Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Do You Remember?

Jim of JimsJournal has inspired a number of us to take trips down memory lane. He received what turned out to be an ad for funeral services, but which included asking if the recipient remembered a number of things:


The piece continued inside with : We were born before cable TV, the Internet, moon landings, and credit cards. We were there when McDonalds and Disneyland first opened. We remember when Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, The Platters, and Bill Haley and the Comets were Rock and Roll idols. We never heard of mobile phones, CD players or dishwashers. Ah... and then came the punch line, the purpose of this missive, the introduction to the sales pitch... And we never heard of making our own funeral arrangements.

Jim went on to talk about his thoughts on funeral planning, but I've seen others who took the information as a jumping off point for their own memories on the things listed.

On the issue of marriage, I never really thought of it, but a gay couple, living together, were part of my growing up and a woman (I never did figure out what she did for a living) had a live-in boyfriend, though I knew that it was a moral sin to do any touching below the neck with someone to whom you were attracted. I always wondered if the woman with the live-in boyfriend was some sort of an escort or even a prostitute, when I knew what those things were.

Computers, of course, were the stuff of fantasy comic books. And Dick Tracy. I remember how we laughed at his "2-way wrist radio," which seems almost quaint in these days of smart phones!

I remember when Walt took a Fortran computer language program course and how, looking at his text books, I knew that I never would ever be able to understand computers. That was probably when Bill Gates was in grammar school and how far we have come since then! I remember, after I had a personal computer, visiting the Smithsonian and seeing the Cray computer which took up 3 rooms and had a whopping 3 MB of memory, if my own memory serves me right. Now we have gigabytes of memory on a flash drive.

... WHEN A NEW CHEVY COUPE WAS $600... I never knew the price of cars because I've never had my own car, though I am aware that now a low-end no frills car costs more than our first hose. I do remember gas being in the 2-digits of numbers. Somewhere around here, there is a picture of Ned at a gas pump. He was in high school, I think, and gas was 99 cents. I took the picture because I realized that we would probably never see that price of gasoline again.

We were born before cable TV, the Internet, moon landings, and credit cards. Heck, I was born before TV--at least TV that we could afford. I was 10 in 1953 before our Muntz b/w TV arrived. And I remember watching the end of the television day, with a recording of the Star Spangled Banner, a picture of a flag waving in the breeze, and then a test pattern which was all you got until the broadcast day began tomorrow.

The Internet, of course, was unheard of, since we didn't think computers would ever be real. Moon landings? Heck no. That also was sci fi stuff and I still believed that there was a man in the moon and was terrified when my father took me out to look at a full moon because I was afraid that the man was going to get me.

As for credit cards, my mother had a charge card, a metal thing that resembled a dog tag, for The Emporium department store in San Francisco. She kept it in a leather pouch and occasionally would give it to me to use. Throughout my life people have always asked me how to spell "Beverly" but using that card was the first time that anyone asked me how to spell "West." (Obviously a foreshadowing the literacy of some modern day customer service reps.)

We were there when McDonalds and Disneyland first opened. I don't know that I realized what a monumental event the opening of McDonalds was, though I do remember when they used to post how many thousand and then million burgers they had sold nation-wide on each location.

I remember watching The Mickey Mouse Club where there would be occasional film updates on the building of Disneyland, narrated by Uncle Walt himself. The park finally opened in 1955. In 1957, I won an essay contest and my prize was a trip for two from San Francisco to Los Angeles on what was then a luxury liner. The company (the President Lines) agreed to let my sister come too, so my mother, sister and I went to L.A. and went to Disneyland. That was in the days when you bought A tickets and B tickets...I guess the E tickets were the biggies. This was before "Small World" and a lot of things which everybody associates with Disneyland now. But I remember that we had a wonderful time and when the day ended, I took my very first airplane ride from LA to San Francisco.

We remember when Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, The Platters, and Bill Haley and the Comets were Rock and Roll idols. I regret now not liking rock'n'roll. I remember the first time I saw Elvis Presley was when he was on TV. I was staying with Peach at the time and we watched it at the house of a friend of hers. I never did get what was so special about him and was bored. Over time I came to know all of the songs from the others, but rock was never my favorite genre of music. I preferred Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters. Now I realize that I missed a huge part of my contemporaries' upbringing!

We never heard of mobile phones, CD players or dishwashers. Well, other than the aforementioned Dick Tracy 2-way wrist radio, no mobile phones. The very first "mobile" phone that Walt and I had was about the size of a shoe, as I recall. As for CD players, I was born before hi fidelity and remember the day my father brought home a little portable hi fi and was all excited about the quality of the hi fi sound. We were at that time still playing 78 records and then went to 10" vinyl. I also remember when my mother's 2nd husband bought a portable radio with earphones and he was so enthralled with the stereo sound he got through his earphones.

As for dishwashers, we always had a dishwasher in my house: me or my sister. We were even portable and you don't even have that today!


Harriet said...

Do you remember hearing Ethel Merman sing a song that began, "Dearie, do you remember when..." The closing line was, "...if you remember, then, dearie, you're much older than I."

Of course, I'm the one who's older, and yet I knew there would be computers and people on the moon. (Most girls never read speculative fiction, but I loved it.)

I learned to lindy to Bill Haley and the Comets. I bought Elvis Presley records in spite of myself.

Oh, and by the way... I did buy pre-paid funerals, for various reasons. I may not be here when all that management is needed; it's like making a will. But I do not make such arrangements because of a sales pitch.

Bev Sykes said...

Dearie...Do you remember when we waltzed to a Souza, wasn't the music grand...?

phonelady said...

geeze yep gas sure is high now and Im sure my sister thought gas was costly at .99 cents .Wow I dont have a dishwasher and kind of miss one but I will have one when I move again . Oh well nice post .

jon said...

I remember driving from Bridgeport CT to upstate NY (250 miles) in a 65 VW. I would put in $2 worth of gas and I would have enough gas for the return trip. It had an 11 gallon tank and I was getting about 40 mpg. I'd put in a $1 worth for the trip home.

My rent was $92 per month, My utilities about $7. I ate out often. My car was paid for. Life was good. My biggest expense was beer.