Musings > I Am Old Enough To Remember...

Stumbling Down Memory Lane As 50 Approaches
17 Jul 2005

I Am Old Enough To Remember...

...Want Ads stating "Help Wanted: Male" or "Help Wanted: Female". Replying to an ad of the wrong gender was a waste of time, as you would be laughed (or cursed) out of the Personnel Office (as they once were called).

...Mothers leaving their kids with a "sitter", because there was no "day care". This was still a foreign concept when I was well into my teens, and a major demand from the "Womens' Movement".

...The Womens' Movement. Women insisting it be "ok" for a woman to work outside the home because she WANTED to, not just because her husband was a layabout. The jeers at the "women who wanted to be men". The justifications for paying women less than men for the same work.

...Having to ask for a Private Line from "THE PHONE COMPANY"; otherwise you would have to be on a Party Line.

...When there was only one PHONE COMPANY, you leased your phone (and THEY fixed it when it broke), & yes, I remember Party Lines (and was on one for a time).

...When you dialed (yes, DIALED) 5 numbers, the first 2 being shown as letters which stood for words. Our phone number for my first 13 years was HAzel 6-6584. Later, we had to dial (or tone), 426-6584. Now we have to tone in the area code, too. The area where I grew up is on its 3rd area code.

...Being excited about seeing a JET fly overhead, as opposed to the usual "prop" plane.

...Hearing (and feeling) sonic booms, as jets from the fairly near (approx. 50 miles) Naval Air Station would try to fly ever faster. Maybe they could out-fly the Russians when they invaded.

...Duck & Cover. This was how we would survive a nuclear blast from those same Russians (never referred to as Soviets). We were taught how to hide under our plywood desks & cover our heads. Later, it was determined it was better for us to go in the hallway, face the cement block walls while crouching & THEN cover our heads. If we were walking to or from school when the blast occurred, I guess we would have been out of luck.

...The day President Kennedy was assassinated. We all cried because we thought he was wonderful (all the girls had crushes on him), & our parents were upset. On the television there was talk of the Russians taking the opportunity to finally invade. Sorrow & terror combined.

...Walking alone through the woods, or to school, the store or a friend's, without a laundry list of instructions & warnings. "Don't talk to strangers" & "Don't get into the car of anyone you don't know" were enough.

...Spending each day in school without ever ONCE having even thought of someone coming in & shooting everything & everyone in sight. The biggest menace was in Junior High when the boys discovered spit wads.

...When all the dads had HiFi Equipment & God forbid you go near it. When Stereo came along, it was required that you give those junky monaural LPs to the less fortunate, lest they ruin the "needle" of your fancy new equipment.

...When you could buy food from the grocery store & eat it without worry. Perhaps that was just mass innocence, or maybe it was because "quality" was still considered important.

...When "Made In America" was a promise & not just a slogan.

...When "heroes" were people of character & not just famous. When "character" was an admirable trait & something for which to strive.

...When seeing "celebrities" on TV was an event, & they weren't there to tell all about their latest affliction (in the name of "honesty" ).

..."Glamour" was a tangible quality & "dressing up" was expected when going out in public (for famous & not famous alike). Gloves & a hat were required accessories for women.

...15 minute television programs. No kidding. As I recall, the lunchtime programming on Ch 2 (Chicago) was 15 minutes of news, followed by the Lee Phillips Show at 12:15 (she & her husband later went on to create The Young & the Restless and The Bold & the Beautiful) & then Search For Tomorrow at 12:30. Since I had to be back at school at 12:30 (I was usually late), I'm not sure if Search was also 15 min. at one time? Doesn't matter - it's long gone.

..."Brand X" This was the competitor of whatever was being advertised. Advertisers could say whatever they wanted against a competing product, so long as it wasn't mentioned by name. It was about the time that names started being named that discretion went out the window in all aspects of society. Too bad.

There are more, but I will stop for now. I will be turning 50 on my next birthday & have to remind myself of this. In my head I am still 23. It's when I make an offhand remark about something from "my younger days" (such as jet sightings being uncommon) to someone in their 20s or even 30s & get a look of disbelief in return, that I realize there's a lot of past in my past.

For which I am grateful.

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