Tonawanda News

Opinion

February 16, 2013

Fondness for days gone by

Tonawanda News — Valentine’s Day is past but my regret is that we were unable to find a bag of Conversation Hearts — those chalky-tasting treats with messages of love and friendship. After stopping at four drugstores, two supermarkets, a party store and Target, it finally dawned on me the company must have quit making them. My daughter found a bag of what looked like Conversation Hearts, only to find the hearts were hard candy and flavored by color: yellow, lemon; orange, orange and so on. She gave them away. Then the other day, small boxes of Conversation Hearts were in the candy aisle at Tops. Unfortunately, they were the same as the ones my daughter found — hard candy. Maybe next year or maybe never.

•••

Speaking of things gone by, an email reminded us of the old Burma Shave signs. If you’re too young to remember them, here’s the history of these iconic signs from the 30s through the 50s.

Before there were interstates, when everyone drove the old two lane roads, Burma Shave signs would be posted all over the countryside in farmers’ fields. They were small red signs with white letters. Five signs, about 100 feet apart, each containing one line of a four-line couplet — and the obligatory fifth sign advertising Burma Shave, a popular shaving cream.

Here are a few of the actual signs:

DON’T STICK YOUR ELBOW

OUT SO FAR

IT MAY GO HOME

IN ANOTHER CAR.

Burma Shave

DON’T LOSE YOUR HEAD

TO GAIN A MINUTE

YOU NEED YOUR HEAD

YOUR BRAINS ARE IN IT

Burma Shave

DROVE TOO LONG

DRIVER SNOOZING

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT

IS NOT AMUSING

Burma Shave

HE SAW THE TRAIN

AND TRIED TO DUCK IT

FIRST KICKED THE GAS

AND THEN THE BUCKET

Burma Shave

Now tell me you didn’t at least smile at some of these.

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