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For all those born before 1945

By Bob Gugenheimer

It is said that man has three ages: (1) youth, (2) middle age, and (3) “You haven’t changed a bit!”

Born before penicillin

But change is the name of the game. If you were born before 1945, consider this: You were born before television, before penicillin, frozen foods, Xerox, plastic, contact lenses, Frisbees and the “Pill”.

You were born before radar, credit cards, split atoms, laser beams, and ball-point pens; before pantyhose, dishwashers, clothes dryers, electric dryers, electric blankets, air conditioners, drip-dry clothes, automatic shift; and before man walked on the moon.

You got married first and then lived together. How quaint can you be! In your time, closets were for clothes, not for “coming out” of. Bunnies were small rabbits and rabbits were not Volkswagens.

Fast foods were what you ate during lent and outer space was the balcony at the local theater.

You were before house-husbands, gay rights, computer dating, dual careers, and same sex marriages. You were before day-care centers, senior centers, group therapy, and nursing homes. You never heard of FM radio, tape decks, electric typewriters, artificial hearts, yogurt, and guys wearing earrings.

When “hardware” was hardware

Time-sharing meant togetherness, not computers or condominiums. A “chip” meant a piece of wood, hardware meant hardware, and software wasn’t even a word! And a mouse was not something you would want to touch with your hand.

In 1940, “Made in Japan” meant junk and the term “Making out” referred to how you did on your exam. Pizza, McDonald’s and instant coffee were unheard of.

You hit the scene when there were 5 and 10-cent stores. Where you bought things for 5 and 10 cents.

For one nickel you could ride a streetcar, buy an ice cream cone, make a phone call, and buy a Pepsi or enough stamps to mail one letter and two post cards. You could buy a new Chevy Coupe for $600,

But who could afford one, and a pity too, because gas was only 11 cents a gallon!

In your days, cigarette smoking was fashionable, grass was mowed, Coke was a cold drink, and pot was something you cooked in. AIDS were helpers in the Principal’s office, and “OJ” stood for orange juice.

You were certainly not before the difference between the sexes was discovered, but you were surely before the sex changes!

Reason to celebrate

You remember when FDR said, “You will never be taxed on your Social Security”. The initials “CD” stood for Diplomatic Corps, and saving money for a “rainy day” the old fashion way, was in fashion!

YOU MADE DO WITH WHAT YOU HAD! But you SURVIVED! What better reason to celebrate!

Today’s older adults experienced the Great Depression and World War II and went on to create what younger generations are enjoying as a modern America, with all it’s privileges and responsibilities. Teamwork is how this generation got things done and duty came before pleasure!

“I, along with many experts, recommend that we look to the wisdom of older generations, which requires us to understand that elders have life experiences from which we can learn. We must do away with all the myths and stereotypes of aging”.

And I like to say, “Experience does not come on young shoulders! ”


Featured image by Boston Public Library, CC BY2.0
Penicillin by Cristina Avellanosa, CC BY 2.0
Sears Hardware by Mike Mozart, CC BY 2.0
Fireworks by Brett Nelson CC BY2.0