1. Archive

The good old stuff still measures up

We like to think old stuff _ ourselves included _ is the best. Even the new stuff is catching up with us. Charlie Brown is 44. Seventeen magazine is 50 years old. Even Barbie is middle-aged. It seems as if these things are recent, having seen their advent after The War (WWII), which to us oldies sounds like yesterday. Someone said something about a happening in 1963 and it took me a minute to realize that was 30 years ago, not last week.

A lot of good old stuff is still with us. I saw an article saying Wonder Bread continues to sell so well that the bread bakeries are having problems with the aroma putting out too much ethanol, polluting the air. USA Today reports, "A thousand grandmas baking every day couldn't put out that much gas."

In spite of the uproar about natural, whole grain, high fiber, low white, high brown, seeds, seaweed and chunks of other unidentifiable objects, people still are buying pale, fluffy Wonder Bread. I like it. It doesn't fight back when you bite it.

Many old products withstand the test of time. Folger's coffee, Ritz Crackers and Puffed Wheat are still on the shelves, as well as bran cereals which we did not utilize so much in the past.

Clorox and 20-Mule Team Borax are still with us. Occasionally, I see Oxydol.

Along with Charlie and Barbie are other characters that persevere. There is a remake of the movie Little Rascals. I took my granddaughters and their dad to see it and we all liked it a lot. See? It's possible to make a movie without the "F" word in it. I understand a new version of Miracle on 34th Street is coming later this year.

Some of the old things are missing. Rita Hayworth, The Saturday Evening Post, fountain Cokes. Remember how we used to wear our cardigans backward? I don't miss that. The buttons hurt during algebra.

Then there was the margarine we had during the war. It was white and came in a sealed plastic bag. There was a capsule of yellow color inside, and it was the kids' job to squish the capsule contents into the margarine and knead it through. I loved doing it. The yellow color did nothing for the flavor. The margarine still tasted like lard. Maybe it was.

Some old favorites are slipping away. Harriet Nelson of Ozzie and Harriet has died at 85. And The Far Side cartoon, a relative newcomer, is going to retire in January. They'll be missed.

New stuff is good, too. I like shirts I don't have to iron. Hand-held hair dryers are great. I had one of the original Mr. Coffee filter pots that you just poured water through. The electric ones are faster and let you sneak a cup of coffee before the whole pot is done.

I love my computer and answering machine.

What do oldies like? Stuff that works.

You can write to Niela M. Eliason, c/o Seniority, the Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, 33731.