The Way Things Were
"My son and I were talking about current events the other night. He
asked me what I thought about the shootings at schools,
our immoral President, the computer age and just things in general."
I replied; ..."Gee, let me think a minute...................I was
born before television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox,
contact lenses, Frisbees and the Pill.
There weren't things like radar, credit cards, laser beams or
ball-point pens. Man had not invented pantyhose, dishwashers, clothes dryers,
electric blankets, air conditioners and he hadn't walked on the moon.
Your father and I got married first - then lived together. Every
family had a father and a mother, and every kid over 14 had a rifle
that his dad taught him how to use and respect.
Until I was 35, I called every man older than me 'sir'; and after I
turned 25, I still called policemen and every man with a title,
'sir.' In our time, closets were for clothes, not for coming out of.
Sunday's were set aside for going to church as a family, helping
those in need, and just visiting with your neighbors or doing
We were before gay-rights, computer dating, dual careers, day-care
centers, and group therapy. Our lives were governed by the Ten
Commandments, good judgment and common sense. We were
taught to know the difference between right and wrong, and to
stand up and take responsibility for your actions.
Serving your country was a privilege, living here was a bigger
privilege. We thought fast food was what you ate during Lent.
Having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with
your cousins. Draft dodgers were people who closed their
front doors when the evening breeze started. And time
sharing meant time the family spent together in the evenings and
weekends, not condominiums.
We never heard of FM radio, tape decks, CD's, electric typewriters,
artificial hearts, word processors, yogurt or guys wearing ear rings.
We listened to the 'big bands', Jack Benny and the President's speeches
on the radio. I don't ever remember any kid blowing his brains out
listening to Tommy Dorsey. If you saw anything with 'Made in
Japan' on it, it was junk. The term 'making out' referred to how
you did on your school exam. Pizza's, McDonald's and instant
coffee were unheard of.
We had 5 and 10 cent stores where you could actually buy things for 5
and 10 cents. Ice cream cones, phone calls, rides on a street car,
and a Pepsi were all a nickel. And if you didn't want to 'splurge,'
you could spend your nickel on enough stamps to mail a letter and two postcards.
You could buy a new Chevy Coupe for $600, but who could
afford one. Too bad, because gas was 11 cents a gallon.
In my day 'grass' was mowed, 'coke' was a cold drink, 'pot' was
something your mother cooked in, and 'rock music' was your
Aids were helpers in the Principal's office, a 'chip' meant a piece of
wood, 'hardware' was found in a hardware store and software wasn't even a word.
We were not before the difference between the sexes was discovered,
but we were surely before the sex change, 'Billy' has two
mommy's, and pornography in a family home and at newsstands. And we
were the last generation that was so dumb as to think you needed
a husband to have a baby.
No wonder people today call us old and confused, and there is such a
generation gap. .....and I'm only 52!!!