Age Test

I saw a nostalgia photo-post online, and it made me smile. If you remember all these things, you are as old as me, or close enough.

We had this same model on top of our Christmas tree every year. My mum’s pride and joy.

The ubiquitous school clocks, and the pencil sharpeners I used every day.

My first cassette recorder. How I loved that!

8-Track music tapes. When I bought a car that came with an 8-track player, I had to go out and buy some to play as I drove along.

The first camera I owned in my teens. An Instamatic with flashcube!

The machine for making card transactions. The flimsy paper was rubbed over your card placed in the carriage, and you got a copy as thin as a tissue.

Halcyon days!

101 thoughts on “Age Test

  1. I also have a lace like this for the Christmas tree. However, I haven’t used them for a long time. For me, the top of the tree remains “naked”.

    We also had a school clock in the classroom. However, we all had our own pencil sharpeners. But I still know this big one from my training days.

    Oh yes, the cassette player, I have a more modern machine in the kitchen that still plays cassettes. I still listen to my beloved 70s music there. I hope the tapes will last a few more years. 🙂

    I also had a camera with a flash cube.

    The only thing I don’t know is the device for the card transactions.

    My sister and I once talked about how our father always went to the TV and changed the program if we saw something that didn’t interest him. My daughter was totally amazed: why did grandpa get up?
    We laughed tears.
    Times are always changing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I was at school, every teacher had one clamped to their desk so we could ask to go up and sharpen our pencils, or the ‘Pencil Monitor’ took them all up. Once more use of fountain pens and biros came in, they slowly disappeared. But we still had one in the Art Room.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy to see the Christmas tree topper, I was trying to describe it to Gosia as we decorated our tree this year. In fact I remember all the items, except for a few bit of the school equipment. I was still swiping cards well into the 90’s at the garage I worked at, but it was old school 🙂

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  3. Hi Pete, the clocks and pencil sharpeners are still used in some underprivileged schools in SA. They work so why not? The wealthier schools are more It orientated now but my boys still have to write most of their work by hand and still learned to write using pencils and lined paper. I also remember those card machines but I’ve never used one.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I know them all. I used to run those blue mine masters off at school and come home with purplish/bluish fingers. That ink did not come off easily.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had completely forgotten about flash cubes. I have always loved photography, but never understood the technical side. Instamatic was my choice of camera, now I just use my phone. The pencil sharpener made me laugh. In my class it was attached to the teacher’s desk and only her favourites were allowed to use it; one boy got carried away and his pencil was reduced to a tiny stub!

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    1. It was on the teacher’s desk inmy schools too. Sharpening the pencils was one of the jobs given out on rotation, to a ‘Pencil Monitor’. Another daily job was ‘Milk Monitor’, handing out the smal bottles and straws each day.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  6. I remember the Box-Brownie although I had the next generation which wasn’t as boxy. Those credit card swipe machines were part of our BA life for longer than one might think. I still have my dad’s old stapler..a bit rusty but works better than any other I have had and I have used hundreds. I also have some of the tools he used for wood-work, and his “de-magnifier”, though I don’t know what it is properly called. He was an artist. I love old stuff like that. Do I ever wish I had kept a bunch of BA stuff! I have some Concorde give-away stuff and glasses. I still can’t believe she was a blip in time. What an aeroplane.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I beleive that Concorde stuff is highly sought-after now, Carolyn. Might be worth a bit. I never flew in one, but visited one that was ‘parked’ for show. Very small inside, I thought. Then I suppose it had to be, for aerodynamics.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I was young for my age, but yes, I do remember these things.
    That friggin’ Simplex clock moved way, way too slow, and, as I sit here in the middle of a rare ‘late’ February rainstorm in Phoenix, AZ, the 8-track pic brought up some very strong memories: That Elton collection? yes, owned it (on ‘cassette’). Carpenters? Ahhh, no.

    The best and strongest memory about the 8-track snap Pete, is this: my best friend (God Rest His Soul) Bruce had a new1976 Mercury Capri 2.8 Ghia in brilliant silver, black interior standard shift (he earned the money, hard worker) with a Blaupunkt 8-track installed. Why the hell he let himself get talked into installing an 8-Track (cassettes were the rage then) I’ll never understand.

    Bruce would play the Fleetwood Mac “Rumors” tape over and over and over and over. We grew up in Silicon Valley before it ‘became’ “Silicon Valley”, ~30 minutes from the beach in Santa Cruz CA. There was a fabulous old seaside amusement park there with tons of pinball machines, carnival/midway games of chance, cheap food, and just an enchanting atmosphere to us.

    We would often take turns charging at breakneck speeds over the twisty and dangerous State Highway 17 through the Santa Cruz mountains after school to go there before our shifts at the grocery stores we worked at in the evenings. One day, with Bruce, driving, and that bloody Fleetwood Mac 8-Track tape in the deck, probably bleeding out another turn of “You Make Loving Fun” I said, “If I hear one more Fleetwod Mack song I’m gunna explode”. We employed a system of “PIC”: Pilot In Command. You’re driving/captaining/flying right seat? You have ‘full’ command of the car/vessel/airplane, etc. The song ended and Bruce didn’t switch out the tape. I glared, he laughed.
    By about the third song from there, “Go your own way” (my favorite on the album btw. . .) I’d had enough, snapped the tape out of the player, and flung the Fu*king thing out the right side open window at ~70mph in the middle of a sweeping left-hand turn! Gone Baby! There was a barrier between the opposing flows of traffic making it very inconvenient to return to attempt recovery of the offending tape.

    Bruce freaked out for about a full minute and I laughed hysterically! Boy, he was soo pissed off!

    That night after work I went to Tower Records at the top of the street from where I lived and bought a new one and gave it to him in the morning before school. We laughed about that for god knows how long. We grew up together from 5 years old, two doors down from each other. Went to grade school, middle school, high school, college, Sunday school, and church together. Our parents were good friends. I loved him like a brother. Still do. He died from an accidental gunshot wound on November 20th, 1979 while up in Oregon, 24 days short of his 21st birthday. I miss him every day.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes Pete. Better sound quality is what the sales guy in the car stereo store told him. I countered with “but you can’t fast forward to the songs individually”. . . Meh, He went with ‘supposed superior’ sound quality, knowing full well from my additional comments that tyre noise alone would probably cancel out the superior sound quality over a cassette.

        But, if he had listened to me in the car stereo store? I wouldn’t of had that nasty big 8-track tape case sticking out of the player staring me in the face to grab and throw out the window, would I? Overall, I’m glad he had the 8-track! 😉



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  8. Pre-pandemic, I went shopping with my youngest niece, and she was standing in front of a display, trying to get different content by flipping her hand on it… It didn’t work. Her expectation was that every display would be a touch display 🙃 Different age test?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I remember them all. We still have a glass tree topper much like the one pictured. Retail workers called the card imprint devices “knuckle busters”. I can still smell the ink from the mimeograph (or ditto) machines.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pete, I remember all of those too well. My family in the mid 1950s had many of those type of ornaments, especially the one on the tree top. They’re a rarity nowadays. My first camera was a brownie box with no flash, then came the Instamatic with the cube. My 64 Chevy had an 8 track that worked at times, mostly not. I still have a few of those tapes. I was born in 1949, so my childhood was full of these types of things. So, I may be a bit older than you, but judging from your memories, not too many years.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My wife will also be 70 in May. She and I went to high school together. She has quite a few of those classic ornaments and other goodies tucked away. Hope all is well for the good folks in the UK. Looks as if Europe is about to get more interesting than usual.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The main issue for me around the escalating situation in Ukraine is that it wil take the focus off of everything at home. Sky-high fuel prices, increasing inequality, and massive hikes in the weekly food bill. And it will give them more excuses for further increases. Big companies and corrupt politicians like nothing better than a war to increase profits.
          Best wishes, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

  11. (1) I like that Christian spear tip. But I wasn’t around during the Crusades.
    (2) I didn’t waste a second in class. But I wasted a lot of pencils.
    (3) I had a cassette recorder like that. But I always got nervous when I heard the voice on it. “As always, should you or any fellow student be caught or killed while cheating in class, the school principal will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck, David.” (The teacher was a homicidal maniac.)
    (4) I’ve never owned an 8-track cartridge, but I’ve been to stock car races that used a figure 8 track. Those races were infinitely enjoyable.
    (5) The Borg Collective still uses flash cubes for deep space photos. It’s dark out there.
    (6) I remember those transactions. And so does Cinderella. As for the carriage, due to the flimsy arrangement she had with her fairy godmother, it turned into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight. Cinderella cried so much afterwards that she had to beg her stepmother for a tissue.

    Liked by 1 person

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