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October 16, 2009
The Good Old Days

Last weekend I took a quick vacation down to memory lane by helping to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Crestmoor High School class of ’79 in San Bruno, CA. 

The event was held at a local country club where most participants wore their "Sunday best" and the girls spent the day getting their hair all fixed up...each of us trying our best to suck in our stomachs and look like we did 10 years ago...

As I went around the room, I chatted with many of my former classmates who recalled with great detail some of the events that occurred during high school...grade school... nursery school...or somewhere in between...

I found it interesting that so many of them could vividly recall what happened 30-40 years ago but had a hard time remembering my name 5 minutes after I reminded them of it...the experience was good overall and I was glad that I decided to attend...even if it meant that I had to drive 20 or so hours up and back to the Bay Area from San Diego over the course of three days...

On my long drive home...I had plenty of time to reflect upon the events and conversations of past evening...and noticed that so many of my classmates truly believed that the 1960’s and 70’s were a golden age as compared with what we have today.  It got me thinking a bit about where we are today as to where we were when I was growing up back in San Bruno, CA...

I am of the belief that we currently live in the "golden age" and tomorrow will bring even more wonderment and convenience to our lives...

Consider the following changes and inventions that have occurred just in the last 50 years:
  • The phones we used in 1959 were rotary operated and needed to be plugged into the wall and long distance calling cost $0.20-$0.50 per minute.  The answering machine was anyone who actually picked up the phone and took a message and call waiting meant that you waited until someone hung up the phone.
  • Television was only in black and white and had a maximum of 12 channels.  Rabbit ear antennas were need to make a picture clearer and the horizontal hold dial was needed to stop the picture from "rolling".  A "big screen" meant that you had 19" on the diagonal.  Cable was something streetcars in San Francisco used and satellite was call Sputnik.  TV dinners took 45 minutes to cook in the oven and soda and beer came in cans that required punching holes in each side.
  • Gas was only $0.35 per gallon but cars only went 10 miles on that gallon.  Seat belts, air bags and infant car seats didn’t exist.  The music played from AM radios with analog tuning (although there were digital push buttons to move from one station to another).  Navigation systems were called "maps"
  • The best medicine that money could buy was grandma’s chicken soup.  No heart by-pass or hip replacement surgeries, no such thing as watching your cholesterol, your doctor smoked and so did you, no MRIs, ultrasound or CTs, and pre-natal preparation meant that painted the nursery pink or blue...oh and by the way it didn’t matter because the average lifespan was 66.1 years as compared with 80.3 years today (and we wonder why Social Security is almost bankrupt...the government was only paying it to people for an average of 1.1 years instead of 15.3 years)
  • The post office delivered mail across the country in 5-7 days but it only cost $0.06.  No e-mail, no texting, no world wide web, Google, Facebook, My Space, E-bay, Craig’s List or Wikipedia .  The news came to you on your porch at 6 am or on channel 5 at 6 pm.  You had to remember appointments, birthdays and anniversaries on your own.  Office letters were typed by the steno pool and accounting was done in ledger books.  Books and magazines were made of paper.
Yes...today does seem more complicated...that’s because it is...

We have more today than ever before.  Technology is here to stay.  We should be grateful for all it brings to us rather than rue today and pine for yesterday...

...but what do I know...I’m the idiot who drove 10 hours each way to the Bay Area rather than fly...

Thank you very much for supporting OptiFuse as we attempt to grow and innovate for a better tomorrow...

Jim Kalb


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