May 24, 2007

An Old-Fashioned Girl

My elderly aunt still refers to Memorial Day as Decoration Day, and to the Museum of Science and Industry as "ze Rosenvald Museum," as if a member of the founding Rosenwald family might actually greet visitors at the entrance.

I don't say "filling station" and "five-and-dime," but I do catch myself saying, "record" and "album" when referring to music. The gesture I know for "dial a phone" is making a clockwise circle with a forefinger.

My Chicago references are archaic, dating from my arrival here in the early 80s. I know the "el" lines by their terminus stations, not by their colors. The Bishop-Ford Expressway, what's that? Marshall Field's had long ceased to "give the lady what she wants," but calling that building Macy's sounds foreign, if not pretentious.

I astonish the boys with tales of the "olden days," before cell phones, videos, email. We watched black and white TV. (No!) There were only three channels. (The horror!) If you were out and you needed to make a phone call, you had to find a pay phone booth. (Huh?)

A few years ago, I inherited my dad's 1947 portable Corona, a relic from college. I was eager to show it to Hart and Jeff.

Me: Can you guess what this is?
H & J: No.
Me: It belonged to Grandpa. It's an old typewriter.
H: What is it for?
Me: Before there were computers,
if you wanted to write a letter or a report, you used this.
No games?

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