When you had a run in your nylon stockings and you took them to a lady who repaired them by picking up the thread and reweaving it.
When you had your threadbare winter coat taken apart, turned inside out, buttonholes closed up, and voilà you had a new coat.
When mornings the milkman came by and blew his horn so you could take your container down for him to fill.
When pasta and sugar were sold in little paper cornucopias.
When gas was short and you had to line up at the few gas stations which still had fuel.
When the baby carriage for your first (and second) born son was a hand me down.
When diapers were cotton and washed “after use.”
When you grated apples to feed your baby and dissolved a triangle of cream cheese (Nestlè formaggino mio) in the soup with pasta in the shape of stars or the letters of the alphabet.
When you were frowned upon if you didn’t wear black stockings when you were in mourning.
When an osteria was still an osteria where the men came evenings to play cards and have their glass of wine.
When first-grade students still wore smocks – white for the girls with a pink bow, black for the boys with a blue bow.
When you turned the collars of your husband’s shirt front to back when they were threadbare.
When you chose a fabric and then went to the seamstress for a new blouse.
When you took pictures of your children with a real camera and black/white film which was then developed and printed.
When you wrote letters by hand, or maybe on a typewriter, and it took ten days for them to arrive and then ten days to have an answer.
When you had a young woman from the country to help in the house and she referred to you as her “padrona”.
When it was spring cleaning time and you emptied out the wool from your mattresses, washed it and dried it in the sun and then put it back into the washed mattress cover.
When your mother-in-law carried around a brazier with burning coals to keep warm in winter.
When you used embroidered cloth envelopes for your napkins, or silver napkin rings.
When there were only a couple of channels on your TV and the female announcers were never allowed to show their cleavages.
When one of the best TV programs was It’s never too late, teaching illiterate Italians to read and write.
When not everyone had a TV set, and for the soccer matches the Italians would gather in the bars to cheer a game and you could hear them a block away when their team scored.
When the bed-time stories for your children were the TV ads called Carosello.
When the phone was on the wall in the entrance and you dialed a number or raced to take the phone off the hook.