By FRANK DESORBO
These days we have new words, new concepts, “the new normal.” With 24-hour news and opinions, you can’t be normal if you have not overdosed on how our daily life has emerged. As a writer who likes to remember and reminisce of times gone by, I believe we all can be perked up by nostalgia.
I have a background in technology and know that is where the future lies. A young computer techie told me in the early 1990s that the computer world is driven by the 3M’s – the Medical, Military and Money industries. How true that seems to be some 30 years later. My geometry teacher in high school in the early ’60s told us that the future was in lasers and computers. A college economics teacher in the late ’60s said the day will come when you don’t need cash – everything will be on a plastic card. Now some people even buy Starbucks coffee with a credit card through their smart phone.
Thinking about the “old normal” will remind you of a simpler time and clear your head of today’s complications. Remember when we had milk delivered to our homes, not in a truck but horse-drawn carts. The same method was used for our bread and doughnuts. It was a business for some to sell vegetables, collect old rags or your junk using the same horse-drawn method. Some of our streets still had the old trolley tracks and some were made of cobblestone. Life became so much better when the Good Humor Man came around with the ice cream.
Our television stations, primarily only three, went off the air around 1 a.m. and concluded with the National Anthem. Some of the old TV sitcoms and westerns have been brought back and provide us a good diversion. Many showed a growing nation of our triumphs and others taught us lessons of our poor judgment and philosophy. The perspective we have now as adults is different from our youth. We all had our favorite shows and even remember the evening and time they were on. A household normally had only one TV, and if you were lucky, you may have had two radios. The news on TV was once a day at dinner time, then a second one came at 8 or 10 p.m. Walter Cronkite concluded his show with, “and that’s the way it is” and the date of the broadcast. Today we have a news channel that quotes “news you can trust.” Does it imply that some news you cannot trust? This reminds me of Johnny Carson’s show in the 1950s called “Who Do You Trust.”
The sports world from 1950 to 1980 loaded us up with memories and icons. Some names were made for books and movies like Mantle, Mays, Robinson, Ali, Frazier, Marciano, Native Dancer, Secretariat, Affirmed, Namath and Lombardi. Do not feel offended if I left off your favorite player or team. As New Yorkers we had many hometown idols. Didn’t we all want to be a switch hitter like Mantle or make those basket catches like Mays?
The years gone by were simple, and we knew they would change. Yet we recall that our visions were normal then and we can hope they are still today.
The author is a Capital District resident and freelance writer and guest speaker. Contact him at fomservice.com.