Baby Boomer Boo-boos

If I’m not mistaken, there are quite a few people out there who seem to enjoy making fun of Baby Boomers.

Of course, we have to recognize that we could be looking at a “Pogo” situation. “We have met the enemy and he is us!” I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that videos like the one we just watched were created by some of our own slightly-over-the-hill friends.

Then again, some younger folks are recognizing us in a different, and to my way of thinking, better, way. The next video was set to a song recorded by a thirty-one year-old former American idol competitor named Bucky Covington.

Personally, I think Bucky’s song shows a much better understanding of the world into which we were born. Which brings me to one of my pet peeves. I’ve received a number of emails loaded with questions designed to suggest that I’m older than dirt. I think they’re basically good for a laugh, but think they should work to improve their accuracy.

For example, I can still go to a candy store and buy wax lips and bottles filled with a sugary liquid. If I didn’t remember them, I’d have to blame it on my short term memory… which is already on shaky ground. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into a room only to wonder what I’d intended to do there.

The same can be said about the remote control juke boxes at tables in restaurants. They’re still there. They haven’t completely gone away.

Before I forget, the Ink Spots did not have a hit song called “You Always Hurt The One You Love”. That honor goes to the Mills Brothers.

I like to read about things that have long ago been forgotten. For instance, not only were most stores closed on Sundays, quite a few also closed on Wednesday afternoons so the shopkeepers could go to the wholesalers and do their own shopping. Many of those shopkeepers had no idea why anyone would want to use a shopping cart… or even a small basket. If the store required you to walk around and take things from the shelves yourself, you simply took your items and set them on the counter and went back for more.

When my older brothers came home from the Navy and World War II, I was often sent to the dairy store to buy cigarettes for them. No one ever questioned an eight-year-old kid dropping twenty-cents into the cigarette machine. And when I got home, my brothers would pull out the two or three pennies that were wrapped along side the cigarette pack and give them to me as payment for running their errand.

In the late 1940’s there were still a few cars that had starter pedals. Cranks were pretty much obsolete, and starter buttons were being replaced by ignition switches built into the key lock. Of course, with most General Motors cars once you unlocked the ignition you could remove the key and not need it any more. A simple turn of the switch started the car.

Many cars and trucks in the late forties and early fifties had the next best thing to air conditioning. Some had windshields that could be cranked open at the bottom and many had a vent just in front of the windshield that could be opened to allow fresh air to flow into the passenger compartment. Of course, this sometimes led to the intrusion of bees and other insects.

The early fifties saw Cadillac introduce a device that automatically lowered the high beams when the headlights of an on-coming vehicle were sensed by the electric eye. This was about the time electric turn signals were offered as an optional accessory. Those of us who learned to drive back then had to know all the hand signals in order to pass our driver’s test.

It’s interesting to note that there were very few foreign cars on the road back then. One of our favorite pastimes (to stave off boredom) was to sit on the steps in front of a house facing the main road and count cars. Whoever was fastest on the draw would get dibs on either Fords or Chevys. Anyone else in the game was doomed from the beginning. To make it fair, we’d often let someone pick the Chrysler Corporation; then they’d get credit for every Dodge, Plymouth, Chrysler, and De Soto. Other contestants might’ve been allowed to pick a combination of Pontiacs and Buicks. We never would’ve guessed that our grandchildren might play the game by calling dibs on Toyotas and Hondas. In those days, anything labeled “Made in Japan” was considered to be junk.

I’m going to bring this to a close because I’ve found two other videos some people might thoroughly enjoy watching. They are parts 1 and 2 of a Don McNeil’s Breakfast Club television show. I vaguely remember marching around the breakfast table waving my spoon as we listened to his radio show of the same name.

These videos are great from the standpoint that they illustrate much of what our daily life was like back then. You’ll see cornball humor and studio musicians making some wonderful sounds. You’ll also see an audience that is dressed as if everyone is headed for Sunday services or a wedding. If you were alive at the time, you’ll definitely be taken on a fantastic trip down Memory Lane.

Make sure you have plenty of time to devote to these videos. They’re each about fifteen minutes long.

And part Two: (Think of this one as if it were an old TV or radio. It takes about thirty seconds to “warm up”.)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going looking for something interesting for tomorrow.

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