Working Mothers vs. Stay At Home Moms

Women who raise a family as well as work in a job outside the home are called Working Mothers. This gets the dander up of the ladies who raise children and do not work an outside job as well. After all, taking the responsibility to care for a household is just as much work, if not more, than going to a job and getting paid for it.

Technically, my father was the breadwinner in the family while mom stayed at home, washed the dishes, cleaned the house, did the laundry, made our lunches and babysat those who were too young to venture out to school. Somehow, they made enough to live on while sending their five kids to private school and the accompanying tuition costs. They didn’t buy their own place until my father was 45 but it was paid for and still under my mother’s control.
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My First Airplane Flight

By Larry Teren

If you were born in the 1970’s or later, there is a chance you don’t remember much about your first airplane ride. You were a kid or maybe even a baby. I, who  was born when Truman still had a couple of months left in his presidency, didn’t go higher than the thirtieth floor of a skyscraper until after I graduated college.

In the 1950’s and 60’s, flying was relatively expensive. It was mostly for business travelers or those who had money to burn and needed to get somewhere quickly. The rest of us either took a train or went by car. If you don’t count taking a commuter train or the Chicago Rapid Transit (yah, sure) , I’ve never, ever been on a train to go from one city to another.

My first flight was in 1978 to go to a resort in the Catskill Mountains in upper state NY. In those days, the FAA did not prevent air traffic over the downtown areas of major cities. I requested and got a window seat. I remember as we were still rising, floating maybe ten thousand feet in the air, that I looked down over the Merchandise Mart along the Chicago River marking the northwestern edge of the Loop.
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I’m Just an Old School Guy, What About You?

“Old school” or “New school”? What does that mean?
My nieces and nephews call me “old school” and they’re probably right.

I guess I’m old school because I went to one. Back in the 1950’s and 60’s, my grammar school was housed in a decrepit ancient mansion that could have passed for the Munster’s home. They remodeled it by the time I got to second grade bringing it up to code including overhead fire sprinklers in every area of the building. This was not too long after a famous fire in a Chicago Catholic school where several kids lost their lives.

My parents moved our family out of the neighborhood before the start of school in the fall of 1968. The school had already closed for good the previous June. Within a couple of short years, the building is demolished due to urban renewal and a monstrous multi-story school administration building now sits in its place.

There is something called an old school of thought as wells as a new school. The old school of thought tells me to eat whatever I want because I am going to burn it off in a few nights of athletic contests over the following week. The new school of thought warns me that even looking at the food is going to cause me to gain weight.
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You Phone but I don’t iPhone

I bet that if you are under 30, you do not have the newspaper delivered to your place of residence unless you still live with your mommy. Nor do you go to a drug store or supermarket to buy the paper. If you want to read what is going on, you pull out your iphone or blackberry and read it online. Or, you sit at your computer at work or home, go on the internet and surf news sites.

Now, tell me that I am wrong. Of course, you could be old-fashioned and actually read a hardcopy of your favorite newspaper. As for me, the old fuddy duddy- I no longer subscribe to a paper or even buy one at a store. The only time I pick one up is when I go to my parent’s house or a friend’s. Otherwise, I get my news fix by going to the least objectionable website that gives me the news, sports, whatever.

What do I mean by “least objectonable”? I’m not talking editorial content and persuasion, but how long it takes my browser and internet connection to bring up the site and click into the information. I have no patience for wading through screens that take awhile to load with a whole bunch of ads. Nor do I want to wade through tens and even hundreds of comments that are most likely spam and not relevant to the purpose of the article just read.

Back in the 1950’s and 60’s, there was no internet and like everyone else, I had to wait to get a hold of a newspaper to see a boxscore of a sports event, or even the latest installment of a comic strip. I’d go to a corner newsstand which was a wooden shack. The city of Chicago permitted these and licensed them out. My mother would sometimes send me to go get the paper and I would take a slow walk back home, sure to read the entire sports section. Otherwise, I would not get to see the paper so quickly as I was a low man in the pecking order.

The newsstand owner was protective of his investment and probably the payoff he had to give to city officials to protect his “cash” business. His stand stood just outside a drug store at the corner of Central and Madison in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago. The drug store was allowed to sell newspapers only when his stand was closed up for the day.
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Baby Boomers vs. GenXers Comfortable Shoes vs 42 inch Plasma TV

I’ll take a pair of comfortable Rockport shoes over a 40 inch flat panel tv.

What would you rather have, a huge plasma or LCD TV or a nice pair of walking shoes? I guess it depends on how old you are, right? In the 1970’s and 80’s, when I was in my twenties or thirties, I didn’t give much thought to shoe comfortability. And the big thing for me in those days was buying my first portable 16 inch color tv. All those tv shows that I had seen in boring black and white now came to life in “glorious living color”, as the promo ran on NBC.

When my favorite shows were in black and white, I concentrated on the plot. Nothing to distract me. With color, I spent more time looking at the clothes the actors wore and the background scenery on such shows as The Love Boat and Fantasy Island.

It didn’t matter to me about the size of the picture. But, to Gen-Xer’s or what ever they call the people who are supposed to give me their seat on bus, it’s a different story. That is, the tv story is not so important, it’s how they watch it. Like other unmentionable things, it’s all about size. This person has a 40 inch set, that one a 50 inch, and so on. Tv is no longer a bulky device that sits on a special table. It’s like a picture that hangs on the wall. Instead of looking down, you look straight out. Hmmm… maybe when the younger folk get to my age, they won’t have sagging chins.
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Garfield Goose vs. South Pacific

By Larry Teren

We were simple six year old boys looking to show off at our school talent show. Perry convinced me he had a great idea, and it did seem so at the time. I got my Andy Warhol abbreviated ten minutes minutes of fame imitating Frazier Thomas, the fat amiable host of a  very popular television show in Chicago for kids called Garfield Goose.

The goose was a puppet who could not talk but made a hard clomping noise by dropping his long beak down on the lower jaw. There were also double-take looks and other expressions that were well known to the viewing audience.  Continue reading “Garfield Goose vs. South Pacific”

Pulaski Road and Madison Street or a Trip to the Dentist

By Larry Teren

In the 1950’s as well as for a good part of the 60’s, the heart of the business district of West Garfield Park in Chicago is the corner of Pulaski Road and Madison Street. Madison Street is one long commercial strip inside the city limits running from Michigan Avenue at the lakefront all the way west to Austin Boulevard. From there, it becomes part of Oak Park and other suburbs further west. Pulaski Road is 4000 west or at the five mile mark from State Street in the heart of the loop. Madison Street today is still seven miles of mostly small storefronts, warehouses and office buildings.
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Hello world!

Welcome to Baby Boomer Stories. This is our first post.

I am at that magical age where I am too young to get Medicare benefits and be put out to pasture but old enough to remember when you had one telephone in the house or apartment. It was colored black and was in the kitchen so that the lady of the household got to monopolize it. And it was a party-line, which meant that your family shared the connection with other people. If you picked up the phone and heard them talking, you got off and waited to try again when it was free. It was considered bad manners to listen in. If they were still on the phone ten minutes later when you checked again, then you asked them to kindly stop yapping.

That’s what this blog is all about- memories of things I did and saw as well as thoughts and opinions on how they affected my growth. Notice I didn’t say maturity because that is something that is still a work in process.

You are my party-line. Come back often and listen in as well as give me your experiences. As my father used to say, “There’s a coffee pot on the stove. Come on over for a cup and we’ll chat.”