A good friend, my college buddy and fellow NROTC student at the University of Missouri (Go MIZZOU!), Charlie Hoffman forwarded one of those ubiquitous emails to me that talks about aging. This particular forward along was a bit different in that it posed the question about the age of the author. Well, I decided to take some of the thoughts from that and expand and personalize it to reflect my situation. It seemed the timely thing to do since my birthday, March 17th (that’s right, St. Patrick’s Day) is rapidly approaching. So then, How old am I?
Well, I was born before:
‘ the pill
‘ polio shots
‘ frozen foods
‘ contact lenses
‘ and before TV was a household item
There were no:
‘ credit cards
‘ laser beams or
‘ ball-point pens
Man had not invented:
‘ air conditioners
‘ clothes dryers
‘ and the clothes were hung out to dry in the fresh air and
‘ space travel was only in Flash Gordon books.
Marj and I got married first,… and then lived together.. [And if you’re curious, the same was true with Valorie (sad story, and I still believe divorce breaks God’s heart) and Shirley.] In fact each of the 98 students in my HS graduating class was a member of a family with both a father and a mother. Until I was 25, I called every woman older than me, “ma’am”. And after I turned 25, I still call policemen and every man with a title, “Sir.” We were before gay-rights (in fact I never knew there was such a thing as a homosexual until I went to college), computer-dating, daycare centers, and group therapy. Our lives were governed by the Bible, good judgment, and common sense. We were taught to know the difference between right and wrong and to stand up and take responsibility for our actions. Serving your country was a privilege; living in this country was a bigger privilege. We thought fast food was eating half a biscuit while running to get to school on time. Having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with your neighbors and the other kids at school. Draft dodgers were those who closed front doors as the evening breeze started. Time-sharing meant time the family spent together in the evenings and weekends-not purchasing condominiums.
We never heard of CB radios, tape decks, CDs, electric typewriters, yogurt, or guys wearing earrings. We listened to Big Bands, Jack Benny, Minnie Pearl and the Grand Ol’ Oper’y, and the President’s speeches on our radios. And I don’t remember any kid blowing his brains out listening to Glenn Miller or Tommy Dorsey. If you saw anything with ‘Made in Japan ‘ on it, it was junk. The term ‘making out’ referred to how you did on your school exam. Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, and instant coffee were unheard of. We had 5 &10-cent stores where you could actually buy things for 5 and 10 cents. Ice-cream cones, phone calls, popcorn at the movies, and a Pepsi were all a nickel. And if you didn’t want to splurge, you could spend your nickel on enough stamps to mail 1 letter and 2 postcards. You could buy a new Ford Coupe for $600… but who could afford one? [Even in 1963 you could buy a new Jaguar for $6000, but you would have to be able to pay off a loan in three years.] And, again sadly, there were no Corvettes. Too bad, because gas was 11 cents a gallon.
In my day:
‘ “grass” was mowed,
‘ “coke” was a cold drink,
‘ “pot” was something your mother cooked in and
‘ “rock music” was your grandmother’s lullaby.
‘ “Aids” were helpers in the Principal’s office,
‘ “chip” meant a piece of wood or a golf shot,
‘ “hardware” was found in a hardware store and
‘ “software” wasn’t even a word.
And we were the last generation to actually believe that a lady needed a husband to have a baby. Abortion, other than to save the life of the mother, was considered immoral or worse. The thought of a same sex “marriage” would have been preposterous. There was no “politically correct” and all opinions, even it they were ill advised, were permitted. No wonder people call us “old and confused” and say there is a generation gap. How old do you think I am?
Are you ready ?????
Well, I’m, approaching 74 — March 17 to be exact. But, the above was true for me and Shirley when we were only 70.
Now, don’t think I’m so delusional that I believe all change is bad. Not so. And I could go on for pages listing all the wonderful progress that has been made since I was a kid, e.g., in healthcare and medicine, civil rights, in science, technology and our understanding of how things work, and the many conveniences that make life today easier and more pleasant. What is most concerning, however, is the slide toward a lack of respect for God and all He has created, including people. Nobility, virtue, and honor seem in short supply — they’re certainly more the exception than the norm. Jesus came so we might have life to the full, abundant life as the King James version puts it. But as the Gospel message of salvation through faith in what Jesus has done for us is being relegated to the dustbin of history by the world, so has good will toward men is often replaced by hatred, greed, and incivility. The greatest commandments, i.e., to love God and love others seems to have been lost to a large extent. But, He is merciful and I look forward, in what days I have remaining, to seeing the good plans He has for me and those who choose to follow Him.