Memories are made of this

Phone booths: Not just for Superman's costume changes.
Phone booths: Not just for Superman's costume changes.
Posted: February 18, 2014

I LOVE EMAIL - fast and accurate and providing me with a copy of what I sent. (It also provides prosecutors with copies, as Gov. Chris Christie's former aides have learned.)

Cellphones can do everything from surf the net to make videos and there's an app for frying oysters.

[Editor's note: No, there isn't.]

The Internet is an amazing universe that has made many of our jobs easier. New cars are far more reliable than old cars and they practically take care of themselves - and speak to you when something is wrong. Some even park themselves.

Jets beat propellers and the array of musical choices has never been wider. There's a cable-TV channel to cater to almost every interest, from golf to gay. Smart TVs select shows for you.

For many of us, these are the Good Old Days.

But modernity is not without problems, such as cyber bullies, loss of privacy and "free time" vanishing into the maw of social media. As we have moved forward, we have left things behind, some of them valuable (like civility).

Let's open a gaily decorated box marked "memories." Inside are some from my own brain pan, some from friends and readers, plus a few that are from the Internet. Some are good memories, some not so good.

I remember when . . .

Subways and buses accepted change and it didn't have to be exact.

Smoking was allowed on trains and planes.

Movie theaters had balconies.

Cars had running boards.

Airline passengers could buy a ticket and walk right into the plane without being searched, X-rayed or have their crotch sniffed by a German shepherd.

I remember when . . .

Women wore nylons that came in two separate pieces, one for each leg, held up by garters attached to a garter belt. (Don't get me started on garter belts.) Panty hose - the dream of women, the nightmare of men - came later.

Nearly all moms were home when the kids returned from school. That was when dad's solo salary was enough to finance a middle-class life. It's fine if women want to work - they certainly pretty up the office (and win Pulitzer Prizes) - but most women need to work today. Something screwy has happened to the American economy.

I remember when . . .

People stepped into a phone booth - and closed the door - to make a phone call, instead of yakking away from the seat next to you on SEPTA.

Public phones accepted coins, not phone cards. Now it's hard to find a public phone that takes coins. Matter of fact, it's hard to find a public phone.

Telephone numbers were easier to remember because the exchange started with a word: Pennypacker 5-6920. Now phone numbers are 10 digits and defy memorization.

Pizza was not delivered.

Milk was. It came in glass bottles, with cardboard lids.

Like milk, doctors came to your home. Yes, they did.

I remember when . . .

Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family had to be something better than not having their email addresses.

Parents didn't drive kids to soccer practice because no one played soccer.

Only kids rode bicycles, before they moved from being fun to being a cause.

Laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box.

"Race issue" meant arguing about who ran the fastest.

The '57 Chevy was everyone's dream car - to cruise, peel out or watch submarine races. Girls made out, didn't put out.

Newspapers were healthy and highly regarded.

As Forrest Gump might say, that's all I want to say about that.


Email: stubyko@phillynews.com

Phone: 215-854-5977

On Twitter: @StuBykofsky

Blog: ph.ly/Byko

Columns: ph.ly/StuBykofsky

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