10. Stamps and Coupons
Your mom collected Green Shield Stamps and Co-Op ‘divi’ stamps, your dad collected the Embassy tokens from the cigarette packets and you spent many a happy hour flicking through the catalogs deciding what to ‘spend’ them on!
9. Cigarette sticks and coconut tobacco
We’d pretend to smoke our candy sticks – complete with a pink tip – and scoff brown coconut ‘tobacco’ from a pouch. There were also Jamboree bags, gobstoppers and milk bottles (and thankfully you can still buy them today!)
8. Your dad’s car
To start it, he’d pull out the choke to let the petrol into the engine. Too much and it’d flood, and much cursing would ensue while you waited for it to dry out so he could try again. When he indicated, a little orange arrow-shaped indicator popped out from the side of the car. Seatbelts? What were they…?
7. The first tights
Oh the joy of giving up your suspender belt and nylon stockings for a pair of tights. It was life changing and, yes, we wore bum-scraping mini skirts and tiny hot pants the first time around!
6. Eating out
You’d meet your mates in the local Wimpy Bar for a cheeseburger, cola float and a sticky Rum Baba. A trip out with mom and dad was steak and fries, followed by Black Forest Gateau at the local Berni Inn.
5. New supermarkets
When you were little, your mom went to lots of different shops – meat from the butcher, bread from the bakery, veg and fruit from the greengrocers, but then the first ‘self-service’ shop opened in your high street. Supermarkets had arrived.
4. Your first job
It paid less than $20 a week, you got your wages in a brown envelope on a Friday and, if you were lucky, you also had a Luncheon Voucher every day – it was enough to buy a sandwich AND a bag of chips!
3. ‘Proper’ music
Remember your little hand-held transistor radio? You took it to bed at night to tune in under the covers when your mum thought you were asleep! You listened to your 45s and LPs on your mum and dad’s huge wooden gramophone, or up in your bedroom on a portable ‘Dansette’ record player.
2. You went to five and dimes
Forget the Dollar Store—you shopped at Woolworth’s. You bought candy, nuts, toy soldiers, makeup, hair clips, balloons, handkerchiefs—whatever childhood treasure you could afford with your precious nickels. And after shopping, you sidled up to the lunch counter for the most delicious sandwich and fountain soda you’ve ever had. Try getting THAT at Walmart.
What’s Number 1 on our countdown? Well, we are leaving that up to you! What did we miss? What can you add?