Growing Up In The Leave It To Beaver Generation

 Chronicles Of The Baby Boomers

"The Way It Use To Be"    by A.J.Lombardi


  "I think things have changed"!  Back in the day, baggy pant were not stylish, and only worn by portly sized  people. Gomer Pyle was the only guy who wore sneakers when going out on the town.   A cell is where they use to put bad people, and if you wanted to know " Yo, what's happening?  all you had to do was just ask the neighborhood news bag - she had a party line on her phone.  For those who don't know what that is, I'll explain.  It's like having conference calling without your consent!    Don't laugh because it was not too long ago that televisions had only three channels, and the clicker referred to your father who would flick his fingers every time he wanted someone to get up and change the channel. 


The Television (3 Channels)!

When colored televisions first came out you had to be rich to have one!  I remember wanting one so bad that my brother and I pooled our money together and bought the latest device that was guaranteed to turn any black and white TV into a colored one.  The problem with the piece of semi transparent two by two sheet of colored plastic was that the top was always blue, the middle part was always brown and the bottom was always green.  After taping that piece of colored plastic onto our TV screen and watching Bonanza's Ben Cartwright with blue hair and green pants, we realized that we had been ripped off and decided to sell it to the paper boy for half price.  Although I must admit,  "watching news anchor Walter Cronkite with a  blue head did make the evening news more interesting to watch.  Back in the good old days poor people had to use rabbit ears antennas to get a better picture on the TV and the youngest person in  the family was usually assigned to antenna duty which meant he or she had to move the antenna when the TV picture jumped.  Poorer people had to use a coat hanger for a antenna  and  only rich people could afford to have an antenna on the roof. 


Telephones (The real party line)!

So you think that you're the first one to have a cell phone?  Well listen up smarty pants.  "I remember my cousin and I decided to invent our own communication system. "Don't get any ideas about copying our idea - it's patented!    This system cost about thirty cents to make.  The first thing we did was to find two empty Hunt's tomatoes sauce cans and some kite string.  The second step was to punch a hole in the base of each can and secure the ends of the string through each hole.    "Now the test!   With can in hand we separated for about thirty feet and began yelling;  "can you hear me, can you hear me!  The system worked very well, but only when we were in close range.  A few weeks later one of the neighborhood smarty pants guys invented a much better device using a garden hose. 

Calling Your Friends (Never use the doorbell)!

I'll tell ya something else that has changed!  These days, kids ring the doorbell when calling on a friend.  When the Beav was growing up, kids were not allowed to touch the doorbell.  To call on a friend literally meant what it said; Stand about twenty feet from the side door and start yelling out your friend's name in a melodic like singing voice."Jiimmmmmmy   Jimmmmmy....  This was pretty easy except if your friend had two first names like Nathan Cleotis.  Did you  ever wonder what happened to some of the kids you grew up with?  There was a guy I went to grammar school with who was learning how to play the violin.  His main ambition in life was to become good enough to be on the Ed Sullivan  TV show.  It's all he ever talked about.  In fact whenever his name was mentioned people would say;  "You mean the kid who someday will be on the Ed Sullivan show?  By the time he played fairly well,  Ed's show was cancelled.   

Toys In The Good Old Days (Mostly Weapons)!

Today, TV violence is a terrible thing!  At one time it was not so prevalent as it is now.  I remember seeing TV star Sheriff Mat Dillon of Gun Smoke shoot three bad guys on one episode!  I couldn't sleep for a whole week!  Today, children playing with toy guns, swords or other  army weapons is frowned upon.  At one time they were the most popular toys!  In fact, around the age of ten most guys in my neighborhood had  a BB gun, a Zorro sword, a sling shot, a bow and arrows, a home made spear with a garbage can cover as a shield, a jack knife and a boomerang!  "Oh did forget the Daniel Boone Ax?  The kids in my neighborhood could have invaded Cambodia and won!   For sure, coming to age with the baby boom generation did have some memories that should not be forgotten.



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