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Thread: Life 50 years ago.. for better or worse

  1. #21
    Hot Wheels were on the shelf on the small toy store where my dad got his supplies for building scale balsa wood airplanes. I never got a new one but years later my cousin sent a box of used ones with bent wheels and faded paint. I still have some that my granddaughter played with.

    Laugh In with Rowen and Martin .....I used to watch a little with dad. Mom was disgusted with the girls and their painted bodies, dancing.

    I don’t know if Dan Rather was hosting CBS news yet but I remember the body count and thinking, I’m not going over there. No way. I also remember watching the Wide, Wide World of Sports and Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.

    My dad was paying attention to something called the My Lai Massacre and the war in Vietnam was starting to get him down....I learned a few years later that over there innocent kids much like me were running naked away from fire from the sky called napalm. And that my country dropped that shit from the sky on their heads.

    A black preacher by the name of Martin Luther King was causing quite a stir. My dad called him a trouble maker and a rebel rouser. Also said he cheated on his wife and was a hypocrite. Then somebody shot him dead with a rifle and all that name calling stopped.

    Throughout those years of the late 60s I went to my grandmas house on Sunday evening and once a year watched, “The Wizard of Oz”. I learned that my favorite song was and always will be Somewhere over the Rainbow. I never liked bicycles with baskets.

    I began my infatuation with Beatles music and John Lennon. With my round glasses, I kind of looked like him later in life. Most people would describe me as a cross between John Lennon and an ESPN sportscaster named Kenny Mayne.

    The Indianapolis 500 races were really interesting. My brother would go see one in person. I never did, but I thought Al Unser was pretty cool in his jump suit.

    Bobby Kennedy got shot to death right before every ones eyes just like his brother and our President did a few years earlier. There was a lot a killing and hatred and I didn’t know why. Still don’t.

    I didn’t know it yet but abortion and birth control would be a hot hot religious and political topic. My catholic friends would seem to struggle more with it. I never understood the reason the Pope existed and how he was infallible. I was taught to talk straight to Jesus. So that’s what I did. Usually when I wanted something or didn’t want something.

    My dad liked to watch Hawaii Five O. He raves about the theme song to me and I can still see him imitating the drum beat with his mouth. And 60 minutes was showing also. I never missed the last five minutes of Andy Rooney. That guy always made sense in a sarcastic way. “Did you ever notice.....?”

    Richard Nixon began his rise to fame as President and a few years later my dad had delivered to the house a stack of blue bound books that looked really important. It was the tape transcripts of the watergate debacle. I read through some of it and learned that (expletive deleted) meant my President was talking like an asshat. Not only that, he was acting like one too.

    The Women’s Liberation movement was becoming a thing. It wasn’t a good thing according to lots of folks. Later in life, I had to get used to the idea of a woman being my superior. I got used it.

    Some astronauts orbit the moon and read from the Bible, passages from Genesis. I remember being moved by it.

    On Saturday mornings...I watched cartoons and ate sugary cereal. Life was good.

  2. #22
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Found this very interesting but some of it is a greater time span but has good info in general.

    John D. Rockefeller was the richest man the world had ever seen.
    But for most of his adult life he didn’t have electric lights, air conditioning, or sunglasses. And he never had penicillin, sunscreen, or Advil. This is not ancient history: One in twenty Americans were born before Rockefeller died.
    The majority of Americans think the next generation of adults will be worse off than their parents.
    I think of two things when I hear this.
    One, the pessimists are probably wrong, extrapolating a bad decade into infinity. Two, progress is like compound interest – you don’t even notice it in the short run, but it’s mindblowing when you zoom out and see what can be accomplished over long periods.
    There are so many things still wrong with the world, and the future will always be hard. But when confronted with pessimism, Warren Buffett reminds us that normal Americans “live better than John D. Rockefeller did.”
    Here are some examples of how right he is.
    Life expectancy in America has increased from 47 years in 1900 to 78 years in 2011. That’s great. Here’s what’s better: The majority of that gain has come from declines in infant and childhood mortality. One in 15 babies born in 1900 didn’t see their first birthday; a fifth didn’t make it to age five. In America! Today fewer than seven in a thousand die before age five. The decline means 700,000 fewer kids die each year who would have died 115 years ago. That’s like adding a city the size of Seattle every year.
    To put that stat a different way: Being born in America in 1900 gave you a 79% chance of living for five years. Today, the five-year survival rate for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is 82%. So just being a kid 1900 was riskier than having lymphoma is today.
    Penicillin has saved between 80 and 200 million lives since first used in 1942, depending on whose estimates you use. Put that in context of deaths from World War I (~17 million) and World War II (~60 million), and it’s possible that Alexander Fleming’s accidental discovery saved more lives than both world wars took.

    Microsoft sold a computer mouse in 1985 for $179, or $401 adjusted for inflation. Today $401 can buy you a Chromebook, a Kindle tablet, and an iPhone 5, with enough money left over for lunch.
    The percentage of American adults who smoke daily declined from 45% in 1965 to 18% in 2012,according to OECD.

    Median household income during the boom year of 1929 was about $16,000 adjusted for inflation, according to Census Bureau data. It’s more than $53,000 today.
    According to the World Health Organization, “Measles vaccination has saved an estimated 17.1 million lives since 2000.”
    “In the late 1940s to the early 1950s … polio crippled an average of more than 35,000 people in the United States each year,” writes the CDC. Today it’s wiped out.
    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,there were 1.75 million children age 10-15 working in America in 1900. Today, employment under age 16 is effectively banned.
    Nationwide murders declined from 23,326 in 1994 to 14,196 in 2014, according to the FBI. (more if you adjust for population growth). Similarly, robbery declined from 618,949 incidents in 1994 to 345,031 in 2014, a drop of 44%. Aggravated assault fell 35%.
    A December 2015 flight from Miami to Los Angeles was delayed and took 20 hours, which one passenger told CNN was “a nightmare that you can’t believe.” As recently as 1929 that 20-hour travel time would have been a world record.
    The percentage of women with bachelor’s degrees at age 18-33 nearly doubled from the Baby Boom to the Millennial generation, from 14% to 27%.
    “Hip fractures have been dropping by 15-20 per cent a decade for 30 years,” writes the Financial Times. One theory: We’re better at providing daily mobility assistance for those who need it.
    Rates of dementia for Americans over age 60 have declined by more than a third in the last 30 years. Some think better control of blood pressure led to a decline in ministrokes, which then reduced the prevalence of dementia.
    The DailyMail writes, “In 1900 a typical male was 5ft 6in tall, but by 2000 that had gone up to 5ft 10in … Researchers put the growth spurt mostly down to pregnant mothers eating better food which meant their babies grew up to be stronger and healthier.”
    In 1933 there were 37 workplace fatalities per 100,000 workers, according to OSHA. In 2009 there were 3.6 per 100,000. With 144 million U.S. workers, the decline means 48,100 fewer workers die each year who would have 80 years ago. Every 14 months we avoid as many workplace deaths compared to 1933 as U.S. soldiers died in the Vietnam War.
    Historian Deirdre McCloskey recently wrote , “A billion or so people on the planet drag along on the equivalent of $3 a day or less. But as recently as 1800, almost everybody did.” (Adjusted for inflation).
    The global fertility rate has declined from 5.1 babies per women in 1964 to 2.5 today, according to the Census Bureau International Database. This is wonderful: Fertility declines as countries become richer and infant mortality falls. In the 18th century Adam Smith wrote, “It is not uncommon in the highlands of Scotland for a mother who has borne 20 children not to have 2 alive.”
    The percentage of the world living on less than $2 a day (adjusted for inflation) has been cut in half over the last 40 years, according to the World Bank.
    Americans over age 100 are the fastest growing age group, by far. In 1980 there were about 15,000 Americans over age 100. Today there are 78,000. By 2030, an estimated 138,000, according to the Census Bureau. That means the centenarian share of the population will more than quintuple, from 0.0007% in 1980 to 0.04% by 2030.
    In 1930 Americans spent more than 8% of their disposable income on energy, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. During the 1980s oil spike it peaked at more than 9%. Today it’s less than 4%, an all-time low.
    A BMW plant in South Carolina gets part of its power from methane siphoned off a nearby landfill. People don’t think of this kind of stuff when making peak-energy forecasts.
    Twenty people have received face transplants since 2005, according to Johns Hopkins Hospital. This was unfathomable 30 years ago.
    The percentage of an average household’s budget devoted to food fell from 46.4% in 1901 to 13% in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If that percentage had not declined the average household today would spend more than $2,100 a month on food.
    Real median wages have been stagnant for a while. But real median compensation – which includes things like health insurance subsidies and 401(k) matches – is up more than 40% since 1980. People are getting a raise, it’s just coming in the form of subsidies on ever-rising insurance premiums.
    We have a retirement funding crisis, which would sound like the most peculiar thing in the world to people 100 years ago, most of whom had no concept of retirement and worked until they died. In 1900 65.4% of men over age 65 were still working, according to the Census Bureau. And nearly all jobs were physically demanding. By the 1990s it was down to 17%.
    In 1900 the median age at death was 59. Today it’s 80, according to the Social Security Administration.
    In 1900 it took four days to travel from New York to Los Angeles. Today it takes 19 hours to travel from New York to Singapore.
    The age-adjusted death rate per capita from heart disease has declined more than 70% since 1965, according to the National Institute of Health. The New York Times says this was “spurred by better control of cholesterol and blood pressure, reduced smoking rates, improved medical treatments — and faster care of people in the throes of a heart attack.”
    Health insurance prices are rising fast. But consider that anything resembling modern medical insurance didn’t even exist until the 1920s, when a group of Texas teachers began prepaying for hospital expenses. Health insurance wasn’t needed before the 1930s because medical care wasn’t that expensive, and it wasn’t that expensive because we didn’t know that much about medicine and couldn’t do a whole lot for sick people.
    People uploaded 657 billion pictures in 2014,according to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report.
    A 1996 computer catalog has an average list price of $3,412, or more than $5,200 adjusted for inflation. A Chromebook today can be purchased for $101 and is, on every level, an order of magnitude or greater more advanced.
    Bank failures in the early 1930s wiped out deposits equal to 2.2% of GDP, according to the FDIC. That’s the equivalent of $396 billion today. With FDIC insurance, no one with less than $250,000 in the bank has anything to worry about anymore.
    “The United States uses less than half as much energy for every unit of GDP as it did in the 1970s,” w
    “A new car in the 1970s might have averaged 13.5 miles to every gallon. Today, on a fleet average basis, a new car is required to get 30.2 miles per gallon,” writes Yergin.

    The high-school graduation rate was 6.4% in 1900, 50.8% in 1940, 77.1% in 1970, a record-high 80% in 2012,

    Fatal airlines accidents have declined from more than 40 per year in 1970s to fewer than 10 per year in the last decade.

  3. #23
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    Dec 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar View Post
    I can remember a time as a kid when we did not have a dishwasher, garbage disposal, or garage door opener. We trimmed the lawn edges with hand clippers. Cars were always breaking down and since Dad always bought retreads you needed tires every 10,000 miles or so.
    I don't have an ATM card, dishwasher, garbage disposal, garage door opener, or garage. But my tires last longer.

  4. #24
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    Jan 2011
    Razz - I love your long list.

  5. #25
    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by Yppej View Post
    I don't have an ATM card, dishwasher, garbage disposal, garage door opener, or garage. But my tires last longer.
    I was well into my 50's before I got a place with a dishwasher, washing machine, and a garage. I still prefer to dry clothes on the clothesline, but not having to go to the laundromat is a definite time saver. I have to say that a garage with a door opener is very nice in the winter. Microwaves have also made life a little easier.

  6. #26
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    Jun 2012
    I think in my sub big 5 lifetime....
    Two room schoolhouse, party lines, no a/c, cars that needed tune ups every 12K miles, oil changes at 1500 miles at most, no Adam/Amber alerts back from when I was abducted, etc. etc. etc.
    Then I think about the things I have read about my grandfathers life, or my neighbor that lived three centuries...
    Children that were lucky to make it to adulthood, more agricultural based life, Early escape from that as a "mechanic" which was a new carriageless horse thing (less children died as cars didn't kick to the head), first flight to the man on the moon, modern washers and dryers, etc. etc. etc.

    With the music thread, combine the two and:

  7. #27
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    Dec 2013
    I was 13 back then. Housework was a f.t. job. We had no dryer so hung clothes in basement in Wi in the winter. It took my Mom an entire day to iron. You had to iron the sheets because the material was so wrinkled it would be uncomfortable to sleep on it. I remember when my mom went back to work and we got a dryer and then a dishwasher. You took really good care of things because you couldn't afford to replace because the cost was so high.

  8. #28
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
    You took really good care of things because you couldn't afford to replace because the cost was so high.
    Great point. My role model for that was my MIL who took extremely good care of everything she owned and it lasted forever. My BIL wound up ruining a deck umbrella that my MIL had owned since the 70s. It had teal and aqua flowers on the inside and fringe around it. In spite of the fact that she used it every day and it was in the elements rain or shine (of course, she religiously would put the cover over it when rain threatened), it lasted all these years. Until she died and my BIL wasn't as diligent, and during a windstorm it was open and it blew into the yard and spokes were broken. What a shame.

    She also covered her cars with muslin. (Of course she would NEVER PAY for an expensive car cover). AND she kept her car in the garage. Even so, every day we had a routine--someone stood on one side of the car and someone else on the other and we carefully draped three big pieces of thick muslin over the car.

    She never threw out Christmas lights that went out. She'd sit in front of the TV all night playing with the lights until she found the one(s) that needed to be replaced.

    Even her poinsettias lasted forever.

    Teacher Terry, my MIL also hung up her clothes in the basement after fluffing them for a few minutes to get wrinkles out--her reasoning was that all that lint you get from the lint-catcher--that's your clothes. So it made sense to her that her clothes would last a LOT longer if she kept the dryer from eating them up. I've actually adopted her clothes drying system and I love it. The clothes don't need a bit of ironing and they retain their body as opposed to looking like they've been beaten silly.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town

  9. #29
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    All in all, I'm happy we have made (mostly) so much progress over the years.

  10. #30
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by JaneV2.0 View Post
    All in all, I'm happy we have made (mostly) so much progress over the years.
    Me too. The Internet alone makes me thrilled I wasn't born 20 years earlier.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town

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