Schroeder's View

Monday, February 19, 2007

Better then, or better now?

With this year marking my 30th High School Class Reunion, I took a look back...WAY back... at a few interesting facts.

In 1977 the U.S. population was 220,239,425 as compared to 298,444,215 in July of 2006, a mere 78,204,790 rise is all. The life expectancy has grown from 73.3 years old in my teenage days is '77 to 77.8 in 2006.

Federal spending has declined since 1977, something to cheer about? $409.22 billion way back when as compared to $406 billion in 2006. Federal debt on the other hand has increased from $706.4 billion to $8.5 trillion. Surely a concern there.

Cost of a new home was approximately $54,200, with the median household income averaging $13,572. Today, that is considered poverty level.

You would pay $.13 to mail a letter, pay $.82 for a dozen eggs and $1.68 for a gallon of milk.

When in high school I remember being able to put a dollar in the gas tank at a time and it would get us quite a few rounds on the old loop, because gas ranged from $.50 a gallon to a high of $.62 cents - we must have thought that was terribly high.

The majority of girls wore long straight hair, no bangs of course, the guys went with the "afro" look. Interestingly I've noticed those trends are back.

We wore what we called elephant legged pants. Those jeans "wisped" as you walked and if you were going too fast down the stairs you were apt to get tangled in those flapping wings of denim and take a tumble.

Shirts were peasant tops or shirts that clung so tight that it was tough to breath... I see that those are back. Short shorts, short skirts, cool cars and plenty of attitude. Oh do I miss those days.

Not that I had my own car, when I did drive it was a red station wagon. Oh yeah; I was cool scooping the loop in the "Red Bomb". You see back then not many kids had their own cars to get them from point A to B. Nowadays there aren't many teens that know what it's like to have to walk to their destinations let alone suffer the misfortune of using Dad's car...because often Mom didn't drive.

Times have changed. It's fun reflecting on much simpler times...so we think. Would I go back to the days when I had nearly no responsibilities, needed little money to have a good time with, had my parents to watch over me and correct my wrongs? No... I am liking things just as they are.

* Reach the columnist at tschroeder @stormlakepilottribune.com