by Mike Peters

Do you remember sitting in your car while someone else pumped your gas, cleaned your windshield, checked your oil and smiled as they did it?  That was before "self serve."

Do you remember when children were polite, called adults Mr., Mrs. and Miss?  Sir and Ma'am?  Spoke only when they were spoken to?  Did their chores instead of all the extracurricular activities?  That was before there were shootings at schools.

Do you remember when eating healthy meant starting your day with a hardy breakfast of bacon, sausage, eggs, toast, and grits? Maybe a stack of pancakes smothered with syrup?  That was before you heard of cholesterol and weren't concerned with calories.

Do you remember drinking every flavor of Kool Aid known to man? Drinking  water from a faucet or a green garden hose instead of a clear bottle?  That was before you could buy the world's most plentiful resource in your pop machine.

Do you remember outhouses?  Getting out of your warm bed in the middle of the night when the urge hit you? Bundling up and grabbing a flashlight?  That was before indoor plumbing.

Do you remember getting your milk from the barn?  Eggs from the hen house?  Vegetables from the garden?  Can goods from the cellar?  Meat from "up the holler?"  That was before fast food.  Do you remember when Mom stayed at home, raised the kids and cooked the meals?  And everyone ate together and talked about the day's events, after saying the Blessing?  Asking for permission to leave the table?  That was before our children were raised by sitters.

Do you remember cars with the gearshift in the column--what we called "3 in the tree?"  V8s that guzzled the gas?  Gasoline wars?  Rationing?

Do you remember a highway void of Japanese cars?  Riding in a station wagon?  Cars with push button transmissions?

Do you remember riding in the back of a pickup?  Or in a car without seat belts?  When children didn't have car seats?  That was before air bags and Ralph Nader.

Do you remember when coffee was neither decaffeinated or flavored?  That was  before Espresso.

Do you remember when it wasn't politically correct to be politically correct?

Do you remember when kids played sandlot baseball instead of soccer on fields surrounded by mini-vans and SUVs?

Do you remember slides and the Kodak Instamatic?  That was before VCRs and video cameras.

Do you remember when you only got three channels and had to use "rabbit ears?"   Turning off your electrical appliances when there was a storm?  That was before Ted Turner, satellite dishes and cable TV.

Do you remember Dad outside the delivery room?  Pacing and waiting?  Running to buy cigars that announced the baby's sex? That was before La Maz.

Do you remember when holidays weren't invented by Hallmark? That was before there was a "Sweetest Day."

Do you remember 8-track tapes and record albums?  Huddling around a big radio?  Listening to 78s on the Victrola?  That was before you downloaded music off the Internet.

Do you remember sitting next to Grandpa and whittling with your new pocket knife?  Playing a loose version of "mumbly peg?"  That was when you thought he'd live forever.

Do you remember getting a tan outside?  Working in the garden or in the fields bailing hay?  From dawn to dusk?  That was before tanning beds.

Do you remember when you could be alone and not be bothered?  Eat your supper without interruption?  That was before pagers, cell phones and telemarketers.

Do you remember when there was only one time?  When we didn't lose an hour of sleep in the Spring or gain an hour in the Fall?  That was before Daylight Savings time.

Some say times are better now.  Others wonder how we ever survived.

Those of us born between 1946 and 1960 have been filed under the tab of "Baby Boomers."  We are the reason that television networks like "Nick at Nite" and "TV Land" are popular.  Many of us like to go to antique shops, but not necessarily to buy.  "We used to have one of those," we tell our children and grandchildren. Some have said that, secondary to the computer, we are the reason that genealogy has become a popular hobby?

Are we nostalgic for those times because they were simpler and we had fewer worries?  Sure.  Do we miss the old days because they were slower?  Certainly. And because we were younger?  Most definitely!  But, I am of the opinion, that what we really miss are those that accompanied us on the ride, those that somehow defined that special moment in time.  Some moved away and were never heard from again.  Others passed.  Some became incapacitated by illness.  Cousins, uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters, grandmas and grandpas, mothers and fathers, teachers, doctors, barbers, ministers, army buddies, friends.  They are what we miss.

Some things can be found in a "Leave it to Beaver" rerun or at an antique show.  Some cravings are quenched by old black and white movies and vinyl recordings.  For all the others, we have genealogy.


Mike Peters
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