I Am Still Here! Another Birthday look back at one helluva lifetime

by TerryWalstrom 24 Replies latest jw friends

  • TerryWalstrom

    When the doctor pulled my screaming body out of mom all those 7 decades ago, I landed in a post-WWII world.
    The world of 1947--compared to today's world--an alien planet.

    The world I live in today has nothing in common with the world in which I grew up.

    There were no cell phones back then--there were black telephones with a dial-tone and an Operator who placed your call.

    Everywhere you found telephone booths! A call was a nickel.
    Where did all those telephone booths go?
    I dunno.
    Where did my whole world go?
    I dunno.

    TV sets were huge boxes with tubes and small screens. Images were black and white.
    It was an idiot box. It still is.

    A "computer" was a Science fiction trope and in reality, consisted of vast rooms full of blinking lights and hardware.

    Men wore hats, women wore stockings with a black seam down the back.
    Everybody smoked cigarettes. Everywhere!

    There was "easy listening" music filled with lush melody.
    Movies were vivid storybooks filled with comedy, song and dance, and noir.
    Only sailors, convicts, and primitive tribal communities had tattoos.
    Kids said, "Yes Sir" and "No, Ma'am".

    And so on...
    I've lived in several worlds on different planets--not literally, but essentially for all the extraordinary dissonances, customs, attitudes, and ethos. (Good word "ethos", look it up.)

    Today--what world is this?
    Have I lost the thread?
    Who knows their next door neighbor anymore?
    Who spends time sitting on the front porch in the evening in a swing, sipping ice tea and waving at the folks across the street?
    Who reads actual Literature?

    Who buys paintings or objet d'art?
    Who knows the classical music repertoire?
    Who is conversant with dates, names, movements in human history with any certainty?

    I was there when TV arrived and the first commercial jingles were created.

    I lived in the radio soap opera era.

    I was there when Bebop lived side by side with West Coast jazz and the Big Bands faded as Rock n' Roll was born.

    I lived among Beatniks, Folk singers, Doo-Wops, Hippies, and the birth of the Long Play record and the death of the 78 shellac platters.

    The year I was born, the transistor was invented. (1947).
    I was 7 years old when the first transistor radios were sold (1954).
    The very first satellite went into orbit when I was 15 years old. (1962)
    I was 18 years old as 8 Track tapes were all the rage.(1965)

    I was 22 years old when man first walked on the moon. (1969)
    I was 32 years old when the Sony Walkman revolutionized portable music. And it was just a cassette player!
    By 1975, the first mass marketing of Video Tape Recorders was sold at about a thousand dollars each.
    The personal computer was barely a dream in the future!

    So what? What point am I making?
    If you aren't 70 then:
    I'm from a different world than YOU are!

    My ways are not your ways.
    My thoughts and feelings and ideas and opinions are just plain weird to you because you haven't lived my life and can't imagine my lifetime.

    I've seen people become famous, fade, and pass into obscurity.

    I've heard fearful predictions for the future which turned out to be absolute hogwash.
    I've seen the rise of horrible political leaders who later fell.

    I lived through a great many wars and spent time in Federal Prison, a religious cult, four marriages, and produced 7 children.

    I've been a Nerd, a religious fanatic, an artist, a composer, a writer, husband, father, best friend, and generally a pain in the ass.


    It isn't MY world--it is your world.

    When I speak--you are getting a message from another era.

    Just try to remember that--will you?

  • OnTheWayOut

    My dad is about 5 years older than you, so I am going to take some of what you posted here and come up with a birthday thing for him next year. Growing up from virtually any point in the first half of the 2oth century allows one to have seen fascinating changes.

  • Finkelstein


    ........and we're glad you are RIP

  • Finkelstein

    Oh yes I forgot ..... Happy Birthday from myself and everyone here at JWD


  • TerryWalstrom

    I wonder how bored Millennials are to hear about the previous century? I do know, actually, I only have to start telling stories to my own kids. :)

  • Brock Talon
    Brock Talon

    Glad you are here, Terry. You make the world a bit more interesting.

  • DesirousOfChange

    We still have our Sony Betamax. And yes, it was $1000 in 1979. That was ALOT of money then. We were sure dumb with our money GEEZ!

    Still a ways to go before 7-0 is looming but yes, we’ve seen a lot of changes your pic of the telephone reminds we of a display at the Smithsonian that is a typical home before plastics. No Tupperware. Drinking glasses were, well, glass. Look around your surroundings and take note of what would be missing if there was no plastic.

    Terry— glad you’re still on the “right side of the sod”! Live long and prosper!

  • sparky1

    We had this exact telephone when I was a little boy. At 63 I am a few years behind you. But I still remember my mother making me memorize the old phone number Riverview 9-0033! Thanks for the walk down memory lane and Happy Birthday.

  • Finkelstein

    There is no question that the last century had an enormous amount of advancements in technology , now we have computers in are cars and the mobile cell phones we carry around.

    My grandmother told us kids a long time ago how cool it was to see horseless buggies.

  • smiddy3

    Great thread Terry ,for us oldies,and a Happy birthday to you.

    I`m 8 years older than you and I have fond memories of things long past .

    I vaguely remember the celebrations of VE day in Melbourne 1945

    I lived in a house with an outdoor dunny down the back of our small yard.

    We used to have a wood fired stove mum used to cook our meals on and boil the kettle for a cuppa.

    We also had a gas meter that you had to put coins in to keep it operating with a twist of the wrist.

    Small corner shops were everywhere that sold basic food items groceries , lollies and ice creams ,soft drinks.etc.

    Their were no such thing as a supermarket in those days.

    Small trucks came round delivering blocks of ice for our Ice Chests to keep our perishables from spoiling.

    Refrigerators never existed then.

    and as kids we would chip of bits of ice every time he went into a house .

    A fresh bread horse and cart would also do the rounds of our streets delivering to his customers and again we would pinch what we could of fresh bread rolls.

    I distinctly remember small delicatessen shops that had a flavour /aroma of their own.

    Us kids playing football,cricket in in the streets and riding our carts in the streets with either ball bearing wheels or pram wheels ,of course there wasn`t so many cars around in those days.

    Thanks for the memories Terry

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