Boomers Can Now Say, “When I Was Your Age…”

We’ve all heard it: Growing up, our parents and grandparents would never miss an opportunity to remind us “how good we had it” compared to when they were growing up. Now it’s our turn.

When we look back at the tremendous hardships, coupled with enormous lifestyle changes and technological advances experienced by the preceding two generations after World War II, they did indeed bear witness to amazing times. But looking at the past fifty years that chronicle the growing of the boomer generation, we can say no less about our times. The social and political upheaval of our youth was rivaled only by the technological marvels that evolved to pave the way for the next generations.

So, the next time your grandchildren — or children — ask you about what it was like when you were growing up, here are a few common things that are now taken for granted that our families just did not have when we were young children, because they either hadn’t been invented yet, or were not popularized until we were well into our teens and twenties.

Boomers did NOT have:

Cell Phones (not commercially sold until 1983)

Touch-Tone Phones (slowly replaced the rotary dial when introduced in 1963)

Anything related to Personal Computers (PC not popularized until the 1980s)

Internet (not commercially popular until the mid 1990s)

Master Card/Visa credit cards (Diners Club was the first credit card, introduced in 1950, but MC and Visa weren’t popularized until the mid 70s)

Microwave Ovens (invented in 1946 but not popular in the home until the mid 70s)

Garbage Disposal Units (on the market in 1938 but took until the 1970s to become readily accepted by municipalities and available to consumers)

Plastic Garbage Cans (steel cans ruled; we kept them until they rusted out through the bottom)

Plastic Garbage Bags (not popularized until the late 1960s)

Disposable Diapers (not commercially available until the late 1960s)

Automatic Dishwashers (not common in households until the 1970s)

Non-Dairy Creamer (first introduced in 1961)

Cuisinart Food Processor (available in 1973)

Heart Transplants (first in 1969)

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging — first in 1977)

Rollerblades (introduced in 1979)

Instant Noodles (introduced in 1971)

VCR (introduced in 1971; DVD players weren’t around until the 1990s; and forget about TiVO)

Karaoke (introduced in 1971)

Jacuzzi (whirlpool popularized in the mid 70s)

Here are some things we DID have. While some are still around, others have been relegated to the dustbin of history:

Slinky (invented in 1943)

Lincoln Logs (invented in 1916)

Erector Set (invented in 1911)

Silly Putty (invented in 1943)

Frisbee (introduced in 1948)

Portable Transistor Radio (popularized around 1954)

Etch A Sketch (introduced in 1960)

Tupperware (the famous seal was invented in 1947)

Polaroid Camera (on the market in 1948)

The ‘Pill’ (approved by the FDA in 1960 — for boomer moms, of course)

Music Cassette (first introduced 1n 1962, but popularized in the 1970s)

Roller Skates (around for hundreds of years)

How about it, boomers? What did you have as a child that your children or grandchildren didn’t?