By Mike Lander on
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, N. Y. I can still remember sights and sounds and smells that have long faded into history. Somehow those experiences remain very special to me, but for better or worse society has moved on.
Perhaps this is true of every generation as they look back over the decades of their lives. Life always seemed simpler. The snowfalls seemed higher. One black and white television. The telephone line was a “party” line that required that you hung up the receiver if there were unknown voices at the other end. My friend’s father bought a ’58 Chevy that had air conditioning! Pizza was 15 cents a slice. High test gasoline was 28 cents a gallon in 1970. And so on and so on.
Old school vs. new school. Perhaps it is the best of both worlds. Respect for the past and for the values that society taught us, and at the same time embracing new technology such as the computer, smartphone and the ability to create blog pages which is what this essay is all about in the first place. The Rag Man is symbolic of those times. I can remember our local rag man who would call up from the street, “Buy it!” He would buy used clothing and all types of cloth and then resell it. We also had a “junk man” who would pull up with his horse and wagon, cowbells clapping, to buy goods other than cloth. The system worked beautifully. A “Grinder” in a green truck with multiple glass windows often came to the neighborhood to sharpen scissors and knives. What a country!
We lived in an “Apartment Building”. Six stories high with eight apartments to a floor. The building had an elevator which was not often found in similar buildings at that time. Basically, this was a high class tenement. We didn’t realize at the time that we were poor or at least not rich. All of the tenants were in the same boat so to speak. Rich people lived in “Private Houses”.
Soda was a real luxury. We had a soda delivery from the Soda Truck every two weeks. The soda man brought seltzer too. Coal was delivered by truck. A ramp led from the truck to the basement and the coal flowed downward. Every so often the superintendent of the building rolled out metal garbage cans filled with the ash from the burnt coal. The shoe shine man set up his workplace in the street, subway stations or maybe the barber shop. I remember all of these hard working folks and to a great extent this blog and our website, Dispatch Press Images, reflects our respect for their efforts. The photos contained in this essay are primarily found within our Americana gallery.