While reading a somewhat tedious 18th Century English novel, I was reminded that modes of transportation have evolved greatly in the last 200 years. In a time before automobiles or even bicycles, it evidently was common to get around town in a chair balanced on rails and spirited about by two husky gents. Like the rickshaw, this was a common method of transportation for those who could not afford a carriage but still were not about to be seen on foot, leap-frogging over the open sewers of the town.
I stopped to think.
When I was growing up in Southern California lack of a car was not the tragedy as it would be today. I was about four years old before my father got his first car. Looking back on this it’s a little funny (ironic?) since my Dad spent three years in the Army motor pool and was putting himself through college working nights at a gas station doing tune-ups and lube-jobs.
Yet, even after moving out to the suburbs, we weren’t stranded when the family car went off with Dad to sit all day in the company parking lot. Back then most of life’s necessities came to us. First, the mailman delivered to the porch twice a day. Then there was the milk man who actually came in the backdoor to check what dairy products were running low in the icebox (he delivered orange juice too). Dry cleaning was picked up and delivered fresh and clean as was, if apropos, baby diapers. We had two ice cream vendors who would snake around the neighborhood several times a day (Good Humor and Eskimo Pie). If you craved a cookie. the bakery truck had many slide-out glass trays full of cookies, pastries, cakes, and pies, and they also brought the daily bread or specialty orders. There were more, some regular, some occasional.
You knew these vendors and looked forward to seeing them. They knew you too: it was a gentler time.
But my question is: How many jobs were lost when we modernized our lives and stuffed it all into a big building which we could only reach by driving a car big enough to bring home the groceries?
We traded in a gentler, simpler life for a fast-paced, exciting future. Was it a good deal?
Enough! Next time I’ll tell you the story of the amber necking-knob on my ’51 Chevy. But first, the February Reading List.
- Open Season — C. J. Box
- Neon Rain — James Lee Burke
- The Manchurian Candidate — Richard Condon
- What Girls Learn — Karin Cook
- A Boy and His Dog — Harlan Ellison
- Final Jeopardy — Linda Fairstein
- The Motherfucker with the Hat — Stephen Adly Guirgis
- The Midnight Library — Matt Haig
- Starship Troopers — Robert A. Heinlein
- A Field Guide to Reality — Joanna Kavenna
- Alien Rice — Ichiro Kawasaki
- Joseph and His Brothers — Thomas Mann
- Teeth — Hannah Moskowitz
- Lemprière’s Dictionary – Lawrence Norfolk
- Owen Glendower — John Cowper Powys
- Slag Attack — Anderson Prunty
- Betrayed by Rita Hayworth — Manuel Puig
- Joshua Then and Now — Mordecai Richler
- The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle — Tobias Smollett
- Cane — Jean Toomer
3 thoughts on “Milk and Cookies”
I enjoyed the post, thank, but what was the tedious 18th century novel?
Like much of life, even the best elements eventually tarnish and turn dull. In this case it was specifically Fanny Burney’s Cecilia, although my comment was meant to be considered as more of a general nature.
Just had a cancer removed from my leg and can’t go more than ten feet without oxygen and a tight grip on my walker. Might be time to schedule the Burton.
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I’m sorry to hear about your health issues. I hope you recover. Operations are z big shock to the system, I’m hoping you recover well.
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