Summer of 1957, I am four years old, my sister has just turned six. We are outside playing with other kids. (Yeah, back then you can play outside away from in front of the house without supervision) For whatever reason, sis says to me, “you’re stupid.” Taking it in, digesting it in my young mind, I quickly determine that it is not a compliment. I reply back to her, “no I’m not.”
She immediately comes back with, “yes you are.” In one of my earliest attempts at using the ‘best defense is an offense’ strategy, I turn the tables and start saying, “shut up, shut up, shut up.” Using the classic Jackson Boulevard greeting, she finally says, “go away, crybaby.” Continue reading “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking”
Most baby boomers, I would think, remember that during the 1950’s and 60’s cars had noticeable changes in body design from year to year. Americans took great pride in being able to tell the model number and year of an automobile just by looking at it.
I recall the time I ran home from school when I was eight years old and proudly told Ma that I saw a 1964 car. She said that I couldn’t have because it was only the fall of 1959. I tried to argue that my friend said it was a 1964 car. She said that he probably said it was a 1960 Ford car. (Alright, you had to be there.) Continue reading “Handle With Car(e)”
Recently a college age friend told me about a school project he was required to do and asked me to participate. Specifically, he wanted to interview me about what it was for a baby boomer to grow up on television while the medium itself was being created. I told him that television as we know it started in 1947 and that I was not old enough to appreciate being entertained by it until the late 1950’s, several years past the birth pangs. Nevertheless, I was willing to cooperate and be interviewed. Continue reading “Baby Boomer Television Memories without a VCR”
All baby boomers remember that when a stranger didn’t like how we were behaving, he or she would call us a “juvenile delinquent”. It also didn’t help a boy to dress in a weird way or to comb the hair back in a duck-tail. That was the ‘hoodie’ look of the 1950s and early 60s. Normal boys had crew cut hair styles. But, if you looked like a punk, you were a juvenile delinquent or greaser. Clothes make the man. Appearances count. Yada, yada, yada. Continue reading “Whatever Happened to Greasers?”
I don’t have a smartphone but my cell phone isn’t dumb. After all, when it is powered on, it displays the day of the week, the date and time. It can also take pictures and make videos of events taking place in my presence. It can send an email. I’ve been told that if I am willing to pay extra, my bland flip style cell phone can even receive emails. If I didn’t have that doggone carpal tunnel syndrome in my right hand, I’d probably even take advantage of text messaging and receiving instant messages. I even think that a gps system has been burnt into the cell phone so that law enforcement officials can find out where it is hiding if my cell phone tries to run away. Yes, I’d say my little buddy is a pretty electronic smart dude.
Are you old enough to remember watching first-run television programs in which the daddy came home from work every night wearing a suit and tie? Jim Anderson (Robert Young) of Father’s Knows Best, an insurance agent, always dressed up unless it was the weekend. He would rarely be seen in only his shirtsleeves but at least wearing a sweater. The same usually went for Mr. Cleaver (Hugh Beaumont) on Leave It To Beaver.There was also always the sartorially splendid Bentley Gregg, played by John Forsythe on Bachelor Father.
Remember the Simon and Garfunkel song “Where have you gone Joe Dimaggio” from the late 1960’s? It was sort of an anthem for baby boomers weighing in on the changing of the guard from the 1950’s rock and roll culture to the hippie drug craze. Dimaggio retired from playing ball with the New York Yankees in 1951 after a World War II shortened career grabbed away some reachable goals in the annals of baseball records. He had another fifteen minutes of fame in the mid-50’s as one of Marilyn Monroe’s husbands. Joe kept his iconic status burning in the 60s and 70s with Mr. Coffee commercials as well as the annual trek to Monroe’s grave site to lay a garland of flowers on her tombstone.
Baby Boomers were raised in an era when smoking was still socially acceptable. It wasn’t until 1964 that the Surgeon General of the United States came out with the warning linking cigarette smoking to cancer. Most smokers shrugged their collective shoulders and ignored the dire message. Not Ma- she quit smoking an occasional drag of a cigarette cold turkey. She claims today that she only smoked when Uncle Henry brought her gift packages. Dad was a pipe smoker and quit smoking earlier than 1964 when one day he almost swallowed the pipe while making a sudden stop in his car. Continue reading “Cigarette Kisses”
There gets to a point in life when I say, “why bother?” Especially if it means traveling. I hate getting into the car and going onto the expressway, fighting to not be outmaneuvered by other drivers traveling 10 to 15 miles an hour over the speed limit. No, I’m not that old a fuddy-duddy who drives 10 miles an hour under the limit. I cheat, too, but not as much. Sometimes I get the feeling as if I’m in competition with a whole bunch of Mario Andretti’s.
My (precious) car is kept in an underground heated garage in the condo where I reside. To get to it, I either take an elevator down 4 floors or walk to one of the stairways and trek down the same 4 levels (and it beats walking up those same four flights, let me tell you). Then I get to the car, back out of my assigned stall, press the garage door opener and hope no one is flying down the entrance/exit ramp. Continue reading “You Take The High Road, I’ll Take The No Road”