Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Continuing with old-time memories...


Three nickels in a slot…and Dinner is Served ...

The first time I went to the famous Horn & Hardart Automat it was 1941 and I was eight years old. I was fascinated with the bank of tiny glass windows that protected an array of delicious food dishes. It seemed like magic to me. As soon as you made a selection and inserted your nickels the glass door would pop open and you could retrieve your food. Then, almost as quickly, the food would reappear again…ready for the next hungry customer. (I didn’t know that there was a kitchen staff behind the windows refilling them as needed.)

For a few nickels you could actually get the equivalent of a small dinner. Specialties of the house would be Macaroni and Cheese, Boston Baked Beans or Chicken Pot Pie. Rice pudding was a favorite, as were all types of pies and cakes and my Dad told me it was the best place in town to get a fresh cup of coffee.


When I moved to NY City in 1957 and got a job at WABC Radio I couldn’t wait to see if the Automat was still in business. To my great delight, when I got to Third Ave. and 42nd St., I saw that it was ! As you can see from the picture of the front entrance the ambience was Art Deco. It was a fun place and a nice change from the stuffy, “old lady” dining rooms such as “Schraffts”. Self-service was a boon and you didn’t have to contend with tips or a staff of waiters or waitresses hovering at your table.

Although the prices had increased it was still a great bargain in 1957 and most entrees were under a dollar. Nickels were the only coins accepted and the tinkling sound of them being dropped into the slots made a pleasant background. The clientele was eclectic and the “haves” and the “have-nots” all assembled to partake of the excellent food...prepared fresh every day.

As I understand it, the Horn & Hardart Automat in NY City was the longest hold-out and stayed in business until 1991. It is now a “Gap”. It’s nostalgic to realize that we will probably never again see a time when a handful of nickels and the twist of a wrist is all that was needed to buy a good square meal.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

'A different world ...

 ...that even the humor of today is completely different from what it was for much of my life.  Take the Johnny Carson nighttime TV show for example.  There was a type of innocent humor there that you hardly ever see now.  I remember how much my husband Dick and I loved to watch his show. 

For example I remember the night that Johnny invited Myrtle Young to be one of his guests. She worked as a quality control inspector for a potato chip factory in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Many chips were discarded because of irregularities and Myrtle was allowed to take them home.  She would sort through them and often find ones that she felt resembled animals, people and objects.  They all became a collection of which she was extremely proud.  

I will end with this part of the Carson interview and I think you will see what I mean ... 

Johnny Carson Eats a Prized Potato Chip on ... - YouTube

Saturday, March 19, 2022


I am sick to death of what's going on in our country right now and I decided to block it out by going back to my childhood. I remember how much my family loved to gather 'round the radio and our special favorite was Spike Jones. He and his orchestra were loud, corny and irreverent but they were also hysterically funny and it was a relief to laugh in those war-torn years.

Spike’s orchestra, consisting of 12 to 16 talented musicians, played practically anything that made a loud noise, including cow bells, horns and whistles. I
loved the way Spike murdered the classics and, particularly, his version of “The William Tell Overture”. He turned this serious classic into a frantic and corny horse race entitled “Girdle in the Stretch” featuring the horse, “Feitlebaum”, who, against all odds runs the entire race as a distant last and suddenly surges ahead to win!

For those who have not heard it, here is a sample of the words being called out as “The William Tell Overture” plays softly in the background:

It’s a beautiful day for the race. Stu Chan is the favorite today, Assault is in there, Dog Biscuit is three to one, Safety Pin has been scratched and at twenty-to-one: … Feitlebaum.

THERE THEY GOOOOOOOOO!...Cabbage is second by a head, Banana is coming up thru the bunch... aaaand Feitlebaum …around the turn, heading for home, it’s Stu Chan and Dog Biscuit. Girdle’s in the stretch, Mother-In-Law nagging in the rear and, OH, OH, here comes Feitlebaum and it’ll either be a photo finish or an oil painting...And THERE GOES The WINNERRRRRRR..... it’s FEITLEBAUM !!”

I know...it’s corny and slapstick and wouldn’t have a chance on today’s stage, but it was great fun in the 40’s and a wonderful memory … especially this week.

Wednesday, March 09, 2022

Why do I blog?

In July of 2006 my interest was piqued when I read an article in the AARP magazine stating that so few seniors took advantage of this line of communication. I had heard the word, BLOG, of course but I figured it was just another part of the vast internet world that would forever elude me. The amusing thing, to me, is that in my day we would have simply called it what it is...a Web Log.

But, back to the question, “Why do I blog?” I have tried journaling (recording my daily thoughts and feelings), keeping a diary and even submitting articles for publication, but each of these outlets left me strangely unfulfilled.

Blogging, however, is the perfect medium for me and I love it. I have often wondered about my parents as children and young adults. What were their dreams and accomplishments? Did they overcome diversity? Did they seize opportunities or let them slip by? Who were they...other than my beloved mother and dad?

I am hoping, with the help of this blog, to supply my children with these answers about their own mother. This is my personal scrapbook full of emotional history, my triumphs and my downfalls, and how it created the person that I have become today

Why do I blog? Because it is my way to record the emotions and events of 89 years on earth...a journey of self discovery. I find that each article that I write prompts me to remember still more...a great taxing of the mind. It is an exhilarating memory experience and I am so thankful that it is available to me.


Friday, March 04, 2022

A baffling question ...


Just a few days ago I posted a short entry that told of my fear and dismay with the United States as it has become. I mentioned that, to my mind, it is a disgrace beyond imagination … referring to those who see Vladimir Putin as a strong and brilliant mind (that list being topped of course by ex-president Trump.)

One blogger posted this: “Putin did not dare invade Ukraine while Trump was president.” I was puzzled by it because it is so blatantly incorrect. It’s true that Putin sat back when Trump was President but that was not from fear of him. He, and the leaders of China and North Korea, knew that Trump idolized “strong men” and they all used it to their advantage.

Playing to Trump’s ego was a daily and embarrassing thing to watch and it was obvious that trying to get the US out of NATO was a Putin inspired wish that Trump tried hard to accomplish. Thank goodness it never happened. Now NATO is stronger than ever and we are one of 30 nations committed to it.

It saddens me to think that so many “Trumpers” are so easily brain washed to believe his lies. How did this happen? We, and frankly all of the democracy loving countries in the world, must join together and find a way to fight this !