Share if you remember! (Or don’t. Your call.)


How can anyone of a certain age forget Madge the Manicurist, who stealthily soaked her clients’ hands in dishwashing detergent? Ah, those were some fun TV commercials.

I expect most of you people spend at least a bit of time each week, or even each day, on Facebook. Hipster types may mock Facebook and claim to spend their social-media time on cooler Twitter instead, but as a journalism professor who pays a lot of attention to these things, I can say with some assurance that way more people spend way more time on Facebook. It’s a bit of an oversimplification to say that Twitter is mainly a place for journalists to talk to other journalists – but not much of one. Facebook is where everybody is. It’s where many people get their news of the world, along with updates on their second cousin’s aunt’s elbow operation. Not to mention those recipe videos that move at such high speed that they make a person dizzy. (How can you get interested in food when you’re nauseous from dizziness?) And of course there are the cat videos! (My personal favourite.)

At any rate, if you’ve spent any time on Facebook, and if you’re at all interested in nostalgia, you’ve probably seen posts that blare at you, “Share if you remember this!” Or “Share if you did this when you were a kid!” The posts, and the pages they come from, are generally about simpler days when kids played outdoors rather than on their phones. And I never share them, because enough with the sharing already. But when the posts are about things I remember from my childhood and early-teen years here at the Manse in Queensborough, I do enjoy them.

And sometimes I save those photos, with the thought that my Meanwhile, at the Manse readers might enjoy them too. If you’re one of those nostalgic types, today is your lucky day! Herewith, an utterly random sample that should bring back a memory or two – both good (the Easy-Bake Oven!) and bad (cigarette vending machines – yikes!):


Because apparently in the ’60s and ’70s women had afternoons or evenings free to gather and discuss plastic food-storage containers.


Did you collect these from the boxes of teabags?


I don’t know about you, but I loved bubble-gum cigars as a kid.


By the early 1970s, vinyl records had to move over for the new technology in town: eight-track tapes. And so, naturally, where once there had been record clubs offering 10 albums for a dollar, suddenly there were eight-track clubs. I expect it was still a scam, no matter what format the music came in.


I would never have thought about this long-ago toy again, had this photo not appeared in my Facebook feed.


It’s hard to believe these once existed, but yes, they were inside the front door of pretty much every restaurant and bar. And, you know, “Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should.”


Lawn chairs before they got all fancy and “outdoor living room“-y. Durability was not their strong point, as I recall.


Oh yeah. Nestlé’s Quik in the cardboard containers with the tin tops. Best treat ever.


The toy I always wanted but never had. I wrote about my longings here; and here is a wonderful look at the reasons for the enduring popularity of the Easy-Bake Oven.


I can still hear the TV ad jingle for Hunt’s Manwich Sandwich. Because, you know, a man needs a special sandwich. Not to mention a woman to open the can and whip it up for him.


Bank books! Wow! And this one isn’t even that old – it’s got the updates printed with a good old dot-matrix printer. I can remember when the entries were hand-written by the friendly tellers at the Toronto-Dominion Bank in Madoc.


That was a lovely toy, though I imagine its endless musical tinkle caused by active kids drove more than a few parents crazy.


Swag lamps! An object of design desire once upon a time. My family never got one at the Manse in Queensborough, though to her delight my mum did get a swag lamp at the next manse we lived in. It was perfect for bumping your head on!

Okay, that’s enough of a ramble down memory lane for one day. Given my propensity for saving these bits of virtual memorabilia from my childhood, I can, and probably will, do this again. Thanks for the memories, Facebook!

14 thoughts on “Share if you remember! (Or don’t. Your call.)

  1. Hi Katherine! I well remember our swag light. It had two cool cracked glass golden globes and even with a 100w bulb provided the poorest light imaginable. But they looked cool and were a great thing to drape shiny tinsel and green plastic ivy all over at Christmas! My favourite lights were those plastic mushroom shaped lamps that they sold at the Beamish store. They melted when you left the light turned for more than a few minutes. I did have a toy oven but I believe it was a Suzy Homemaker model. It used a light bulb for oven heat and came with ghastly little cake mixes that even the dog wouldn’t eat. The original Easy Bake oven in your photo reminds me more of a toy service centre or garage than an oven. Lots of good memories! Where would we be without Facebook?

    • Carol, you have brought to mind yet another dubious attribute of swag lights: aside from always being in bump-your-head position, they shed pretty much zero actual light on anything. What were we thinking? Now, as for the mushroom lamps – wow! Blast from the past! (Beamish store and all.) I had utterly forgotten the red-and-white one I had on the desk in my bedroom here in the Manse until you made this mention. I don’t think it came from the Beamish; it actually did function quite well (and didn’t melt). I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Where oh where is that lamp now? What I wouldn’t give to have it!

  2. Katherine, of course you will not be surprised to hear I remember these things, I think we had most of them in our home at one time or another and I still have 3 boxes of the figures that came out of Red Rose tea and there was a time a while ago when some of them were quite expensive to buy, however, I think that fad has passed, but being the hoarder I am, I still keep them. I am not on Facebook or Twitter, and never will be, so enjoy what you discover that is interesting and pass the info along to others.

    • So glad you enjoyed my Facebook collection of memorabilia, Barbara! I have to confess that I have some of those tea-box figurines around somewhere myself. And I can’t wait to do a post about the collection of those small rectangular cards from tea boxes – I think they predated the figurines – that I found (and of course bought) in an antique store in Maine last summer. What a blast from the past!

  3. Just loved them all Katherine! My favourites – bank books, Quik, and those exquisitely crafted Red Rose tea figurines. Thanks for the memories…

    • I’m glad you enjoyed them, and that they brought back some of your own memories, Lindi! Can’t wait to show off my new (old) collection of the illustrated cards that I think maybe predated the figurines in the boxes of tea.

  4. Enjoyed them all, too, Katherine, but oh, dear… I’ve just hung up a swag lamp in my dining room, because there was no ceiling connection installed and no easy access from the room above, and I simply wasn’t going to go through the pain of having a plaster ceiling ripped apart to have the wiring installed. Oddly, though, when I said to someone in a lighting store that I was going to ‘settle’ for a swag to avoid all that pain, they looked at me like I was completely out of it to think that swag lamps weren’t all the rage at the moment. I can’t keep up.

    • That’s priceless, Brenda! I guess what goes around comes around. I have to confess that Raymond and I had a swag lamp too, in one part of our Montreal house that had the same lack-of-electrical-connection problem. I must also tell you that I experienced with it the same thing I have done with every swag lamp in my life: regular bumping of my head on it. I hope and expect you’re less clumsy than I and are successfully dodging yours!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s