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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

THOSE WERE THE GOOD OLD DAYS - another Cranky re-run


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. Just don't go knocking my bag phone. I loved that thing. ;)


  2. My mother, child of the depression, wasted and wanted not. When the air raid shelter in her bank building closed, she salvaged cans of "survival crackers." Her grandchildren at them with soup for twenty years. We would not let her bring the remaining cans to this house when we moved, but I think my brother-in-law has them stowed under his work bench in the basement anyway.

  3. Yes Sir, Those days were sure a lot better, I even remember Grandma heating water on the stove and pouring it into a washtub for us all to take a bath, we were sure proud to have hot bathwater, and at the end of the washing we never ever threw the baby out with the bathwater.

  4. My mother claims everything was better in the "good old days." If I read her your blog she'd probably say it was crap, and that "blogging" was much better in the "good old days."

  5. I guess it doesn't matter what generation you live in. There are always good and bad things no matter who's in charge or what the newest invention is.. Well said

  6. My father decided he wanted to be a farmer so moved our family from civilisation to miles away from anywhere. We lost a lot of things we took for granted even then.
    TV - it sat in the corner of our lounge unused - no electricity you see.
    Phone - there was a call box about two miles away uphill.
    Flush toilet - we had a wooden board with a hole in it in a shed outside. The contents being periodically raked out through a hole in the wall.
    Heating? - A coal fire and logs when my father would cut them.
    Fast food? - That would be the local 'Fish and chip' shop about 15 miles away.
    Public transport? - A bus went past on Tuesday to the local market.
    Safe drinking water? - Carried from a spring about 400 yards away.
    Water for baths? - Ah we had that! The bath was under a worktop in the kitchen, the water supply ran down the fields in an open ditch and was heated by the coal fire. In dry weather it dried up and in wet weather it went brown. When we filled the bath it would sometimes gurgle and a worm would drop into the bath. In winter it froze.

    Ah yes - the good old days.

  7. I loved this.

    There was a FB posting not long ago about how we didn't have bike helmets back when we were children, but we all lived, right?

    Well, yes, we did. Unless we didn't.

    Thank you for putting it in perspective, Cranky.



  8. Great post. I'm so glad you posted a comment on my blog, so I could find your blog again. For some reason, your posts don't show up on my reader. Yes, the good old days, indeed. A nickel for an ice cold soda, which you pulled out of the big ice chest at the corner store yourself. (Then hung around to drink it, so you could turn the bottle in for a two-cent refund.) Penny candies. Used comic books, two for a nickel. Some of the other stuff, like polio and almost dying from measles, not so good.

  9. Whenever I start a sentence with, "You know, when I was young..." my kids all roll their eyes and groan. But I just can't help it! These kids have it so easy these days, and they need to hear about it. I tell them how when I was young, if I wanted to talk to my friend on the phone, I would have to go downstairs to our ONE telephone (which was attached to the wall so I could not walk around or go into my room for privacy) and I'd dial her number (no push button, but actually dial it with the rotary dial) and then her parent would answer, and I'd have to say, "Hello. This is Katrina. Can I talk to Meg, please?" because if I simply said, "Is Meg there?" without first saying hello and introducing myself, that was considered very rude. Then Meg would get on the phone and the two of us would talk right there in our family rooms or kitchens, wherever the telephone happened to be, and it didn't matter if the whole family was in there still would talk. Because you had no other choice. I tell my kids how I used to leave the house at 9:00am and walk to my friends' houses, then we'd all walk to the 7-11 store and buy Slurpees, gum and candy all for under $2.00, and then we'd go to the park and hang out... then we'd maybe go to someone's house and hang out...then maybe we'd go back to the park....and I wouldn't come home until the street lights came on. The entire day spent without my mother texting me or calling me to see where I was. (My kids think THAT part of it is truly the good old days!)