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In the Good Old Days Antiques Corner This Week in History
In the Good Old Days

Trivia Question

What event that took place in England in 1953 captured the interest and imagination of many Americans?

Baby Blankets & Wrought-Iron Railings

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Elena Elisseeva/

It's spring cleaning time at our house. How about yours?

Here, our goals were grandiose as we tackled the storage room in our basement. Let me just mention that when we built our house and moved in 14 years ago, "the basement storage room" was the pat answer given to any family and friends who were enlisted to help us move and who asked where to put a random item or box. And there, in a lonely corner of the lower level, much of the randomness had remained. This means, of course, that the items in question were not needed, are not needed, and will likely never be needed again. That includes the stash of 10 baby blankets I discovered in a sealed storage bin. I washed them carefully, recalling fond memories of swaddling my two babies who are now 20-somethings. Then I put the blankets in a bag in the back of my car, alongside a dozen other bags headed to Goodwill. The storage room cleaning process took days. I didn't like doing it, but I did it.

In the May/June issue of Good Old Days, several contributing writers told stories about how their spring cleaning chores were accomplished years ago -- with some powerful cleaning solutions and a lot of elbow grease. The stories reminded me of my Grandma Eleanora, who was a champion spring cleaner. As she got older, she needed some assistance with her to-do list. One bright April day she equipped me, her eager young helper, with a wire brush and a bottle of Murphy's Oil Soap, and told me to scrub the peeling paint off of her black wrought-iron porch railings. It took me four hours. Blisters peppered my palms and the bristles of the brush pricked my fingertips numerous times. I didn't like doing it, but I did it.

My reward back then was two shiny new quarters and a sense of relief. My reward now is a clean storage room and a sense of satisfaction. Grandma would be proud.

'Til next time,

Mary Beth Weisenburger,
Good Old Days® magazine

PS. What spring cleaning chore was assigned to you when you were a child? Send a brief response to me at and it could appear in a future newsletter or in Good Old Days magazine! Keep your replies coming!

Here are several email responses from the March 12, 2014, newsletter questions: Did you play cards in your family when you were growing up? Or did board games and dominoes take center stage?

Mary M. told us: "When I was a child, we played dominoes at home, but it wasn't until I married my husband that I discovered there were other domino games like Moon and 42, which are like Pitch only played with dominoes. Then my kids introduced me to the game Chicken Foot. It's another game that has filled our house with lots of fun and one that even the small grandchildren can play, as it only requires matching numbers and colors. We have three marble domino sets in our home, and they are all well used. Lots of good family fun, and you can visit while you play! A new concept in this world of electronics!"

Elizabeth A. replied: "Growing up in Louisville, Ky., card games dominated in my family, and board games were played with my friends. Father and I played gin rummy, and it was a big day when I first won. My grandmother and my father played euchre, which I never mastered. The neighborhood 'gang' had a running Monopoly game on our front porch. It was only put away when a big storm was coming."

Paulette B. commented: "Loved your article on playing cards. It brought back so many memories. Yes, card playing was ever so much a part of growing up! My parents had card parties every weekend with aunts and uncles. They would alternate whose house to meet at. They played Pinochle and 66. To us kiddies, who traveled along to play with cousins while card games were going on, it felt like the games would never end.

"I remember Mum and Dad playing Cribbage on Sunday afternoons. That really intrigued me. I finally learned to play and still love the game. I remember my dad's Cribbage board was one he had with him while serving in World War II.

"I remember summer afternoons as a kid in the late 1950s and early '60s playing cards on front porches with neighborhood friends. We'd actually play tournaments! We played Crazy Eights and 31 and Old Maid. And if some of the younger kids wanted to join in, we would play Go Fish or Slap the Jack!

"And, oh boy, I remember when this really cute boy from my 4th-grade class (guess he liked me too) knocked on my front door one summer day. He showed me a deck of cards and asked if I would like to play.

"I remember nights when my dad would be 'gone fishing' and my mom would play solitaire to pass the time. And I had an aunt who read cards! Yep, cards were great. The interaction was educational as well as social. Thanks for the memories."

Mary Beth Weisenburger has been with Annie's since April 2011. She has 25 years of experience in the marketing, advertising and publishing fields. In addition to her job as editor of Good Old Days, she has been writing a family humor column for over a decade. She and her husband, two college-age kids, two dogs and various other critters, live on five acres in the country, where she enjoys reading on the back porch, refinishing furniture, feeding the birds and digging in the dirt of her perennial gardens.

Fill out the easy feedback form and let me know your thoughts, questions and ideas.

Trivia Answer

Queen Elizabeth II, who still reigns over the United Kingdom to this day, actually began her monarchy in 1952 following her father's (King George VI) death, but was officially crowned in 1953. The crown she wore during her coronation is known as St. Edward's Crown and was made in 1661 for the coronation of King Charles II. It is set with 444 precious stones. Many Americans were fascinated with the coverage of the coronation.

Find out more about the fashion, events and popular culture of America in the Live It Again book series at, featuring the best of The Saturday Evening Post!

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