Sunday, 22 July 2012
I’m a creation of the 60’s. During that incredible decade, I became a teenager, adult, Vet, husband and father. What a decade! Allow me to give you a few facts about the most important decade of my life:
COST OF LIVING:
A McDonald’s Hamburger was 15 cents.
Gallon of gas was 31 cents.
Minimum wage was $1.25
First class stamp was 4 cents.
Unemployment was 5.5%
National debt was $285 billion.
Dads new Chevy cost $2,730.
The average man’s salary was $4,800 (most women were housewives) .
45 records were 79 cents.
Bryl-creem was 45 cents a tube.
Gallon of milk was 59 cents New Homes were $16,500 Porterhouse Steak was $1.19 per pound
Neighbors kept an eye on your house and all the neighborhood kids.
People seldom thought about suing or worried about being sued....they just worked it out.
Welfare rolls were very small and their office was only open two days a week.
Divorce was 9%, (almost 50% today).
Dude might kick your ass over an issue back then, but never shoot you!
People left their homes and cars unlocked.
You could pick up hitch hikers.
You didn’t need an ID to write a check at the store.
WHAT WE HAD:
8 track tapes.
Mustangs and GTO’s.
Go Go boots.
Bee hives and bouffants. Television with role models.
WHAT WE DID NOT HAVE:
Most homes and cars had no air conditioning.
Cell phones. (Our phones were connected forever, to the wall by a cord).
Blackberry’s...…(made good pies).
Computer....a what? A pedophile epidemic.
Drive by shootings.
Elvis was king.
The Beatles were groovy.
Mohammed Ali was the greatest
TV had three channels.
We all watched the same TV shows.
Sports players never changed teams and they were all heroes.
Most all TV shows were aimed at young families.
It was during this time when we finally came to our senses about civil rights and unity. It is still a journey not completed. Every one spoke English. When you immigrated to this country, you learned English because you wanted the benefits and protection of the American culture. There were no hand outs to new immigrants; you were expected to work for what you needed and wanted. You became part of our cultural MELTING POT, which made you an American citizen....not a hyphenated-American. When we were in our twenties, we didn’t bellyache about hardships and sacrifices, it would have dishonored the previous generation who lived through the great depression and fought in World War II and Korea. They never complained…..they only wanted their children to have it better than they did. In school we had higher SAT scores than today. We had to diagram sentences, learn our multiplication tables, learn history, civics, write cursive, recite poems and speeches. If we failed, we were held back…..period!
The 60’s were not perfect and often we had our hearts broken: We lost our young President, John F. Kennedy….the conscience of our country, Martin Luther King and a devoted American, Robert F. Kennedy.
There was a great renaissance in science towards the end of the 60’s. We landed on the friggin moon! Satellites now circled the earth for the first time. Polio was added to the list with small pox as being conquered. Heart transplants were now being done. The U.S. was now producing more crops and commercial goods than any other country. 90% of all TVs and large household appliances were American made. We had an auto industry that consumed the world. A new two bedroom home cost $16,000. We were a proud and cocky nation. We “were”.
We eventually ended the sixties and then, sadly, we brought into the 70’s the shame and unhealing wounds of Viet Nam and a drug culture that has haunted us for 40 years. We had elected a President that lied and shamed the American people. We were now enslaved to credit. We started to lose our way. The 60’s was the last hooray of a country that’s now old before it’s time. The once rich and naive nation now feeds on itself for survival. We are still a great nation of “people”....I’m just not sure about the rest of it.