In the 1967 film, The Graduate, Mr. McGuire had one word for Dustin Hoffman’s character Benjamin: “Plastics.” It’s true. Plastics was the future. Growing up, however, our lives were all about metals and alloys. Even today, people older than I still brag about the virtually indestructible steel automobiles of the past. Yet, many of our everyday furnishing and accessories were made of or contained metal components.
There was that lawn furniture that would singe the flesh off the back of your legs if you took a seat in the hot, summer sun. Quaint formica and chrome kitchen dinettes set the stage for most non-holiday meals. All cookware weighed a ton – especially that iron skillet used to cook almost everything, back in the days of “Just fry it – fry everything.”
A cold beverage on a hot day never tasted better than when served in an aluminum glass – even the condensation on the sides was refreshing.
And yes, Virginia, there was storage before Tupperware. Flour, sugar, all the main staples were kept in aluminum canisters. The smallest one might even contain bacon grease to be used for cooking. Don’t ask. That is a whole ‘nother blog.
Soda/beverage cans were not yet made of the ultra-light aluminum, and required a “church key” type opener before the ring-pull tab was invented.
We did enjoy the relatively harmless, fun toys, like the substantial steel bicycles and metal pedal cars. My Jack-in-the-Box was even made of metal. Then, there were those population control old school playgrounds with steel jungle gym/monkey bars (God only knows how many broken bones and concussions occurred there), and slides about 100 feet tall, with that same thigh scorching steel as the lawn furniture, in case the almost 90 degree drop didn’t kill you.
Yes, our future was plastics – even our money is now mostly plastic. Much of our history, however is engraved in some kind of metal.
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