Good Old Days Updates

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

Trivia Question

What men's hair product was advertised in the 1950s as a "60-second workout"?

A Colorful New School Year

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Summer vacation season is winding down and the back-to-school sales are ramping up. Several of our local stores provide handy lists of required supplies for students at the entrance of the store. When I perused the lists, I noticed some of the items are oldies-but-goodies that were also on my shopping list as a youngster: No. 2 lead pencils, erasers, lined paper. But some of the items are much more advanced (and expensive), such as scientific calculators and jump drives for computers.

No amount of technological advancement, however, could ever compare to my favorite school-supply purchase: a fresh box of crayons. I didn't care much about notebooks and pens, but I always begged for a new box of crayons to start the year. We kids had a cigar box full of broken, half-used and unlabeled crayons that we used for coloring projects at home. But at the beginning of every school year, we were allowed to have a brand-new collection of sharp, clean crayons to call our own. I remember the flat box of eight chunky crayons that were perfect for my chunky first-grade fingers. As I got older, I progressed to the upright box of 24 crayons -- two levels! And then in fifth grade -- oh, wonder of wonders -- I was the proud owner of a box of 64 crayons with a built-in sharpener! I took it as a personal challenge to use all 64 crayons over the course of the year. I loved the crisp corners of a new box of crayons and the unmistakable smell when I opened the hinged cardboard lid. It was a buffet of colors and creativity in a little yellow box!

I no longer have any young students needing new school supplies, but I'm thinking next time I'm in that store I will have to buy a new box of crayons ... for myself.

'Til next time,

Mary Beth Weisenburger,
Good Old Days® magazine

PS. What was your favorite new school supply in the Good Old Days? We want to hear about it! Send a brief response to me at and it could appear in a future newsletter or in Good Old Days magazine! Here are a couple of email responses from the July 8, 2015, newsletter question: How did you pack and travel for vacations back in your Good Old Days?

Dorene W. remembered: "In the late 1960s and early '70s our family traveled to Florida many times to visit my husband's parents. We have five children and had three suitcases and a diaper bag! The two oldest girls used my Sears Roebuck suitcase that I had purchased to take on my honeymoon. They drew a line down the middle of it and each chose a side for their clothes! The two youngest girls used a small suitcase that was my husband's before he joined the Navy. Our baby boy's clothing was all packed in the diaper bag. He was born in 1970 and didn't have many large pieces of clothing! My husband and I shared an old leather suitcase that he had in the Navy. When my kids travel today, it takes wheeled bags, backpacks and fancy totes for each one just to get from one side of the state to the other! How times have changed!"
Kathleen B. shared: "My father would take out the backseat of our old 1950s Dodge. He put in our bikes -- yes, they fit! Then he would pile boxes from floor to ceiling. Only my mother had a suitcase. Then he'd tie everything else to the roof. He and I would drive down to the Jersey Shore, empty the car and drive back that night. The next day all of us, including the cat and dog, would pile in and drive back down."

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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Trivia Answer

Vitalis hair tonic was said to make a man's hair look natural, healthy and never "slicked down." The product, containing "pure vegetable oils," was used to keep the hair and scalp from becoming dry. The 60-second workout was stated in the ad like this: "Before you exercise, take 50 seconds to massage Vitalis on your scalp ... 10 seconds to comb, and look who's the handsomest man at the ball game, tennis court or wherever -- You, Friend."

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!

Special note from Mary Beth: The publisher of Good Old Days magazine (Annie's) is excited to announce a craft festival extraordinaire! Annie's Craft America: Meet, Learn, Create is our stellar crafting event to be held in Fort Wayne, Ind., from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1, 2015. The show will offer classes taught by top instructors in crochet, knitting, quilting, sewing, card-making, paper crafts, cross-stitch, floral crafts, painting and more. Information and pre-registration is available at I'll be teaching a fun writing class called "Preserving Your Memories." Sign up today! I hope to see you there!

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