Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Percolators and roller skates

More and more sounds can only be heard in our memories. So many have disappeared within my lifetime so far:

1. All-metal rollerskates on the sidewalk. Nylon wheels just don't have the same ratchety sound.

2. The rumble of car tires on brick streets.

3. Actual ringers in phones, including when you bang the receiver down, the bell inside responds with a clong!

4. A percolator, on the stove or plugged in, slowing down through those last majestic upheavals (is it done? No, one more long snort...)

5. Two-noted police whistles urging either people (two notes) or cars (one note) to get themselves moving. The traffic cops don't even seem to own whistles anymore. (This may be specific to Chicago.)

6. The promising hissssss heard after dropping the phonograph needle on a record, before the music starts. I'm having some old favorite albums put on CD and I've asked the guy to leave the hiss on at the beginning; it doesn't sound right otherwise.

7. The row of real chiming bells on the ice cream trucks (endless amplified "Oh Susanna" will greet all who enter Gehenna) AND (to date myself) the two-noted cowbell sound of the scissor-and-knife-sharpening cart that used to come down the alleys.

There must be more. Your memories, please?

Yikes: will today's ten-year-olds sigh over the sound of a bug zapper? Twenty-year-olds get teary-eyed over the sound of a hard drive booting up? Thirty-year-olds smile at the sound of Pong?


Jeff said...

The sound of REAL chalk on a REAL slate chalkboard...and the smell of the dust...

The clink! of the heavy lid of a metal lighter being flipped back before the flint is struck...


Tom McMahon said...

The attached metal key that you used to open the coffee can. We would save the key with the metal strip wound tightly around it. Then at Christmas we would unfurl these into spirals and hang them on the tree. Since Mom bought Folgers the red worked out really nice. Sharp as razor blades, those things.

Therese Z said...

I could smell the chalk suddenly with my brain, and I can picture my mother standing at the sink, carefully cranking that key around, hoping the strip wouldn't break. Sardine cans, too, and possibly Crisco had those key arrangements.

Memory stores these things so efficiently, it's amazing.

Roz said...

The boing of your big, slightly-underinflated rubber ball during a game of Four-Square.

The creak of the metal gate that the attendant would open before the main elevator door.

Remember the sound of the refrigerator door latch before they were all magnetically sealed?

(Hi. I'm back.)

Therese Z said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Therese Z said...

That playground ball was a kind of dimpled deep maroon, right? That is the Official Color of Playground Balls.

Now I need to play four-square. Think of the adult permutations you could put on that game!

Therese Z said...

The bell-tone signal that department stores used to broadcast that was a signal to an individual to pick up a phone or come to the office or drop dead, for all I know.

Two shorts, or a long and a short, or any combination.

Jennifer said...

The whir of a box fan in the window...or vibrating on the floor.

Anonymous said...

The sound of your mother standing on the front porch on a summer night, calling you to come in 'cause it's dark......

The sound of cicadas outside an open bedroom window.......

The loud "thwack" of the screen door slamming one more time.....

The sound of a jump rope hitting the pavement and girls' feet jumping to the jump rope rhyme: "Cinderella, dressed in yellow, went upstairs to kiss her feller. Made a mistake and kissed a snake. How many doctors did it take? One, two, three, four......"


Therese Z said...

MamaT, there should be a national symposium on jump rope rhymes. We learned it:

Cinderella, dressed in yellow,
went downtown to meet her fellow,
on the way, her girdle busted,
how many people were disgusted?
(Jumping fast, counting 10,20,30....)

Jennifer, you forgot the part where you thunk the damn fan to make it STOP vibrating!



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