I Remember

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The older I get, the faster time flashes by.

Here’s why I think that happens:

When I was very young, each new birthday represented a significant part of my entire life up to that point. For instance, on my fourth birthday, I was an incredible 33% older than I had been on my third birthday.

But nowadays, each birthday that goes by makes me less than 2% older than I was the year before.

So, of course, 2% of my life feels a lot shorter than 33% of my life once felt. The amount of time is exactly the same, but with a completely different frame of reference, my perception of time has been altered.

Here’s another way to look at it: on my first birthday, my mother was about 25 times my age, but when I turned 25, she was only twice my age. At that rate, I will eventually be older than she is.

Even knowing all of that, I still find it hard to believe that I’m as old as I am.

Until I start remembering.

I remember:

  • Babysitting for 25 cents per hour.
  • Being paid $4 to caddy for 18 holes (5 1/2 hours) — and the golf course kept $1 of it.
  • Working at a grocery store for $1.35/hour minimum wage.
  • Black and white TV
  • Seeing the Indian head test pattern on TV every day.
  • There were only three TV stations, and they all went off the air every night.
  • Howdy Doody
  • Captain Kangaroo
  • Felix the Cat
  • Ignatz the mouse and Krazy Kat
  • Tooter Turtle
  • Clutch Cargo (with Spinner and Paddlefoot)
  • Clamp-on steel roller skates with steel wheels
  • Glass bottles of milk at school, with round, paper seals (2 cents for white; 3 cents for chocolate)
  • When President Kennedy was shot.
  • Paper bags being the only choice for carrying your groceries.
  • School lunch (lasagna, bread and jello: 35 cents
  • Six pints of Walgreen’s ice cream on sale for $1.
  • When every telephone was wired and had a rotary dial.
  • Going to a movie theatre for $1 — and seeing a couple of cartoons before the movie started.
  • Henry’s Hamburgers: 15 cents; McDonald’s Hamburgers 17 cents; Milk shakes 25 cents
  • Penny candy
  • The Mickey Mouse Club on TV (the original one)
  • 10-cent candy bars
  • Bananas: 9 cents per pound
  • Gasoline: 29 cents per gallon
  • Canned vegetables: 6 cans for $1 at A&P
  • “Party line” telephone service that had nothing to do with having a party.
  • Fountain pens
  • Bozo the Clown (Bob Bell) on TV every day at noon in Chicago.
  • Romper Room
  • Opening cans of soda pop with the triangular end of a bottle opener.
  • Pop-top cans
  • Cigar store Indians
  • Cooked pudding – there was no such thing as instant pudding.
  • When seatbelts in cars were a brand new feature.
  • New cars with fins and curb feelers.
  • Every house having a TV antenna on its roof.
  • Using Glass Wax to clean the windows and polish the chrome bumpers on my family’s 1956 Plymouth.
  • My family’s brand new 1962 Rambler Classic, with front seats that folded back completely flat, to make “a bed.”
  • Riding my bike to the middle of a highway overpass and peering through some trees and a thin, white haze, to see Chicago’s brand new Sears Tower for the first time — from 27 miles away.
  • Electric alarm clocks becoming more popular than wind-up alarm clocks.

How many of those things do you remember?

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