John Grindrod: Life is retro, when something old is new again

By John Grindrod - Guest Columnist

Few bow in reverence to the past more deferentially and as often as I do. Case in point would be my addiction to my most watched TV station, TCM, and the movies I remember from my childhood when I first realized one day that I was destined to like girls a lot, in other words, the first time I saw Rita Hayworth.

Several weeks ago, during my monthly customer-service rep business trip to Southwestern Ohio to the Rio Grande-Gallipolis area, I found myself passing a table at a health fair with several promotional items from a medical center, free for the taking.

Since, like many out there, one of my mottos in life is, “If it’s free, it’s for me,” of course, I looked over the items. One, in particular, intrigued me because it took me back well over 50 years ago to my St. Charles days.

Not wishing to overstep my bounds, I eschewed the pens, tote bags and daily planners with the name of Holzer, the medical center, on it, and selected instead a rubber change holder. Slightly different in configuration than the one I remembered my pals and I carried in our pockets which contained our four cents for a morning carton of milk and roll after daily Mass and our 30 cents for our mid-day plastic pale green lunch trays with their depressions for fruit, veggie and entrée, and maybe an additional nickel to spend on the after-school bike ride home at The Equity for some honest-to-Almighty penny candy, the current version is shaped like a heart, I suppose, appropriate for a medical center. However, back in the early 1960s, we called them change footballs because they were pointed at both ends, and, well, of course, we weren’t about to call them change purses!

However, the idea is the same. Regardless of the configuration, both have a slit running lengthwise, so when you hold it in your palm and squeeze, the slit opens to the coins.

Of course, like the ball glove of my youth, the rubber coin holder must be broken in, by pinching the ends several times to enhance the pliability factor and to promote its opening in a convex fashion.

Now, for me, the free acquisition of the coin holder not only was a chance to revisit my youth but also to help me with a practical matter.

You see, as the master of all my domestic duties as a single man, I’m a weekly launderer. Despite the fact that I see myself as a reasonably intelligent fellow, the number of times I’ve had to dig through hot and clammy loads in the dryer to find the source of that annoying banging, the unmistakable sound of change encountering the cylinder that comes when dimwits forget to void their pockets of all their contents, is flat out embarrassing.

However, in the few weeks since I’ve been employing the change holder, I haven’t had to go fishing for coins once! Consider this a public-service announcement to my fellow laundry-dim-witted dudes!

Now, my reintroduction to my past got me thinking about the possibility of other items of my yesteryears that might be making a comeback into my life. Hmm…

How about the back-pocket comb, as I recall the flashing of that accoutrement by Arthur Fonzarelli of “Happy Days” fame? Ahh, I don’t think there’ll be a need for that. A couple open palms across the wings of a classically horseshoe-bald man just about covers the grooming aspect of the above-the-forehead part of the noggin.

What about a tie clasp, something I haven’t thought about in years and something my father, a salesman of steel and copper wire, wore every single working day?

Well, there’s really no need for that now, since my teaching days are over. Back then, I did wear a tie pretty much every day, using the double Windsor knot that was one of the earliest lessons my father taught his only son. However, the jobs I now do, as a field rep for Mid-American Cleaning Contractors and as a freelance writer and editor, certainly don’t require a cravat. I’m guessing the next time you see me in one, I just may be lying down at Chiles-Laman.

I suppose as time passes, we tend to phase out what once we thought indispensable, but then, there are those rare moments when something from long ago reemerges, like my change purse, ahh, holder. And, each time I pull it out, say at Rays or Meijer, and pinch the ends of that heart. it always makes me smile (although I do wish it was shaped like a football)!

By John Grindrod

Guest Columnist

John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at

John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at

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