Those Were The Days

Today I’ve been thinking back to when my girls were young. Those were the days. The days of simplicity.

We lived in a modest neighborhood of small brick homes (around 1000 square feet) with one car garages.

There were lots of kids in that neighborhood. And we women were friends and our kids were friends, boys and girls alike. 

So on a summer day, it would go something like this…

We’d all gather at one of our homes. 

We neighborhood women stayed home with our children, so budgets were tight. Thus we made Kool-aid from the packets (they were dirt cheap back then) because sodas were expensive.

We women sat and sipped Kool-aid and caught up on current events. Which meant what was currently going on in our lives. 

We fixed peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches for lunch.  

We’d perm and frost each other’s hair. 

I have really wiry hair and the perm made it look even wilder. But oh well, that was the style.

I guess frosting our hair would be something akin to “getting highlights” today. 

We sat around with our hair under plastic caps and hoped we’d come out beautiful like the woman on the front of the hair product box. Of course it never did.

The kids splashed around in a plastic pool in our yards. Then came running through the house with wet feet. 

We exchanged recipes from our little recipe boxes. Or ones we found in the magazines and clipped. 

We wore thongs (no, not the underwear kind), now more commonly referred to as flip-flops. 

We swatted flies that were lured in by the Kool-aid spills with fly swatters. 

It was a simple time. We had “soaps” and we all talked about who was doing what or who. There were a lot of soap operas back then.


Luke and Laura had a big wedding. If you don’t remember that, you probably never heard of General Hospital.

The kids would always get cranky around mid-afternoon. We’d all pick up towels and clean up spilled Kool-aid. We’d give a final stare in the mirror at our new hairdo before we took our children by the hand and walked home. 

Before we knew it, summer would come to an end. 

We’d take our kids to get enrolled at school, and then go to the dime store to pick up everything on the teacher’s list of necessary supplies. 

I remember when my youngest started Kindergarten, I bawled much of the day. I was 27 years old, and I felt like this was the end of something. My girls were growing up and there was no looking back. 

I felt old.

Those were the days. 

My girls will be 37 and 42 come November. They have kids of their own. 

Things are different these days.

I have no idea if kids are still handed a school supply list or not. I’m way out of the loop now. 

Most young mothers seem to want careers these days. So their homes are bigger and better, and they usually have two cars. 

And instead of one car garages that you had to get out of the car to manually raise, now more commonly there are three car garages. 

I don’t know if they still have those gadgets that you clipped to your visor to start the garage clattering up or down. 

Maybe that’s a thing of the past too. 

I remember once, close to Christmas, I told the girls’ dad that we should fill each others stocking, he and I. It sounded more special that way. Kind of romantic. 

Of course I took care of the kids’ stockings and presents. 

I assumed he had taken care of this. But come the night before Christmas, once the kids were asleep, I handed him my stocking to fill. And he just stared at it and me, dumbfounded. 

I was furious. What in the world was I going to put in Mommy’s stocking? The girls would wonder why Santa didn’t bring Mommy anything in her stocking!

Back then we didn’t have stores that stayed open all night. So I was in quite a quandary. 

Finally I just took some of his socks and filled my stocking, and the kids were so excited that they were none the wiser. 

That was the last time I gave him a task like that to do.

Like I said, times were simple. Conveniences weren’t as customary. Cell phones were far, far in the future. 

Finally we were able to buy me a used car. And thus I proudly drove around in a huge white Buick. It had soft burgundy velvet seats. 

(It looked something like this; but it wasn’t a convertible)

And I was just thrilled to have wheels. Oh, you should have seen me in that thing. It was big as a house and cruised along ever so smoothly. 

You could cram a lot of people in that big car. It carried lots of girls to evening softball practices and games.

Kind of wish I still had that thing.

Oh, those were the days.

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  1. You must have been a cool mom, mine NEVER bought koolaid :). I am 41 and had the best childhood. You described those days perfectly. I lived on an army base and no moms worked. In my mind's eye, it was an idyllic time. Wish my kids could have experienced life before social media.

  2. Such a sweet nostalgic post! Maurie and I were reminiscing last week about the early days when our block was full of other young couples, how we would all help each other with our yards and houses, and how simple it all was then. My friend Cheryl and I would scrimp and save all week so we could hit the yard sales on Saturdays to decorate our houses. Now our neighborhood is becoming $1M homes and most of these people don't do yard work or go to yard sales 🙁 But it is fun to have those sweet memories isn't it?! And hahaha we are still driving Maurie's mom's 2001 Buick that we inherited, I'm thrilled to have it, and not the $800 lease payment that all my neighbors have for their expensive cars! Thank you for a fun post! xo, Andrea

  3. I remember those days. When I grew up my mother didn't drive until she was thirty-five. So she was home all the time and the neighbor would come over often and she would do my mother's hair. I remember being at my grandparent home and every day after lunch the Days of Our Lives would come on. "Like sands through the hourglass and so are the days of our lives." If I happened to hear it I was immediately transported right back to their house.

  4. Hi Brenda, thanks for bringing back such good memories that I have somehow forgotten about, Koolaide was such fun we would save all the little points on the back and redeem them for fun prizes…it was like getting a million dollars when the mailman brought them. We even had a Koolaide Pitcher. Well we are still making Koolaide and they have come out with some really cool flavors. But no more points to clip they did away with that. When the children are out at the pool I bring my popcorn maker out and serve Koolaide and popcorn they love it! A really nice post I enjoyed it! [email protected] Sweet Tea N' Salty Air

    1. I do remember green stamps I used to sit with my gram and help stick them into books, I believe they used to be redeemable at the A&P grocery store. Not too sure what she got for prizes though. Too bad all the fun has been eaten up by electronics those were the days. Have you ever read the magazine Reminisce? Its a fun read !

  5. I can remember standing next to my mom at the kitchen sink as she made Kool-Aid. We drank it in Tupperware cups. Sometimes we made Kool-Aid popsicles in Tupperware popsicle molds. Not sure how we could have gotten through summer without Kool-Aid and Tupperware!

  6. What a sweet post and precious memories! I can relate to many of them … the "small" but cozy childhood home, big glass of cold iced Koolaid, big cars, perms, frosting our hair … Thanks for the wonderful reminder!

  7. What a coincidence to read this today about Koolaid. I bought some tonight to fix snow cones for my grandkids. I was amazed that they cost 4/$1. My children are 35 and 38, but they didn't have a stay at home mom as I taught school after their dad and I were divorced.

  8. Loved this post! My late husband and I bought a house just months into our marriage….925 sq. ft! We were 19 and 20. We started raising our daughters in this home. Yes, I remember sitting on the front steps drinking coffee with my next door neighbor, having coffee get together's once a week with the neighbor gals, sharing our lives, recipes, and gripes…. I remember it as if it was yesterday!

  9. Brenda. I so remember those days. Things were so much easier. ANd I think kids and parents were happier…
    The kids of today are so busy , they don't have time to enjoy summers.. They are in one camp/dance class/ball practice every day.. Always in a run. so sad.
    That is so sad, that your hubby did not get stuff for your stocking.
    Hope you have a wonderful july 4th.. Judy

    1. Well, the thing with the empty stocking is a funny family story now! I think my grandchildren as well as most children are far too "scheduled." I once asked my oldest daughter if they ever had time to just dig in the mud.

  10. Ah..Brenda. A true walk down memory lane for many of us….except we lived out in the country with no neighbors nearby. But we drank Kool-aid and sat in front of a rotary fan on really hot days. We rode our bikes from early morning until late afternoon. My first car was a 1961 Pontiac convertible that came complete with a husband. lol xo Diana

  11. Brenda, I read this post this afternoon on my phone while outside with Otis & Milo and was enthralled. Had to come back tonight and say very well done. Southern Living should use you for the last page of their magazine sometime!

    1. Sometimes I just want to share simpler times. Imagine, we didn't even have cell phones! And somehow we lived to tell the tale!

  12. Kool aid and iced tea, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, taking my boys to the beach in our Pinto station wagon, and afternoon naps. Ahh … summertime way back when in Florida.

  13. I like how you bring back good memories for us Brenda..I had so many female problems through my teens and young adulthood that it was quite a surprise when I found out that I was pregnant..My son wasn't born until two months before I turned 36 in 1989 but we still did the Kool-Aid thing and the fun of sending for free gifts with the packets..I guess they don't do that was such fun..I learned to drive when he was about 5 or 6..Then we could go wherever we wanted and didn't have to wait to be invited somewhere..

  14. You brought back lots of memories of my growing up. I began marriage as a young teacher and continued to teach until a couple of years after having babies and found I could not do it all…so I became a stay at home mom. We started in a small ranch then built a large house…and now, downsized to a ranch again since the kids flew the nest. Ha! Life has circles.

  15. Sweet days, for sure.

    I wonder what today's children will remember most about their childhoods. Somehow I don't think their memories, or those of their parents, will be quite as simple.

  16. I remember those days well. Mom didn't work and we lived in a 1,200 sq. ft. bungalow that had a one-car detached garage. We had one used car (never a new one), and if mom needed the car, she took dad to work and brought the car back home for the day. No air conditioning – just window fans, and 7 people sharing one full bath and a creepy half bath in the basement. We had 30+ people at holidays and set up folding tables and chairs in the rec room in the basement to accommodate the crowds. And I won't even mention how small the kitchen was! Nothing fancy – just simple living and the best memories of my life. I've lived in the "McMansion" and found it cold and not at all cozy. I wish I would have placed more value on the simple life and not chased "the American dream" that is, in my opinion, actually quite hollow. Hope you are having a wonderful day.

  17. Your memories sound familiar to me. However, I was a kid during those times (not an adult). I remember after only seeing great big cars everywhere, the new smaller compact cars made their debut. My neighbors got one (while my mom still drove her huge oldsmobile) and I was jealous! I thought they were so hip. Isn't it funny what memories you have? I remember not fitting in with my natural curly hair and being so thin. Then, the 80's came and everyone suddenly wanted hair like me and wished they didn't have to diet. Ha! Karma I guess.

  18. Brenda, I get nostalgic remembering all the "good old days" and simple pleasures when I
    grew up in the 50's. Mom stayed home and dad worked very hard and we had little. But
    what we did have was appreciated and treasured. I treasure the memories and instilled
    some of the "simple" pleasures into my kids in the 80's and 90's. I still think they
    missed out though.

  19. My dad would never allow Kool-Aid into our house. He always said we've got no idea what all of those "chemicals" would do to us. But at my friend's house, such magic! Plain water transformed before our very eyes into a delicious beverage. I haven't had it in years but, just thinking about it, i bet the old thrill may still be there.

  20. Brenda, I could have written this posting myself, you sure brought back memories. Those were the days before women worked outside the home, our job was to be housewives and mothers and we were proud of it. And I think our children grew up to be better individuals. I feel sorry for all the kids who come home from school to an empty house. My daughter likes to tell about how she loved coming home from school and I was there with fresh baked cookies and hot chocolate in the winter months. It made her feel good that I was there when she got home. I briefly had a retail job and she hated coming home to an empty house.

    1. I don't think my kids stop to realize that they always had someone there to come home to. My girls both have to have a career. They want it all.

  21. Brenda, I remember those days well! My son was born in 1985, and yes I made lots of Kool-Aid. I remember getting my hair frosted the first time with a rubber cap with holes that my friend used a crochet needle to pull my hair through. Yes, those were the days! And yes, I saw Luke and Laura's wedding!!

  22. So many sweet memories, Brenda! I remember it all, Kool Aid, perms, frosted hair, General Hospital and big cars. I was a teen during those years. As far as school supplies go, yes. We get a list and in my neck of the woods it's a big one. They aren't cheap, it's a trip to Staples and I usually walk out a few hundred dollars in the hole…and my taxes are some of the highest in the country to boot. That certainly makes me long for the simpler days!! Ha!! 😉

  23. I had forgotten about home perms! My mom always did that and I can still smell that horrible odor from the perms solutuon….yuck! Kool aid was 10 cents a pack so they were so affordable. I used to make Kool aid for my kids too.

  24. I remember the Kool Aid days, we didn't have soda either, sometimes we'd go to A&W drive in for baby burgers and rootbeers with the tray on the window. I remember some of the moms hanging out.. we just ran the streets in or little neighborhood. It was great. Of course there were far less people everywhere so you could. I remember my mom making me go outside instead of laying on my bed reading all day.

  25. Brenda, a fun look back. My life was much like that growing up and my kids had neighbors they played with and summer was KoolAid and fun. My daughter tries to make much the same kind of fun summer for her kids. So all is not lost I hope!

  26. Brenda, I love this post and I do remember those days. I have to say, I do miss that time! Now days, it is kind of lonely because I don't have those other mothers to talk to or share with. My first car, as a mom, was a 1972 Buick Electra – metallic brown with white interior! I was huge but I never had a problem fitting three boys and all their gear in that backseat. And the trunk!!! Oh that big, wonderful abyss that would hold all the groceries, feed for the animals, and various sports equipment! My car, now, will barely hold the few bags of groceries I buy for just me and my husband! Never will I be able to fit a bike in the trunk of this car, like I did that big old hoopty! Thanks for the memories!

    PS…I still wear "thongs"! I have them in lots of colors! LoL

    Grace & Peace

    1. A friend and I used to go to an adjacent town for groceries twice per month. We had that huge trunk to put several dozen big sacks in!

  27. Yes…it was a simpler time! My kids weren't born til the early 80's….but I remember a lot of what you mentioned. And I too, drove a big Buick…blue….and yes…it was a dream to drive! 😉

  28. Oh what happiness this all was! Speaking of Kool-Aid-I have a story to share.
    I must have been somewhere around 6-8 and I entered a Kool-Aid contest to pick a name for one of their new flavors.
    Well, I won a awesome cardboard Kool-Aid stand! It was shipped to my darling red brick house and Momma put it altogether and there I sat waiting for customers. That was the challenge as the nearest neighbor was a mile away!
    Great memories, Brenda:)

  29. Oh wow !! all your posts are awesome! This was super-dooper-awesome! My great-grandma, grandma and mom watched General Hospital and I stayed home from school the day the wedding was on LOL. We drank Kool-Aid and I remember so many things you said in the 70s and 80s. You're right – those WERE the days! The fantastic days. My Dad kinda lives in the 70s……….he won't touch a computer!! But he does have a cell phone. Thanks for posting this. PERFECT summer post. PS LOVE your new living room. have a great summer day–stay in and stay cool in this heat.

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