Greetings, Earth People!

I’ve decided that, as far as people under 30 go, I come from another planet.

I was reminded of that the other day at work, when a fellow 50+ co-worker and I were discussing TV ‘back in the day’ and how there use to be “ghosting” when your antenna wasn’t exactly lined up.  My work buddy Scott remembered how the family would beg their dad to get on the tractor and go out into the field where the TV antenna was set up and adjust it so they could get a better picture from the TWO TV stations available.

What seemed normal to me growing up now makes it sound like either I’m from another planet or a time traveler. There couldn’t have been “party lines” as recently as 50 years ago in the United States.  There were.  You’d go to use the phone, pick it up and someone else from another home that shared your line was using the phone and you’d just have to wait to make your call.  Of course, that was back in the rotary dial phone days, when the first two numbers of your phone number were letters that stood for something.  For example, our home number was FRONTIER 5-1980, or FR5-1980 for short.  These days, that would just be 375-1980.

I remember our family being invited over to the neighbors to watch the Rose Bowl parade in COLOR.  The color TV was new and only a few people had one.  It was amazing.  On the other end of the spectrum, I was probably 10 years old before relizing that most of “The Wizard of Oz” was actually in color.  Much more impressive.

We use to drive to “the Milk Store”, a nearby dairy in Torrance, California, where we pulled up to a drive-through window and bought cartons of milk collected and processed right there, less than half a mile from our house.  There was the meat store down the street, where mom would send me with a list to buy the week’s meat.  (If I made it across Hawthorne Boulevard and back)  At the cash register, if you were a kid, they’d give you an uncooked hot dog to eat as a treat.

I lived in a land without seatbelt laws, because cars had no seat belts.  Music came on records, recorders used tape and if you needed to make a phone call, you’d use a public phone booth. Gee, as recently as the 1980s, we still did a bit on the radio called, “Payphone Payoff”, where we’d call a phone booth, let it ring and ask whoever picked it up to do a stunt for a prize.

The world continues to evolve so quickly.  If you feel that we’re not progressing that quickly, just give it a little bit of time.  The older you get, the faster the years roll by and the innovatioin you’re amazed at today become the “I can’t believe you did it THAT way” in the future.

What’s interesting is that most people feel that the time they grew up was “their time” and things just aren’t the way they use to be.  Well, of course not–but that’s OK.  The payoff of sticking around is that you were able to enjoy all that amazing innovation–like the new Mousetrap game or Funny Face soft drinks–while also being able to enjoy the breakthroughs that continue today.

I bid you all goodbye from the 1960s.

Tim Hunter

One thought on “Greetings, Earth People!

  1. Tim,

    Thanks for the ’60’s flasback! I tell my son stories of the 1960’s and he has that “you’re kidding me” look.

    I grew up in Baltimore in the 50’s and ’60’s and we and lots of other families used to spend hot summer nights in Northeast Baltimore in Clifton Park sleeping on a blanket around the reservoir lake in the park. Today, you’d be risking your life even going into that park during the day.

    Vendors used to hawk produce and fish from horse drawn carts that roamed the neighborhood. You could tell what the guy was selling by the song he sang. Each vendor had his own song.

    All the houses in the neighborhood used the same type “skeleton” key for the back door and the “Gas Man” used that same type key to enter everyone’s basement to read the gas meter and so did the “Electric Man”!

    Officer “Twig” was the cop who stood on our corner and kept us safe and settled our kid fights and put up with our taunts of “What are pennies made of?”…DIRTY COPPER…and we’d run off while he yelled “Hey you kids…I know your parents”!

    Hey, we had it made with THREE TV channels and one family in the neighborhood had a color TV so we’d all flop on their living room floor on Sunday night to watch Bonanza in color!

    Sure the 60’s were cool but this new millenium has a lot going for it…so far!


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