Long ago I tried to stop beginning a sentence with, "I remember when ... " because my smart-aleck son began finishing it for me by saying:
"Yeah, you remember when you had to walk five miles in the snow to school, right?"
"No," I would reply, "but I do remember walking two miles just to get to a bus stop in order to go to summer school."
Actually the walk was more like a mile, but it seemed like two while trekking in 100-degree weather.
With this week's release of Beloit College's annual "Mindset List," some of those childhood remembrances came back to me. As Beloit's survey suggests, today's youngsters have no or few references to what many of us older folks may have experienced.
Originally intended to remind college professors that their students are from a different generation than they, this year's "Mindset List" is based on entering college freshmen, the class of 2015, who mostly were born in 1993.
Among many other things, for these students: a river in South America is not the first thing they think of when hearing the word Amazon; there always has been an Internet ramp onto the information highway; "PC" doesn't stand for "political correctness"; at least two women have always been on the Supreme Court; they've never touched a "dial" on a TV; LBJ stands for LeBron James and music has always been available via free downloads.
When I think back on my youth, especially in economic terms, I know today's youngsters could never imagine -- and probably don't believe -- there was 27-cent-a-gallon gasoline, or that smokers probably could buy two cartons of cigarettes for the price of one pack these days.
I remember when potato chips were a nickel a bag and contained about as much product as a 99-cent bag today.
And there was a time at Leonard Brothers Department Store in Fort Worth when you could get six hamburgers (not "sliders") for a dollar. My parents certainly never would have considered paying $8.50 for single burger.
One of the most exciting parts of a summer day was racing to the corner store with five cents to buy a bottle of Coke and then holding the bottle up high to read the embossed name of the city where it originally had come from. A person whose bottle came from the farthest place was declared "the winner," although there was no prize.
That's when you could take a date to a movie with $5, buy popcorn and drinks, and still go home with change in your pocket.
Of course, those were the days when a new full-size car cost around $3,000 and very few people we knew had a household income of more than $10,000.
It was a time when there were three network affiliated TV stations, until an independent (then Channel 11) was started, and later some fuzzy-UHF channels came on line.
I'm aware that to even talk about these "good old days" sends a signal to young people that I've grown into an "old fogey" who still wears a watch to tell time, keeps reference books on my desk next to a computer and still writes checks to the chagrin of impatient teenage clerks.
Until a couple of years ago, I had a huge collection of vinyl 331/3 rpm albums of artists like Sly and the Family Stone, the Beatles, Billie Holiday, and a host of old-time gospel and blues singers. I still have the old stereo set with a turntable, although it's boxed up in the garage.
As one who occasionally teaches college students, I know they speak a different language and they have greater and faster resources at their fingertips than I could have ever dreamed up just a few years ago. The "library" reading assignments I make don't necessitate them having to make a trip to "the stacks." They simply "log on" to their laptops.
I remember when ... Oh, I'm sorry, I won't go there.
I would like to know some of your memories about those bygone days.