The generation gap


The 90th Psalm petitions, “Teach us to number our days.“ Wise counsel. Time flies, and believe me the older you get the faster it goes. I’ve never heard a senior citizen say that time was passing slowly, have you?

I read recently of a boy who asked his grandmother what it was like “in the good old days.” This was her answer:

“Well, I was born before television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses, Frisbees and the pill. There was no radar, credit cards, laser beams or ballpoint pens. We never heard of FM radios, tape decks, CDs, electric typewriters, yogurt or guys wearing earrings.

“We listened to the Big Bands, Jack Benny, and the President’s speeches on our radios. If you saw anything with ‘Made in Japan’ on it, it was junk. The term ‘making out’ referred to how you did on your school exam. Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Radio Shack and Wal-Mart were unheard of.

“We thought fast food was what people ate during Lent. A meaningful relationship meant getting along with your cousins and time-sharing meant time the family spent together in the evenings and weekends—not purchasing condominiums.

”We had 5-and-10-cent stores where you could actually buy things for five and ten cents. Ice cream cones, phone calls, rides on a streetcar, and a Pepsi were all a nickel. And if you didn’t want to splurge, you could spend your nickel on enough stamps to mail a letter and two postcards. You could buy a new Chevy for $600 (But no one could afford one) and gas was 11 cents a gallon.

“Grass was mowed, Coke was a cold drink, pot was something your mother cooked in, and rock music was your grandmother’s lullaby. ‘Aids’ were helpers in the principal’s office, chip meant a piece of wood, hardware was found in a hardware store, and software wasn’t even a word.

“Your Grandfather and I got married first—and then lived together.

“The Ten Commandments, good judgment and common sense governed our lives. We were taught to know the difference between right and wrong and to stand up and take responsibility for our actions.

“We were the last generation to actually believe that a lady needed a husband to have a baby. No wonder people call us ‘old and confused’ and say there is a ‘generation gap.’

“And how old do you think I am? I’m 58!” Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years before retiring. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.

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2012-04-26 digital edition

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