I'm so old that

My 51st birthday is a couple days away, and my age is catching up to me.

Apart from myself, a lot of things have changed in the past 50 years.

I thought it might be fun for us “older” folks to share things that we remember doing/seeing when we were young. Or it might not. But what the heck?

I’m so old that…

  • When I was a kid, cartoons were only on Saturday mornings and were over by noon. You had to get up early or end up waiting another week to see any.

  • We only had three TV channels, and no way to record anything, so you had to be like a ninja with that radial dial. A lot of time was spent studying the listings in the TV guide.

  • A lot of time was also spent fiddling with the TVs antenna in order to minimize the static on the screen. Channel 5 always had static.

  • Speaking of radial dials, that’s what our phone had. It was a big step up when we got the new phone from Ma Bell that had push buttons. You could dial a phone number in half the time or less.

  • We had a full set of encyclopedias in our house. That was a big deal. You could look shit up that you didn’t know.

  • I dreamed of someday having a portable Sony Walkman cassette player.

  • My first time roleplaying, Dungeons & Dragons wasn’t even “Advanced” yet.

  • I was fascinated when I first saw Pong at Sears.

  • Porn was on paper.



A nostalgic yearning which is in itself more pleasant than the thing being yearned for.

– Douglas Adams, John Lloyd / The Meaning of Liff


Not even weekday afternoons?!?!?

The horror…


…You had to pay extra to get an automatic transmission in your new car.

…You had to leave your house to play video games, and each game was its own machine.

…Computers were the size of buildings.

…Only the military had cell phones.

(am I doin’ this rite?)


That’s still the way it is where I live.
Does that make me young beyond my years?


You could get leaded gasoline.
Stereo was a selling point for TVs.
A Corvette had only 165 horsepower.
Car speedometers stopped at 80 MPH.
Freeways were capped at 55 MPH.
All four of the Beatles, all three of the Wilson bothers, and all three of the Bee Gees were alive.
You bought and sold stuff, and found jobs through the newspaper.


Happy 51st. I had mine back in November.

My brother now lives in the house we grew up in which still has a black rotary dial wall phone last I saw of it.


Not that I recall. Although we did have After School Specials. So, there was that.


Last time I looked, a couple years ago, you have to pay thousands extra to get a standard transmission in a Mustang, of all cars. That’s bonkers.


I was thinking more personal observations, but that works too.

You still pay more for an automatic transmission these days, but manual transmission cars seem to be disappearing. They tend to be relegated to the bottommost trim level.

Back then, Automatic was certainly a luxury.


I had afternoons and mornings at least I remember mornings as that was when Johnny Sokko and Ultraman and Speed Racer were on before going to preschool / kindergarten. I remember Little Rascals for awhile in grade school as well.

The afternoon shows I remember best were Star Trek reruns in ‘middle school’ and the classic early 80’s stuff in High School which I didn’t so much watch as have on as noise while I had a nap.


Even those are going away. It’s getting very hard to find outside of specialty vehicles (trucks, sports cars, and such).


Now, you do have half a decade on me, but maybe this will make you feel a bit younger?

We didn’t have a TV, but that was by choice, and probably the only reason I was ever good at school.

We had a rotary…on a party line! Probably more a factor of income than year.

I had text books that talked about how one day, using the physical sciences described, we might be able to put a man on the moon!

This is rural Arkansas in the early '80s, mind.

Okay, that was pretty great. That and a stack of Pink Floyd tapes made those cross-country car trips bearable as a tween.

Same here! Although AD&D definitely existed at the time.

Rich, tech-obsessed uncle in California. He also had an early personal computer that I played hours of Hammurabi on.

There’s a collection out there of those early Lumiere-era porn movies that I’ve seen. Often the same actors, sets and gear involved in a professional shoot commandeered during a lunch break…


I have seen 2 silent era collections of porn both were fun. Though I had never seen nuns and dogs porn before that.


A few more.

  • I watched President Ford slip down the steps of Air Force One, and then watched Chevy Chase mock him for it repeatedly on SNL.

  • My wife stayed up so she could watch all of Live Aid as it aired live.

  • Billy Carter, and Billy Beer, were political embarrassments, back when politicians could still be embarrassed.

Hmm. Maybe it’s location, or something else (memory failure, perhaps?), but I really don’t recall any cartoon options during weekdays, and Sundays were best spent outside.

Thank you. Happy belated birthday to you.

Oh yes, The Flintstones. I saw a lot of them and The Jetsons as reruns. Hmm. Perhaps it was only the cartoons that I liked were on Saturdays? Have I mentioned I hate what’s happening to my memory?

Ah, right. Sorry. I should have gone for clarity over comedy. When i was a kid, the only access to porn that I had was on paper.


I remember Ultraman on TV in the afternoons, along with Adam West’s Batman and reruns of the Monkees.

I can also remember eight-track tapes. Does anyone else remember the click when the player went from one track to another?

(I turn 47 in about a week or so.)


Sunday evenings were reserved
for The Wonderful World of Disney.

TV stopped broadcasting at midnight.

I could stay outside until the streetlights
came on.

Penny candy was 1 penny.

No seatbelts required when driving.
Nor helmets on bikes.

But what I miss MOST of all…
are my cars!
Chevelle, Camero, Duster, Monte Carlo (before they squared off the trunk), Nova,
Rambler Rebel, Swinger, Dart, original
VW bug and…and…and.
I do dislike these “boxes with numbers”
on the road now.


Heh, kids these days!


They were dying out, but I remember them, thanks to this fellow:


Actually, I think he was a garage sale purchase, so 2-XL may have been effectively dead as well.


My first car was a Chevy Nova. I bought it used. Wrecked it horribly within a month. Totally my fault. It taught me the perils of driving toward the sunset with a pitted windshield, and trusting in the guy I was following. Turns out, witnesses say, he was running red lights. And so was I. It also taught me the importance of having insurance, which the guy I hit didn’t have for his brand new luxury automobile.

I also had an original VW bug. I rolled it while going around a wet corner a bit faster than I should have been going. Someone who saw the accident helped me out of the car, then helped push it back on its wheels and I drove the rest of the way to work. The thing that sucked most was the back seat was out, and battery acid sprayed all over the inside of the car. I was tasting that for easily a week.