Stuff Older People Remember

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. You might have heard something about that in the news recently. And over the weekend, former CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite died at the age of 92. Cronkite was one of the newsmen who covered that Apollo 11 mission, one of many historic events over his long career, which ended when he retired in 1981.

There is front page coverage of the Apollo anniversary in today's paper, along with an AP article titled "Most Weren't Born Yet," which notes that in 2008, the median age of Americans was 36.8, meaning that most Americans alive today weren't born when Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon. If you can remember the moon landing, or watching Walter Cronkite on the evening news, you are officially in the older half of the population.

So what else do older people remember that the young whippersnappers don't, besides the moon landing and Walter Cronkite? Black-and-white television. Eight-track tapes. Pong. Tang. Leisure suits. AMC Pacers and Gremlins. Hippies. Computer punch cards. Johnny Carson. Disco. Vietnam. Watergate. Chappaquiddick. Cars where seatbelts were optional equipment and airbags did not exist.

If you were there back in the 1960s and 1970s, you can probably add at least twenty more things. If you weren't, you're probably just thinking, "WTF?" Don't worry, though. Forty years down the road, you'll be nostalgic about your iPhone and your netbook computer, while the kids will be looking at them and thinking, "Man, how did they get by with those slow, clumsy devices?" Progress moves on.