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View Poll Results: Your Generation
Millennial 1977 - 1992 6 2.76%
Generation X 1965 -1976 32 14.75%
Younger Boomer 1955 -1964 102 47.00%
Older Boomer 1946 -1954 68 31.34%
Silent 1937 -1945 8 3.69%
GI Generation (before) 1937 1 0.46%
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Old 12-19-2014, 04:44 PM   #41
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My Mom was always afraid that I would surely "put someone's eye out" so I could never have a BB gun.
Same here, Mom was afraid (probably justifiably so) of what I'd do with it. So the best I could do was a wrist rocket slingshot (I think that's what they were called) and steel ball bearings. I did enough damage with that.
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Old 12-19-2014, 04:53 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by unclemick View Post
As a child I remember 1949 A Christmas Story and being consumed with lust and longing until I finally did get my Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.

There were a few other events in my 71 years 1943-2014 I vaguely noticed in passing.

heh heh heh - Yes I too almost put my eye out!
My brother (with my BB gun) missed a kid's eye by a fraction of an inch and the BB went behind the kid's eyeball. I saw and heard the whole thing: "Don't move or I'll shoot!" Smooth move, Ex-Lax.

I don't know how much came from the homeowner's insurance policy and how much from my Dad's bank account, as it was swept under the family rug, covered by the family code of silence. The funny thing was that my brother was the dull, good kid and I was the black sheep...and I never shot anybody.
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Old 12-19-2014, 05:29 PM   #43
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I was born in '72... Generation X here... definitely the coolest sounding of all the current generations.
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Old 12-19-2014, 06:00 PM   #44
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I was born in '72... Generation X here... definitely the coolest sounding of all the current generations.
Same year for me. And yes, we win on generation name clearly. Perhaps I will reread my copy of Coupland's novel now...

Interestingly, the novel notes on the inside of the cover say: "Finally... a frighteningly hilarious, voraciously readable subtle to the generation born in the late 1950s and 1960--a camera shy, suspiciously hushed generation known vaguely up to now as twentysomething."
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Old 12-19-2014, 06:25 PM   #45
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I never gave it a thought that anyone might not know what a clinker was...

A little more here than meets the eye. It also occurred to me that people might not know what "coke" is.... We grew up with it, and here's the story.

We lived in Pawtucket RI, and our kitchen "gas stoves" and some furnaces were powered by manufactured gas. Here's a page that explains manufactured gas, with some pictures of the "Blackstone Valley Gas and Electric Company"... which we could see from the 4th floor of our High School.

MANUFACTURED GAS PLANTS - Tidewater Site, Pawtucket, RI

The gas that came to our homes was extracted in a heat process, from coal. After the gas was extracted from the coal, the chunks of coal became porous. These "rocks" were called coke, and still could be burned in home furnaces.
The coke was hard to burn, and required periodic stoking to keep it burning. When the coke "rocks" didn't burn through,and turn into ashes, the pieces that were left, were called clinkers... The furnaces had moveable grates that had to be shaken with a large handle. The ashes went into the bottom of the furnace, to be taken out with a shovel, and spread out in the dirt driveway alongside the house. When the solid "rock" that didn't burn, bounced around in the grates, it would "clink".

Something more that you didn't need to know: We had a choice of what to burn in our coal furnaces. The best coal was called "Blue Coal" The most expensive and hottest burning coal. Next was Anthracite, which was regular coal, and the people like us, who couldn't afford either, bought "Coke"... the least expensive.

My dad worked nights, before he left for work, he would "bank" the furnace... meaning he would fill the burner with fresh coal... In the early AM when he came home from the mill, he would empty the ashes... If there was a clinker, it had to be removed by shaking, breaking or hammering with a poker. Not easy, resulting in the kind of language seen in "A Christmas Story"... My dad never swore at all. The only bad word he ever used was "little bugger" and I'm quite sure he never knew what it meant.

Fond memories...
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Old 12-19-2014, 06:41 PM   #46
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West Coast late boomer here. We had a gas furnace. Knew about coke when learning about oil refining in organic chemistry in college, as well as from my dad. Never knew it was used as a cheaper version of coal (so to speak) My parents were teenagers during WWII, but waited to have kids, so we fell into the boomer category. I've seen other polls defining baby boomers as being born before 1961, but this poll puts them in a different category.

I'm old enough to remember the 1968 assassinations, not to mention the riots that caused my dad to go a different way to get to work to avoid them. I remember watching the moon landing on TV. So cool that it happened in the summer. I remember it especially because it was my cat's birthday.
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Old 12-19-2014, 07:37 PM   #47
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I never gave it a thought that anyone might not know what a clinker was...

A little more here than meets the eye. It also occurred to me that people might not know what "coke" is.... We grew up with it, and here's the story.

We lived in Pawtucket RI, and our kitchen "gas stoves" and some furnaces were powered by manufactured gas. Here's a page that explains manufactured gas, with some pictures of the "Blackstone Valley Gas and Electric Company"... which we could see from the 4th floor of our High School.

MANUFACTURED GAS PLANTS - Tidewater Site, Pawtucket, RI

The gas that came to our homes was extracted in a heat process, from coal. After the gas was extracted from the coal, the chunks of coal became porous. These "rocks" were called coke, and still could be burned in home furnaces.
The coke was hard to burn, and required periodic stoking to keep it burning. When the coke "rocks" didn't burn through,and turn into ashes, the pieces that were left, were called clinkers... The furnaces had moveable grates that had to be shaken with a large handle. The ashes went into the bottom of the furnace, to be taken out with a shovel, and spread out in the dirt driveway alongside the house. When the solid "rock" that didn't burn, bounced around in the grates, it would "clink".

Something more that you didn't need to know: We had a choice of what to burn in our coal furnaces. The best coal was called "Blue Coal" The most expensive and hottest burning coal. Next was Anthracite, which was regular coal, and the people like us, who couldn't afford either, bought "Coke"... the least expensive.

My dad worked nights, before he left for work, he would "bank" the furnace... meaning he would fill the burner with fresh coal... In the early AM when he came home from the mill, he would empty the ashes... If there was a clinker, it had to be removed by shaking, breaking or hammering with a poker. Not easy, resulting in the kind of language seen in "A Christmas Story"... My dad never swore at all. The only bad word he ever used was "little bugger" and I'm quite sure he never knew what it meant.

Fond memories...

Great story, and very educational. Thanks for sharing it.
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Old 12-20-2014, 08:48 AM   #48
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We had BB guns, and bows, and even a Marlin .22 bolt-action rifle, a prize for selling the requisite amount of Christmas cards...

No one lost an eye, though I was shot in the kneecap once with a CO2 BB pistol. Yep, it hurt...


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Old 12-20-2014, 09:19 AM   #49
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I never gave it a thought that anyone might not know what a clinker was...

A little more here than meets the eye. It also occurred to me that people might not know what "coke" is.... We grew up with it, and here's the story.
Grew up in Chicago, and one of the first "complicated" things I remember reading was the envelope in the mail that said: "People's gas, light and coke company".

Me: "Mom, why do we get Coke with our gas bill?"
Mom: "Let me tell you what coke is..."

There still was a lot of coal in Chicago up to the early 70s. We had gas, but the neighbor's 6 flats had coal. 1/4 of the basement was a coal room. The trucks opened trap doors which they dumped the coal right in. Fun to watch.

But MORE fun was going down to the boiler room (only under supervision from my friend's dad) and watching him bank and clear clinkers. "Bank" in this case meant piling a mound of coal at the business end of a long auger, into the coal pile.

It was awesome! Awesome! I think things like this helped drive me to a technical career. The automatic auger would pull the banked coal right into the boiler. The whole thing was extremely dangerous for a child, hence why we could only go there under supervision. You could lose and arm or leg. We occasionally would help pile at the top of the auger, especially if there was a "cavern" trying to develop.

All in all, very cool. It wasn't long though, that it all got converted to gas. The coal rooms then became play rooms. I shudder slightly at that thought, but I think they hosed down the dust. The walls were still black.
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Old 12-20-2014, 09:27 AM   #50
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You guys bring up some other things we late boomer, early Xers miss:

- Our bb guns were dumbed down. Most had little springs in them. I think the big pump actions still existed, it was just that Mom would make sure to buy the wimpy one.

- Fireworks. Well on their way to being illegal many places. I drooled at the stories dad and uncles had about their cherry bombs.

- Legal drinking. Just missed that legal 18 year old window in my state.
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Old 12-20-2014, 11:06 AM   #51
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Anymore West Coasters? I remember our Boy Scout Troop used a church basement. So - rent was we had to shovel periodic loads of sawdust into the bin for the church furnace.

heh heh heh - you don't see sawdust much anymore .
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Old 12-20-2014, 11:14 AM   #52
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I remember my father had to shovel coal into the furnace back in St. Louis in the 1950's and 1960's. The coal was delivered by a big coal truck that emptied it into a chute that went directly into the coal room. We kids were forbidden to go into the coal room or furnace room as this part of the house was considered to be too dirty and dangerous for little kids. I don't think the furnace was ever converted before 1965, when the house was sold since we just weren't living in it during most of prior years.
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Old 12-20-2014, 11:47 AM   #53
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Imoldernu,
Thank you for explaining banking coal/coke. Our family was from coal country, mom and dad "escaped" post WWII as soon as possible. Their new house was oil heat, they were so happy to get away from coal heat, coal cracker country, and life around the mines. I remember going there as a little kid, dad would always bank the coal for GP's while they were still on their own. The kids were never allowed down to the furnace/coal bin area.

Do you know how manual fed furnaces were "banked"? I remember dad talking about auger fed and manual. Later in life I saw the auger fed type and thanks to your description that makes sense. But how is a manual fed coal furnace banked?

Yes, I did Google that topic but am still a bit confused. Thanks.

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Old 12-20-2014, 01:36 PM   #54
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Anymore West Coasters? I remember our Boy Scout Troop used a church basement. So - rent was we had to shovel periodic loads of sawdust into the bin for the church furnace.



heh heh heh - you don't see sawdust much anymore .

My paternal grandparents used reject wooden shoe heals from a shoe factory in an adjoining town for fuel.


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Old 12-20-2014, 01:42 PM   #55
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This thread is starting to make me feel young. And it is appreciated.
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Old 12-20-2014, 02:00 PM   #56
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Y'all are making me realize how good we had it. Oil-fired hot water heat in the winter, intact roof overhead, indoor plumbing, hot water, three meals a day, new shoes in the fall, and so on. And back then I thought we were poor because we couldn't afford new bicycles.
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Old 12-20-2014, 02:10 PM   #57
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My paternal grandparents used reject wooden shoe heals from a shoe factory in an adjoining town for fuel.


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Good use someone's waste is heat.

We used to cut up slabwood all summer had huge pile at the mill. Couldn't give the stuff away in the summer. Winter time $3.00 a pickup load you load, grocery money. Couldn't keep up with the demand. We'd deliver to a few older people in town mostly just throw it down their coal chute. A whole pickup load $15.00. We'd hold back some for the regular customers, they didn't have the money for coal. We didn't make any more by delivery, helped a few folks that couldn't afford to pay more. Again just grocery money for us.

The truck a '47 Dodge. Heater didn't work, on one side the widow was out, the other side wing window was out. Doggone cold at 5F.

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Old 12-20-2014, 02:13 PM   #58
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Same here, Mom was afraid (probably justifiably so) of what I'd do with it. So the best I could do was a wrist rocket slingshot (I think that's what they were called) and steel ball bearings. I did enough damage with that.
Was that a Whamo slingshot?

By far the most ironic thing to come out of all of this "No Red Rider BB gun" episode for me is that I went into the US Army at age 20 and spent a number of years in the infantry (including a couple of tours in Vietnam) where I was required not only to carry an M-16 rifle, but to often fire it at other people on a regular basis.
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Old 12-20-2014, 02:28 PM   #59
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Was that a Whamo slingshot?
Probably was, I remember they advertised a lot.
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Old 12-20-2014, 02:55 PM   #60
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Same here, Mom was afraid (probably justifiably so) of what I'd do with it. So the best I could do was a wrist rocket slingshot (I think that's what they were called) and steel ball bearings. I did enough damage with that.
Oh, yes. A wrist rocket slingshot with steel shot probably packs much more energy than the BB gun your Mom nixed. And with glass marbles. . . I can't believe they still sell them without some sort of waiver/registration/fingerprinting.

For the uninitiated, a "wrist rocket" slingshot is like a normal slingshot but for two features: it uses long surgical tubing as the bands for storing the energy and (most important) it has a padded brace that wraps over the top of the wrist that lets the user comfortably pull back a lot harder. The speed with which the projectile leaves the sling is very impressive.
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