I was born before television, before penicillin, before polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, plastic lenses, Frisbees, jet aircraft and the pill. I was here before radar, credit cards, split atoms, laser beams and ballpoint pens; before pantyhose, dishwashers, clothes dryers, electric blankets, air conditioners, drip dry clothes, and even before man walked on the moon.
My wife and I married first and then lived together and had children. How quaint can you be?
In our time, closets were for clothes, not "coming out of." Rabbits were small bunnies _ not small Volkswagens. Designer jeans were scheming girls called Jean or Jeannie, and having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with your cousins.
We thought fast foods were what you ate during Lent and outer space was the back of the Riviera Theater.
We were before house-husbands, gay rights, computer marriages. We were before day-care centers, group therapy and nursing homes. We never heard of FM radios, tape decks, electric typewriters, artificial hearts, word processors, yogurt and guys wearing earrings. For us, time sharing meant togetherness _ not computers or condominiums, a word that didn't exist. A chip meant a piece of wood; hardware meant hardware and software wasn't even a word.
In 1940, "made in Japan" meant "junk" and the term "making out" referred to how you did on an exam. McDonald's and instant coffee were unheard of.
We hit the scene when there were 5 & 10 cent stores where you could actually buy things for a nickel or a dime. The Connor Stores sold ice cream for a nickel or a dime and sherbert in a "push up" cup for 2 cents or 4 cents. For a single nickel, you could ride a street car or bus, make a phone call, buy a 12-ounce Pepsi or enough stamps to mail one letter and two post cards. You could buy a new Chevy Coupe for $800, but who could afford one? A pity, too, because gasoline was only 12 cents a gallon.
In our day, cigarette smoking was fashionable and people who didn't smoke didn't constantly complain about those who did. Grass was something you mowed, Coke was a soft drink and pot was something you cooked in. Rock music was the lullaby your grandmother sang while trying to put the baby to sleep and AIDS were helpers in the principal's office. Feminine products were prepackaged in plain brown wrappers, not advertised on national prime time television.
We were certainly not before the difference between the sexes was discovered, but we were surely before the sex change (we made do with what we had and enjoyed the mystery of it all). We were the last generation that was dumb enough to think that a husband was needed to have a baby. We must be pre-historic!
Is it any wonder we are so confused? What with new words added to our language, like palimony and creative financing. Maybe this is why there is such a new condition called the generation gap today. In our time, the generation gap was the distance between our dad's right foot and our posteriors and the faster he closed the gap, the better we all were for it.
- Our guest columnist is a retired schoolteacher who lives in Pinellas Park.