The Way Things Were

By: John Sminkey

One evening, a son was talking to his father about current events. He asked what he thought about the shootings at schools, the computer age, and just things in general.

The dad replied, "Well, let me think a minute...I was born before television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses, Frisbees and the pill. There weren't things like radar, credit cards, laser beams or ballpoint pens.

Man had not invented pantyhose, dishwashers, clothes dryers, electric blankets, air conditioners, and he hadn't walked on the moon.

Your Mom and I got married first, then lived together. Every family had a father and a mother, and every boy over 14 had a rifle that his dad taught him how to use and respect.

Until I was 25, I called every man older than I, "Sir" did, and after I turned 25, I still called policemen and every man with a title, 'Sir.'

In our time, closets were for clothes-not for 'coming out of.'

Sundays were set aside for going to church as a family, helping those in need, and just visiting with family or neighbors.

We were before gay-rights, computerupting, dual careers, day-care centers, and group therapy.

The 'Ten Commandments', good judgment and common sense governed our lives.

We were taught to know the difference between right and wrong and to stand up and take responsibility for our actions.

Serving your country was a privilege; living here was a bigger privilege.

We thought fast food was what people ate during Lent.

Having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with your cousins.

Draft dodgers were people who closed their front doors when the evening breeze started.

Time-sharing meant time the family spent together in the evenings and weekends-not condominiums.

We never heard of FM radios, tape decks, CDs, electric typewriters, yogurt, or guys wearing earrings.

We listened to the Big Bands, Jack Benny, and the President's speeches on radio. I don't ever remember any kid blowing his brains out listening to Tommy Dorsey.

If you saw anything with 'Made in Japan' on it, it was called junk. The term 'making out' referred to how you did on your school exam.

Pizza Hut, McDonald's, and instant coffee were unheard of.

We had 5 & 10-cent stores where you could actually buy things for 5 and 10 cents. Ice cream cones, phone calls, rides on a streetcar, and a Pepsi were all a nickel. And if you didn't want to splurge, you could spend your nickel on enough stamps to mail 1 letter and 2 postcards.

You could buy a new Chevy Coupe for $600, but who could afford one? Too bad, because gas was 11 cents a gallon.

In my day, 'grass' was mowed, 'coke' was a cold drink, 'pot' was something your mother cooked in, and 'rock music' was your Grandmother's lullaby.

'Aids' were helpers in the Principal's office, 'chip' meant a piece of wood, 'hardware' was found in a hardware store, and 'software' wasn't even a word.

We were not before the difference between the sexes was discovered, but we surely were before, the sex change, 'Billy has two mommies' and pornography in a home and at newsstands. And we were the last generation that was so dumb as to think a lady needed a husband to have a baby.

No wonder people call us, old and confused and say there is such a generation gap.

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