Whatever Happened to…


While washing my wife’s Jeep, I was grumbling about all the nooks and crannies on her wheels.

The lug nuts are recessed in these little holes and are next to impossible to clean.

Then I remembered my first car.

A 1958 Chevrolet Biscayne, a four door “tank” with dual headlights that always rusted out.

Chevy called the paint color of my prize and joy “Cay Coral” which is an exotic way to refer to a god-awful shade of pink.

But what really made that car stand out were those “baby moon” hubcaps.

Those shiny chrome covers covered the lug nuts and gave that barge of a car a sense of glitter and glamour.

Freshly waxed, those “baby moons” shone like beacons.

It was probably what I liked best about my old Cay Coral ’58 Chevy.

So whatever happened to “baby moons”?

Are they still in the J.C. Whitney auto parts catalog?

It used to be the Bible for young car owners “back in the day”.

Whatever happened to…Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips?

We had one in my home town of Mansfield, OH.

I think it was on Park Avenue West near Kingwood Center.

Arthur Treachers had a great fish sandwich.

I learned the chain started Columbus, OH in 1969 and by the late 70’s, the eateries included more than 800 restaurants in the country.

There might be a handful of them yet today.

The namesake, by the way, was part of the old Merv Griffin TV show.

Whatever happened to…princeton haircuts?

It was the rage back in the mid 60’s.

The crew cut and butch  haircut set of that era could keep the sides “high and tight” but we let the bangs grow long to provide a midwest Beatles’ look.

Today’s princeton doesn’t have the “white sidewalls” look that we sported.

I recall a photo of a band I played in back in those days.

Several of us sported those nifty princeton-do’s.

We were also decked in in short-sleeved white shirts, black slacks and another long-forgotten fashion trend…black turtle-neck dickies.

Whatever happened to…fake turtleneck dickies?

I think the last time I saw anyone wear one was Cousin Eddie in the “Christmas Vacation” movie.

(It’s a “must see” Christmas classic for our family.)

Fake turtleneck dickies are still available on-line if you want that turtleneck sweater look without the investment of an actual sweater.

Whatever happened to…liver soup baby food?

When my sisters were but mere tots and my Mom would buy jars of baby food for them, I developed a taste for something called “liver soup”.

Mom kept buying it for me long after she quit buying baby food for my sisters.

I don’t know why I was so fond of liver soup because I’ve never been a fan of actual liver.

Whatever happened to…dimmer switches?

Remember dimming the high beams for approaching traffic by tapping that button on the floor of your vehicle?

Now I suppose some enterprising automotive engineer thought moving that function to the steering column made a whole lot of sense.

But, I never remember turning on my windshield wipers while attempting to dim my high beams back in the day.

And while we’re in the car…

Whatever happened to…wing vents?

I was so excited when we bought my wife’s Jeep and it actually had tiny windows that looked a lot like wing vents, except they didn’t move.

I’m sure the quest for greater aerodynamic autos doomed the wing vent  and with air conditioning almost standard these days, the wing vent had ridden off into the sunset.

But directing that stream of fresh outside air into the vehicle, even in the heat of summer, gave us a “faux air conditioning”  feel.

It also used to direct the occasional horsefly or bumblebee into the passenger compartment, too.

Whatever happened to…Burger Chef?

Long before Mickey D’s and Burger Kings ruled the fast food world, we had Burger Chef.

There was one atop Ashland Road hill in Mansfield, OH that we frequented.

The chain started in 1954 in Indianapolis and by 1973, there were over 1,000 Burger Chefs in the states before the last one closed in 1996.

We learned of the adventures of Burger Chef and his youthful sidekick, Jeff.

Paul Winchell was the TV commercial voice for Burger Chef.

There was the Funburger and the Funmeal and we were introduced to characters like Burgerini, the magician, Count Fangburger, the talking ape Burgerilla and Cackleburger the Witch.

There were riddles, puzzles and small toys included.

Burger Chef took McDonald’s to court later when the “golden arches” came out with “Happy Meals” but Burger Chef lost that legal tussle.

Burger Chef used to have a weekly fish fry and that’s when out older daughter Nikki bit into a lemon wedge while sitting in the high chair.

Her puckered face nearly collapsed into itself.

Whatever happened to…City Chicken?

I seemed to remember our family buying this delight from Town and Country Foods which used to deliver frozen foods to customers.

This “chicken on a stick” was probably the precursor of today’s chicken nuggets.

I used to chuckle because my Dad used to refer to pigeons as “city chickens” and I hoped that was’t what our parents were feeding us!

Whatever happened to… PF Flyers?

I guess they’re still around.

The “PF” stood for “Posture Foundation” and when my Mom got me a pair, I swore I could run faster.

PF Flyers were one of the country’s original sneakers.

But another one of my childhood memories still makes cameo appearances at Cracker Barrel Restaurants.

Cloves gum.

My Dad always seemed to have a pack handy and I snuck a few pieces as a youth.

Frankly, I thought it was horrible-tasting.

But these days, it seems to evoke memories of a simpler time when I find a pack at the checkout.

It’s a better chew when I don’t leave the pack in my pants pocket when my wife does the laundry.

Then I get chewed out.


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