Born Before 1945? You Are A Survivor
By W. P. Sissell
As former teachers, Nannette and I seldom miss an opportunity to attend class reunions. We have access to materials, such as the material I will quote from today. The article is labeled “Author Unknown” at the close. I served on one local school board and later on the Northwest Mississippi Community College board. In my tenure I served under three principals. I think all three were unique, in that their greatest love was the children of their schools. I tried to get one of these to apply for the superintendent position. His firm answer to me was, “That would take me away from the children.” Later, I would learn about the truth of his statement.
In these few lines I will answer questions set forth in the article from which I quote.
For All Those Born Before 1945
We are survivors!!! Consider the changes we have witnessed.
We were born before television, before penicillin, before polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, contact lens, Frisbees, and the pill.
(Before 1945, I left our beloved Mud Line farm and was in Europe – Germany, to be more exact. I, along with my buddy, Armand St. Jean, had contact lens made in Stuttgart, Germany. You can see one of these in Dr. Mayo’s cabinet in his waiting room. They were about the size of a nickel. I can remember the coming of all the other things mentioned so lets try some more.)
We were before radar, credit cards, split atoms, laser beams and ball point pens. (I carried a graduation gift Eversharp ink fillable pen to and through Europe and also took all my notes for three years while in Mississippi State with it.)
We got married first and then lived together. How quaint can you be?
In our times, closets were for clothes, not for “coming out of.” Bunnies were small rabbits—and rabbits were not Volkswagens. Designer jeans were scheming girls named Jean or Jeannie and having a meaningful relationship meant getting along well with our cousins.
We never heard of FM radio, tape decks, artificial hearts, word processors, yogurt and the guys wearing earrings, (an old friend asked me if the guy speaking, the one wearing earrings, was my kin. I had to tell him he was my cousin.)
In 1940, “Made in Japan” meant junk and the term “making out” referred to how you did on an exam. Pizzas, McDonalds, and instant coffee were unheard of.
We hit the scene when there were 5 and 10 stores where you bought things for five and ten cents. The corner drug store sold ice cream cones for a nickel (one dip) or two dips for a dime. For one nickel you could ride a street car and/or make a phone call. You could buy a new Chevy coupe for $600, but who could afford one; a pity, too, because gas was only 11 cents a gallon!
In our day cigarette smoking was fashionable, grass was mowed, Coke was a cold drink, and pot was something you cooked in. Rock music was a grandma’s lullaby and aids were helpers in the principal’s office (or my Chemistry labs).
Now, I know that you know, why we were/are such a confused generation, understand the generation gap and why the author of all these truths doesn’t know who he/she is.
I came along at the beginning, or maybe the middle, of the great depression. Most of the things the above author doesn’t remember, I do remember. I am nearing the close now and have seen, and been, a part of many of the great new events. As a former teacher I have been a part of many. My one time close friend and neighbor helped get that first man to orbit the earth, and back to earth.
If I go back the other way my father was born in a “sod house” in western Kansas. One of his aunts was the first white child born in the Republic County Kansas—all previous had been Indian.
Hopefully, I have mastered e-mailing with this new computer. I’ll know shortly. Do look forward to a great and happy new year. You can reach me most of the time at 662-563-9879 or 23541 Highway 6, Batesville, MS 38606.