Glenwood Springs, CO, Colorado
“Do you remember John F. Kennedy’s funeral and how sad it was?” I asked Husband-Head the other evening.
Husband-Head gave me a puzzled look.
“Ummm, I would, except that I wasn’t born yet,” he pointed out. “Although, I did hear about it later on in school.”
I remembered it. I was only 2 years old at the time of Kennedy’s funeral on Nov. 25, 1963, but it stuck in my mind because it was the first time I had any concept of death.
“You were beside yourself,” my mother told me later. “It was early in the morning, and I wasn’t up yet, and you sat in front of the TV and somehow figured out that he wasn’t coming out of that box. I couldn’t get you to stop crying.”
Or maybe I was crying because the TV was simply a little black-and-white box and there was no high definition.
My friend – and Rifle mayor – Keith Lambert recently called and somehow we got on the topic of things that used to be. Granted, Keith has about 12 years on me, but we both recollected a lot of the same memories.
“Remember rotary phones?” I asked with a laugh. “Remember when the cord from the head piece was actually connected to the phone?”
Of course he did.
“Heck, I remember party lines,” he added. “I remember when phone numbers started out with letters.”
“Remember when TVs were only black and white with a little manual dial and all the static?” I recalled.
“Yeah, and there were only three channels,” Keith chimed in.
But there were some good shows back then. Shows such as “I Love Lucy,” “Father Knows Best,” “Leave It to Beaver,” “The Honeymooners” and the “Andy Griffith Show.”
“And don’t forget TV dinners,” I reminded Keith. “Those were a special treat.”
Who could forget the original Swanson’s TV dinners with little compartments of Salisbury steak, peas and carrots, and apple cobbler?
Unless, of course, you weren’t born yet.
And if you’re going to reminisce about food, you can’t leave out things like Mother’s Cookies – the pink and white animal-shaped guys.
The funny part about all of this is that the ’70s have now come back into style with kids today. They are listening to our music and wearing the trends of yesteryear.
“Do you still have vinyl records?” I asked Keith. “Because if you do, hang onto them. I think they’re going to be worth something.”
Keith, as a former concert promoter, assured me he did.
We both remembered bands such as Chicago, Elton John, the Who, the Doors, The Beatles, the Monkees, the Mamas and the Papas, Janis Joplin, Cream, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Lovin’ Spoonful, the Moody Blues and more.
“Wow … we could go on and on,” I speculated. “What freaks me out now is that ’70s music is now considered ‘retro.’ Since when did we get to be that old?”
Keith was silent for a second.
“My grandmother was born in the 1880s,” he said.
“You mean your great-grandmother,” I corrected him.
“No, my grandmother,” he confirmed.
We’re talking, like, no electricity, no running water, no cars and definitely no cell phones or Facebook.
Whoa, dude. Exactly how old are you?
Then again, Kodachrome film was still around when I was a kid.
“You know, I still write checks,” I confessed to Keith. “I do a couple of bills online, but I’m used to it and I like keeping track of stuff.”
“Oh my God, you’re a dinosaur!” Keith laughed. “No, I’m kidding. I actually still write checks myself.”
But I am proud to say that I have since learned to operate a computer, although I remember learning to type on an electric typewriter.
In fact, I remember in the early 1980s when I worked at the San Francisco Chronicle and the infamous columnist Herb Caen used to lock himself in his office for three hours to write his column. We were all working on computers at that time, but not Herb – nosiree. Herb emerged from his office having typed his column with its famous three ellipses backed with carbon paper on his manual typewriter.
Nobody ever said a word.
“It’s all just going to keep getting different as we go on, isn’t it?” I mused out loud to Husband-Head.
“Yup,” he agreed. “And now we need a Kindle, a notebook, an iPad, a Blackberry and …”
“A homemade ice cream machine?” I interrupted.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
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Former Rifle Bears standout turned starting running back for Western Colorado University Ty Leyba remembers it like it was yesterday.