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Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013
My how things have changedPosted Monday, June 15, 2009, at 10:11 AM
When you cross into my age group -- just a short leap into the senior citizen category and a few steps away from full-blown senility, you spend a lot of your time remembering how things were back in the "good old days."
I'm not sure why, but these days, my mind seems to be perched in a rocking chair on memory lane thinking back about the way it all was.
I was born in 1953 -- a year before the first televisions were marketed for commercial use and long before we knew anything about cable and satellite television channels, pay-for-view, high definition, DVRs, DVDs, Blue Ray, split screens or even a color television signal.
I remember the Schneider household didn't get our first TV box until about 1961 when I was in the first grade. It was an ugly looking thing with a tiny square screen that didn't hardly measure more than 14 inches across. Of course, it was a black and white floor model, but we were proud of it.
I was also born before frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses, Frisbees and the birth control pill.
And yes, that was before pantyhose, credit cards, dishwashers, clothes dryers, underwire bras, air-conditioners, drip-dry clothes, hand-held blow dryers, Botox and microwave ovens.
It was a time when Sunday Mass was still recited in Latin and closets were for clothes, not for "coming out of."
It was also a time before gay rights, same-sex marriages, computer dating, the Internet, day-care centers, interventions, group therapy or that darned class basketball system in the state of Indiana.
Parental discipline was also much different in the "old days."
With my mother, there was no part of discipline that included anything that resembled this modern-day "time-out" stuff that I hear about from the "younger" generation.
With her, it was quick justice and she was the prosecutor, judge and the jury. There was no due process, testimony or excuses. When you messed up, you expected to have the seat of your pants warmed up and it was wasn't from a sudden change in the temperature outdoors.
She wasn't mean or abusive, but when you crossed that disciplinary line that she had drawn clearly up, you just knew there were going to be consequences to be paid.
In my household that usually involved being dispatched with haste to the backyard in search of what my mother would consider a proper sized "switch" from that old maple tree.
And guess what, if you were sent to the principal's office at our school, you knew you were going to get a few licks from the wooden paddle and they didn't worry about a lawsuit. And, when you got home you got another whipping.
As a kid, I never heard of bottled water, FM radio, CDs, video games, electric typewriters, PCs, laptops, artificial hearts, the words "fat-free" on any kind of food items, word processors, text-messaging, yogurt, and guys wearing earrings.
We still had a party telephone line. We only made long distance calls on Sunday evenings after 9 p.m. and cellphones were not even imagined.
In our time, "Made in Japan" usually meant junk, time-sharing referred to togetherness -- not condominiums, thongs were worn on your feet, a "chip" meant a piece of wood, hardware really did mean hardware, and software wasn't even a word yet.
We hit the scene when there were still 5¢ and 10¢ stores, where you could actually buy things for a nickel or a dime.
The first summer I got my driver's license, gasoline sold for 25 cents a gallon for regular and Ethyl (a higher octane grade) sold for 32 cents a gallon.
There's an old country song that has a line that I'll always remember.
It goes like this: "When gas was 25 cents a gallon, love was only 50 cents away."
Now how true is that?
Whatever happened to those blinding flashbulbs, Brownie Hawkeye cameras and those pop-in film cassettes?
Do you remember your favorite TV shows and characters like Timmy and Lassie, The Ozzie and Harriet Show, Sky King, Tarzan, I Love Lucy, Leave it to Beaver, the Ed Sullivan Show, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Captain Kangaroo or Howdy Doody?
And remember in our day, "grass" was mowed, ""pot"" was something you cooked in, "Coke" was a soft drink and AIDS were helpers in the principal's office at our school.
My how things have changed.
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