“First a voice; then an echo. Then nothing.”

Today is yesterday continued. It is cloudy, damp and still a bit chilly. The one difference is the sky looks a tad lighter so maybe there is hope for a better afternoon. Today I will finally pot those plants. I drag the soil bag from my car to the front walk then I nursed my back all last night. Such effort must not go to waste.

This morning my breakfast hardened back to my childhood. I had a bowl of Rice Krispies to which I added a cut banana. That cereal still snaps, crackles and pops. I remember putting my ear close to the bowl so I could hear the sound.

When I was a kid, there were so many different sounds I don’t hear much anymore. The pop of the toaster is one I remember well. Our toaster was noisy. It was also usually covered with crumbs. Two slots meant only two pieces of toast at a time. There were four of us so two of us had to practice patience. We didn’t do well with that.

The slamming of screen doors all summer long drove my mother crazy. She’d yell at us not to slam the door. We always did anyway. It was the quickest way to get out of the house. Screen doors now shut on their own.

My neighborhood was filled with kids. We all lived in a sea of duplexes. The ones at the top of the hill had their back doors facing our back doors at the bottom of the hill. Mothers always yelled out the back doors at lunch time and at dinner time. They always yelled names so the kids playing in the yards would know who had to go inside. By supper time the yards were empty, the kids all gone inside. My neighborhood here has a lot of kids: nine of them. They stay close to home so no yelling is necessary. I never hear a screen door slamming or a mother yelling.

Roller skates on sidewalks made a distinctive sound, a clacking sound. Those were the four wheel skates that fit over my shoes. They had a leather strap across the top of my foot and a front grip I tightened to my shoes using a key. Many times the skate fell off but only the  front part. Losing the key was the worst of all. There wasn’t any way to tighten the skates. I just had to hope someone else’s key worked.

So many other sounds are gone mostly without us noticing. Our world is quieter now. The phone makes little noise, no more dialing. The fridge hums. No snow appears on the TV. I can’t remember the last time I heard baseball cards attached to the spokes of bicycle wheels. How about olly olly oxen free? Where did that go?

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19 Comments on ““First a voice; then an echo. Then nothing.””

  1. flyboybob Says:

    Yes, times have changed along with the sounds of the era. The ice cream truck always had bells now they play music if they come around at all and there no sounds of cars back firing. Today if a car backfires everyone will hit the dirt thinking it’s a sniper attack. Today’s kids don’t play outside because they are all looking at their screens. They get their physical activity playing organized sports like little league, gymnastics or others. Parents spend hours hauling the kids from dance, to sports to whatever while the kids in the back seats stare at their iPhones.

    Today is sunny again with temperatures in the 90s. We had some thunderstorms roll through yesterday which is unusual for this late in July. One indicator of the global warming is that in the Southwest the night time low temperatures have been going up. Normally the temperature at 0700 when I go to work is about 75 degrees. This summer it’s been between 78 and 80 degrees.

    • katry Says:

      I haven’t even seen an ice cream truck in forever. One used to go by, but that was a long time back.

      Around here I don’t think a backfire would have anyone ducking. The kids used to play on the street, but I think they may be at camp. It has been pretty quiet around here: no bikes, no yelling and no whiffle ball. They do play soccer and baseball. The boy next door takes tae kwon do. Kids are busy.

      Today is still chilly though the sun has come out. Showers were forecasted, but we didn’t get any. Right now it is 68˚ and it will get cooler tonight. I have shut a few windows.

      • Bob Says:

        You’re right, I haven’t seen an ice cream truck for years either. Another sound that is gone is the sound of radial piston engine airplanes like the DC-3, DC-7 and Lockheed Constellation. During the 4th of July celebration in Addison Texas, a local aviation museum fly WWII warbirds around the area and the sound of those engines were common until the mid 1960s when the jet airplanes took over the skies.

      • katry Says:

        We had an ice cream truck which came late every afternoon. We’d all run home for our nickels to buy popsicles. Root beer and cherry were my favorites.

        You would notice the sound of the engines while I wouldn’t. Cape Air used to use prop planes to go to Boston. I did notice how different that sound was.

  2. Coleen Says:

    Melanie’s family is from Long Branch NJ. Her Dad was a piano player who had a regular gig on weekends at a local high end Italian restaurant. The place was owned by the Sirianni family, so hence the name – – Sirianni’s Friendly Cafe. Cloth tablecloths. Great food. Ate there many times. Unfortunately it no longer exists…

    Your thoughts on sounds that no one hears anymore brought to mind one family that lived on my street as a kid. ALL the Moms called their kids home and you could hear them all over the place. Mrs. Arpert chose to call her brood home a different way…

    To be fair, Mrs. A. had to call THREE kids at once – – Douglas, Debbie and Diane. She got tired of yelling and instead rang a bell. I can still hear it.


    Funny what you remember….

    Hope you and the animals are well…

    Waving from (a kinda hot) New Jersey,


    • katry Says:

      I didn’t know a thing about Melanie’s background. Cloth tablecloths are always an indicator of a high end restaurant, but I’m thinking they were iffy at an Italian restaurant with all that red sauce.

      That’s funny-ringing a bell for your kids. At least they knew it was meant for them.

      Sometimes I’m surprised by what comes out of my memory drawers.

      Fern is better but still not 100%. She takes 4 medications a day. Two of them were pills but I paid an arm and a leg for them as topical which you rub in her ear.

      Waving from a very cool Cape Cod!

  3. The day started out rather nice but now it has rained and the humnidity is high and the temperature a bit too high too. They predict thunder for tonight and tomorrow but they have only been right in thunder predictions once so far this year so I don’t have high hopes.

    It’s always quiet here and I have no idea what it sounds like in the towns and cities now days but back in the days we had the same sounds here but our toaster was the old kind that only toasted one side at a time and to turn the bread one had to fold down the side of the toaster so it could turn around. I have one of those popping ones now though so that is a sound I hear quite often though.

    Have a great day!


    • katry Says:

      We finally have sun, but it is still quite chilly. It will start getting warmer on Tuesday getting into the 80’s. We still need rain.

      When I was in Ghana, we didn’t have a toaster. We cooked on a small, round charcoal burner. To get toast first one side leaned against the side then you turned the toast to toast the other. Have a toaster oven.

      Enjoy your no work Monday!!

  4. William Sandford Says:

    How about the clicker clack of old typewriter keys and the bell which told you to “return”? Or mothers calling through the list of their kids and throwing the dog’s name in by mistake. There is an ice cream truck in
    my father in law’s neighborhood playing Joplin’s rag from “The Entertainer” all day. I would stick my head in the oven if I had to listen to that all day.
    Red Sox just won.

    • katry Says:

      That’s another sound I miss, especially the bell. My mother used to call us by her brother’s names as she used to babysit them.

      I’d go crazy too-I’d want the bell that our ice cream man, Johnny, had!

      I watched the game. Price finally pitched a great game. David is unbelievable!

  5. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    We had screen doors that closed themselves with a spring. They also had the little flippy wheeled dinguses at the top that were supposed to stop doors from banging so loudly and keep them closed. So each screen door banged once on the dingus as it opened, again on the dingus as it hit the first part of it and one last time as it hit the frame. I’m not sure that three slightly less noisy bangs were better than one big slam (or two if you door had good rebound). Screen doors nowadays have the same cylinders as storm doors and they suck the door closed silently.

    I have a toaster that pops and only has two slots. I don’t use it anymore. I use the counter top oven. It beeps loudly but it is still covered with crumbs as tradition dictates. 🙂

    You might consider investing in a small hand dolly to lug things like bags of soil. I have one and it has come in very handy for moving the AC unit and other things. They’re not expensive and they don’t take up much space.

    Today is a repeat of yesterday except that there is a breeze and the sky is darker. It did rain last night and that was good.

    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I’m thinking my mother would have loved those. My doors have all those thingies now so they close slowly and quietly. We always figured that we were shutting the door and not leaving it open. My mother never agreed.

      I have a toaster oven which also has lots of crumbs on the bottom. My cleaning lady de-crumbs it every couple of weeks. I use it to test bread for sandwiches and once in a while for breakfast toast.

      I think you’re right about the hand dolly. I usually have Lee, one half of my cleaning couple, haul stuff in when they come. For this Thursday I’ll get a 20 pound bag of litter to be hauled inside.

      We had the sun for a while, but it didn’t get any warmer. I didn’t get anything done.

      Have a great evening!

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