Good Old Days Newsletter
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In what year and during which Olympic games did athlete Jesse Owens defy all the odds against him?
Un-Fixing the Door
There are certain sounds in our little worlds that become so much a part of the background of our lives that when they are no longer there, we have a vague sense that something's just not right. Such is the case with the sound that has long emanated from the white steel door leading from our garage into the house.
For the 14 years we have lived in this home, that back door has squeaked. And I don't mean a cute little mouse-type squeak. I am talking about a loud, groaning, squeaky squeal that starts in when the door cracks open and doesn't end until it is securely closed. That obnoxious noise served a purpose. We knew when our kids got home at night (and if they were on time for their curfews or not!) because we could hear the ruckus from our bedroom at the other end of the house. The noise alerted us when friends and family walked in. And it signaled to the dogs that someone was entering their territory, so they should quickly hightail it to the back door and bark like fools. No one could enter our home silently or without fanfare.
One morning last week, without telling anyone, my husband decided he had had enough of the squeaky-squawking, so he replaced the hinges on the door and then left for work. Soon after, I went out to the garage to feed the cat and -- no noise. It was odd. I didn't realize at first what was missing. My daughter opened the door to go to her car and turned around. "That's too weird," she said. "Where's the squeak?" The dogs were completely befuddled when my mother-in-law came in later, and they didn't realize it until she was standing in the middle of the kitchen.
We lodged a semi-serious protest.
"Un-fix it, Dad!" my daughter implored. "We need the squeak back!"
"I don't like it," my son declared. "It's too quiet."
"How will I know when the kids get home?" I complained with a twinkle in my eye and a tongue in my cheek. "Now I'll have to get out of bed and look for their shoes by the door and their cars in the driveway like all the rest of the worrywart mothers I know."
"Give it time," my husband said with a knowing smile. "You'll get used to it."
This little story makes me realize that not only the sights, but the sounds of our past are significant. They get wedged into our memories right alongside the visual scenes we have packed away. They, too, are precious to us (especially when the sound is of the voice of a missing loved one), and help us recall the Good Old Days.
In my younger years, there was a large pine tree outside our kitchen window that scraped the side of the house with even the slightest breeze. When we had to cut down the tree, we missed the comfort and familiarity of that noise. When my dad replaced my mom's old-fashioned, static-y radio with a newfangled version, we actually missed the snowy, crackly sound effects. And when the neighbor's old truck stopped waking us up every morning with its startling backfire, we missed it -- and him too.
We get used to these changes, often reluctantly. We just need to give it time.'Til next time,
Mary Beth Weisenburger,
Good Old Days® magazine
PS. What sound from your past is a favorite one to recall? Send a brief response to me at Editor@GoodOldDaysMagazine.com, and it could appear in a future newsletter or in Good Old Days magazine! Here are several email responses from the June 25, 2014, newsletter question: Did another bride wear your wedding gown (or perhaps you wore someone else's)? Or did you do something creative with the material after the ceremony? Keep your replies coming!
Susan P. from Georgia wrote: "In 1945, my mother married my father in a dress my grandmother made for her. In 1965, I married my husband in that same dress with a few additions. In 1992, my daughter married her husband in the same dress. It was not in style and a bit short, but she really wanted to wear it. Needless to say it is a very special dress."
Janet T. shared: "My mother got married in 1949. She made her wedding gown with ivory satin and lace, and due to the war, she had to use parachute thread. She saved her dress in a cedar chest but never had it cleaned. When I could not find a wedding dress that was perfect in 1978, I asked my mom how she'd feel about me wearing hers. We dug it out, and because it had not been stored properly, we weren't sure we could even use it. My mom was thrilled I would even consider wearing her dress! She was just an amazingly talented lady, so she hand-washed the dress in a big laundry tub, and luckily nothing fell apart because she had used parachute thread. The lace insets were outlined with tiny seed pearls and some were missing, so we stained new ones with tea to replace the ones on the dress."
"My mom had a bigger build than I have, and the style of the dress included a very long train. When I tried on the dress, I could barely stand straight because of the weight and excessive yardage of the material. The dress also had puffy sleeves -- something I really couldn't bring myself to wear at the time. My mom redid the sleeves just at the shoulder and cut the train down by several yards. With the material from the train, I made a pillow for the ring bearer and a new head piece. My mother was absolutely thrilled I would wear her dress, and my dad thought it was quite special."
"I work in a nursing home, and one summer we had a bridal fashion show. My then-teenage daughter wore my mother's dress/my dress for the show. And the best part: My dad was living in the nursing home at the time, so he got to see his granddaughter wear that dress too. It was such a special tribute to my mom, and everyone loved the story behind the dress."
Ann P. related: "In the 1980s, I custom-made wedding gowns. Your gown reminded me of one I had made. Now I am making christening gowns out of the gowns of the 1980s and transforming some into more modern-looking gowns. I sometimes wish that all mothers would pull their gowns out of storage, and if the daughters did not want to wear their gowns, find something else to do with them."
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.
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In the 1936 summer Olympics, which were held in Berlin, Germany, in August, Jesse Owens -- an African-American man from Alabama -- won four gold medals, winning the hearts and respect of athletes and critics all over the world. During a time when Nazism and prejudice against all minorities was growing, Jesse Owens was able to set three world records and tie another in less than an hour at the 1935 Big Ten track meet held in Ann Arbor, Mich. At the Olympics, he became the first American in Olympic track and field history to win four gold medals: the 100 meter dash, the 200 meter dash, the 4x100 meter relay and the long jump.
Find out more about the fashion, events and popular culture of America in the Live It Again book series at LiveItAgain.com, featuring the best of The Saturday Evening Post!