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Monday, 27 September 2010

The “Good Old Days?”

By Mickey Rogers of This, That and the Other

As far as my son Todd is concerned, his “old man” grew up during an era not much different from that of the Neanderthals and the wooly mammoths. In fact, when it comes to technology, he believes that the years between 1950 and 1968 were truly the “dark ages.“

Todd does gave me credit for being tough; he admits that he couldn’t survive the summer months without the aid of air conditioning. Granted, some folks “back in the day” had air conditioning in both their cars and their homes, but in our house we survived the hot summers with open windows, fans, and cold drinks. The only “air conditioning” Dad’s car had was when we rolled down the windows.

“Primitive” is the term Todd most often used when I explained that we somehow survived without computers, cell phones or video games. He just couldn’t understand that the children of the ‘50s and ‘60s actually had fun doing things together.

I described how, hour upon hour, we neighborhood kids played basketball, football, softball, board games and even games that we invented. He was not impressed.

However, the most “primitive” part of my childhood, according to my son, centered around the TV set. “Back in my day,” I explained, “we had a grand total of four stations,and until the mid-sixties, we watched each show in glorious black and white.”

“Black and white sucks,” Todd remarked.

“So does our vacuum cleaner, so what’s your point?” I sarcastically countered.

“Dad,” he replied,” if that’s a sample of humor from your childhood days, then that sucked, too.”

Unfortunately, I couldn’t think of a clever rejoinder. “Of course, we only had one television set,” I continued.

“You’re kidding me!” he exclaimed. “So what did Grandpa do while you watched your favorite shows?”

“Actually, we kids could only watch what we wanted until Dad got home from work. After supper, we had the choice of watching what he chose or finding something else to do.”

“Wow! I’m glad I didn’t have to watch your junk! I could only take too many Bonanza reruns!”

“Hey! Watch it!” I half screamed. “That was a good show! While we’re on the topic of TV, let me tell you this: back then, if you wanted to change channels you had to actually get off your backside and turn the knob.”

“Is that what you call those things on the front of the set? “ he asked. “I’ve noticed them, but I had no idea what they were for.”

“Listen, son,” I continued, “We didn’t have all the technology that you grew up with, but we had fun.”

“It sounds like life was pretty rough, Dad,“ the young one observed.

“You don’t know the half of it, son; I had to walk barefoot ten miles to school, no matter what the weather was like, and it was uphill both going to the schoolhouse and returning home.”

“I don’t believe you, Pop!” Todd laughingly replied.

“Well,” I responded weakly, “as you can see, without all those doodads we had time to develop our imaginations.”

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Great story about how things used to be and father-son relatioships.
Well done!

When my brother and I watched television in 1948 he used to pay me 25 cents to stand next to the TV and hold the antenna so he got a better picture.

You are right, Mickey, I did develop a wonderful imagination standing there thinking of the many ways I could spend my fortune.

Todd wouldn't believe that some of us didn't even have TV. The radio was the form of entertainment we had to put up with. I was a mother of a 4 year old before TV even came to our town.

Great story written with a delicious sense of humor.

You forgot only one phone with a short cord hard wired to the house, that had to be dialed. Sit the kid down before he faints at that idea!
Yep, and we had a pet dinosaur named Rex.

No electric, no phone, no running water, no bathroom inside, no central heat--in the summers at my grandma's farm; a little more than that in the winters. And a windup Victrola--try that on him! Huh? What's a Victrola?

When I try to explain to my grandchildren that we did not have any of the electronic "stuff" when we were going up, they look at me as if I must have lived on another planet. They want to know what did we do - they can't imagine.

Wonderful perspective. I predate you enough that you'd probably think my childhood was primitive. :-) I remember penny postcards, and regular mail was 3 cents. We got two mail deliveries a day. Of course, that was modern for my Dad.

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