Thursday, January 27, 2011

Erratum and Addendum

Friday I responded to Mocha With Linda's weekly prompt where we reminisced about the available technology when we were children. As I was researching and writing, I questioned the accuracy of what I thought I remembered. I knew that my brother would correct me and fill in the gaps. That is exactly what happened. I am so grateful that I can count on his amazing, almost photogtraphic memory. Here I share parts of his excellent response.

"...the phone we had on Chiclana sat on top of the bookcase, catty-cornered across from the piano, and at the bottom of the stairs. It was a box about 7" tall X 7" wide by about 3 1/2 " deep with a cradle on top and a crank on the side. You had to crank it to cause the operator to get a ring, and then lift the receiver and wait for her to ask which number you wanted to call. It worked well locally, but was almost useless on a long distance basis. It came with the house, or we would not have had a phone in the whole time we lived in Don Bosco.
[Note: If we had to give the number to an operator, I suppose our phone did not have a dialing wheel.]

Here is a more accurate photo of the washer.  The Maytag had a different neck on the wringer tower, you could release it by hitting the bar above the wringer, and you engaged the wringer by turning a handle on the top of the tower.  Also, the Maytag had a gearshift lever on the side of the washer tank which engaged the agitator.
As for furniture, the furniture Dad made was so strong that it is still being used at the house in Santa Rosa. One thing I remember clearly was that after much discussion, Dad and Mother bought rubber mattresses for the double decker (they were way too sturdy to be called bunk) beds that we children used when I was little. Dad had to sign a promisory note for those mattresses, and they replaced the old wool filled mattresses (lumpy) that we had been using up til then. The last I knew, the mattresses were still in use, but crumbly, as the rubber dried out and started to disintegrate. (They were about 30 years old by that time).
One non homemade purchase that was with us the whole time I remember was a set of wicker chairs (kind of like patio furniture) that served as chairs at times and at other times, served as play cages for us boys. I loved playing ticket agent (railroad) or bank teller from inside those chairs when they were turned upside down. Great imagination boosters. These chairs were probably purchased from a street vendor (huckster) that would come around with wicker furniture, brooms, feather dusters, baskets, and all sorts of other small housekeeping items."
[This reminded me of the sing-song announcement of the wicker salesman making his way down the street:
Siiiiiiiiiiiiillas, sillones, sillero! or something like that.]
"Dad learned to use a job press when he was in Seminary. He worked for a man by the name of Foy Miller, and his job was to set type. So when the Bible Institute needed something to teach the students so that they could go out and make it on their own in a tough workaday world, it was only natural that Dad would choose to teach printing. He had been using a mimeograph for all his copywork, but at that time he reverted to the printer for a better product, and because it would be much more useful. Of course, with his ability in the carpentry area, it was only natural that he would teach that, too.
Bribes...I saw them as somewhat of a grey area. If it was obvious that the agent (customs) or the officer (cop) were playing a mind game with you, I rebelled, because it was too obvious. I had no problem giving them a tip 'after the fact', and they could think what they wanted, but as far as I was concerned they were not to expect one. On about twelve occasions I was stopped for traffic 'infractions'. Two of them were truly valid stops. The others were just attempts to get something out of me. In every occasion, I used the same response "Sir, I was not aware (and it was always a true statement) that I had committed an infraction. However, if that is the case, I must pay the fine. Please go ahead and write the ticket" The only times I had to pay a fine were the two cases in which I had unwittingly disobeyed a traffic sign, which proved to me that the other cases (most of which were dated close to Christmas) were nothing more than bribeseeking. They were not about to risk getting reported for that, so they would give me a 'warning' and send me on my way.

CARS= We had no car in Buenos Aires until I was about 6 years old. Before that, in La Carlota, we had a 1939 Ford. But in B.A., because there was public transportation available, it was not as necessary. Dad would take me to the Bible study at Anselminos (Doña Rosa de Rossetti's parents) in Remedios de Escalada by train and then bus. The train was always crowded, and the bus, besides being crowded, was so dilapidated that it was a wonder it even moved. That bus line had short busses which could carry about 20 persons seated, and they would load about 50 people in those busses. Many times I would stand on a step and Dad would stand behind me to keep me from falling out.
 Then we got the 1931 model A Ford, a right hand drive car assembled in Argentina (from what I can gather) during the time when they still drove on the left side of the road. The car was purchased in 1953, and sold in 1964 or '65. We once made a trip from B.A. all the way to RíoCuarto in that car, and we stopped overnight at a hotel in Pergamino, where the 'valet' parked our car about two inches away from the one next to it, and in the morning, not only were we all infected with fleas or bedbugs, but the car had to be taken out by moving all the cars in front of it and on one side of it to get it out."


sara said...

wow, I wish I could remember details like that!

Kim said...

Man, what a memory! I have a hard time remembering stuff from a year ago. The hotel experience does NOT sound fun -- I bet mother was fit to be tied. Also bet she scrubbed you kids to within an inch of your lives to get rid of whatever it was :)