Random Notes on the Past Fifty Years

Father Knows Best familyTwo good friends gave me a birthday gift containing a booklet about 1958, the year I was born.

Funny what’s changed in fifty years, and what hasn’t:

  1. In 1958, Khrushchev ran the U.S.S.R. and de Gaulle was the President of France. U.S. President Eisenhower sent troops to Lebanon to help maintain security there. Today, according to http://bloomberg.com/, “Clashes erupted in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli between gunmen allied to Hezbollah, the Shiite Muslim party and militia that took over parts of Beirut last week, and supporters of pro-Western Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.” Gee, Lebanon doesn’t sound too secure right now . . .
  2. Prince Charles became the Prince of Wales. Well, he’s still that, isn’t he? Marriages come and go, and death takes people away, but titles are eternal, I guess.
  3. The first Pizza Hut opened. Again, no change there.
  4. The favorite television shows were all Westerns: Wagon Train, The Rifleman, and Maverick. Now, instead of watching people wearing cowboy boots shoot at each other, I guess most people like to watch forensic scientists wearing the latest styles examine bodies that have already been shot to death — or they like to watch “real people” do just about anything.
  5. The life expectancy was about 70 years. I hope to exceed that.
  6. A new car cost $2,000. A new house, $12,000. The average income was under $5,000 per year. It cost $1.00 to see a movie. Fresh baked bread was 19 cents a loaf. A postage stamp cost 4 cents. And (you knew this was coming), gas cost 24 cents a gallon.

Of course, we expect prices to go up as the years go by. Just as we expect to get wrinkles and gray hairs. What we also get (if we’re lucky) which perhaps we didn’t expect, is an increased sense of gratitude, an increased respect for moderation, and an increased desire to learn about the world and our place within it.


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