More and more often I’m reminded of my age.
Seems there’s a new ache or pain every week.
It is rare that someone says something that makes me realize I’ve experienced things some never will.
But, once in a while, it jumps right off the page and slaps me in the face like it did this weekend on Facebook.
A former co-worker posted a poem on his page, and as always, I tried to think of something to say. I was at a loss, so I simply commented “Burma Shave.”
A few notifications his reply came; “I had to google Burma Shave.”
Yeah, that was a wake UP!
So, for all you whipper-snappers out there today we’re talking about Burma Shave and the way things were when traveling by car was an adventure.
First a little business:
Burma-Shave was introduced in 1925 by the Burma-Vita company. His original product was a liniment with ingredients that came from “the Malay peninsula and Burma.” No one cared, the owner needed to make some cash, so he looked for ways to expand his business.
The outcome was Burma-Shave, a brand of brush-less shaving cream. Oh yes, back then, it was shaving soap, and it was in a mug, and you used a brush to slather it all over your face. Burma Shave was in a can, and at its peak was the second highest selling brush-less shaving cream in the US.
One of the reasons for its popularity was it road side advertising campaign which consisted of “series signs” spaced along the highways.
The first one in Lakeville, Minnesota was put UP in 1926 and they were roadside staples until 1963, when they became a casualty of Lady Bird Johnson’s beautification project.
The signs imparted knowledge such as “The Place to pass on curves you know is only at a beauty show” Burma-Shave.
That’s right, each series of sign ended with Burma Shave and there was no question who was paying for the ads.
Most were funny:
Candidate says campaign confusing, babies kiss me since I’ve been using Burma shave.
Some were serious:
Violets are blue, roses are pink on graves of those who drive and drink – Burma Shave.
They all reflect a time that seems in retrospect innocent, and a time that is past.
Now, at 70 MPH on most highways, signs are a blur.
But I miss the signs of my childhood, I miss the advice and the laughs they provided.
Do you remember your favorite Burma Shave slogan?
Here’s one of mine.