NOW and THEN
I think that I can speak for the “THEN” generation providing we do not want to go back too far in history - So here goes.
We are returning over 75 years but let’s be fair, not many of us remember much before our 4th or 5th birthday. I am no exception. My memory at best was never all that great. I do remember living in downtown Toronto when it was called “Toronto the good”. There was good reason for this handle as things in Canada were much different then. The 1930’s were more naïve. Life was simpler. We had a respect for the everyday pleasures that have all but faded away in our present world. More people were going to church on Sunday and for many it was an all day event. Church at 11:00 AM, back for Sunday school at 3:00 PM and for some even a 7:00 PM service. During the week we went to prayer meeting, choir practice, young peoples, woman’s club and men’s club and more. Our church kept the calendar full. Radio and books, and the occasional movie satisfied the spare time. Many more worked six days a week and Sunday was a true day of rest. Very few stores were open on Sunday where you could spend your extra cash but most of us didn’t have much of that.
In Ontario then as now, Alcohol was regulated by the government, not so much to keep the populous moral but because it was and is a great source of revenue. In Ontario, if you wanted to wet your whistle with a pint, you would head down to the local hotel and find an entrance door with the greeting “Men’s Entrance” If you were of the opposite sex you would be obliged to enter through a different door appropriately marked “Ladies Entrance”. This was supposedly to keep the fairer sex from being molested by drunken devils that could only drink out of 6 oz. glasses. However, the real reason for the separation of the sexes was to keep the prostitutes from their pray. This nonsense was carried into the 1950’s and early 60’s.
Entering into the car buying field in the 1950’s was probably the most exciting time. The 2nd World war was now a fading memory for we teenagers and the most important thing in our lives was to keep up with the newest fashion fads, and as I recall, get your driver’s license. That probably hasn’t changed over the past 60 to 70 years. Conscription in Canada was talked about for the Korean War but was never implemented.
Cars were HOT! The drabness that we had endured during the 30’s and 40’s was on its way out. Here comes colour. Now we had Pink and gray for the boys and the girls clothing fashion. But the cars were getting bigger and brighter. Two tones and every colour imaginable. Rear fins on the fenders seem to reach up forever, directional signals, alternating speed wind shield wipers, automatic drive, power this and that, who could keep up? A radio and heater was now a must on the options list. Every September was abuzz with what car company had the best new designs and accessories. And what was best as we look back was the price. In 1950, a Studebaker with the new chrome bullet grill was a Meer $2,200.00 . A similar Ford was $200.00 less. Oh for the foresight to see into the future. Certain cars that were out of the average guys price range in the 50’s and 60’s, $3,500.00 then are now going on the TV auction block for hundreds of thousands, and in some cases, millions of dollars.
Then and Now has to be addressed with respect to technology advancements over the last seven decades. As a small boy growing up in a lower middle class home, we always did have a radio. My father prided himself as a futuristic thinker and was never in the dark about new ideas and products. We were one of the first to have a TV; 16 inch was pretty big in the mid 50’s. Dad loved to have new wheels under him when he could afford it, and even when he couldn’t. He was on top of the rotary lawn mower when everybody else was still pushing a reel one. He was one of the first to incorporate Velcro into the manufacture of shoes. We were not far from the times when only 10% of the population had a telephone. He put together a crystal set in my bedroom to show just how far radio has advanced. And now we can have all these comforts and so much more.
Radio, TV, computer, entertainment centre, camera and more, smaller than half a deck of cards and soon, smaller than a credit card. 3D copy machines capable of duplicating almost anything from auto parts to human organs.
Is it any wonder that my generation is as the Brits. would say GOBSMACKED
Paul D. Scott.