The years seem to race by. One minute, we’re cruising through school with hardly a care in the world, and the next minute we’re married and raising kids. And then, in what seems like the very next minute, those same kids are leaving home.
What follows may be rather nostalgic for you and it might also prove an eye-opener in terms of time perspective.
How old is grandad?
One evening a grandson was talking to his grandfather about current events. The grandson asked his grandfather what he thought about the horror of assorted shootings, the many miracles of the computer age and things in general.
Reflecting back, the Grandad said: “Well, let me think a minute. I was born, before television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses, Frisbees and the pill. There was no radar, credit cards, laser beams or ball-point pens. Man had not invented pantyhose, air conditioners or dishwashers. My gosh! There wasn’t even a clothes dryer. The clothes were hung out to dry in the fresh air. Imagine. And you know what, man hadn’t yet walked on the moon.
“Your grandmother and I got married first and then lived together. Interesting concept, eh? Every family had a father and a mother. Until I was 25, I called every man who was older than me, ‘Sir,’ and after I turned 25, I still called policemen and every man with a title, ‘Sir.’
“We were before gay rights, computer dating, dual careers, daycare centres, 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 our actions.
“Serving your country was a privilege and living in this country was a bigger privilege. We thought fast food was what people 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.
“Yes, things were different. Time-sharing meant time the family spent together in the evenings and weekends — not purchasing condominiums. We never heard of FM radios, tape decks, CDs, electric typewriters, yogurt or guys wearing earrings who were not storybook pirates. When I was your age, we listened to Jack Benny on the radio, and the Lone Ranger, and later we heard the beginnings of rock and roll.
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 Hut, McDonald’s and instant coffee were unheard of. We had Five- and 10-cent stores where you could actually buy things for five and 10 cents. Ice cream cones, phone calls, rides on the bus 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 one 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, and ‘pot’ was something your mother cooked in. ‘Chip’ meant a piece of wood, ‘hardware’ was found in a hardware store and ‘software’ wasn’t even a word.
“And we were the last generation to actually believe that a lady needed a husband to have a baby.
“No wonder people call us ‘old and confused,’ and say there’s a generation gap.”