If I have one fault, well I have a bunch of them, but the one that drives my family crazier than anything is, I’m a trivia nut. We will be watching something, and then if I see something that’s not right, I can’t help my self, I’ve got to tell them. Not only is it not right, but why it’s not right. They will be watching Jeopardy, and I will be reading, and as they are playing along, when they are all three yelling out answers, just before the host gives out the correct answer, I’ll beat him to it. “You’re not even paying any attention, and you still guessed it!” Around the family I’m known as the Fountain of Useless Information, but I’ve got a buddy of mine who is even worse. He just finished reading Churchill’s Commentaries on the British Isles, so it’s best I keep his name a secret for now. It might ruin his business.
Last weekend the family was invited to a fancy get-together for some friends of ours, we’re talking goblets and glass plates, instead of red Solo cups and paper plates, and that’s fancy for my bunch. And right beside the two forks on the table, I guess the extra one was for in case you dropped one, there was a little booklet, and for a trivia nut, it was filled with gold.
It was dated 1962, four short pages, pages filled with memories of the good old days as they say. One of the first things on it was the median family income back then was $6,000 dollars a year. Most folks, nowadays can’t live off that for three months, but back then, that was the middle class. But seeing how most houses cost $15,000 dollars, and gas was a quarter a gallon, $6,000 bucks a year wasn’t too bad.
Besides you could ride back and forth to work in a car you only paid $2,500 dollars for, a new one at that. If you wanted to stop for a hamburger, it was only 20 cents. Or if you wanted to be a big spender and take the family to the movies, this was back when we didn’t sit around and wait for it to come out on DVD, a ticket was only 50 cents. Besides you could get a box of pop corn for 20 cents and a Coke for a dime. If you had two bucks for a date, you were a big spender back then. Even back when I was dating, if all I had was a couple bucks, I just stayed home.
Remembering reading a couple weeks ago how they were retiring the Space Shuttle, well in 1962 John Glenn circled the Earth three times in Friendship 7. It wasn’t even as big as a VW Bug, they had one on the Yorktown down in Charleston. I wouldn’t want to ride in it period, much less on the top of an over grown Roman candle. I wonder what Glenn would have thought back then if he knew all these years later, how it looks like his brave endeavor, how our race to space, has ground to a halt.
According to the list, 90% of Americans owned a TV by then, and ABC had just started using color. It didn’t seem to matter though, most of us still had black and whites back then, and I think it was the middle seventies when we finally got a color TV. The other day I was watching one of the old shows and one of my kids asked if something was wrong with the set, when I replied no that was just the way the show looked, “Well how can you stand to watch something like that?” I didn’t know how to answer that.
Two other things happened that year that still affects us to this day. One, school prayer was outlawed by the Supreme Court, and two: Sam Walton opened his first store. I’ve often wondered if those Justices had known the can of worms they had opened, would they have still voted the way they did. It’s just my opinion, but to me, things have never been the same since. As for Walton, I sure wish I had bought some stock back then, but then again, I wasn’t old enough to know what stock was!
But this little booklet I got this trivia out of had another purpose also; it was to tell us what a young married couple was up against as they started down the road of life together. All those prices I mentioned earlier, I almost forgot to mention that the minimum wage was only $1.25. So like the rest of us, being a new married couple in 1962, I guess things could be a little tough too. But they could teach us all something, if you love each other, anything’s possible. And here you are two kids and Fifty Years later, and from what I’ve seen, still deeply in love with each other.
Happy Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary, Alice and John Weyman Tanner, may you have fifty more!
You can reach Robbin Bruce by e-mail at email@example.com.
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