WHO is a senior citizen? WHAT is one? A senior citizen is one who was here before the Pill and the population explosion. We were here before TV, penicillin, polio shots, open-heart surgery and hair transplants. Before frozen food, nylon, Dacron, Xerox, radar, fluorescent lights, credit cards, ball-point pens and Frisbees.
For us, time-sharing meant togetherness, not computers or condos. Co-eds never wore slacks. We were before panty hose and drip-dry clothes, before ice makers and dishwashers, clothes dryers, freezers and electric blankets. Before Hawaii and Alaska became states. Before men wore long hair and earrings and women wore tuxedos.
We were before Leonard Bernstein and Ann Landers, plastic, the 40-hour week and minimum wages. We got married first and then lived together. How quaint! Closets were for clothes, not for coming out of. Girls wore Peter Pan collars and thought cleavage was what butchers did.
We were before vitamins, disposable diapers, Jeeps, pizza, face lifts, Cheerios, instant coffee, decaffeinated anything and McDonald's. We thought fast food was what you ate during Lent. We were before Boy George and Chiquita Banana. Before FM radios, tape recorders, electric typewriters, boom boxes, word processors, electronic music and disco dancing.
In our day, cigarette smoking was fashionable; grass was for mowing. Coke was a refreshing drink, and pot was something you cooked in. If we had been asked to explain CIA, NATO, UFO, VCR, GNP, MBA, BMW, HMO, SDI, NFL, JFK and MS; we'd have said 'alphabet soup.'
We are today's senior citizens, a hardy bunch when you think of how our world has changed and the adjustments we have had to make. I'm pretty proud of us.
AARP Chapter 2889, Elmhurst (Queens), NY
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