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Adam Helmer 08-27-2008 04:15 PM

Old Sears Catalogs
Last weekend I visited a friend who never tosses anything out. The 84-year-old has a house that would double as a museum. He inheirited his grand parent's home from his parents and the family has lived there for over a century-get the picture?

As we sat in his living room chatting I noticed a big, thick Sears catalog from 1955. It was in as good condition as the 1954 and 1956 Sears catalogs nearby. The Sears Christmas Catalogs were also there to go with the year's catalogs. There were also Montgomery Ward's catalogs nearby. I looked through the 1955 catalog and was amazed at the rifles, pistols, shotguns and ammunition Sears used to sell. I saw ads for Winchester Model 70s in assorted calibers, Colt M1911A1 pistols and ammo ads with the advice, "Order your shotgun shells in conjunction with your friends to defray shipping costs."

Yes, they were the Good Old Days.......


GoodOlBoy 08-27-2008 04:29 PM

But Adam! What about all the school shootings and terrorist acts back then! We are staying safer aren't we??


Yep those were the good old days buddy. May we see them again someday.


Adam Helmer 08-28-2008 02:07 PM


You raise a good point about those old days. In 1961, I was 16 years old, passed my driver's license test and had a 1949 Chevy that I drove to school and parked in the student lot because I had an after-school job. In October and November, my 12 gauge J.C. Higgins pump shotgun and hunting coat were in the trunk of my car. I worked on a farm after school and shot pheasants when I could.

Now days a swat team would surround my car and "toss me" if they thought a gun was in my car trunk on school property. Are we saver than in 1961?


BILLY D. 08-28-2008 05:27 PM

When I was a kid I used to take a 22 Rifle to school strapped across the handle bars of my bike so I could squirrel hunt on the way home from school.

Sister Mary Albert the principal let me put it in her office closet.

I can't tell ya how many school shootings there were in 1948. Well I could, there were none in Dayton Ohio.

We were more worried about the important things in life; was Cleveland going to win the the American League Championship?

Or Geez, I hope I don't have to serve 6:30 Mass on Sunday.

Best wishes, Bill

Catfish 08-28-2008 06:55 PM

When I was in high school I think every boy in the class had a knife in his pocket. Those of us that lived on a farm had to have one for twine strings ect. and those who didn`t live or work on a farm carried one any way. I rember takeing a .22 revolver to school to use a a prop in a play, we didn`t use fakes for props back then. ;)

Adam Helmer 08-29-2008 09:02 AM


I always had a pocket knife in school. I am now a sub for the local high school and have to leave my pocket knife at home on days I teach. In culinary arts (Home Ec) they had dozens of knifes of all sorts. In art class we have lots of pointed scissors and in shop we have pointed metal scribes that would double as a "shiv" in the local jail.

Leaving my pocket knife at home does not reduce the number of sharp things at the local school.


GoodOlBoy 08-29-2008 10:23 AM

I graduated High School in 1993 and even just that far back we had guns in our pickups for hunting. During hunting season every guy in high school wore their hunting clothes, and hunting knives to school. We would sign ourselves out at noon, go hunt over lunch, then come back and sign ourselves back in. If one of us actually got a deer we would take it down to the ag building , hoist him up on the aframe we used for pulling engines and help the guy butcher and package it during ag class.

We had a school shooting that year. The priciple came and got be because a cottonmouth had a teacher cornered in the womens bathroom (She was standing on a windowseal a good six feet off the floor) and the sheriff was a half hour away. I shot the bugger with the shotgun outa my truck and then hauled him outside. Was danged near deaf for a month setting off a 2 1/2 inch 20 gauge #6 in that concrete bathroom. But the snake was dead, the teacher was safe, and I didn't have to repair the toilet that cracked from ricochetted pellets. Toilet was older than me anyway, it needed to be replaced.

Man it will never be that good again. . . . .


Adam Helmer 08-29-2008 12:02 PM


Congradulations on bagging that cottonmouth. That was THEN and this is now: Before you fired that 20 gauge, you would need to file an environmental impact statement for the lead contamination. Second, you would be given "Sensitivity Training" by some "Green Group", per court order, about the values of reptiles and the need to peacefully co-exist. Of course, the shotgun would have to be destroyed as "fruits and instrumentalities of the crime."

Give me the good old days, anyday.


Larryjk 08-29-2008 05:35 PM

Old Sears Catalogs
If the old Sears catalogs were lying around, they must have had indoor plumbing before that date!
My high school algebra teacher had me stop by his house after school and gave me a Polish Radom 9mm he carried in place of his 1911 45acp in WWII. Said his twin boys were getting into everything and he didn't want them dragging the pistol around the house. I was 17 at the time. Today, they would place him in jail immediately for giving that 9mm to an impressionable boy. Of course, it wasn't the only pistol I owned among the other long guns.
Most of the "country" vehicles had a firearm locked inside. We hunted on the way home and ran trap lines on the way to school.
Those were the good times.

Adam Helmer 08-30-2008 09:24 AM


Back in 1961, Mr. Caskey, our 11th grade history teacher gave my twin and me a Steyr M1895 8mm straight pull rifle. He had no ammo for the rifle. As I recall we took it home on the school bus at 3:40 p.m. at the end of the school day.

I would like to see that done today.


DogYeller 08-30-2008 01:05 PM

Adam, about that same time I was Quail hunting with my Chemistry teacher. I would bring my shotgun to school, on the bus and check it at the office. When school was out we would get in an hour or two of hunting. I wish my typing teacher had been a hunter.

Larryjk 08-31-2008 12:40 AM

Old Sears Catalogs
Adam, The year was about 1955 for me. I remember the teachers name and he also taught chemistry. He was a bonifide WWII hero.; got the Silver Star. He was a forward observer and got trapped behind enemy lines. He and a partner were in a foxhole under a brush pile and the Germans set up a command post around them. They called in fire on their location and caused a rout of the Germans. Unfortunatley, his partner was killed by their fire. That teacher is one I always respected and never gave any crap. We very affectionately called him "Pop". In college, had another instructor I got to know very well that had been a tank commander and had a couple shot out from under him. He also had a "Star" for pulling his crew out of a tank before it blew up. Those guys just did what they had to do; that was the way both of them explained it. They didn't take time to think about the consequences. How could you not respect them?

Hoyt 02-16-2014 06:45 AM

Only thing I remember about the old Sears catalogs was how slick the pages were..some of the worst wiping material ever used..but can't remember an outhouse without one in it...if you were lucky.

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