Every so often Boomers get emails aggrandizing the days of our childhood & youth, some insinuating, others stating outright that those times were worthy of a return to them.
It's easy - human nature - to look back on the long gone elements from "the good ol' days" and remember, as the adage indicates, only the good things.
not all warrant resurrection.
So, today's Alert! is a reality check, adding to some of the wonderful things about our childhood repeatedly landing in our in-boxes, a few of the very unpleasant, and at time dangerous, things about the world when Boomers were young:
- Bowling parties!
- Treats at the ice cream truck cost only a quarter (fancy items, $.35)
- Playing outside (not just in the backyard, but down the street, in the park, riding our bikes around the neighborhood) without "supervision" until being called home at dark
- Coming home after school and (for most of us) our first words were "Mom, I'm home" and so was she...
- Doctors regularly made housecalls
- College was affordable
- Playing jacks, marbles and swapping baseball cards
- Recess (including double-dutch rope-jumping, "red rover" and hopscotch on the playground)
- The wonders of newly introduced TV dinners and Spaghettio's (as a special treat only...)
- Americans made it to the moon
- A Polio vaccine was discovered and mass-distributed (remember the sugar cubes given at the nurse's office?)
- Gymsuits (hey guys, yours were just as bad...) & showering en masse in one big shower room (no stalls...) after gym class
- No central a/c
- No cable (yep kids, we had just 3-4 channels on VHF, and later a few more on UHF if you had the right antenna)
- Fashion in our pre-teen/teenage/young adult years (were those platform shoes & polyester suits ugly or what?!...)
- Only hard contact lenses
- No cell phones/instead grimy public pay phones & party lines
- Really bulky, unsightly braces for teeth, including "retainers"
- No velcro
- Lead in gas & house paint (both now banned for causing lowered IQ in children and other cognitive impairments)
- Rampant pollution (the crying Indian had good cause; just one example: the Cuyahoga River in Ohio was literally on fire for decades due to the disgusting things emptied into it)
- Marijuana went from being broadly used medicinally to being deemed a Class A (illegal) narcotic (1971 under Nixon)
Unequal rights for, and rampant, legal discrimination against women, ethnic minorities, gays/lesbians - openly disdaining these groups was not only acceptable, but expected
- More assassinations of public figures in one decade than in any other time in modern history
(JFK, 1963/MLK & RFK, April & June, 1968)
- The proliferation of fast food; by the 70's replacing many home-cooked meals
- Widespread use of two now-banned substances; DDT (insecticide later determined to cause certain cancers, central nervous system damage, developmental delay, & more) & DES (used to prevent miscarriages, later determined to cause birth defects)
So, the next time you receive one of those rosy emails about how exceptional the world was when we were growing up, keep grounded, knowing that every generation has cause for pride...and remorse.
You have been officially alerted.