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Wednesday, September 21, 2011



As a cranky old man I am guilty looking back and thinking “Those were the good old days.”  The days where we didn’t worry about bullying, self-esteem, AIDS, terrorists, Bernie Madoff, gay marriage, peanut butter, gluten, cults, illegal drugs, and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the good old days you could buy a cheeseburger for thirty cents.  Bowling costs thirty-five cents a game.  You could watch the NY Knicks play at Madison Square Garden for fifty cents if you had a student GO card.  A 45 record costs fifty cents, an LP costs $1.99.  Those were the good old days.  Stuff was cheap and we didn’t have a worry in the world.


Everyone had a friend or family member that was affected by polio.  We didn’t need a vaccine for measles, mumps, chickenpox, or rubella; when a neighbor child was sick, moms would bring their children over to get infected also.  It was best to get these diseases over early, as they were more dangerous at an older age.  Oh, the “good old days.”

Medical care was inexpensive, but often all the doctor could tell you was how long you had to live.

A TV cost as much as it does today.  The largest set was 21 inches.  You could get seven channels all in black and white.  I could not wait for the latest episode of “My Mother the Car.”

If you wanted air conditioning you went to the movies or the grocery store.  How I miss the “good old days.”  

Telephones were big, clunky, and attached to a cord.  A ten minute long distance call from NY to LA could cost $20.  There was no call waiting, no voice mail, or texting.

Credit cards, took ten to fifteen minutes to process a purchase; the clerk had to call and verify that each card was valid.

We didn’t have to worry about terrorists, but as a child we had weekly air-raid drills (under the desk, get in a ball, and cover your neck with intertwined fingers.)  Every student knew where the “Fall-out” shelters were located in the school.  The wealthy families had “Fall-out” shelters in their basement stocked with can goods, water and a shotgun to keep out the riff-raff.  The riff-raff had to hope that if the A-bomb was dropped it would be during school hours when the shelters were open.

We had our own lovely war, Vietnam.  Thank God we fought that one.  Over fifty thousand killed, but we could still play dominoes….or something….I remember there was some kind of a good reason for that war.

The good old days were especially fun if you were not white.  You had your own second rate schools, your own drinking fountains and your own restrooms.  You had your own section of the bus and you never had to bother voting.

Some “coloreds” didn’t like these private facilities so they had to be hosed, beaten with batons, shocked with cattle prods, shot or hung.  Ah the “good old days.”

Women were also treated special.  They could be nurses, secretaries, teachers, mothers or spinsters.  It was great having choices in the “good old days.”

We never worried about pollution, we just polluted.  There was plenty of room on the highways, rivers or oceans for those bottles, tin cans, and assorted refuse.  There was plenty of air, so we burned everything without worry about all that smoke.  If we needed heat we just burned stuff: coal, wood, whatever, and no need for any expensive processes to remove the smoke, just burn baby burn.  Leaves in the fall?  Just burn them.  Oh how they smelled good.

Everything smelled good; in “the good old days.”


  1. I guess there's give and take to every generation.

  2. I really enjoyed reading this post. Even at 34 I find myself telling my son about this or that or the other, back in the good ol' days. What's crazy is that those things you mentioned in the beginning of the post were all issues back then to (or at least many of them), they just weren't spoken about.

    I think every generation had good things about it. My son has never experienced the freedom that I did as a child, being able to run outside and actually stay outside all day, running from one neighbor's house to the next and playing with the other kids. It's too dangerous now to tell them, get out of the house and don't come back until dinner.

    My son won't ever enjoy the true greatness that Halloween once was for me. I mean, driving your kids to every house! WTF are people thinking? Where are the Dads, bored to death walking beside their kids through their own neighborhood? They're in the damned car!

    Where are the older kids playing pranks and scaring the shit out of the young ones as they brave the spooky costumed people who walk by? They're too afraid they'll get charges pressed against them or something along those lines (or they consider themselves to old to enjoy the holiday).

    But I know that our future generations will miss out on as much and that someday, my son will be seeing today as one of those good ole days.

  3. Funny you write about the good old days, cos I somewhat refer to the past in my post for tomorrow.

    My husband and I have this conversation regularly about how good the 'good old days' really were...(We were pretty young at the time, but we go by the stories the grownups have told us)
    I think there were some good things - the music, the crazy fashion(!) but most especially the closeknit communities genuinely looking out for each other...

  4. JH - do you recall the make and model of "my mother the car"?

  5. SBZ - Wikepedia says it was a 1928 "Porter". See