Nostalgia or Selective Memory

Posted on May 15, 2018
by Tom Casey, Managing Principal Discussion Partner Collaborative

About a year ago, my son found himself in the hospital for an extended period. He is an active adult with two young boys, and was “bored to tears”.

I visited him one Saturday and listened to him complain that there was nothing to watch on TV. Sympathetic parent that I am, and also having been laid up for an extended period in my 20’s barked “stop your whining, at least you have Cable”!

For fellow Boomers, I can imagine you are also harkening back to when you were told by your parents “I had to walk 5 miles to school in a blizzard”.

Growing up in the 60’s was not always easy, but it was memorable. Looking back, we can now compare how some of our rights of passage while not necessarily nostalgic, are striking in their difference.

An immediate difference is the use of sunscreen. Coppertone was a luxury for many. Most of us burned, peeled, burned, and peeled again until Labor Day.

Seat belts were likely available: but usually ignored. I have the vantage point of being the oldest of 7. Once at a party I spoke to the youngest of 9 and we reminisced that on short drives in convertibles, she was positioned above the back seat while her older brothers held her legs. Today this would be reckless endangerment, back then a lot of kids, one car!

Transistor radios, were the form of non-visual news and entertainment, the functionality of which required a battery. The battery, as essential in its day as an outlet for an iPhone today.

Batteries became even more of a necessity during a power outage.
I recall as the oldest once being chartered to go in pursuit of a battery in the early stages of a hurricane. When my mother assertively pointed out the wisdom of this move, my father’s rejoinder, “you have to think long term, if he blows away it’s one less college tuition”. My mother’s response was “good luck honey”.

You can see the origin of my parental sympathy gene!

Halloween was a great time growing up. We sometimes went to the best candy provider three times without a costume change. I don’t recall my parents having to be human x-ray machines to make sure we were going to be safe gorging on our bounty.

Jimmy Kimmel would have no post Halloween “I ate your candy” segments as “our” candy hoard rarely survived until the next day.

We didn’t think of candy as “junk food”, more an annual entitlement.

I have no appreciation as to how many TV options we have now; when I was growing up we only had 3 all ending in C. For the longest time, if you had a color TV you could only watch 2 shows, Bonanza, and Disney.

The National News was only 30 minutes a night, probably the aspect of growing up I miss the most!

Well in truth, I probably miss the 1-speed bike the most today’s transport mode too confusing!

The pace of innovation is increasing, and memories are getting shorter. I vividly recall my 10-year-old grandson spying a flip phone asking, “What’s that”? I shudder to think of him being exposed to a rotary dial!

I don’t recall when growing up feeling I had it easy, just the opposite.

I do reflect now as a parent and grandparent that it certainly was different, not better nor worse, just memorable.

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