Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Eye Opening - Or - Really? Middle Class Stagnation?

I was born in 1962. And I just learned, as you'll see in a minute, that I am older than dirt. The following was sent to me by a friend who received this from a friend, who received this from a friend, and so on. You'll agree that this is the author longing for the days of old - if not just waxing nostalgic. And I do indeed appreciate everything about the message.

But I'm going to use this little romantic essay to make an entirely different point. It has become politically in vogue of late to paint the middle-class the victim of an American system gone awry. A system that has, some would allege, offered the middle-class virtually nothing but stagnation. Apparently, the average American's wage, adjusted for inflation, hasn't budged over the past 40 years. The problem being; the politician would have us associate wage, by itself, with lifestyle. With no concessions for productivity gains across all sectors—consumer technology, employer-sponsored benefits, etc.

Read the following and perhaps, like me, you'll understand how pragmatically inaccurate, and of course manipulative, the politicians' claims might be. And, in reality, just how far the middle-class has come over the past few decades. In fact, compare the following to the lifestyle of today's American receiving government aid. Hmm...


'Someone asked the other day, 'What was your favorite fast food when you were growing up?'

'We didn't have fast food when I was growing up,'

I informed him.

'All the food was slow.'

'C'mon, seriously. Where did you eat?'

'It was a place called 'at home,'' I explained. !

'Mom cooked every day and when Dad got home from work, we sat down together at the dining room table, and if I didn't like what she put on my plate I was allowed to sit there until I did like it.'

By this time, the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer serious internal damage, so I didn't tell him the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table.

But here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood if I figured his system could have handled it :

Some parents NEVER owned their own house, never wore Levis, never set foot on a golf course, never traveled out of the country or had a credit card.

In their later years they had something called a revolving charge card. The card was good only at Sears Roebuck. Or maybe it was Sears &Roebuck.

Either way, there is no Roebuck anymore. Maybe he died.

My parents never drove me to soccer practice. This was mostly because we never had heard of soccer.

I had a bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds, and only had one speed, (slow)

We didn't have a television in our house until I was 19.

It was, of course, black and white, and the station went off the air at midnight, after playing the national anthem and a poem about God; it came back on the air at about 6 a..m. and there was usually a locally produced news and farm show on, featuring local people.

I was 21 before I tasted my first pizza, it was called 'pizza pie.' When I bit into it, I burned the roof of my mouth and the cheese slid off, swung down, plastered itself against my chin and burned that, too. It's still the best pizza I ever had.

I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone in the house was in the living room and it was on a party line. Before you could dial, you had to listen and make sure some people you didn't know weren't already using the line.

Pizzas were not delivered to our home But milk was.

All newspapers were delivered by boys and all boys delivered newspapers --my brother delivered a newspaper, six days a week.. It cost 7 cents a paper, of which he got to keep 2 cents. He had to get up at6AM every morning. On Saturday , he had to collect the 42 cents from his customers. His favorite customers were the ones who gave him 50 cents and told him to keep the change. His least favorite customers were the ones who seemed to never behome on collection day.

Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut. At least, they did in the movies. There were no movie ratings because all movies were responsibly produced for everyone to enjoy viewing, without profanity or violence or most anything offensive.

If you grew up in a generation before there was fast food, you may want to share some of these memories with your children or grandchildren Just don't blame me if they bust a gut laughing.

Growing up isn't what it used to be, is it?

MEMORIES from a friend :

My Dad is cleaning out my grandmother's house (she died in December) and he brought me an old Royal Crown Cola bottle. In the bottle top was a stopper with a bunch of holes in it.. I knew immediately what it was, but my daughter had no idea. She thought they had tried to make it a salt shaker or something. I knew it as the bottle that sat on the end of the ironing board to 'sprinkle' clothes with because we didn't have steam irons. Man, I am old.

How many do you remember?

Head lights dimmer switches on the floor.

Ignition switches on the dashboard.

Heaters mounted on the inside of the fire wall.

Real ice boxes.

Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain guards.

Soldering irons you heat on a gas burner.

Using hand signals for cars without turn signals.

Older Than Dirt Quiz :

Count all the ones that you remember not the ones you were told about. Ratings at the bottom.

1. Blackjack chewing gum
2.Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water
3. Candy cigarettes
4. Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles
5. Coffee shops or diners with tableside juke boxes
6. Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers
7. Party lines on the telephone
8 Newsreels before the movie
9. P.F. Flyers
10. Butch wax
11.. TV test patterns that came on at night after the last show and were there until TV shows started again in
the morning. (there were only 3 channels...[if you were fortunate])

12. Peashooters

13. Howdy Doody
14. 45 RPM records
15. S& H greenstamps
16. Hi-fi's
17. Metal ice trays with lever
18. Mimeograph paper
19. Blue flashbulb
20. Packards
21. Roller skate keys
22. Cork popguns
23. Drive-ins
24. Studebakers
25. Wash tub wringers

If you remembered 0-5 = You're still young
If you remembered 6-10 = You are getting older
If you remembered 11-15 = Don't tell your age,
If you remembered 16-25 = You' re older than dirt!

I might be older than dirt but those memories are some of the best parts of my life.

Don't forget to pass this along!!
Especially to all your really OLD friends....


  1. I had 22(!) and I thank God for it. It's not how many years you've been alive; it's what you've done (been required to do; accomplished; learned; adapted) in those years. You know, every generation will eventually begin a conversation with someone younger by saying, "when I was your age we didn't have.....and we had to......" This is usually meant to imply things were tougher, the younger generation has it easier, and the youngsters are different and not quite up to par.
    But you know, as a member of the baby-boom generation and someone who interacts with young adults daily, I truly do see a difference today. By in large (not all mind you), this generation is not up to par and I can summarize why in one word...entitled. And you want to know why they have a sense of entitlement? Because of the baby-boom! We did it! We did it to ourselves, our kids, and our country. So next time you complain about the sorry state of our economy, our foreign policy, and our kids today, you had better be looking in a mirror. And when you go to vote, remember that all these politicians have given us everything we've asked for, and we deserve it.
    But you know what? Our kids don't deserve the mess that we've created. It's time for real hope & change that is based on the core values that our founding fathers (and mothers) possessed.

  2. [...] Here’s Marty Mazorra, from a few months ago, on the myth of middle-class stagnation. [...]

  3. [...] Here’s Marty Mazorra, from a few months ago, on the myth of middle-class stagnation. [...]

  4. I must be much older than dirt. I knew all of them. My best car was a 53 studebaker -- one of the fastest cars in LA (American Graffiti for real) -- with a highly modified engine. That was also a time when you didn't need a computer to work on a car and didn't require permission from the APCD to make any changes you wanted. The author born in 62 is just a child.