By Craig Funston
Sixty years ago last Sunday, someone very important was born. Actually a number of important people were born in 1954 (but only one of them on July 27): Jackie Chan, John Travolta, Ron Howard, Denzel Washington, Dennis Quaid, and Craig Funston.
Oh well, five out of six isn’t bad.
Other events that are now sixty years old include the following: Sports Illustrated, the Unification Church (aka the Moonies), Burger King, Play Doh, and the BC Lions.
Many other people, books, movies, and events are also celebrating their sixtieth anniversary this year, but I trust you’re impressed enough with my collection of random facts. Truth be told, I have Google to thank here: One click and I am a factual phenom.
Let’s take a short stroll down memory lane to see what sort of world I was raised in. I have no intention of trashing (or whitewashing) my parents’ generation with this article. Just a few thoughts on what I think were the good old days.
Not sure how good they were then, but they sure look good now. A fifty-to-sixty-year reflection will do that every time. Maybe my rear-view vision is a little skewed, I don’t know.
In the world I was raised in, marriage was still between a man and a woman. And it had a certain permanency to it. The only d-word we knew stood for divorce. We ate our meals together as a family, and rarely went out to eat—but when we did, it was a real treat. We came home to mom every day after school; she was a full-time homemaker, as raising four sons was a full-time vocation.
We never had a television, never went to movies, and never had a computer. Speaking of computers, they were as large as a normal bedroom and were totally unaffordable and unnecessary to the common man.
When I wanted to phone anyone, I just dialed seven numbers. We did have area codes, but they were never part of the regular phone number. We also had one (read: one) phone in the house; it hung on the wall, not on our belts.
And speaking of phones, we did not take pictures with them, text with them or use them to search for mail. We simply talked to people with it. Kind of a novel idea, isn’t it?
For play, we would go outside many nights and play Kick the Can, or street hockey with the neighbourhood kids. Families were larger back then, so neighourhoods teemed with children.
I don’t know if being raised in the ’50s and ’60s was better than today. I think it was, and I speak using only broad strokes. Feel free to disagree—I won’t be offended.
In some ways, we have come a long way in parts of the medical and technical professions, for starters. In the main, though, I believe the streets were safer, the future was brighter, the food was healthier, and the morals were clearer. And I could understand the lyrics of most songs.
Let’s not be naive: Things were bad back then, just not as bad as they are now. There were the usual wars, genocides, and murders. There was nonsense when it came to sexual abuse, but it wasn’t as prevalent. Skin and sex were private affairs, no pun intended.
I’ll just stick to the generalization that the world made more sense back then.
Was Blundell Elementary School on Lulu Island (seriously: that was its name) a great experience back in 1966? It was a safe place to learn, I suppose. I was an ordinary student, with average intelligence, height, and looks. I wasn’t good at either academics or athletics. I was the class clown, that witty voice at the back of the room that drove some of my teachers crazy.
Today, I wish I could sit down over coffee and tell them how much I appreciate their input into my life, and apologize for disrupting their class. I wouldn’t mind even seeing some of my old classmates, but they probably have lost ageing battle, as I have. Maybe I should just keep those days as a distant memory for now.
In the meantime, I just plan to hang out with overweight eighty-year-old midgets: Makes me look skinnier, younger, and taller.