Wednesday’s Nostalgia

Who remembers milk and other dairy products being delivered to your front door, deposited in a metal box like this??  Boy, I surely do! The year was 1970, in Spokane, and the Darigold dairy still had a home delivery service. With three munchkins in the house, I was grateful for this help!

Wednesday Nostalgia

Ah, the country doctor with his black bag. Always on call, always on horseback, always at bedsides. But how much real doctoring was he able to do? What did he carry in that doctor’s black bag?

Asking Grandma Google (smile) and finding a list on a British website, Steampunk Forum, I share it with you:


The Gladstone, or General Doctor’s Bag, generally had less than you might imagine. The Doctor of 1880-1900 did not regularly carry that much in the way of actual medicine beyond what he expected to use on the specific patient. 

You would normally find the following:
Ear Trumpet or Stethoscope 
Folding Magnifying Glass
Small kit of Scalpels
Small selection of forceps and tweezers and scissors
A small sewing kit, using “catgut” sutures
Syringes and needles kit for injections
Syringe for Lavage
sevveral sizes of Speculum
Ear “spoon”
Small kit of Probes
Possibly one or more “cupping” devices
Alcohol lamp
Possibly small glass bottles or jars and/or slides to collect samples,
perhaps several leather straps to use as tourniquets or restraints
Small number of opiate or morphine based ampules.
or ampules for “Cocaine and Adrenalin Solution”

Antiseptics and Antibiotics were not available until after ca 1900 or later.

Surprisingly you would not find bandages and the sort of things you see in a modern EMT kit. Bandages were far to bulky for a Doctor to carry, and he would rely upon the patient’s family to provide them. Cleanliness was optional, and Sterility was unheard of. Even up until the 1890’s Doctors had to be vigorously encouraged to wash their hands between patients, and few bothered with alcohol sterilization.

Wednesday Nostalgia

“The corn is as high as an elephants eye….” So sang the fellow in the musical Oklahoma. 

And what about the old adage that corn was wanted to be “knee high by the 4th of July.”

Folks in days of yore counted on their crop of corn to provide their food and their animals’ food during the winter. And seed for next year. And more…… like corn cob pipes? And maybe popcorn?

Think of all the WORK….. to plant a ginormous field of corn, to keep it watered and weeded, to harvest it, to shuck it and on and on and on. We buy a few ears at a farmer’s market in the summer but mostly we buy nice, clean frozen bags of yellow kernels at the store.

What if you had to raise enough corn to sustain your family?????

Wednesday Nostalgia

Who remembers roller skating? And did you have the metal skates that screw-tightened onto your regular shoes?? With leather straps around your ankles? And the slide-to-size part got rusty??

And what happened when you lost that darn key?

Do kids roller skate around their neighborhoods anymore???

Wednesday Nostalgia

How many of us grew up with a fear of dentists? No wonder. “Back then,” meaning even thirty years ago, having your teeth worked on was a dreaded, rather painful, process. So how about a 1917 dentist visit? OUCH!

Found this display in the Pend Oreille County Historical Society Museum in Newport, Washington. If you want to really know more about “ancient” dental history, click to and then search for “Explore Dental Art, Dental Teeth….and More!”

(Boy do I remember spitting blood into that water-swirling white ceramic bowl. YUK.)








Wednesday Nostalgia

Thinking about odd things, I wonder which is really better? To save Great-Grandmother’s brooch in its velvet box where few of her descendants will see it, wear it, or know of its history or to just let it go with her stuff to the Thrift Shoppe when she passes and the family cleans out her house??

I really thought about this idea as I enjoyed the site of so many old brooches and pins offered for sale at a recent Vintage Faire. Many of these pieces of adornment was some woman’s treasured item, don’t you suppose?

Far, far, FAR better would be to ensure that all Great-Grandmother’s descendants know about that brooch of hers. Bet you’d agree to that.

(Note the prices and note the fence/gate that this display was mounted upon. )

Wednesday Nostalgia

Last Friday, I took some 90-year-old-nearly-blind friends on a road trip up to Newport, Washington, to see one last time where they had grown up. We had a delightful lunch in the Owen’s Grocery & Deli. There I spotted this:

How many of us remember begging Mom for a nickel (a Buffalo head nickel likely) to buy an icy-cold glass bottle of Coca-Cola from a big red tin box like this and then snap off the cap right there on the front of the machine? If you do have a memory of this, please share it!

Wednesday Nostalgia

Ah, the good old days when most every grade school child was ushered into the nurses’ office and given a wooden spatula to cover first the right eye and then the left and was told to read the letters on this lighted eye chart. Did you pass? If not, a note was sent home with you to your parents that you needed glasses. Very scientific.

Wednesday Nostalgia

Last week I posted the photos of an old schoolhouse near Walla Walla. When I walked around that building to take those photos, I also spotted this….the coal or wood chute door down into the basement:

In case you cannot read it, it says “Hercules Fuel Chute.”

Here’s a really big laugh: When I Googled those words, all the results I got pointed to a Hercules cargo aircraft!

Do you suppose a student chore was to load the fuel through this chute into the basement and then into the furnace???

Wednesday Nostalgia

This was a schoolhouse near the fairgrounds a bit west of Walla Walla. I took the “stairs” photo through the locked-door-window. How many of you, and certainly of your ancestors, went to a rural schoolhouse like this?

Can’t you just hear the hundreds of footsteps clomping up and down those wooden stairs?