Too often I find myself writing about how much better things used to be. Well, think about it. Radio was so great! We used our imagination, didn’t we. We listened to baseball games and tried to picture what those “high fly balls” looked like. We envied the cheering throngs because they got to see the games while they took place.
But then, how terrific was it to watch the Super Bowl a few weeks ago on a huge, huge screen with High Definition that made you feel you could intercept a pass right in your living room.
The good old days included eating dinner with my family and chatting about what we had done that day. That was really great wasn’t it, except for the fact that we were eating canned vegetables, most of which, particularly spinach, were like eating pond slime.
There was no pizza, no yogurt, no bagels, no English muffins, no decaf or fat free anything. No salads in the winter.
Heating up a can of soup in the microwave sure beats spending all day making chicken broth. We ate liver because it was cheap and good for you and our parents forced us. Now it’s expensive and bad for you and our parents wouldn’t touch it. We ate creamed salt pork and corned beef hash, lots and lots of eggs, some of which we ate raw in eggnogs, and soothed our digestion by puffing on Marlboros. Yep, the good old days.
Washing diapers by hand in a big bucket was not better than tossing disposables into the garbage. Sheets smelled wonderful after being dried outside on the line, that is if it was a decent “drying day.” But if it rained or froze, we could just imagine a machine that would toss them around while blowing dry hot air on them
Traveling to visit grandparents, five kids and two parents packed in a car for 10 hours on a two-lane highway, was not better than 1-91.
When there was snow on the ground, there were snow shovels; when the grass needed cutting there was a push lawnmower. No snow blower. No extra wide power mower.
Cameras had film and flashbulbs that blasted off in your face and you could only use them once.
Shirts were ironed; socks were darned; Cobblers repaired shoes.
When it was suffocatingley hot, there was always a fan. Air conditioning was for movie theaters.
Postage stamps cost 3 cents and letters took forever to get anywhere. Air Mail cost more than regular.
Long ago I had a job where I worked out math problems on a slide rule and carefully hand-lettered the results onto a big chart. I wrote down the values obtained from aviation gauges and printed them neatly on a special kind of paper. When there were extremely complicated problems, members of my department would rent time on “the computer” at Yale University. Our mathematicians would carry punch cards to New Haven and feed them into the huge monster machine. Today the whole operation, from beginning to end, is performed in a split second and includes results printed up on a multi-colored graph and beamed to someone in California.
The “good old days” weren’t always that good.