Aluminum Christmas Trees and a Stroll Down Memory Lane!

Published Date: November 21st, 2008
Category: Holiday Fun

By Bob Alexander

Now that I’m officially a senior citizen, I find myself strolling down memory lane more than ever before. I’m also more aware of just how much our world has changed since we were kids dashing to the first McDonald’s in our town. You could buy a hamburger for just 15 cents! Like those burgers, many of the things we enjoyed years ago are no longer with us.

In high school, my friends and I would anxiously await Friday nights. Four of us boys, with our crew cuts and Jimmy Smith’s duck tail, would pile into Jimmy’s 1957 Chevrolet and go to the local drive-in movie.

We would park 3 rows to the right and 4 to the back of the concession stand so we could see any unattached girls as they went to get popcorn and a Coke. We thought we were slick back then as we would race to the concession stand to try and meet girls that we thought were worthy of our attention.

Sometimes during my late teen years, Aluminum Christmas Trees became a trend that my parents thought would solve the problem of dry evergreen needles on the floor. Until that time we had always cut our Christmas tree from the woods that was only a mile from our house.

My first year in college, I remember returning home for the Christmas holiday, horrified to see a glistening gigantic shredded roll of aluminum foil shaped into a tree, standing in a corner of the living room. I was shocked when I saw it occupying the space that had been dedicated to a freshly cut aromatic cedar trees.

Thankfully that fad came and went in just a couple of years, then we moved on to fake green trees with little bottles of aerosol spray that was guaranteed to smell like a fresh cut cedar or spruce tree.

Whatever happened to television test patterns that would suddenly appear on the screen at the stroke of midnight? As strange as it seems, there was something comforting to us insomniacs about staring at that immovable page emanating from the picture tube as if it held the secret to the universe! It’s quite possible it did, but whatever its message, it went over my head.

There were some things that were so far ahead of their time, that it seems incomprehensible that they’re gone. In an era in which people really loved their cars, the Studebaker was in a class of its own.

While my friends proclaimed the delight of owning their ’57 Chevys and Fords, my 1953 Studebaker Starliner was my pride and joy! That car looked like it was going fast even when it was standing still! Besides being a great automobile, it set you apart from the rest of the crowd. Not everyone owned a Studebaker!

Do you remember the 5 cent Coca-Cola? When I was a kid in the summertime, I’d walk to the small grocery store about a mile from the house, pulling my red Radio Flyer behind me. I would buy a case of Cokes and a half block of ice.

I had extended the sides of the wagon 6 inches taller so I could chip up the ice and pour it in the wagon; then I would lay the bottles of Coke on the bed of ice. I walked another mile to a housing development being built close to town. There, in the Alabama heat I would sell that case of Coca-Colas to weary carpenters, masons and painters for 15 cents each, or two for a quarter. I sold out every day.

Many of us thought that 25 cents a gallon gasoline was far too much to spend for fuel. There’s a country song somewhere which was written by someone who was obviously a philosophical genius. The line that I’ll always remember is “When gas was 25 cents a gallon, love was only 50 cents away.”

Whatever happened to flashbulbs, Timmy and Lassie, Bryllcreme, The Ozzie and Harriet Show and metal ice cube trays that either made the ice break free or cause the lever to bend. Everyone remembers the Burma Shave signs on the side of a two-lane road. Where have all these things gone? Where ever they are, I miss them!

Bob Alexander is well experienced in outdoor cooking, fishing and leisure living. Bob is also the author and owner of this article. Visit his sites at:

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