Kawartha Lakes Public Library - Digital Collections
Looking Back: It's amazing how fast things change

Hooper, John, Author
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Written: 10 December 2001
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.35012 Longitude: -78.73286
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Protected by copyright: Uses other than research or private study require the permission of the rightsholder(s). Responsibility for obtaining permissions and for any use rests exclusively with the user.
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Full Text

A reader of my Looking Back sent me the following "Grandpa's Talk."

One evening a grandson was talking to his grandfather about current events. He asked his grandfather what he thought about the shootings at schools, the computer age, and just things in general.

Here was the grandfather's reply:

"Well, let me think a minute. I was born before TV, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses, Frisbees and the pill. There were no radar, credit cards, laser beans or ball-point pens.

Man had not invented pantyhose, air conditioners, dishwashers or clothes dryers. Clothes were hung out to dry in fresh air.

Your grandmother and I got married first and then lived together. Every family had a father and a mother.

Every boy over 14 had a rifle that his dad taught him how to use and respect. They went hunting and fishing together.

Until I was 25, I called every man older that I, 'Sir.' After I turned 25, I called policemen and every man with a title, 'Sir.'

Sundays were set aside for going to church, helping those in need, and visiting with family or neighbours.

We were before gay rights, computer dating, dual careers, day care centres and group therapy.

Our lives were governed by the Ten Commandments, good judgment, and common sense. We were taught to know the difference between right and wrong and take responsibility for our actions.

Serving your country was a privilege; living here was a bigger privilege.

We thought fast food was what people ate during Lent.

Having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with your cousins.

Draft dodgers were people who closed their front doors when the evening breeze started.

Time-sharing meant time the family spent together, not purchasing condominiums.

We never heard of FM radios, tape decks, compact discs, electric typewriters, yogurt, or guys wearing earrings. We listened to big bands, Jack Benny, and the president's speeches on our radios. I don't remember any kid blowing his brains out listening to Tommy Dorsey.

If anything said "Made in Japan," 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 have five and 10 cent stores where you could actually buy things for five and 10 cents. Ice cream cones, phone calls, rides on a streetcar, and a Pepsi were all a nickel. And you could spend your nickel on enough stamps to send one letter and two postcards. You could buy a new Chevy for $600. gas was 11 cents a gallon.

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, hardware was found in a hardware store, and software wasn't even a word.

We were the last generation to actually believe that a lady needed a husband to have a baby. No wonder people call us 'old and confused' and say there is a generation gap. How old do you think I am?"

This man is only 59 years-old.

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Looking Back: It's amazing how fast things change