has carried on her mother’s tradition of knitting a baby hat and sweater set for every infant to join the family. In spite of grueling deadlines and responsibilities, she recently completed two sets for twins.

While I am addicted to solitaire and FreeCell on my computer and no longer use playing cards, haven’t held a print version of a dictionary or phone book in eons, here’s a list of some old fashioned things I love, even if substitutes exist.

**Jigsaw Puzzles: A friend gave my husband one for Christmas a few years ago. We’d forgotten how much fun they are and when people drop in, they can’t stop themselves from adding their pieces.

**Monopoly and watching a child learn-and love-to play, if only for the companionship of adults.

homemadecake**Baking pies and cakes: Time well spent in my opinion.

**Making spaghetti sauce from scratch–or rather, watching my husband make it: Yum

 **Inviting friends over for dinner-we’re trying to do more of this. We so enjoy it when we’re invited to a home, though meeting folks at a restaurant is also nice.

**Mac and cheese: A counter server at the Amish Market, a takeout specialty shop/deli near my office, reminisced about his Mom’s recipe after he described a soup for sale by the same name. He said his Mom made hers from scratch but that he and his sisters and brothers pleaded with her to prepare it the way Aunt Connie made hers. Aunt Connie had Kraft to thank. Kraft still rules!

**Dairy Queen. We found the one in Connecticut we’d not been to in a dog’s age. We were thrilled that it was still there and I was amazed that my husband remembered where it was. I can never decide whether I want a cone with the great hard chocolate cover or a milkshake. I was driving so strawberry milkshake won.

**Listening to the radio in the car, while doing housework and in the middle of the night if I can’t sleep.

And you?


11 Responses to “Service of Old Fashioned Things”

  1. MFG Said:

    My old fashioned favorites are popcorn, any kind of ice cream and old-fashion perennials, e.g., Queen Ann’s Lace.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    I forgot popcorn! I LOVE it. And speaking of popcorn, I also forgot going to the movies, and watching the oldies on Turner Classic Movies.

  3. Simon Carr Said:

    The other night I had the unusual experience of hearing successive interviews on C-Span with Justices Kennedy and Sotomayor. (I write “unusual” because even on C-Span, seldom do you hear such thoughtful, intelligent talk as this, and certainly nowhere else on the TV or the internet.) What I miss are those stimulating dinner conversations, like the ones that the round table at the Algonquin used to be famous for.

    From my mid twenties, I especially remember a four hour lunch on a terrace overlooking the Mediterranean with George Kennan, his wife, one of his closest friends and his wife. All four hours were packed with electric, hard thinking conversation and were riveting. Of course, there were no computers back then, and there wasn’t a TV in the place.

    Now we’ve got Blackberries and twittering and people eat fast food. We are too busy communicating and being busy, to think or to savor.

    Thank God, the justices still think and talk. I’m glad somebody does. But I’ve pretty much forgotten how to talk, and besides when I do talk I talk about stuff that most people find boring.

  4. Lucrezia Said:

    There are a couple of old fashioned things I am unable to live without: Reading & puzzles. There are a number of new things which make me wish I was born much later: Computers which come with a rich array of programs and new things to learn daily, answer machines and caller ID devices which permit one to avoid pests, cell phones which can alert emergencies and save lives, and I could go on. My thoughts are apt to dwell on favorites, with no interest as to their time of origin. New and old things have no monopoly on what’s “good” or “bad.” Basically such things are akin to what beauty is in the eyes of each beholder.

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Your written conversation isn’t boring so my guess is that when you speak, you aren’t either.

    I was never great at sitting still for hours over meals but there are evenings that fly by when I’m with friends and there is a lot to hear and say. I get the feeling that you may have done more listening than speaking during dinner with George Kennan and that given the chance, even the antsiest person might have sat that long without effort. How was the food? [Joke.]

    You are right to mention today’s communication on steroids. I am on vacation and have been working at a computer for almost four hours the first day. My Blackberry will allow me to keep up with what’s crucial when I leave the computer. I am actually grateful for that.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    When you say reading, do you mean on the Internet or books and do you use a wireless device, like a Kindle, or do you prefer to hold a book in your hand? I like the printed kind, but if I began to again travel on airlines a lot, I can see the benefit of e-books.

  7. Lucrezia Said:

    I like “real” books, and take them on planes. I am uneasy with these electronic devices which people insist on using during flights. Given a fluke situation, they could interfere with travel with serious, if not fatal results. What I should have added to my original statement is that these “wars” between “old” and “new” are just plain silly. Change is what life is all about, and we must learn to adapt in order to survive, so we might as well enjoy the journey for as long as it lasts.

  8. Cynthia Said:

    Yo-yos first made popular in the 1920s, Slinkys (Compression Wave Magic) and old fashioned Solitaire; playing cards in the palm of your hands that my Grandma Ruby taught me as a child.

  9. Phyllis Stier Said:

    I see a common thread in the posts: the service of old-fashioned things is the service they provide of slowing down, of being aware, of patience,of not just mindlessly doing. Example, solitaire(old-fashioned): first, find the cards, then the count for a full deck, clear a space, shuffle, count, think,deep breath..maybe this time I’ll be out..; .Standing in the Dairy Queen line, do we notice the family in front of us, kids fidgeting as they wait and choose flavors….Reading can be almost spiritual, if we stop and think of the hours writing; hands who have actually ‘touched’ the book –edit,print,bind,illustrate, old-fashioned getting it out the (publisher’s) door. The service of old-fashioned things is actually the service of now,the present,who are we sharing a meal with,talking to, thinking of, really listening to before we fire off an e-mail or open up a laptop.

  10. Ann L Said:

    Let’s not forget really good ice tea with lemons and oranges flowing on the top…..and lots of sugar…

  11. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I adore yo yo’s! I’ve given them as gifts to countless children most of whom no doubt can’t imagine why. The Slinky is another favorite of mine. Do you remember Silly Putty? I’ve not seen it in years. Bet it was made of poison.


    I don’t see a war between old and new: It’s just a matter of preference while options continue to exist. I marvel at people’s fascination with fireplaces. I have several and the mess they make cause issues for me. But when someone has a roaring fire at their home or in a restaurant, that’s where I want to sit! I imagine a fireplace is a bit like a swimming pool. I’ve never owned one of those but friends who have–who live in the Northeast–tell me the maintenance isn’t worth the few days of pleasure.


    Thoughtful comments. I’m fearful that what you rightfully describe as the work involved with getting a book out of a publisher’s door is precisely why the print version will go the way of USPS mail and other choices that are either less efficient or more expensive than the originals. I can’t imagine that ebooks will mean that more people read. Time will tell.


    Real iced tea with lemons and oranges: What a treat in the world of Snapple [that I guzzle at work.]

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