There are gestures belonging to another time that we don't use anymore. There were ways of functioning on a daily basis that would seem foreign today. We relied on objects which are now obsolete. We all have our lists of nostalgia.
I remember those wire baskets for the washed lettuce. We stood on the back porch and swung them in large circles to get the water out centrifugally. To flush a toilet we had to pull on a chain; I remember the day I grew tall enough to reach it by myself.
Do you recall "bowler hats" and "boaters?" All men wore hats and tipped them to salute a woman in the street, and ladies wore gloves and took one off to shake hands. I miss some of these forgotten gestures, the gentleness of the time, the innocent age, the time between the two world wars.
Our maid did the laundry using a "corrugated washboard," then put the wet clothes through a ringer, and ended up drying them on a line strung from wall to wall in the kitchen or outdoors when we were at our summer home. She also used to hang the rugs on the balcony and beat the dust out of them. Apparently the carpet sweeper did not do a proper job.
We also used to air out clothes after they came out of storage, smelling of mothballs. Whenever we went away for the summer months, Mother draped the furniture with sheets. Springtime meant bright cotton slipcovers would go over the satin and brocade chairs and sofas.
Sundays, we took our "dominical" walk, Mother and Father in the lead and the children running behind on scooters. I had one with a pedal. We always stopped for tea, crustless ham sandwiches, and a glass of orange juice for my brother and me. We were also treated to a black licorice rolled up in pinwheel with a little red sugar candy in the middle which cost a penny.
Our sewing machine had a "treadle" worked by foot; I liked to sit under it as a child and move the treadle up and down while my mother sewed. I learned to use a large "wooden egg" to darn the holes in our socks, and all the girls in school were taught to make proper button holes.
I am happy with the demise of garter belts and girdles. I remember the minutes we stood under the "fluoroscope" machines in every shoe store and watched our toes wiggle, no one suspecting that we were getting an unhealthy dose of radiation. No one uses "finger bowls" anymore.
We had an ice man that brought a large block of ice to place in the correctly named "ice box." It lasted all week, dripping slowly into a pan that was changed daily. We left empty glass milk bottles outside the kitchen door, and every morning there were eggs, a block of butter, and milk with its heavy layer of yellow cream risen to the top. My mother used to stick a pin on each end of a raw egg, and I would suck out the white and yellow contents. No one knew then about salmonella and perhaps it did not exist, at least we never got sick.
Not only have we lost gestures, but we have also lost words. No one is "swell" anymore, nor do we have "carbon copies." We can't "sound like a broken record" since this generation never saw one. Nor does anyone live "the life of Riley" or know that "Kilroy was here," let alone that "this is a fine kettle of fish." Remember "Carter's little liver pills," "Hubba hubba" or "heavens to Betsy?" I recall "necking" in the "rumble seat" and cars had "necking knobs" on their steering wheels.
I wonder what gestures, words, objects will be non-existent mid-21st century. A French man just sent me an email signed with "your devoted servant." We don't even write "respectfully yours" anymore; sadly, respect is gone.
So "don't take any wooden nickels" and "see you later alligator, in a while crocodile."