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Wednesday, Apr. 16, 2014

My how things have changed

Posted 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.

Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at schneider.nick@gmail.com or nschneider@gcdailyworld.com .

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-- Posted by Norlin on Wed, Jul 1, 2009, at 5:54 PM

Great memory-evoking article. I especially enjoyed the discussion about discipline in "the old days". I can remember, clearly, the principal's wooden paddle and I, too, got more of the same when I got home. I remember disrupting class (by talking and giggling which would be no surprise to those that know me) and being made to stand, in front of the class, on my tiptoes, with my nose in a circle on the blackboard...humiliating, yes, but very effective. In those days, we had stern discipline (at school and home), prayer, and the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance everyday; I never remember anyone bringing a gun to school, hit-lists or drug dog searches. Teachers were respected as were parents. The world was not perfect but it was a whole lot better behaved! A perfect sign of the changed times, for me, is a recent addition in front of North Daviess High School-a littering of crosses with a sign that says they represent the lives of those affected by the abuse of meth. The first time I drove by this display, I remember thinking that when I grew up, in an era when pot was the worst of substance abuse, things were not so bad and not nearly as horrifying as what lurks around every corner now. And, by the way, a good old fashioned whipping never hurt anybody.

-- Posted by givsuhll on Wed, Jun 24, 2009, at 8:51 AM

I enjoyed your mentioning Parental Discipline in the "Old Days". And actually surprised, with "political correctness" and all. I am also surprised some one has not been on here telling you what an evil person you must be, for your saying it.

Boy, does that parental discipline ever need to brought back into our society. I saw a manager in Walmart the other night literally tell about a half dozen or more, 15-16 year old's to leave the store, not once, but twice, because they were acting like they did not have a brain in their head. All they did was mock her. It was a sad display.

I know there are still good kids out there, but schools are a mad house anymore, kids ( and I mean clear down to the little ones) know you can't do anything to them and they take full advantage of it too.

-- Posted by FTM on Mon, Jun 15, 2009, at 1:59 AM

You're old, Nick.

-- Posted by Gene Hall68 on Sat, Jun 13, 2009, at 9:07 PM

Nice memories. I still have my Brownie camera.

I was raised close enough to Indy to pick up WIFE 1370 radio station AM on my transistor radio.

We also thought we were pretty cool when we fastened playing cards to our bikes with clothes pins to make an engine sound.

-- Posted by cow rancher on Sat, Jun 13, 2009, at 8:55 PM

I miss the Good Ol' Days of Common Sense, before the days of Political Correctness and Zero Tolerance.

-- Posted by anon on Sat, Jun 13, 2009, at 8:46 PM

Great, Nick. You've got that dang Tim McGraw song in my head. Thanks a bunch.

-- Posted by JugRox92 on Sat, Jun 13, 2009, at 7:02 PM

Great article Nick. I can certainly relate to those times also. The best times of my life and I might add we never considered taking God out of school or anywhere else. This is one of the real problems we have in this fast pace society we have today I believe.

-- Posted by #1LakerFan on Fri, Jun 12, 2009, at 10:39 PM

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