I’m Old and I’m Glad, Kind of.

Old Chrysler

I was born in 1941 just less than eight months before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The first four years of my life was the total duration of World War Two. I can tell you with absolute certainty that it had a profound influence on the way I view the world. I am 100% with President Trump when he talks about America First. As a child I was saturated in patriotism. Red, White and Blue will flow through my veins until I die. My parents were shopping at the local Safeway store the day the war ended. I was sitting outside in the car. I remember a man running down the street shouting that the war was over. People were shouting and celebrating.

We were victorious. The atmosphere was magical. Life was returning to normal and I could feel the excitement even as a child. The dark days of war were over and it felt magnificent. Almost overnight, people started seeing the war born technology being put to use in everyday life. There were huge advances in aircraft and electronics. The mechanical engineers that created deadly war machines were now concentrating on everyday items such as automobiles and household appliances. The auto industry had been put on hold for five years during the war, new cars were starting to be sold again. My Dad took me to a car show in 1947 at the local coliseum, I remember it like it was yesterday, looking at a brand new Tucker and being awestruck. It was like no other car I had ever seen.

The fifties were absolutely incredible. Everything was moving at breakneck speed. The first indication that things were going to be a lot different was the movie “Blackboard Jungle ” and the iconic song ” Rock around the clock “. Rock and roll was born and things were going to get really crazy. Then came Elvis, Jerry Lee, Carl Perkins, Little Richard, James Brown, Fats Domino, Roy Orbison. Wow, what a ride. Being a teen in the fifties was beyond description. The styles were ours, the music was ours, the cars were ours. Hanging out in hot rods in drive in restaurants and drive in movies. It was ten years of non stop “American Graffiti” and I was there, up to my neck in it. I looked like a character out of the movie “Grease”, ducktails and all.

Then the sixties happened. Everything was changing again. The old rock and roll icons were being replaced with more great artists. Styles were changing. Muscle cars were born. We were in the middle of another war, the horsepower war. But this one was fun. Pontiac GTO’s, Plymouth Roadrunners, Chevy 409’s, Ford 426’s, and the list went on. Thank God gas was cheap, these things sucked up fuel like there was no tomorrow. Then things got even better, the mid sixties saw the birth of the “pony cars”. Mustang’s, Barracuda’s, Camaro’s, AMC Javelin’s. The sixties was the car lovers dream decade. Oh yeah, and the music just kept getting better plus we put a man on the moon. Actually several men. Another phenomena happened in the sixties….Hippies. Being a resident of southern California I had a front row seat for this show. It seems the hippie Mecca was San Francisco. Why wouldn’t it be. It’s the capitol of weirdness, always has been. So, I had to see this event first hand. I packed my wife and two little girls in our new Barracuda and drove to “Frisco”.  We drove through Golden Gate Park on up to the Haight Ashbury district. It was one hell of a show. Wall to wall craziness.

Ahh, the seventies!! Rock and roll hit it’s pinnacle. It was the best rock, period!! I loved the fashions too. I got myself some big tall shoes, bell bottom pants, some really cool shirts, love beads, let my hair grow real long, and topped it all off with a Fu Manchu mustache. Make no mistake, I was “stylin”. Had myself a real fast Plymouth Fury with a 440 Magnum, and a nice house with a built in pool. life was good. But things started to take a turn for the worse. The government started messing with Detroit and the cars started to be detuned and the horsepower race came to an end. We started seeing a push for cars that were more economical and safer. Then to make it worse Disco happened. Things literally went to hell overnight.

The eighties were sort of non descript. The music wasn’t that great. There were still a few artists I liked but I was stuck in the seventies. I’ll take Credence over the Bee Gees any day. The cars were totally lousy. The nineties weren’t that much better. The cars were slowly getting better, but nothing earth shattering. The major deal in the nineties was the birth of the PC and the internet, and Microsoft Windows. This turned out to be the most significant event I witnessed in my lifetime. It literally changed the world overnight. It was an explosion of technology that has not stopped for 20 years. Computers have found their way into every corner of our lives. Sometimes I think about that little 12″ screen TV that we had when I was a kid, while watching my 55″ Vizio flat screen with a Vizio sound bar. We had three channels that signed off at 10:00 ‘o’ clock at night.

This brings us to the 21st Century. The technological advances just keep on coming stronger and faster. Robots are now commonplace. When I was a kid robots were science fiction. Sadly though, human beings are not much different. They are still waging war against one another, still murdering each other, still stealing from each other. It’s perplexing to me how as humans we can achieve such incredible things in technology, but we can’t seem to improve ourselves in a like manner. I personally think the social structure in America has gotten worse over the past twenty years. I’m not sure how to cure that. I think the push by liberals for diversity, has caused a regression to a tribal culture, which is just the opposite of what this country was founded on. We are the United States, not the Divided States. Has our selfishness turned us into the proverbial Humpty Dumpty of nations? Can anyone put us together again?






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