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OT: The Good Old Days


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In the "'80's vs '90's music" thread, a member called Virtual Jim went decade by decade to point out what WASN'T so great about music from each period. This caused me to think about a topic I used to chew on from time to time. It's about "The good old days"




I first heard of "The Good Old Days" when I was very young. Something on TV or the radio would be on, or someone would make a referrence about the past that would cause my Mom or Dad to look wistfully up at the ceiling and say, "Ah-h-h-h...those were the "good old days". And I thought they must have been great!


But now, I'M old enough to occaissionally glance likewise to the ceiling and wistfully say, "Ah-h-h-h...those were the good old days."


But when WERE the "good old days"? For me, like many others, they would have had to be that period of time between birth and maybe 16-17 years old. So in my case, we're talking the years 1951-'68 or so.


Certainly, life for me during that period was simple and easy, though I might not have thought so at the time. There weren't really many demands on me. All I had to worry about was keeping my room clean, put all my stuff away, clean my breakfast and dinner plates(meaning finish all the food)and come in at my curfew. What could be simpler than THAT?


I could ride my bike without a helmet, watch TV without any "viewer discretion" and my folks wouldn't bitch about "filthy" words in the lyrics of my records. And the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed to be a year long!


House payment? Dad had it covered. Car payment? What was that?

Groceries? They just "appeared" in the fridge and on the plate, didn't they? Clothes? Always in the drawers and the closet. So what was the big deal?


But I noticed as I got older, life got more complex. We were being required to take schoolwork home and do it there. Hair was growing where there wasn't any before. And by the early '60's, girls started not being "yucky" anymore. In fact, by that time, I started getting a hyper interest in girls! It would have been nice if they started getting the same hyper interest in ME, but, oh well. There were ways of dealing with it(ahem!).


My Dad started giving me a meager weekly allowance for fulfilling various chores. $3.00 a week wasn't much money...even back then. But at 13-14 years old, it kept me in coffee and cigarettes(cigarettes were 20 cents a pack, coffee 10 cents a cup. I was all set). I could still buy the occaisional 45 record(98 cents)or save up a couple of weeks and get an album($3.95), and could amplify my income by cutting other peoples lawns or shoveling their snow. In the seemingly 10 years between the age of 15 and 16, when I would get my driver's license, it was a way to fill time.


I also learned to play guitar a little. Enough anyway to be in a few basement bands with friends.(They were basement bands, NOT garage bands. Few were the people who had electical power in their garages. And you don't want to have band practice in a garage in January. In Michigan!). I DID also manage to have a few girlfriends through that period, and learned my fingers could do more than form barre chords!


But eventually, things started to change, and not for the better...


"Hey! You remember Bob ______?"

"Oh, yeah.That crazy kid. We called him 'Snaggletooth'. I ain't seen him since he dropped outa school. What about him?"

"I just heard he got killed in Viet Nam."


Bummer! That's the fourth one this year!(other classmates over the years have died either of illness or some accident. We never did get set upon by "grief counselors" and got on just fine)


So, this must have been when the "good old days" started to end.

But, was there ever a time that were truly "The Good Old Days"?


Let's work our way back to find out....starting with the '80's


In the '80's, there was the Reagan presidency, with runaway economic disarray, lay-offs, Grenada, tax confusion, the Beruit truck bomb and seemingly rampant crime. Also Desert Storm, Iran-contra and the Saving and Loan swindle.


The '70's? Watergate, presidential resignation, oil crisis, killer rabbits, the Ayatollah and embassy hostages.


The '60's? Viet Nam, Kennedy's killed, King assassinated, race riots, anti-war riots, eve of destruction, tax deduction, suicide too many bills, hippies running to the hills.


The '50's, then. Cold war, Joe McCarthy, commie scare, Kruschev saying "We will bury you", fallout PSA's, Con-L-Rad settings on the radios and the word "reccession" became part of the American vernacular.


The '40's? WWII, Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, Dacau, Gas, food and staples rationing.


The '30's? Great depression, dust bowl, Okie migrations, farms foreclosed...


OK. Enough.


I imagine "The Good Old Days" is a romantic notion that means different things to different people. A time when, as mentioned earlier, when one's life held no conflict or complexities. When the fun you had was the fun YOU made, self thought and not store bought. When the worst thing a kid could be was a lousy infielder with a weak bat. When you didn't care how your hair was cut, or if your clothes were stylish. When you tried to "one up" the other kids by lying about how mean your parents were.


Ah-h-h-h-h! Those were..."The Good Old Days"



I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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I formulated an axiom... "Nostalgia is failing to remember how bad things really were..."


I too was a child of the 50s, and living in St.Louis was mostly isolated from most of the nastiness I know now was going on.

My dad (and most everyone else in the neighborhood) worked either at the local factories or in the equally-local mom & pop stores that studded the main street.

Baker, barber, grocer, mechanic....

I was not heavily "into" music at that time; I recall enjoying novelty songs like the Purple People Eater and similar fare which we would play on the jukebox.


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But when WERE the "good old days"?


For me the good old days were the hippy days. The late 1960's the early 1970's.


However these days the the best days of my life so far. I am retired, I don't have to work. That is the good new days.

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I remember lots of bad things throughout my life... as well as some wonderful things. I think when people talk about "the good old days" it's usually in reference to something kind of specific. Like when have to be so politically correct, or wear bike helmets, or worry about DUI's, or whatever. But that ignores all the great things since those days - modern technology, opportunity, etc. I don't think reflecting on the past is a bad thing, it allows us to try to hold on the things that were best and keep them with us as we move to the future... not "throw the baby out with the bathwater" so to speak.



Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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I`m not a big nostalgia fan, although I do miss some of the `free everything` mindset that accompanied the economically relatively stable late 60s/early 70s, and I`m not crazy about the current security apparatus everywhere one goes. But I rarely sit back and listen to my old recordings, or watch videos I was in although I`m planning to make a compilation at some point.

I suppose at one time I thought there would be a point where I was, for lack of a better word, `done`-that I would break through with something or other and be able to bask in the reflected glory

(spelled r-o-y-a-l-t-i-e-s). Well clearly that hasn`t happened, and now I see it as more of a process. I`m more interested in what happens next.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-


Skipsounds on Soundclick:


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For me it was 1966, bought my 1st car at the age of 16 (a 1960 Ford Fairlane)...my buds and I would buy a case of beer (24 pack) and head for the river, stay up all night play'en guitars and war-hooping, the next morning we would line up the empty beer cans and start shooting them with our 22's...I would imagine kids trying to do this today would get arrested...my buddy and I would kick out the back seat and put our 9 foot O'neal surfboards in the back and spend the nights sing'en and play'en around the campfire on the beach and surf in the mornings...try that today and the beach cops will arrest you...this went on through high school and much as I hated History classes, this would be my good old days...



Take care, Larryz
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Skipclone said, "I'm more interested in what happens next".


That's a good idea and a better attitude. Although sometimes I have some trepidation when I think of what that might be. I also never play that mind game "If I had it all to do over, what would I do different?". For one, it'll never happen. Second, you might start dwelling on regrets, and that's never good. Third, if I changed ANYthing, I might not be where I am now. Finacially, it sucks, but it might be worse if I did change something in the past. I might not be with my second wife, who I love deeply, or in her family, which I also love dearly. I'll stick with what I have, thank you.


I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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