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Not So Long Ago, by The Old Geezer
In place of a Graduation Speech....
Graduating, as you will be doing from college this year, and knowing that an Old Geezer like me might not be there by then, I thought I might tell you a little about life when I was much younger than you are...sort of keep things straight you might say.
Being born in 1990, as you were, you are still too young to remember:
...the greatest stock and real estate losses ever.... in Japan;
...Clinton's defeat of the first George Bush;
...Chrysler being bailed out by the taxpayers, only to become the world's most profitable auto-maker, when you were five years old;
...IBM, AT&T, and GE laying off the first 100,000 loyal employees they had ever "let go" in one year;
...an interest rate of 15% for mortgages;
...a Dow Jones Industrial average below 1,000.
But try this on for size, from an Old Geezer: your great, great grandfather was the first American to export apples to Scotland; your great grandfather and my godfather were a team trying to sell people on the "modern" idea of having a telephone; and, Americans thought "social security" was having a large family and working hard, preferably on a farm large enough to raise your own vegetables, milk, meat, eggs, and something you could sell or trade to neighbors.
Add to those mind bogglers: Americans in those days thought other countries could fight all they wanted and do whatever they wanted, as long as they "stayed over there" and left us alone.
Milk was five cents a quart delivered to your doorstep and had cream floating on the top which you could pour off into your less-than-five-cents cups of coffee; the major league baseball teams were few enough in number that kids memorized the starting lineups of each team, and the socks the players wore were called "stockings." As for boys' fashions, I went to school proudly in a pair of corduroy knickers.
Ah well, back then rape was considered such a serious crime that those who were caught and convicted were executed, and America's biggest group of cocaine "addicts" were those who drank Coca Cola(R) made in part from crushed leaves of the coca plant.
Yes, life was simpler back in this Old Geezer's youthful days. Probably it was because there was still a Debtor's Prison, and folks just didn't make enough money to get into that much trouble; and, if you did, everyone in town knew it, and talked about it while putting on their bonnets and hats to go to church every Sunday.
Oh, and one more thing, we often actually walked to church, and snack foods meant apples, carrots, celery, and raisins (if we were lucky) or a slice of Grandmother's own, fresh from the wood stove's oven, bread with butter and a glass of that five cents quart of milk.
I will be wishing you well, wherever I am, but wanted to tell you we survived, and you probably will, too.
With deep love, Your Old Geezer
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