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Our grandparents grew up in a radically different world, filled with traditions and rituals that now seem quaint and antiquated. From milk deliveries to Sunday best, everyday experiences in their era were defined by a set of customs that have now largely faded over time. Let’s rewind to an almost unrecognizable America and remember 17 forgotten practices that shaped our grandparents’ way of life.
It was customary for ladies to gather in each other’s homes for afternoon tea, finger sandwiches, and gossip. An era-defining social tradition.
Co-ed Gyms Were Uncommon
Gyms and athletic clubs were predominantly single-sex spaces back then. Exercising alongside the opposite gender in a sweaty gym environment was not yet normalized.
Before the age of emails and instant messaging, handwritten letters were the primary means of long-distance communication. The anticipation of receiving a letter and the personal touch of handwritten words made communication special.
People had specific outfits, often their finest, reserved for attending church or special occasions on Sundays.
Milkmen would deliver fresh milk in glass bottles right to the doorstep, often early in the morning.
Many families preserved their own fruits, vegetables, and jams, storing them in glass jars for consumption throughout the year.
Before the widespread use of television, families would gather around the radio to listen to news broadcasts, dramas, comedies, and musical programs.
Local community centers or town halls often hosted dances, where live bands played and people of all ages came to dance and socialize.
Instead of electric dryers, clothes were hung out on lines in the backyard to dry in the sun and fresh air.
Local drugstores often had soda fountains where people could enjoy hand-mixed sodas, ice cream floats, and sundaes.
Families and couples would flock to drive-in theaters, watching movies from the comfort of their cars.
Multiple households shared a single phone line, meaning you’d often pick up the phone to hear someone else’s conversation.
Before computers and electric typewriters, documents were typed on manual typewriters, requiring a bit of muscle and plenty of correction fluid.
Hat and Glove Etiquette
It was customary for men to wear hats outdoors and remove them indoors, while women often wore gloves when going out.
Before the era of constant digital entertainment, people would often sit on their front porches in the evenings, chatting with neighbors and watching the world go by.
Full-Service Gas Stations
Attendants would pump your gas, check your oil, and clean your windshield, all for the price of the fuel.
Collecting Green Stamps
Shoppers would receive stamps as rewards for their purchases, which they’d collect in books and later redeem for products.
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Michelle Harler is the founder of Guide2Free, a website dedicated to finding and sharing freebies, product testing opportunities, and other ways to save money. With over a decade of experience in the industry, her expertise in finding quality offers makes Guide2Free an invaluable resource for anyone looking to try new products and save money.