Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Memories from the last half of the last century.......Feel old?

I added some comments at the bottom.  Some memories, some political commentary.

Black and White

(Under age 45? You won't understand.)

You could hardly see for all the snow,

Spread the rabbit ears as far as they go.

'Good Night, David .

Good Night, Chet.'

My Mom used to cut chicken, chop eggs and spread mayo on the same cutting board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn't seem to get food poisoning.

My Mom used to defrost hamburger on the counter and I used to eat it raw sometimes, too. Our school sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper in a brown paper bag, not in ice pack coolers, but I can't remember getting e.coli.

Almost all of us would

Have rather gone swimming in the lake instead of a pristine pool

(talk about boring), no beach closures then.

The term cell phone would have conjured up a phone in a jail cell, and a pager was the school PA system.

We all took gym, not PE... and risked permanent injury with a pair of high top Ked's (only worn in gym) instead of having cross-training athletic shoes with air cushion soles and built in light reflectors. I can't recall any injuries but they must have happened because they tell us how much safer we are now.

Flunking gym was not an option... Even for stupid kids! I guess PE must be much harder than gym.

Speaking of school, we all said prayers and sang the national anthem, and staying in detention after school caught all sorts of negative attention.

We must have had horribly damaged psyches. What an archaic health system we had then. Remember school nurses? Ours wore a hat and everything.

I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was allowed to be proud of myself. – Trophies were only given to the Champions, sometimes 2nd and 3rdbut no Participant trophies.

I just can't recall how bored we were without computers, Play Station, Nintendo, X-box or 270 digital TV cable stations.

Oh yeah... And where was the Benadryl and sterilization kit when I got that bee sting? I could have been killed!

We played 'king of the hill' on piles of gravel left on vacant construction sites, and when we got hurt, Mom pulled out the 48-cent bottle of Mercurochrome (kids liked it better because it didn't sting like iodine did) and then we got our butt spanked.

We also played other rough full contact games without pads like “Kill the guy with the Ball’, Tackle Town, British Bulldog, Capture the Flag and Buck-Buck We got lots  of scrapes and cuts, that is for sure.

Now it's a trip to the emergency room, followed by a 10-day dose of a $99 bottle of antibiotics, and then Mom calls the attorney to sue the contractor for leaving a horribly vicious pile of gravel where it was such a threat.

We didn't act up at the neighbor's house either; because if we did we got our butt spanked there and then we got our butt spanked again when we got home, often with a belt or a paddle.

I recall Donny Reynolds from next door coming over and doing his tricks on the front stoop, just before he fell off.

Little did his Mom know that she could have owned our house.

Instead, she picked him up and swatted him for being such a jerk It was a neighborhood run a muck.

To top it off, not a single person I knew had ever been told that they were from a dysfunctional family.

How could we possibly have known that?

We needed to get into group therapy and anger management classes.

We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills, that we didn't even

notice that the entire country wasn't taking Prozac!

How did we ever survive?


Pass this to someone and remember that life's most simple pleasures are very often the very best

I recall cutting lawns in the neighborhood with our push mower for a small income that kept my bicycle in intertubes that were not all patches.  Then my Father threatened to charge me rent on the tools he had to fix now and then.   Now I have to hire a landscape guy to do this task and it sometimes gets done as needed even through the language barrier.   Mine has a new and very shiny pickup truck pulling his well-stocked trailer filled with all sorts of equipment and tools.  I do not mind paying for things I could do but I am retired and my wife is never happy with the condition of things.  Even after the yard guy leaves, I have to straighten things out.  But I look at this is providing honest work to those who are willing to do it.

At age 13, I got a paper route (Oakland Tribune) where I had to deliver the paper within reach of the customer at their door.  Carrying the papers in the special carrier, an over-the-shoulders canvas carrier, folding the papers neatly as I walked the route or on Sunday, putting a rubber band around it.  No plastic bags back then.  It had to be placed where the rain would not touch it. Not bad money as good service brought good tips.   Bought a bicycle (3-speed) after saving a year for it.  Now I sometimes have to pick mine up from the street from at the 0530 delivery time by some person(s) and vehicle racing around that brings up thoughts that this might be a drive-by shooting about to occur.  This must also pay well as none of the cars I see are older than mine, are usually black and quite loud.

The Black & White TV was replaced by a magical color TV with a 10 inch or so screen as there were boxing on two days a week and Pop was a fan.  It drew neighbors to our living room. Professional football back then was rare as the college game was the big thing.  Kezar Stadium in San Francisco was used by the 49ers.  A 7,000 seat venue they paid rent at.  The big college games drew from 75 to 100,000 fans.  ABC was still black and white then at Monday Night AFL Football.  Then the merger.  It made enough money for ABC to go to color.  If you remember Howard Cosell you have mostly gray hair and arthritis.

Now, a team can move into a new, large stadium supported mostly by my and my neighbor's tax dollars.  Perhaps it is moving back in that direction again.  I hope the Raiders decide to stay in Oakland.   We are spending 1 billion in road capacity enhancement in Vegas and that won't be helped by a 65,000 seat stadium right off the main traffic route through our valley.  After a big sports event here now, there is always a problem serious enough to be noted on TV.

I could watch a news program and viewed-listened to news.   Not many talking heads back then.  Now when I watch "news" on the boob tube, I sometimes substitute the people for comic book characters as every one is an expert that interviews other experts.

So I get most of my news via the internet where I can select stories of interest from some agency that still uses the printed word.  Then there are things like uTube.  Technology, in particular, the Smartphone is great stuff but is apparently affecting our citizenry with reduced attention span, distractions from tasks such as driving and walking across the street.   I was recently at a National Park in Oregon where a sign read - "Selfie Danger Area."  Apparently they lost several tourists over the edge and were trying to reduce their paperwork and body disposals.  I still see drivers apparently texting in freeway traffic.   Personally, I despise telephones of all types although I use mine to give my wife driving directions from home (although she has built-in Nav) and for computer security.  Not all tech stuff is bad.

I read where old school subjects such as cursive writing and arithmetic are being phased out in our grammar schools.  With our local schools ranking in the lower 2% of the USA, and with most administrators drawing six-figure salaries - 3 times that of our teachers - what will they teach?  I can recall the days in grammar school when an occasional new kid from somewhere foreign would show up in class.  We kids taught them English pretty fast - in class and in after-school play and sports.  Mandatory busing has probably stopped this route to learning English.  But when one sees results and costs of teaching ESL, it is apparent that something is wrong. I have often wondered how much money could be saved and that most non-native residents had to learn English as a business language and citizenship requirement.  I believe road sign and traffic laws are available in at least a dozen languages.  This may be for getting more people behind the wheel (more revenue) but I have a feeling that the deep underlying reason for not making newer residents assimilate in language is twofold.  One to garner more votes and to also keep many in that world of second-class citizens economically and socially.

I read of the Swedish approach where they pay immigrants to learn Swedish.  Not just give them handouts.  It seems to reduce their immigrant unemployment rate enough to make it worthwhile.

Lou Rothenstein <>

Wed 11/8/2017, 8:11 AM