Thinking Back

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Joined
Sep 1, 2003
Messages
5,239
Location
Richmond Texas USA
I know that there are a lot of you on here that feel the same. I was born in March-1943 and grew up in the best of times IMHO. Not the most financially best of times BUT good times.

I started thinking about our world today, on this Fourth of July, and how it all seemed so alien to me.
Then it dawned on me why: Literally EVERYTHING has changed.
I don't mean just a few things. I mean everything. Think about all the things that we took for granted that today's kids would think were totally bizarre.
Examples:
When I was a boy everyone smoked cigarettes, pipes, or cigars. Nonsmokers were oddities.
Ash trays occupied literally every flat surface. Decorative lighters and cigarette boxes were classy, and filled with a variety of cigarettes like a modern day box of chocolates.
The world was a very smelly place. People bathed weekly, cars spewed oil smoke, and the foundries, fields, and tanneries stank.
In this environment, cigarette smoke was like perfume. Which is why no one thought smoking "stank".
Classy rich women wore skinned, dead animals. Edgier rich women wore fur coats with the animals' heads still attached.
No, really!
Shoe stores had X-ray machines. Acne was treated with X-rays and blasts of ultraviolet light from "sun lamps".
The sun tan oil we wore ACCENTUATED and amplified the sun's rays!
Trains went everywhere, from everywhere. And you could catch an airliner from airports that were smaller and close to home.
Seat belts may have been present, but we still slept in the back windows of moving cars. Car radios were AM, which back then played something other than talk radio and Tejano music.
Busy intersections had a real, live person directing traffic. He didn't die.
Pipes were wrapped in fire-proof asbestos insulation. As it deteriorated it looked like snow.
We cleaned our model train and race tracks with carbon tetrachloride on a rag. We poured iodine and mercurochrome in cuts. If you needed to be knocked out by a doctor, he held a rag soaked with ether on it over your face until you passed out.
There were Army tanks in our Fourth of July parades. And people dressed up for the parades.
Teachers and principals were allowed to hit us. Parents supported them. If you got in trouble at school you knew it was going to be even worse at home.
We had our first beer in grade school. It was served by our family, because beer was just another beverage.
Parents would provide their teenage kids beer at their homes because it was safer than letting them drink it anywhere else.
Everyone started smoking in their teens. It was seen as a half-step up from being a child, but not yet being able to drink hard liquor. Parents often encouraged it, seeing it as a cute rite of passage.
Pickup trucks were driven only by farmers and field hands. Blue jeans were for them, too. Men wore fedoras and ties, women wore skirts.
Red Ball Jets were sneakers that made us run faster. Helmets were worn by football players and astronauts. Falling off your bike was nothing unusual.
We drank water from hoses. Moms were home all day, Dads worked regular jobs. They earned enough to support six kids and a dog.
Swimming in rivers was done, but we all knew the sewers emptied into them. Jumping off cliffs at the quarry pond was not only legal, it was encouraged.
High diving boards had not yet been sued out of existence. Same with tobaggen slides.
In summer our moms told us to go outside and play. When we got a bit older, our only limitation was to "come for lunch at the noon siren and be home for dinner when the street lights came on".
They wouldn't see us all day. No one panicked.
We played Army and war with realistic fake guns. Sometimes a lucky kid would use the rifle his dad had liberated from "the Krauts" in the war. He was godlike, after that.
Playing sports was not dissimilar to Sparta. If you sucked, you knew it right away and didn't get to play. Same with being fat -- there was no mercy.
As a result, almost no one was fat, and every kid got pretty good at sports.
We were going to the Moon. Mars was obviously next. There was no limit to what America could do.
The list goes on and on.
It finally occurred to me why I feel so alienated from today's America. The America we grew up in and loved is long gone.
It's why when we talk to young people about America, it feels so foreign and strained. Our vision of America is just completely different than theirs.
(To illustrate, here's a candid picture of Marilyn Monroe enjoying a smoke -- something that would send the current generation into a social media frenzy!

1657070602556
 
Joined
Sep 1, 2003
Messages
5,239
Location
Richmond Texas USA
Not true.
I was born in July of '43 and I did not try smoking until I was 25, and then only for
one time. Nothing since.

The primary difference is that we WORKED far more than we played. ;)
Unlike the snowflakes of today.
Well I guess you were an exception. But you did miss out on smoking corn silk in a hand made corn cob pipe or a cheap store bought pipe:) We also smoked dried reeds from the river bank.
 

Chief 101

Hunter
Joined
Feb 14, 2007
Messages
2,099
Location
Idaho
This is an excellent subject that I think about a lot...some of my details are a bit different from the op's but that comes from being rural but I feel some of the so called progress is good but much of it has taken us backwards...
 

Snake Pleskin

Buckeye
Joined
Mar 26, 2022
Messages
1,465
Location
Aiken, South Carolina
Not true.
I was born in July of '43 and I did not try smoking until I was 25, and then only for
one time. Nothing since.

The primary difference is that we WORKED far more than we played. ;)
Unlike the snowflakes of today.
born in 50 never smoked until i was in the Marines. Smoked a bit after getting out, but eventually stopped.
 

Bob Wright

Hawkeye
Joined
Jun 24, 2004
Messages
6,149
Location
Memphis, TN USA
During World War II the church I attended, a large Baptist church, draped one of those service flags behind the choir loft. This flat consisted of a large white field centered, bordered by red. On the white field was a blue star representing church members who were serving in the military. And a gold star was added for those who gave the supreme sacrifice. (There were over a hundred stars, as I recall.) And the church was open ally day for those who wanted to come in and pray.

And out church frequently had 1300 members present for Sunday School.

And there were watermelon suppers in the parking lot some evenings. And the lights drawing those hard shelled "chicken chokers."

Gasoline was rationed, and cars had that square sticker in the windshield, with the letters "A, B, or C" that indicated how much gas a the owner could buy.

And sometimes a parked car would roll back, or forward, bump into the adjacent car, and "lock bumpers." And a man would come along, bounce on the locked bumpers until one bounced high enough to free the bumpers.

And men looked like men, and women looked like ladies. Children said "Yes, ma'am" or "Yes, Sir."

I could ride a city bus with my .22 rifle to go rabbit hunting. Just showed the driver the rifle was empty.

Yes, sir. Different world, indeed.

Bob Wright
 

Bob Wright

Hawkeye
Joined
Jun 24, 2004
Messages
6,149
Location
Memphis, TN USA
Old joke from the intermediate era:

Two folks were standing on a street corner, across the street was a young person.

The first man observed the youth. "Look at that youngster, you can't tell if its a boy or a girl."

The other replied, "That's my son."

"Oh," replied the first, "I didn't realize you were his mother."

"I'm his father," was the reply.

Bob Wright
 

Johnnu2

Buckeye
Joined
Jun 26, 2003
Messages
1,676
Location
NYS
When "bullied", we were taught to fight our way out of it.
It worked......... most of the time :)

And Elvis would have been the king "Rapper" of his day.... he dressed edgy for the times too; although he was able to keep his pants up.🕺

J.
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2008
Messages
323
Location
Southern Ohio
I wasn't born until 1960, but times HAVE changed! I rode my bike everywhere. Sometimes 6 or 8 mile round trip just for something to do. Always a pick-up basketball, baseball, football, wiffle ball etc. game going on somewhere. In high school Shop Class, there were always 6 to 8 guns sitting in the corner, while a new stock was being built, or the stock was going to be refinished. NO ONE ever brought any ammo in for them, and NO One bothered them! We could take a shotgun on the school bus in a case to go squirrel hunting with a friend after school. I started seeing the downfall when punishment was removed from the schools. There is no going back now. I only can see society getting worse. No one is still being blame/punished for crimes. The press and do gooders only want to blame the gun, not the person that uses it for evil. When John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy & Martin Luther King were shot, did anyone blame the gun? But now, it's the "evil gun" that caused the problem? I remember the saying "we have nothing to fear, but fear itself". Unfortunately, we have a lot to fear now!
 

eveled

Hunter
Joined
Apr 3, 2012
Messages
3,928
You were six years ahead of me Jim, (born in 1949) but most of what you said was still true. Those really were "The good ole days". We were so lucky to grow up then.
Even those born in the 60’s grew up more or less the same. We are on a different planet now.
 
Joined
Nov 17, 2009
Messages
10,123
Location
Webster, MD.
Born in 1937. Grew up in the country. Real "ice boxes". A .25c cake of ice fit perfectly. Party line telephones..nosey neighbors listened in any time the phone rang. Our entire furnace was coated in asbestos. Schools didn't close because it was hot; we just turned the fan up one more speed. Swam in the creek and made jokes about watching out for "floating cigar shaped debris". When visiting anyone's home their mom was your mom and generally were treated the same. Kids played outside or in the woods. You came home when the sun went down. In school we played dodge ball; before it became "dangerous". If you really sucked at a sport you didn't get chosen to play . . . you watched the other kids play. Everyone didn't get a trophy. Second place meant that you were the first loser. All the kids actually walked to a bus stop, my stop was about a half mile up the road. Everyone got on it at one place, unlike today where there stop at each house. "Yes Ma'am, no Ma'am, yes Sir, no Sir" were the way you spoke to an adult; no matter who they were. I was taught that men held doors for ladies; not because they were ladies but because you were a gentleman. Times have certainly changed.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
21,204
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
While I'm a bit younger than many above,, (born 1958), my Dad was born in 1918. He grew up in the Depression, and often spoke of many things he witnessed in his youth.
I found it funny when Jim mentioned smoking.
My Dad was a professional dancer as well as working in a mill prior to WWII. (Yes, 2 jobs at once.) In the entertainment industry, (nightclubs) drinking & smoking were common.
When my Dad got out of the War, he built a 2 story building. Upstairs,, a nightclub. Downstairs, a restaurant.
Ashtrays, as mentioned, on every table in both places.
Yet, my Dad, my mom, neither one smoked. They taught us kids it wasn't healthy. They never tried to influence others,, but us kids,, we were raised to take care of ourselves.
Drinking. We were taught that an occasional drink, was acceptable,, yet getting drunk or such,, was not good manners or good for your body.
But again, they never tried to influence others.

Many of the things Jim mentioned has been proven to be dangerous to our bodies. Those things have changed for the better.
But the stuff about how daily life was lived,, sadly,, it's very true.

You worked hard to earn the things you needed or wanted.
You were punished for mis-deeds, or crimes.
You got into fights, and learned that some guys were bigger or stronger,, and you learned to respect others.

So much stuff above is true,, and, things should return to much of the way it was back then. Sadly,, I don't see it happening.
 

whymhot

Bearcat
Joined
Dec 30, 2017
Messages
86
Location
CT
I was a golden time indeed. ife was so simple and the country was not divided as it is today.
 
Joined
Sep 1, 2003
Messages
5,239
Location
Richmond Texas USA
"Born in 1937. Grew up in the country. Real "ice boxes". A .25c cake of ice fit perfectly."

FM,
Even thou we lived in town, well it had a population of 835, we also had an ice box.
The reason was that after the war the companies had not caught up on civilian demand yet in 1945-47. Kind of like 2021 :)
Remember Kids would play in the discarded iceboxes and end up suffocated in them do to getting locked in?


We still have one
1657211487889
 

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