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Video games have really changed Mario first appeared in the original “Donkey Kong,” which was one of the first video games to tell an entire story as the game progressed. It quickly captured the attention and hearts of the public. Mario was known as “Jump Man” in those days, but he did wear his signature red overalls and cap. Donkey Kong has been inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame.
Remember “Home Economics” or “Shop” classes? For decades, schools required every girl to learn the basics of sewing and cooking and every boy to garner some skills in woodworking and car maintenance. Whether or not we were interested in those activities! And, way back when, a girl could NOT attend “Shop” class even if she wanted to know how to check the oil in her car or build a birdhouse and a boy could NOT take “Home Ec” even if he wanted to learn to cook a meal or hem a pair of pants.
Remember when clotheslines were everywhere? They crisscrossed city blocks, filled suburban neighborhoods, and stood like sentries in every rural town across the United States. Each clothesline told its own story about the people who wore the items hanging on it. You could tell the size of a family and the approximate ages of its members. Empty clotheslines even signaled when neighbors were away on vacation. Few homes today have a clothesline in the yard. Many children have never known the feeling of pulling a shirt over their heads that’s still warm from the sun.
Remember when television stations signed off each night? Signing off usually included a recorded announcement of something like “we now conclude our broadcast day” followed by the national anthem and a test pattern display. Often, we’d also hear a rather unpleasant tone or beep transmitted at a level loud enough to wake any viewers who may have fallen asleep in front of their TVs. Screens then faded to black or showed only static until the station signed back on early the following morning.
Remember drinking your favorite beverage from a can with a tab you pulled right off? It’s hard to believe the pull top – also known as a pop top – was once a groundbreaking innovation. It’s invention made opening a can much simpler and faster. Pull tops had their drawbacks though. Lots of them ended up being tossed anywhere and everywhere, causing more litter along roadways and at parks and beaches, etc. Jimmy Buffet even sang about the problem in his anthem “Margaritaville.” Remember the line “I blew out my flip flop and stepped on a pop top?”
Remember the childhood treat called Necco Wafers? They came in a roll with each wafer covered in a chalky substance that looked a lot like dust. But kids loved the variety of different flavors found in each roll. There were lemon-flavored yellow wafers… lime-flavored green wafers… orange-flavored orange wafers… clover-flavored purple wafers… licorice-flavored black wafers… wintergreen-flavored pink wafers…cinnamon-flavored white wafers… and chocolate-flavored brown wafers.