These are the ‘good ole days’ ... mostly

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

Hurry, don’t be late. “I can hardly wait,” I said to myself, “when we’re old.” We’ll go dancing in the dark, Walking through the park and reminiscing.

— Little River Band

If you’ve got grandparents or are friends with anyone past the age of 50, you’ve no doubt heard statements that begin with the phrase, “I remember back in the day ...”

(According to comedian Dane Cook, by the way, that day was Wednesday.)

Reminiscing is a part of the natural order, but there’s a funny thing about the act. Invariably when someone starts looking back on past glories or favorite stories, the facts often change. Maybe time has a way of rendering them a little fuzzy, but it’s just as likely we like being the heroes of our own stories.

And that 3-pound bass becomes only a couple of ounces less than the state record; that end-of-the-bench asthmatic kid we struck out with the bases loaded morphs into a future Major Leaguer, and the handsomest boy in school who told us he liked our tennis shoes spent most of his senior year chasing after us.

It’s the old “I had to walk three miles through the snow to school every day” syndrome.

I’ve got enough stories saved up — They’re all absolutely true, I swear! — to regale the grandkids and anyone else who’ll listen for days, and my reminiscences of coming of age in the late-1960s/mid-1970s are filled with things that allow me to bring out the back-in-the-day card on occasion.

As I’ve said any number of times, bell bottoms, platform shoes, miniskirts, Afros and fringe vests will always be the height of fashion; and hands down the best music ever was created in the years from 1964 to 1974. (Want evidence? Check out what the cool kids are listening to now: Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Motown ... heck, even Mickey & Sylvia’s “Love Is Strange” has been rejuvenated in a hip-hop song.)

Even with all the good memories of days gone by, though, I’m inclined to agree with Carly Simon, who noted, “These are the good old days.”

Even those of us who are glaringly challenged by the ever-changing new technology must admit that the computer and all its various offspring — do-everything cellphones, laptops, iPods, iPads, Facebook, YouTube, Angry Birds and the like — is one of the most incredible, life-changing inventions ever. Sure, it’s opened doors that should have remained triple-locked and the key thrown away, but the whole world is now available to us at our desks and in real time.

Our sports heroes before the days of ESPN and tell-all books (Jim Bouton’s “Ball Four” is still the best.) were almost godlike, but you have to wonder if even Cobb, Ruth, Mays, Robinson and Dimaggio could have accumulated all those records against opposing pitching staffs that throw regularly in the high-90s with 100-mph relief specialists ready to come in for their one inning of work.

Could Wilt, Havlicek, Russell and Cousy have become Hall-of-Famers playing against the likes of Jordan, Labron, Bird and Magic every day?

And how many of us would not even be alive today were it not for the miraculous advancements in medicine and treatment of once deadly diseases?

Automobiles are better now (granted, they’re nowhere near as cool, but you can’t have everything); agricultural breakthroughs have been amazing; and scientific discoveries are allowing us to reveal new secrets of our world and the universe itself on a daily basis.

Of course, manufacturers still haven’t come up with a way to make clothes smell as good as ones that have dried on a line in the South Georgia sunshine; mass production has lessened the pride workers once took in building products that were of the highest quality, and the work ethic that built and once defined our nation is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

Yes, these are the good old days ... but they sure could use a heaping helping of the character that defined our country back in the day.

Email Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com


agirl_25 3 years, 6 months ago

I have to agree with you on the music...I think there will never be anything ever written better than the music by McCartney and Lennon during the 1964+ time period. I know a lot will pooh pooh the statement and that is fine...but so many of their songs have such a sweet meaning behind them. I can still remember being a young woman of 30 or so and hearing a song and being able to sing it then and even later to my husband.............

"If I'd been out till quarter to three Would you lock the door, Will you still need me, will you still feed me, When I'm sixty-four?"

By then suddenly I was 64.......hahaha...

You brought back a lot of memories Carlton..thanks.


waltspecht 3 years, 6 months ago

I don't know if I don't appreciate not worrying about where the kids are, and who they are with more than the rest. Never even heard of a child molester when growing up. As my Mother puts it when she hears about it,"Your Father and his Brothers never would have allowed that to happen more than once!"I still think the Kingston Trio and the Brothers Four had the best music. There weren't dangerous dogs, only yard dogs you knew not to mess with unless their owner was around. You didn't curse, because about any adult would slap the heck out of you, and your Family would deal with you if they found out. Teachers were held in the highest esteam, and Lord help you if you brought a note home. Plus, you didn't hide the note nor forge the signiture. When Dad asked, you admitted what you did. Where did things go so wrong?


TrixibelleBento 3 years, 6 months ago

If I was to describe the way I feel about today, I'd use Leon Russell's Stranger in a Strange Land.


billstrickland 3 years, 6 months ago

Insightful, as usual. But Carly Simon was saying don't waste time worrying about tomorrow; she didn't have much to say about the past. Of course, that was in about 1971, so maybe THOSE were the good ol' days, after all! ("Anticipation ... is keeping me waiting.")


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