Today, Yesterday and Tomorrow

Phyliss Miranda sig line for P&P BluebonnetAs lot of you know, I’ve been away from P&P for a few months due to a knee replacement. I’m certainly glad to be back and thank everyone for the wonderful cards and words of encouragement.

My stint away and the experience gave me time to think.  Basically, about the improvements in medicine amongst other things.

Not long ago, I had a conversation with my college grandson about what is the best oils to use for cooking. His argument was something on the line of which is better to buy olive oil or coconut. I told him he didn’t have to buy anything, because I had both in the pantry.  He was shocked and said he thought I probably still used shortening. That gave me food for thought. My grandmother was born in the late 1800’s and she used lard then later shortening.  I know one thing her fried foods couldn’t be beat.  Then I thought about the path from lard (pig fat, used since prehistoric times) to olive and coconut oils. I’m doing this by memory, so I’m probably showing my age, but from shortening, I remember going to plain ol’ vegetable oil, and later a zillion kinds of vegetable oils, corn, soybean, and sunflower.  Of course, we had to adjust our baking recipes accordingly.

Crisco ShorteningCrisco, arguably was the first popular national shortening.  It began being manufactured in the late 1800’s and it’sLard still on the grocery shelves today, as is lard.  There are some older recipes for cakes in particular that are just not the same without shortening.

This took me back in time to a lot of changes that have been made in the kitchen in particular that make our grandchildren think of their grandparents growing up kinda like we think of the pioneer families.

One thing we have in common, to a degree, was simply being able to come home from school, and yes I walked then took the public bus when I got in high school, getting our homework done and playing outside.  I remember how much I enjoyed smelling supper up and down the street.  Meatloaf and baked beans could really catch my attention.  We didn’t have storm doors but plain jane ol’ screens where the scents could escape.   During supper, there were no distractions like television, phone especially cellular ones, no iPads or game machines.  It might sound odd to many of the younger readers, but we didn’t have those distractions. We talked, unique as it may seem today. Of course we had phones but most everybody had a party-line.  You had to carefully pick up the phone and not make any noise in case there was a conversation going on.  I think the party-line was shared by four households.Telephone

After dinner, we washed the dishes and then we’d go to our rooms, shared by other siblings, and read and play our record player.  Our parents would sit out on the front porch with neighbors and talk.  Oh yes, and the reason we didn’t sit in front of a television was because we didn’t have one!  I vividly remember the day we got our first black and white TV and had only one channel!  Yep, one local channel.

Life was truly more simple.  Mother and Daddy didn’t have to worry about my driving because I wasn’t allowed to drive.  We only had one automobile (and you’re not gonna catch me on my age by my revealing the model or year of our brand new Chevy).  If we wrecked it, Daddy couldn’t have gotten to work.  Mama kept it once a week to do her grocery shopping.  I don’t know about you guys, but Monday was washing and Wednesday was grocery shopping, because that was the day for the “new deals” to come out which meant Mama got more grocery store trading stamps.

Hanging Clothes on the lineI can remember the smell of clothes hanging out on the clothes line, but didn’t necessarily like to hang them.  Nothing is better than sheets dried outside.  In the summer we always had a gallon of tea for sun tea on the porch.  Add one cup of sugar and water to the top and we had southern sweet tea paradise. I still make it to this day except I boil the water and steep the tea in a pitcher.

Another smell I’ll never forget is perked coffee. It’s just like the Mr. Coffee but there’s something special perk-o-lator pictureabout the water running over coffee once verses it being perked up and over the coffee grinds again and again until it’s just the right color.  There was no fixin’ one cup of coffee at a time, after you’ve gone through a couple of dozen flavors.

As writers of historical westerns, for those of us who are, I’d really be interested in the changes that we made from 1850 to 1950, and especially those from 1950 to today.  Many of the changes came about when women began working outside of the home, plus taking care of the children, cooking from scratch, grocery shopping, sewing clothes for both boys and girls, being Boy Scout and Girl Scout leaders, Sunday School teachers, homeroom mothers, plus being a loving mother and wife, and the hostess of the home.  And a home is what I grew up in … not a house.

What are some of your greatest memories from growing up … and no iPads, Xboxes, or cell phones, please?


The Troubled Texan GoodTo one lucky winner I will send you a gift certificate to purchase my latest book from Kensington The Troubled Texan and watch for my next Kasota Springs, Texas, contemporary Out of a Texas Night.

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A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.

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36 thoughts on “Today, Yesterday and Tomorrow”

  1. Welcome back! One of my best memories was playing hide and seek. We went everywhere. I also loved the nickle Popsicle.

  2. My favorite childhood memories involve playing outside and not coming inside until it was dark. Then, we would wash our feet and hands with water from the garden hose before we went inside. I have fond memories, too, of lying on our backs on top of my Dad’s old Monte Carlo and watching the stars. We lived in a small town, and there weren’t that many street lights. (I didn’t even know my street had a name until street signs were put up when I was in college.)

    • Hi Pamela, I remember washing my feet with the garden hose. I still go barefoot even to cross the street to visit with a neighbor. Of course, my daddy was a custom upholster and owned his own business for years. I was raised walking barefooted through his shop and avoiding tacks and brads, so I learned early to walk carefully. I love the idea of lying on top of your dad’s Monte Carlo and watching the stars. Our town at that time had too many lights, but I’ve gone out in the country and watched the stars … and it wasn’t with any of my sisters, either. Thanks for stopping by. I love hearing about your memories. Hugs, Phyliss

  3. Hi DebraG, Hide and Seeks was fun, but I have to admit that the idea of a Popsicle makes my mouth water. My favorite is still banana, although I’m allergy to bananas, I love the flavor. Yummy! Grocery store shopping tomorrow! Thanks for stopping and leaving a message. Hugs, Phyliss

  4. Hi Janine, I’m totally with you. I can remember playing outside until dark and Mama never worried about me. One of the funniest things. There was a little store around the corner from us, but me and my four sisters couldn’t get there because of the boys living on the block between our house and the store. Some twenty years later, I married one of those wild boys. The whole block were boys and they are the nicest bunch of kids around, once they stopped throwing rocks at the girls and grew up … 47 years of marriage, so far. Janine thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Big Texas hugs, Phyliss

  5. Oh, my, did you ever bring up some wonderful memories. I can relate to just about everything you mentioned. No sweet iced tea for this yankee, we just didn’t know about it. Food fare was a bit different. You had “american food” with a bit of italian and very seldom, chinese food, if you ate out. Today just about anything is avaiilabppble, and tacos are as common as hamburgers.

  6. Welcome back, Phyliss!!!! You and your posts always make me smile. 🙂

    This post brought back so many dear memories. Playing outside, handmade clothes and other household “stuff,” Mom and Dad taking great interest in our education and activities (to my chagrin, much of the time 😀 ). Ice cream trucks, sugar cubes infused with polio vaccine… Do you remember the old glass percolators that took forever to make coffee on the stove top? We kids hated those at Christmas, because we couldn’t open our presents until Mom and Dad had a cup of coffee in their hands. 😀

    Much love to you, dear lady. I’m so glad to hear you’re on the mend. 🙂

  7. Great post!
    I remember playing outside and just enjoying life. Today it seems everybody is so busy and yes also too busy with technology to be able just to be.
    I miss that for this generation. I also miss trust. Where we lived there was no need to lock doors. We always stopped to help people that were stranded or gave ride to hitch hikers.
    So much has changed.

  8. Welcome back Phyliss! I enjoyed this post. It’s always a bit nostalgic to look back. Some of my memories ~ pasting green stamps into the booklets for my mom and playing tag and jump rope under the street lights with all the kids in the neighborhood. (City girl here) A neighbor owned a heavy rope that was super long and 4-5 kids could jump at the same time.

  9. I’m sorry to her hu have been down for a while. Glad you’re doing better. I think your way of growing up sounds fantastic! My mom always use to make tea on the porch in the sun. I always lived going to play outside and see the tea making in the sun. I wish there would have been less distractions growing up. My hubby and I try super hard to do that with our kiddos. To enjoy the outdoors, making sure we eat every night at the table and having good conversations. A big idea we’re doing with our kiddos is teaching them about responsibilities and privileges. It’s hard when all they want to do is the opposite Hahahh but we know we have to remain constant.

  10. I can remember when we mended clothes and darned socks. Yes when I was growing up we did not throw out socks because they had a hole in the toe or heel. We got out our earning needle and yarn and I always used a small glass bottle . I would put the bottle inside the sock after I had turned the sock inside out. That would make the earning process easier and you didn’t wind up sewing both sides of the sock together. To darn was simply weaving the treads under and over the rows of yarn you sewed first into the hole of the sock , until the hole was completely covered with yarn and your sock was ready to be worn again.

  11. We had a little store around the corner from us and they had candies for a penny, nickel, and dime… loved when my mom would send me over for bread or milk and I could also get a couple of candies… I also remember we had a rotary phone in the house and a VCR was a big thing! LOL

  12. Hi PatriciaB. Good to hear from you Well, Daddy was a yankee (Ohio) while Mama was from Louisiana, so we had some interesting dinners. To Daddy blackeyed peas were meant to feed the hogs (fits in with Lard, doesn’t it?) and of course, no tea for him. Winter was milk and summer tea. It’s funny that you’d mention Chinese food because, like everyone else we didn’t eat out often, but on our birthdays we went to Ding Ho for Chinese food. Now here in Texas, at least our part (the Panhandle) Mexican food is divided. Either it’s authentic Mexican food of Tex-Mex. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! Big Hugs, Phyliss

  13. I remember a penny candy store after you crossed the railroad tracks. By the way, between the tracks was the best place to pick strawberries and so was the rock quarry where we thought the sparkly rocks were gold. We were mistaken since it was Fool’s Gold. I also have fond memories of sledding down the hill at the elementary school 5 houses away. It looked big back then, but now is rather a mild hill. Oh, and the fire department flooded the basketball court in the winter for ice skating. My sister and I walked a mile to skate, went inside the fire station to warm and have hot chocolate. And sometimes they had a 50 gallon can with a fire in it for warming. Plus we had to shovel the snow off the ice before skating and also used the basketball poles for twirling around. We saved the bottom of ice cream cones for the dog and he slurped and crunched them up when we brought the melted treats home.

  14. Welcome back, my beloved filly sister! So glad you are back with us! This is a fabulous post and so filled with the nostalgia that warms my tummy.

    Probably the thing I remember was the Trixie Belden series. It’s a bunch of junior high kids who have a secret club and solve “mysteries.” I think these books were available at the grocery store because my mom got me the whole set piece by piece. Oh, and I do remember my roller skates. You had to have a “key” to tighten them, and tennies were too soft to fit. Sheesh. Love you! xoxoxox

  15. Wonderful wonderful post. I love it since I grew up during the 1950’s. I rode my bike all over town, roller skated, wen to the public outdoor skating rinks, and all without a helmet and no supervision. Pinky stamps which my mother collected at the grocery store and redeemed for so many lovely kitchen items. The freedom, going out for walks in the evening and chatting to neighbors, reading a great deal, no t.v. then, laundry was outside on the clothesline and much more.

  16. This nostalgic post was so appealing for me. Everything was so simple and fine then. The perked coffee woke me up every morning since my mother made it for my father for his breakfast. That and his cream of wheat. Pine for that era.

  17. Thanks for this lovely glance back which I appreciate greatly since that was when I was growing up and walked everywhere. Walked to and from school by myself since school buses did not exist at that time, walked to the grocery store, and biked to the library. What a fabulous time it was. I recognize everything. I used to watch mo mom mend and darn. She worked very hard and never did drive.

  18. One favorite memory was the local grocery store that had a selection of penny candy. The store was right across from our grade school and the man that owned it would stop everything to let the kids make their choices. Pennies weren’t given that often but, oh, when we did it get some it was such an “important” decision lol. In hindsight that man had the patience of a saint!!

  19. Thanks, Kathleen. I’m glad to be back and more normal than abnormal. When you have reactions to medications, sometimes you don’t know if it’s real or you’re making it up. But I’ve very happy to not only be up and going, but more than ever getting back on P&P.

    I think definitely that parents took more interest in homework years ago. I’ve been “after school” homework helper for all of my grands and they have so much more homework now than we had, but I must say I’ve got a great bunch of “smarties”! LOL Polio in ice cubes? That’s interesting. We just had to go to the doctor and put up with a shot in the arm. I still have a light scar on my right arm. Oh yes, friend, definitely not only remember the glass perk-o-later, but have one in my cabinet. That what my DH and I started off with then went to an electric perk-o-later. Have a great evening, my fellow filly and friend. Hugs from Texas, P

  20. Hi Cori, thanks for the kind comments. Lady, I think you all are doing things right with the kids. They have to learn responsibility and if they don’t learn them from their parents and family, they’ll grow up and experience some challenges they aren’t prepared to handle. I know my grandson, who I referred to in my blog, decided that brown eggs at $3.50 a dozen was more healthy than white ones at sometimes $.99. He just had to have those dern brown eggs while he was living with us before he left for college. But strangely enough during his third semester when he moved out of the dorm to on-campus housing and eggs weren’t free anymore, he suddenly decided white eggs were just as good. It’s funny what changes a college kid or young adult can tolerate when it’s being paid for out of their own pockets. Keep on keeping on with your kids. To me I think you’re onto something really good. Hugs, Phyliss

  21. My goodness. This has brought back such good memories since your post was so real and mentioned all the things I am familiar with and lived with. So meaningful and of course, to me resonated with my upbringing.

  22. Hi Shirley Chapel. Glad you stopped by and left a message, and a very important one, too. Today it seems when there’s the slightest hole in a sock it goes to the trash. My daughter in California has a whole basket of mismatched socks. Of course many are under the bed, in a gym bag, or at school. The kids come to Amarillo and spend most of the summer with us. After they leave, I think I have the matching socks to the ones their mama have! Hey, don’t worry about spell check, especially the automatic, unless you’re writing a manuscript or a letter to the editor. Strange words sure do come up. I check and double check and still have them. Thanks for bringing back memories and reminding everything that “socks can be saved”. Hugs, Phyliss

  23. Hi Colleen, good to hear from you. I love the penny candy. I did a birthday basket for a friend who is diabetic, so I tried to get nothing but sugar-free candies and cookies. When I saw the Narco (I think that’s the name … flat nothing but sugar in a roll), I couldn’t resist but get one for him. I love the nostalgic candies, but Moon Pies come next to candy. I love this time of year because they bring out the chocolate covered marshmallow valentines and then right away the bunnies. And, yes, when I was working I loved, loved the VCR because I could record my soap opera and watch it at night. That was when there were tons of soap operas on instead of three or four. Take care of yourself and I look forward to hearing from you soon. Hugs, Phyliss

  24. Hi Phyliss,
    Loved your first blog back. Oh, I remember my mom always had Crisco shortening in the cupboard. We used it for lots of things, especially baking. Now, I don’t use butter too much, or shortening at all, but I can’t live without Olive Oil. I cook with it almost every day. I am convinced things just taste better with olive oil! Welcome back!

  25. Hi Sunnymay, what great memories. You all obviously had great friends with the firemen or an inside track. It sure made me smile. Now for me, the cones are the best of the ice cream, so I’d probably give the dog the ice cream, so I could eat the cone. I love the big waffle cones. Gosh, I’m hungry for ice cream right now. And, strawberries. That’s why I can hardly wait to go out to California for our second oldest granddaughter’s graduation in June. I love, love the strawberries and fresh fruit and vegetables. There’s a guy who sells strawberries out of his truck for a little bit of nothing, so I always buy a bunch and the kids know they’ll have them every-which-way. Sunnymay, thanks for dropping by and the next time it snows go ahead and slide down that hill!!! Hugs, Phyliss

  26. Hi Tanya, my friend. I’m thrilled to be back and thank you and the others for such a warm welcome. I sure missed you all. Trixie Belden, now that throws me for a loop. Interesting. I guess it was the Judy Moody of the day. I totally forgot about skates. Now in this part of the country, we didn’t do too much skating outside, but did go to skating rinks. We may be known as flat country, but the sidewalks are really not good for skating. I remember the tennies, too. If you wait long enough then you can go into the thick, tight tennies that I have to wear for the gym because of my knee! LOL Tanya, my sister filly, I’ve missed you and thank you and the others for the thoughts and prayers sent my way. Much Texas love coming your way, Phyliss

  27. Hi Anne, glad you stopped by. You and I certainly share memories. I found some trading stamps among some of mama’s stuff recently. We have Gunn Bros. blue stamps; S&H Green stamps; and Frontier brown stamps. I remember going to the redemption stores with Mama and we’d look and look for just the right thing. Man, we were in trouble if she sent us into a grocery store and we forgot the stamps. Have a great evening, my new friend. Hugs, Phyliss

  28. Hi Ellie, glad to hear from you. My daddy drank coffee all day long, and like you, the smell of coffee brewing brings back memories. While I was down with the knee, my DH would get up much earlier than me and I’d wake to the smell of Mr. Coffee brewed coffee, but it did smell wonderful. Hope you have a great evening. Hugs, Phyliss

  29. Hi Elaina and Catslady, glad you both stopped by and read my blog. It’s so good to see you. I hope and pray that my daughters will have as many great memories as we all have. I didn’t worry nearly as much about them when they went out at night, as I do their college kids when they are here. Life just isn’t the same. I’m so happy that my nostalgic thoughts brought back ones for you guys. Have a great evening, ladies. Hugs, Phyliss

  30. Hi Pearl and Charlene. Glad to see you today. I enjoyed writing my first blog. It didn’t begin this way, but I think ended up bringing back a lot of memories for everyone. I was fixin’ something the other day and grabbed the can of Pam with flour in it to spray in the pan. I bet we all can remember preparing a pan for baking by either rubbing shortening over it or later oil then adding flour, shaking around, then letting the remainder either stay in the pan, if we were great estimators, or to the trash can. Remember, when using a tube pan or bundt pan that you never put the oil on the sides or the tubes because the cake can’t crawl up the sides!!!! This is so much fun.

    Charlene, thank you and the rest of the fillies, for a warm welcome back and reading my first blog. It’s been a fun day. Now I need to select a winner. Might have to either get my DH to play “Rock, paper, scissors” or if he can’t then it’s “Enny, Minny, Mighty, Mo”. Hugs to both of you. Phyliss

  31. Wow, this was such a fun post to read. I love to reminisce about how things have changed. To hear my kids say the “olden” days makes me cringe, because it seems like I was just saying that about my own parents and grandparents. To my kids, not having a cell phone is absurd and yet, cell phones have only been widely available for less than twenty years.

    I was born in 1970, but I could still relate to so many of your memories. Some of my greatest memories were the regular Sunday visits to my grandmother. As my mom would visit with her, I would play with my cousins at the “crick” (creek) and catch minnows and crawdads. Then we would take 50 cents or a dollar and get a big bag full of candy at the one store in her small town. It only had three aisles and in my child-like memory one aisle was just candy! haha

  32. Phyllis, welcome back & take it slow with your recovery. My best memories were playing outside with my sisters. We got a little oven stove for Christmas one year & we had a great time making mud pies to put it in. Mom, caught us eating them. Boy, were we in trouble; but, they didn’t taste bad.

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