I’m sooo old

I remember when: our high school newspaper was pre-printed on a blue paper and printed by hand on a roller. (I can’t remember what it was called. Mimeograhp?) I learned to type on a “selectric” typewriter.  When the Principal or teacher told you to shut up, you did it (or you got “paddled”–and yes, this was in public school–in America).   I remember reciting the pledge of allegiance in school. Every morning. With our hands over our hearts. And no protesters. I remember learning to sing “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem.” Before I was a Christian. In public screw-all.  I remember having “party lines” for telephones, and having to pick up the phone and listen to ensure that our neighbors were not already using the line before making my own phone call.  

I’m so old I remember taking cover under our desks to practice what to do in case of a nuclear attack (at least I think I remember that). I remember having milk delivered to our door twice daily by the milkman. I vaguely remember a milk box, where we would put a note telling him what to leave us. I remember when the Beatles first became a hit in America (my “hip” sister  had their photos on the wall, and my father said they needed a haircut).  I remember what I was doing when I first learned that JFK had been shot.

I remember getting a polio shot at the local high school. I had a male baby sitter who was partially paralyzed by polio.  I remember when gas sold for .19  and .29 [and 9/10th? I think I remember the 9/10ths?] cents per gallon. I remember seeing my first black man in person–I was 4 or 5, and I said “Look Aunt Barb, there is a nigger.” He was huge, her co-worker, and he was standing about 3 feet away while cutting up meat with a very. Big. Knife. [This really happened. She set me straight asap thereafter.]

I’m so old I remember when my parents used to not worry about me for hours, even days at a time. Walk 6 miles to my “girlfriend’s” house? Sleep out in the woods. Ride bikes for miles. Go swimming in the local creek.  Be home before bed-time was the only restriction.

I’m so old that I remember when it was stigmatizing not just for the school girl who got pregnant “out-of-wedlock”, but for her little sister.  I’m so old that I remember when queers tried to stay “in the closet.”

I’m so old that I remember singing anti-Vietnam songs after we won our football game on the bus back to our locker room. “And it’s one two three what are we fightin for? Don’t ask me I don’t give a damn, I don’t care about Vietnaaam…”  I remember when “the cool kids” tried to get the entire school to wear armbands to protest the war. I remember my “Aunt Penny” coming to live with us while “Uncle Jim” went off to fight in ‘Nam. Her son was born while she lived with us, and she drove us around in her Corvair.

I remember the 1968 (1967?) riots in Detroit after MLK was assassinated.  I remember when Jim Morrison, Janice Joplin and Jimi Hendrix were alive. I had friends who went to see Elvis in concert at one of his last concerts (1977)instead of attending our local New Years Eve party.

I bought one of the last type-writers ever sold (I assume). I was astonished by the fact that it could erase mistakes, and remember the last sentence or so that I had typed. I remember the first time I discovered that a scanner existed. I was astonished. I remember when cell phones looked more like walkie-talkies.

I’m so old that I can’t remember what happened last week. Or the day before. How old are you?

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