Yesterday, I passed my 21,184th day of life and I am fortunate enough to still be counting. This got me to think about what I have seen during that time:
- The cheapest I remember gas being was 31¢ per gallon. When I started driving, it was 36¢. In 1973, due to the Arab oil embargo, it shot up to 86¢ per gallon. In 1979, President Carter deregulated gasoline prices and they went up drastically afterwards.
- My first ‘job’ was delivering the Newton Daily News newspaper at the age of 9. I had a route that covered 10 blocks. If I remember correctly, I made in the neighborhood of $20.00 per month. After delivering newspapers, I graduated to pumping gasoline at a gas station (we called it a service station back then) at the ripe old age of 12. When I hit 14 I was able to work in restaurants bussing tables for the fantastic wage of $2.50 per hour.
- On Sundays, the only things open were gas stations. Families went to church together, spent the day together, and often ate meals with their extended families.
- The ‘remote control’ for the television was the youngest person in the room that could walk. The television in our house was this huge television, stereo, record player combination that was black and white only. The cabinet was made of wood (real wood), had sliding doors for in front of the picture tube that could be closed when not in use, and the access to the AM/FM stereo and record player had sliding access panels on top. We bought our first color TV we got shortly before the last lunar landing in 1972, but then the landing was televised in black and white. That first console television we had weighed over 100 pounds. Now, a television with the same sized viewing screen would we less than 20. I purchased my first color television with a wireless remote control in 1982 and thought that was a big deal!
- 1972 was the first episode of the show M*A*S*H also. That TV program ran until 1983. The ironic part was I missed a lot of the episodes from 1979 to 1983 because I was stationed in Korea where MASH was depicted to have taken place. Other television shows promoted the family as a two parent household without swearing nor sexual connotation.
- We went as a family to see the movie “Bambi” in 1966 at the local theater and it cost $4.00 for the admission of all five of us. Now, to get into the theater it would cost about $50.00.
- Telephones all had lines connecting them not only from the wall, but also a cord from the handset to the base. If you were on the phone, you were limited by the length of the cord, which for the most part was about three feet in length.
- When the weather was nice, we were expected to be outside playing after our homework was done. When it was bad, we would draw, color, or play games together inside like the infamous ‘Hide the Thimble’.
- We used reel to reels to record voice and music and the recorder sucked in sound quality.
- We listened to music on 45’s and LP’s (vinyl records). It was a big deal with the 4 track and 8 track stereos started being produced that were pretty quickly replaced by cassette tapes that held the market for quite some time before being replaced by CD’s.
- Cameras had to have film in them to take photographs and if you took a bad shot, when you had your film developed and printed, you got a bad picture back.
- Home security was not an issue back then. You could go to sleep with your windows open and not worry about anything.
Do I miss those days? I sure do. But I guess that is no different than young people today will look back on now and talk about how good it was way back then.