I receive several emails a day, and many of them have attachments that include jokes, cartoons or political rhetoric.
Some, however, forward photos of people, activities and thingamajigs that were popular decades ago. These usually arrive forwarded by an email with a heading like, “Do you remember?”
In most cases, I can not only remember but my memory actually predates them. Because of my advanced age, I was around when most of them were introduced or first became popular.
I got one of those emails a few days ago. Included in the inventory of bygone things was a photo of a roll of caps. In the old days, caps were harmless ammunition for toy cap guns. They were very popular when I was a youth and when playing outside games like cops and robbers.
To operate the gun, a roll of caps was inserted and a pull of the trigger caused the gun’s hammer to hit one of the powder-filled caps, it popped and the next cap moved into position. The gun was ready to fire again.
There was a photograph taken from the rear of a drive-in movie theater. It showed cars of the day lined up with sound speakers hanging on the drivers’ windows and the large outdoor screen in the distance. It reminded me of Napa’s Kay Von drive-in theater that came into being about 1946 and was popular with the young people of Napa. It was on Foster Road between Imola Avenue and Snow School. There is a condo development in that location now.
A very interesting photo, with the heading “Did you or anyone you know ever take this class?” showed a group of girls sitting in front of manual typewriters during a typing class. As a senior at Napa High, I took typing and really enjoyed it. I was one of a few males in the class. Of all of the classes and subjects I took during my many years in a classroom, typing proved to be one of the most useful.
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There was a photo with a caption “Have you ever shopped at this store?,” and it was a photo of the front of a Woolworth’s 5 and 10 cent store.
I remember Woolworth’s in its original Napa location on the south side of First between Brown and Coombs streets. There is a piano and organ store in about that location now.
Sometime in the 1960s, Woolworth’s moved westward a few blocks into a new and much bigger building, complete with soda fountain. The store was closed in the early 1990s. It was across First Street from City Hall. Exertec fitness center is now in that building.
“Did he ever come to your house?” was the heading of one of the photos and it showed a milkman in full uniform delivering milk in quart bottles to the front door of a house. Milkmen exchanged empty bottles left outside by the occupants of the house for full ones.
Back post-World War II, I remember milkmen from Stornetta’s Dairy delivering to homes in Napa. They were a common sight in the early mornings. Sad to say, milkmen went the way of ice deliverymen and paperboys on bicycles that were all a part of TV’s “Leave It to Beaver” type of suburban culture of the day.
Finally, with the heading of “Have you ever seen or used one of these?” there was a photo of a 45 RPM automatic record player loaded with a stack of five or six saucer-sized records. I certainly had seen them but never used or owned one. My recorded music was played on dish-sized 78 RPM records, the forerunner to the 45 RPM.
Yes, time has passed, and things that seemed so important in my life of long ago are no longer important and, except in antique stores, are probably no longer available.