Twenty-one Photos Baby Boomers Will Recognize Immediately.

This is a product of the “Archive Project.” It was simply too good to not share.

  1. Gas was very cheap.
  2. Just one hula hoop wasn’t enough.
  3. Cars were colorful.
  4. We got dressed up for birthday parties, and sometimes ponies showed up. Toy guns made great gifts.
  5. A&P was a top brand.
  6. So was Ben Franklin.
  7. Ice cold soft drinks in small glass bottles were amazing.
  8. Grandmas let us do everything when we visited.
  9. Seat belts were options, and car seats were like couches.
  10. There was only one TV, everyone watched the same show, and it was in black and white.
  11. Dances were special … especially lady’s choices.
  12. Freezers had to be defrosted … and ice cubes took planning.
  13. Notes were written and passed.
  14. We played in the streets. 
  15. A pull-behind xylophone was a special toy.
  16. There were “car hops,” some on roller skates, but no drive throughs.
  17. Skates got “locked” with a key.
  18. The drive-in was the place to be. Sometimes, friends came along in the trunk.
  19. Sunday drives were a thing.
  20. Playgrounds were very different.
  21. TVs had sign off messages. Test patterns helped to sharpen images by adjusting antennas.

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Double Dog Dare

A friend recently forwarded this to me. I cannot give the proper attribution since the original author wasn’t mentioned, but it certainly is worth sharing. Please enjoy it.

How is this For Nostalgia?     

All the girls had ugly gym uniforms ,
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It took 3 minutes for the TV to warm up, 
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Nobody owned a purebred dog,
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When a quarter was a decent allowance,
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You’d reach into a muddy gutter for a penny.
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Your Mom wore nylons that came in 2 pieces.
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You got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, 
all for free, every time. And you didn’t pay for air. And, you got trading stamps to boot,

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Laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box,
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It was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant 
with your parents,
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They threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed…and they did it!
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When a 57 Chevy was everyone’s dream car…to cruise, peel out, lay rubber 
or watch submarine races, and people went steady.

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No one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, 
in the ignition, and the doors were never locked,
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Lying on your back in the grass with your friends and saying things like, 
‘That cloud looks like a…’ 
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Playing baseball with no adults to help kids with the rules of the game,
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Stuff from the store came without safety caps and  hermetic seals because 
no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger,
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And with all our progress, don’t you just wish, just once, you could slip back 
in time and savor the slower pace, and share it with the children of today,
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…as well as summers filled with bike rides, Hula  Hoops, and visits to the 
pool, and eating Kool-Aid powder with sugar. 
 
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Didn’t that feel good, just to go back and  say, ‘Yeah, I remember  that’?

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I am sharing this with you today because it ended with a Double Dog Dare 
to pass it on. To remember what a Double Dog Dare is, read on.
And remember that the perfect age is somewhere between old enough 
to know better and too young to care. 

Send  this on to someone who can still remember Howdy  Doody and 
The Peanut Gallery, the Lone Ranger, The Shadow knows, Nellie Bell, 
Roy and  Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk. 
 
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How Many Of These Do You Remember?
Candy cigarettes
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Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water  inside.
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Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles. 

Coffee shops with Table Side Jukeboxes. 

Blackjack, Clove and Teaberry chewing gum.


 
Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers.
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Newsreels before the movie.
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Telephone numbers with a word prefix…( Yukon 2-601).  Party lines.
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Peashooters. 
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Hi-Fi’s & 45 RPM records.
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78 RPM records!
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Green Stamps.
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Mimeograph paper.
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The Fort Apache Play Set. 
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Do You Remember a Time When: 

Decisions were made by going ‘eeny-meeny-miney-moe,’ 
Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, ‘Do Over!’ 

‘Race issue’ meant arguing about who ran the fastest,
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Catching The Fireflies Could Happily Occupy An Entire Evening,image034

It wasn’t odd to have two or three ‘Best  Friends,’ 
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Having a Weapon in School meant being caught with a Slingshot,
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Saturday morning cartoons weren’t 30-minute commercials for action figures,
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‘Oly-oly-oxen-free’ made perfect sense ,
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Spinning around, getting dizzy, and falling down was cause for giggles,

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The Worst Embarrassment was being picked last for a  team,
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War was a card game,
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Baseball cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a  motorcycle,
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Taking drugs meant orange-flavored chewable aspirin,
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Water balloons were the ultimate weapon,
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If you can remember most or all of these, Then You Have Lived!!!

Pass  this on to anyone who may need a break from  their ‘Grown-Up’ Life… 
I Double-Dog-Dare-Ya!

The Pledge of Allegiance

 

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I have consciously avoided posting anything on this site that might be construed as political. On the other hand, I proudly champion anything that might be considered as patriotic. This post might cross into both topics.

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Memorial Day originated after the Civil War to honor all Americans who died while in military service. Traditionally celebrated on the thirtieth of May, it is now celebrated on the last Monday in May, as mandated by the “Uniform Monday Holiday Act,” passed by Congress in 1968. As we move further from the actual purpose of Memorial Day, the holiday has increasingly become considered to be the unofficial start of summer. That’s where this post might become slightly political.

The original pledge was written in 1892 by an individual who hoped it might be used by citizens of any country. It read: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Revisions were made in 1923 and 1954 to create the thirty-one word pledge we say today.

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We baby boomers started every school day, with our hand over our heart, reciting those words. Almost every one of us was the child of a World War II veteran and likely the grandchild of a World War I veteran as well. We were girl scouts or boy scouts, and our parents impressed on us the importance of those words. Sadly, the same regimen and ritual is no longer a universal practice, especially in today’s classrooms. American patriotism is disappearing an alarming pace.

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Having said that, I wanted to provide you with a very short video. I hope you might take the time to sit down with your grandchildren, or at least send this to your children, so that they might sit down with their children to watch and discuss it. The video is a monologue that comedian, Red Skelton, presented at the White House in 1969. Red Skelton remembered how his school principal took the time to explain the words and meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance, when Red was a small boy growing up in Vincennes, Indiana.

The actual verbiage is available by clicking here.

Remembering Mr. Softee

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Thanks to a friend for sending this to me.

Mister Softee Inc. was founded by two brothers, William and James Conway, in 1956. On St. Patricks day of that year, Bill and Jim took their first truck and gave out green colored ice cream in the neighborhoods of West Philadelphia.By 1958 the company had outgrown the building in Philadelphia and moved to the current location in Runnemede, NJ. It is at this location that Mister Softee transforms plain trucks into Americas’ most recognizable mobile ice cream vendor.

It was born in Philadelphia but is as much a part of New York’s aural landscape as taxi horns, “that heavenly coffee” and “watch the closing doors.”

An annual herald of summer for more than half a century, it is exquisitely Pavlovian, triggering salivation or shrieking — sometimes both at once. It is the textbook embodiment of an earworm: once heard, never forgotten.

 sheetmusicthumb  It is the Mister Softee jingle, which for generations has sprung from ice cream trucks throughout the metropolitan area and beyond after first springing from the mind of Les Waas, a Philadelphia adman who died on April 19 at 94.

Great memories!!!

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A Baby Boomer Reflection – April 30, 1975

Forty-one years ago, April 30, 1975, Saigon fell to elements of the North Vietnamese Army, and its surrender was announced. The city was quickly renamed Ho Chi Minh City and the Saigon government was completely dissolved at all levels.

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United States Marine and Air Force helicopters, flying from offshore aircraft carriers, performed a massive airlift, evacuating more than one thousand American civilians and nearly seven thousand South Vietnamese refugees out of Saigon. As more evacuees landed on the aircraft carriers, more than one hundred American-supplied helicopters were pushed off the decks to make room to accommodate the people.

That same day, two United States Marines were killed in a rocket attack at Saigon’s Tan Son Nhut airport, and they were the last Americans to die in the Vietnam War. The honor, valor and sacrifice of our fighting men and women were not recognized upon their return to America. Only recently have those veterans been welcomed home unlike the shameful way they were treated upon their return in the mid-seventies.

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The American Veterans Center has a collection of oral histories, one of which is presented by a Colonel of United States Marines, Anthony Wood, who in March 1975, was assigned to lead a Special Forces Group to develop a plan for the evacuation of Saigon. “Without protection, and working with more than 100 American volunteers, Colonel Wood and his team helped evacuate more than five thousand civilians from the collapsing South Vietnamese capital to the safety of Marine helicopters.”

Follow this link to watch the American Veterans Center’s oral history project about Colonel Anthony Wood and the evacuation of Saigon, and please share it with your family and friends.

Memories

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A photomontage (created from many images sent by friends) of some great views of our past. Lots of automotive shots, some from Christmas, advertisements, a few of Elvis and many more. In short … lots of memories that I hope you find pleasant. Please share them with your friends.

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It used to be only AM radio

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Have you listened to “the Cuz” on Sirius/XM yet? He’s still on the radio …

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In the sixties, AM radio was the rage; FM radio was still limited in both the number of stations that were available and the distance that an FM radio signal could travel. The best rock ’n’ roll music was played by a few great AM radio stations that rural baby boomers couldn’t hear until the evening because of reception issues, including interference from the aurora borealis. If you lived on the east coast, there were a number of power radio stations, and at night baby boomers could listen to programs from WABC in New York City, WBZ in Boston, WKBW in Buffalo, New York, and WIBG in Philadelphia.

Certain disc jockeys, also known as “DJs” or “deejays” became larger than life, almost pop-culture stars. Along with Alan Freed, the disc jockey from Cleveland who is widely credited with coining the term “rock ’n’ roll,” there were two New York City guys, “Murray the K” Kaufman and “Cousin Brucie” Morrow (who would later become a staple of satellite radio); “Wolfman” Jack, who broadcast on the West Coast from a pirate radio station in Mexico; Casey Kasem and “The Real” Don Steele, from Los Angeles; Dick Biondi, from Chicago; and Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsberg, from the Boston area. The “Wolfman” was prominently featured in American Graffiti.

These DJs were responsible for creating hit records and hit performers by repeatedly playing their music on their respective stations. And then, the industry was hit by a scandal, and a new word was created, payola, a contraction of the words “pay” and “Victrola” (LP record player). The aforementioned Alan Freed was indicted for accepting $2,500 which he claimed was a token of gratitude and did not affect airplay. Freed paid a small fine and he was released. Unfortunately, his career faltered, and he drank himself to death in 1965.

Thirty-five years ago

 

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On December 8, 1980, forty year-old John Lennon, one of the members of the Beatles, who were introduced to America on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964, (hence the connection to the baby boomer generation) was shot in front of the New York City building, in which he lived with his wife Yoko Ono, as they returned from a recording studio. It was the seventh day of Chanukah and seventeen days before Christmas.

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Nine years earlier, on December 1, 1971, John and Yoko released “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” as a single. It was first performed with the Harlem Community Choir. “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” was actually a protest song against America’s involvement in the Vietnam War, and it culminated more than two years of peace activism by Lennon and Ono.

 

After Lennon’s death, “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” became a Christmas standard, and many notable artists have covered it. The song has been included on compilation albums of seasonal music, and it’s been declared a holiday favorite in many industry polls.

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My son was formerly the singer for a signed and touring rock band. After the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, he arranged, and his band performed a version of “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” “in memory of the innocence that died, and as a statement against needless violence.”

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On behalf of Baby Boomer Reflections: Eighteen Special Years Between 1946 and 1964, please listen to that arrangement and share it with your friends.

Please click here, and enjoy a great version of a fantastic song.

Friday, November 22, 1963

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Probably the one, most profound thing that leading-edge baby boomers still can recall happened during their high school senior year, fifty-two years ago. What were you doing on Friday, November 22, 1963? For me, it was being bored in a French class conjugating verbs, when the school’s intercom interrupted that drill, and our principal announced that America’s thirty-fifth President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas.

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Shortly after that announcement, Vice President Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as our thirty-sixth President of the United States, with Jacqueline Kennedy standing alongside him on Air Force One just before it departed to return President Kennedy to Washington, D.C.

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The death of Kennedy, our president and a decorated naval officer in World War II, was riveting. The eagerly anticipated weekend before Thanksgiving became especially somber with all the television coverage devoted to what had just happened.

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Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged shooter was captured on Saturday, November 23. On Sunday, November 24, as Oswald was being moved to a more secure jail, an enraged civilian, Jack Ruby, emerged from the crowd of onlookers and fatally shot Oswald.

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President Kennedy was buried on Monday, November 25. The image of his young son, “John-John,” saluting his father was indelibly imprinted on almost everyone’s mind.

To mark the fortieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE reprises The Kennedys, a dramatic portrait of America’s most famous political family, airing Monday and Tuesday, November 17 and 18, at 9pm on PBS (check local listings). Here, John Kennedy Jr., age 3, salutes as his father’s casket is carried from St. Matthew’s Cathedral, Washington, DC; November 25, 1963. CREDIT: © Bettmann/Corbis USAGE: This image may be used in the direct promotion of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. No other rights are granted. All rights are reserved.

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The days of American Camelot were over. Three days after the funeral, on Thursday, November 28, a very somber Thanksgiving was celebrated. And then, it was time to get ready for the holidays.

A Reader’s Letter

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I wanted to share some feedback from an individual who also grew up in Pennsylvania. No further comments from me except that I hope you enjoy his profound comments as much as I did.

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Finally read Baby Boomer Reflections on a Cathay Pacific 13 hour joy ride to Hong Kong.  Light years away from a trip to Shamokin or Centralia. I can certainly see in those pages–the humor, thought process and irreverence.  So GREAT!

Quick and easy read, tons of smiles, and many repressed memories coming out and connecting with the past—bringing many friends, locations, events and emotions back to life. Funny how certain things stick with you  – for whatever reason. You caught a lot of those same memories.

Page 22 — Houses–we had 6 people sharing bedrooms and one bathroom.  I lived that.  But our backlog was too much so my dad added a toilet only — just off the KITCHEN.  Interesting activity when you had company at the house—but it worked!

The family meal at exactly 5:30 every day.  My dad would drive home from work, the same route and timing everyday.  If we went to the library after school, and wanted a ride home, we had to be on a certain corner at 5:20, home at 5:30, and eating at 5:31.  One of the most reliable processes in my life.

I started driving in ’69.  I’ll never forget gas at $.29 9/10.  Anyone ever figure out the 9/10 thing?

Dances at the “Y”, impact of the Kennedy Assassination, taking out the ashes, 3 years of HS Latin, NY Worlds Fair trip…….. And the music.  Oh, the music.

WKBW Buffalo was a real memory—sleeping every night with a transistor radio and 9V battery under my pillow.  I also remember vividly—WLS Chicago, KDKA Pittsburg, WOWO Fort Wayne, and a station in Windsor Ontario CKLW.  I can still hear the jingle……..”C-K-L-W -The Motor City”.   Wow, we could dream about the big world out there.

Also…. WFIL and WABC in the day…but they cut their power at night.  I knew every word to every Top 50 song in 1965.  Today, I’m lucky to know the #1 song or artist.  And words…. forget it.

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I have very fond memories of growing up in an innocent time.  In the summer, we would leave the house everyday on our bike at 8:30, with a bag lunch, and return home by 5:30 (for dinner) without a care or any threat of personal harm. Exploring everything …..   (And it wasn’t an “English Bike” with three speeds.  It was basic pedal power.)  Proud to be from my hometown, but things have changed so much.

Don’t know how or why, but someone “up above” decided that I would venture out into other parts of the world and be blessed with the opportunity to see so much more and meet incredible people.  My life has definitely exceeded my early Pennsylvania dreams — beyond my wildest expectations.  Hey, this kid from PA married a beautiful beach girl from California who has shown me a whole other world!!!  So lucky!   And I never, ever thought I would see so many countries and cultures.  (On my way to India as I read this book and write this email) How surreal.  But even today, I love exploring the neighborhoods, parks, countryside and natural wonders of those places …..the same stuff that I saw (locally) on that bike, but now in a global context.

Those PA roots are so strong and proud. Those traditions you speak of in the book are “sacred” in so many ways…. especially now that digital toys and experiences will eventually make the baby boomer experiences obsolete, except for a Wikipedia page.

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As a footnote—My (Our) Hometowns have transitioned. The pride, honesty, simplicity, work ethic and credibility of the people we grew up with are fading fast.  The entire complexion of a town like Pottsville or Lewisburg is now changing with a loss of pride. The last few times I visited my hometown as my parents were dying–I hardly recognized the place and the people.  I tell my friends that I believe somewhere, the good ol’ Quaker, William Penn is crying.

Baby Boomer Reflections helped me remember the best of times.  Thank You.