TWO OUT OF THE BIG THREE
Well folks, it’s that time of year again. The time that moms and dads look forward to beginning the end of June. Yes! It’s “let the teachers have to deal with the little angels for the next nine months!” time again. It’s BACK-TO-SCHOOL!
I remember when I was a kid September was a “two out of three aint bad time” of the year. You see when the last burger was downed at the annual company Labor Day picnic and the last three legged race completed, it was time for new cars, new TV episodes and Back to School. Hence, two out of three.
THE BIG THREE FROM DETROIT
It was in September that the “big three” auto makers introduced the new models to the public. That’s when cars were cars. Fins, two door hard tops, convertibles, chrome and gas guzzling V8’s were all the rage.
It was a time when new models like the Ford Falcon and the Chevy Nova and, let’s not forget the Plymouth Valiant, were introduced. And in the world of “sport utility vehicles”, Ford marketed the first dual purpose vehicle the Ranchero. Much like our crossovers of today, the Ranchero was a suburban pick-up truck. However, it was a modified two-door station wagon with automatic transmission. Heretofore, anything in the line of a pick-up truck would have had only standard transmission, or as we knew it, “stick shift.” General Motors, not to be undone, introduced the Chevy El Camino in 1959 which was basically the same type of vehicle.
One nice thing about cars back in the ’50s and 60’s was the fact that body styles changed every two or three years and you could tell just by looking at a car what year it was. The folks in Cuba still drive primarily American made vehicles from the era.
THE BIG THREE TV NETWORKS
Just like Detroit, broadcasters had their big three also. Four if you counted the fledgling PBS network. September was the time of year when the new TV season started. And none of this 13 shows and the season was over hogwash. No siree bob! Twenty-six episodes was the standard viewing fare for ABC, CBS and NBC. And it was TV the whole family could watch together. No social commentary, no racy bedroom scenes, no potty mouth cops. Just good old comedy for the sake of comedy, stirring drama and lots of variety shows. Watching these shows today on Nick at Night and TV Land I even wonder, We were entertained by this crap?
BACK TO SCHOOL
Unlike today, when time came for BTS, mom took us shopping for two pairs of new Blue Jeans, four new dress shirts and the latest themed metal lunch box complete with thermos bottle. The clothes were always two sizes too big because in mom’s words “You’ll grow into them.”
If you were lucky you got a new pencil case and a ruler. No new Jansport backpacks for us! Hey, if your old schoolbag from last year survived, it was good for another year. We were told to just get on the bus and quit your whining! Total cost for it all per kid, $13.64.
FASHIONISTAS MY BUTT
Nowadays, kids get to go to the “Mall” (in my day mall was half of a cigarette…go ask grandpa, he’ll explain it to you) and spend two days looking at the latest “designer fashions.” Fashion??? We didn’t dare use that word in BTS shopping or we would have had our mouths washed out with soap for using racy language. And, today kids have to have a small airline approved-overhead-bin-suitable-case on rollers…every year! Total cost per kid today is equivalent to the cost of a new 1959 Ford Ranchero!
TEXTING WHILE WAITING FOR HER BOYFRIEND
WHAT DO YOU HAVE IN YOUR WALLET?
Never once did mom ever ask me if “I had my debit card?” before I left the house. Debit card? What the heck was that? We weren’t allowed to have playing cards in school. If I needed money to pay off Scut Farkas’ extortionist offspring, I used real cash! That’s because every day I had $0.27 to pay for: 1.) A Nehi [.05cents], 2.) a bag of popcorn [.05 cents] and 3.) bus fare [.17 cents]. Debit cards didn’t come out until years later when the Wells Bank of America figured out a way to get rich off of checking account overdrafts.
SMILE FOR THE CAMERA
First day pictures of us all dressed up to meet our new teacher Miss Selle Blockwarden? Ha! We were lucky we got a full breakfast. Only the rich kids parents had a Polaroid Land camera and they were very seldom used for first day pictures. Besides, dad used up all the film at the Labor Day picnic taking pictures around the pool or the beach… if… you catch my drift.
Today the new cars still start coming out about the end of August or beginning of September. TV shows are 10 -13 episodes long and school starts in mid August. Two weeks later, you get a three day holiday for Labor Day. Doesn’t make much sense to me, but then we never had a week long Spring Break either. We had Easter Monday to get over too much candy from the day before.
Well there you have it boys and girls. A Mini Cooper look at life in the Good Ol’ U.S. of A at a time before the interweb, microwave ovens, cell phones and Hotpockets.
I guess I shouldn’t speak in such a cavalier manner about the interweb. After all, if it wasn’t for Al Gore and his genius, we wouldn’t have blogs would we?
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