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Gimme shelter

By Don Canney - Telegraph Columnists | Mar 22, 2020

OK, although a great rock tune from the past, right now, that’s probably the last thing anyone is wanting more of. With shelter-in-place recommendations hopefully being adhered to by most, we all need some respite from COVID-19. I now long for the days when Corona was just a beer and social distancing was something you did when unwanted visitors arrived. We are certainly living in unprecedented and serious times, but like other similar times in our history, we will get through this. Our hearts go out to those directly affected with prayers for their speedy recovery and an end to this terrible virus.

When facing such trying times, it’s often helpful and soothing to look back on how life used to be, not only for sweet memories, but even a few laughs. I offer the following for your consideration to cope with the shelter-in-place blues we are all confronting:

While rifling through a pile of what many of us refer to as “junk mail,” I spotted a catalogue from a country store, in business since 1946, and whose home office is located in our neighboring Green State (I think you all know who I’m talking about). I often peruse that catalogue if just to trigger good time memories and get a laugh or two, much like we once did with the old Building 19 flyers. Thumbing through the pages brought back many fond memories of my childhood and a few chuckles as well.

There, in all of their retro glory were percolators (no pods needed), carpet sweepers, whisk brooms, spaghetti mops (no sauce needed), Electric Brooms (essentially the equivalent of today’s stick vacs), Jubilee Kitchen Wax (I guess there was a time when one would only wax kitchen floors), mechanical typewriters (yup, no cords or wireless connection, just tap, tap, tap and then zip manually). There was Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific and Lemon Up Shampoo (get ready for the disco) and Pure Cola Syrup (for those with upset tummies). Still available is Tigress, Arpege, Evening in Paris, Windsong and White Shoulders perfumes for the ladies. And guys will remember English Leather and Jai Karate colognes. Remember Bonomo’s Turkish Taffy, Bit-O-Honey, Merri-mints and assorted “penny candy?” (Just try buying any candy for a penny now). Turkish Taffy and Bit-O-Honey were a dentist’s dream, able to pull even the best laid filling or loose tooth from its roots in seconds. Quite like the old Mint Julips.

Caffeine-free Postum can still be had for those who aren’t strictly tea or coffee drinkers. You could add original, cocoa or coffee flavored to hot or cold water. I can’t speak from experience. Not my cup of tea.

There are also ladies’ “house coats.” Never understood as a kid why my mom had to wear a coat in the house, but later discovered they were simply a casual robe.

Even though we all need to patiently wait while holed up in our personal domiciles to see what the eventual outcome of this pandemic will be, we need to keep ourselves sane and try to carry on as normally as possible.

Right now, the 6-foot rule is in place, but we will eventually return to normalcy. In the meantime, take the time to appreciate what you have.

Read a book, take a walk, enjoy the fresh air, cook that unique meal you’ve been wanting to try for a long time. If you are musically inclined, play your guitar, piano or glockenspiel (OK, I know, not many of those folks). And don’t forget to support your local restaurants. Many are trying to stay afloat and even just a meal per week will help them! Gift-card purchases are especially helpful.

If you are fortunate enough to be able to work from home, great. Some folks cannot. Kudos and hats off to those on the front lines in hospitals, first responders and to those in retail food stores and pharmacies who are working ungodly hours and dealing with panicked shoppers, as they try to keep up with the demand and help us all feed our families and get needed meds. We thank you immensely!

Don Canney is a freelance writer and professional voice artist. He was born and raised in downtown Nashua with great interest in Nashua history circa 1950-1970. He now resides in Litchfield.


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