Getting old is NOT for sissies…

You can tell when the weather is going to change, you’re expected to be grumpy (I LIKE that) and you’re not embarrassed to take an old gun to the range…

Sitting here thinking last night I remembered back-

I remember Sputnik- My mother told me years later I begged Daddy to take me outside so I could see it go over… (Not) Β Today you can watch the ISS every night, and most people don’t even think about it.

I remember my first gun at age 8- A Savage Sure Shot single shot .22 (still go it)

My first knife- It was a Case Peanut, when I went out to my uncle’s place, he gave me a Sowbelly, said I’d need all the blades on it. And carrying those knives through high school. (Now days that would be expulsion at best)

My first rifle- A model 94 in 30-30 (still got that one too)

Pistols- Colt revolvers and Colt 1911s (being in the South, most officers and veterans had Colts)

B&W TV with 3 channels, and it was only on 12 hours a day

Veterans- WWI, WWII and Korea. Just everyday people, the mailman, the grocer, the little league coach, the deputy sheriff and many others. They all got dressed up and marched in the Veteran’s Day parade, even in a small town, but they never considered themselves special.

My grandfathers- What they taught me, by word and deed. Honesty, responsibility and integrity

President Kennedy being shot.

My first car- $300 for a Corvair Spyder, from mowing yards. (I was 14). Learning how to maintain and work on cars (actually started that at age 10 with Grandpa)

Cars you could actually recognize by sight AND sound (Ford V-8 vs. Chevy V-8 vs. Dodge V-8)

My first ‘paid’ job, shovelling crap for a veterinarian for $1/hr… Made the point that I was going to get an education… (at 14)

Playing sports, hunting, some fishing growing up. Learning about Buck gates, how to blood track, what a flyway was…

Going to school with either a rifle or shotgun in the car/truck and a pistol under the seat (And not even locking the car/truck)


Family reunions, real letters, my grandmother still being on a party line.

Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, everyone glued to the TV for the launches and recoveries. Watching the moon landing in a bar on the Via Venato in Rome, walking back to the Pensione we were staying in at 0400 in the morning and every place that had a TV had it on and facing the street, with people around all of them. Random people shaking our hands and congratulating us as Americans.

Vietnam, ‘my’ first war. Wondering if I was going to be drafted, going in the Navy.

Learning FORTRAN and programming on an IBM 1190 punchcard machine.

The first space stations, Skylab, Mir, the first shuttle launch. Skipping forward to my Navy days, Challenger and the flight hours searching in vain for the capsule.

Calculators- Buying one for over $200 dollars to make doing my job easier.

My first computer- An IBM XT, single floppy, 640k of memory. Building my first computer- Spent something like $3200 buying hardware in the mid-80s from the suppliers in Silicon Valley (It was an early 386). Kept that monster in to the 90s. AOL (spit), had to cancel a credit card to keep them from continuing to charge me after I cancelled my account…

Two daughters and now three grandkids

So many other things… I’m not rich, never will be, but you know what?

I wouldn’t change a damn thing…







TBT… — 24 Comments

  1. I still own all my ‘firstest guns ever’ too, handling them brings back a lot of great memories. Mounting to shoulder and sighting down the barrel and the years melt away.

    My first computer – a 286 XT. Ran at the blazing speed of 12, but with Lightning, upped to 14! Epson dot matrix printer (bzzzzzz p bzzzzzzzzz p) Three grand plus was the cost. This was in 1987 or thereabouts.

  2. Rich? no, but my thought is you have wealth instead of riches. πŸ™‚

  3. We had a better environment in general to grow up in. We’re lucky for that. Though I have hopes that we can make America great again and fix that for our grandkids.

  4. Hey Old NFO;

    I had similar memories, I still have almost my first gun, my second one…the 1st one was stolen out of my truck in 1992. My Springfield .45 I had tuned up for single stack competitions in Europe. But I still have all my others πŸ™‚ My first computer was an XT, I paid $1000 dollars for it in 1991. I still have the keyboard though. That one cost me $140 and it has the IBM “click”. My childhood was good, I lived on military bases as an Army brat, stayed out until dark but not out of “earshot” or else. Did kid stuff and never had a care in the world, I wish my son could have that. Rode in the back of pickup trucks, put baseball cards on the spokes of my bike. Joined the Army and traveled all over the world and witnessed historic events like the wall coming down and the fall of communism, Like you said, we are rich in the ways that matter. and I would not change it for nothing.

  5. I remember all those, plus being my dad’s remote control for the TV. Going to sleep at night listning to the radio shows, Gunsmoke, Ozzie and Harriett, The Grand Ole Opry, etc, on my dad’s radio. A great time to grow up. So much history we experienced.

  6. Learned programming in HS IBM 1620. Graduated in 69 and went to work for a bank as a programmer. Army decided they needed me in 70 so I enlisted so I could go to helicopter pilot school. My first pc was a Commodore 64 when the price dropped to $100. My wife asked what I was so excited about, and I explained that it had 64K of memory, twice what the IBM 360/32 I worked on at the bank had, and only cost $100. Absolutely amazing.

  7. j.r.- Oh yeah, ‘Lightning’ program, sped that old XT up from 4 to 8 Meg…LOL

    Grog- A wealth of memories is right. πŸ™‚

    LL- Agreed! The first step has been taken!!!

    Bob- We used to get kicked out and told to be back at dark. Four miles of woods to run in, a creek and myriad of squirrels. Shooting rats at the dump teaches you ‘quick’ aiming…LOL

    CP- Amen!

    Gerry- Thanks!

    Dan- Obviously you had one of those ‘upscale’ high schools…LOL Never played with a Commodore in any configuration. We did have a DEC system in the mid-late 70s in the Navy and that was my first ’email’ address…

  8. Reading through your list, realizing how many things we have in common. The only addition is that I obtained an M1 Garand that was manufactured the same year as I was. πŸ™‚

  9. I remember all those things, too. Back in the early 50s, when I was in my junior and senior years of high school in my home town of Cut Bank, Montana, we could go to the only drive-in and get 2 cheese-burgers, a large plate of fries, and a milk shake (3 flavors only, chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry), all for $1.00. All that would be about $6.00 to $8.00 at the local Burger King, Wendy’s or McDuds

  10. I wouldn’t change a damn thing…

    Except maybe the AOL account? (Leeches!)

    Awesome post!

  11. Rev- You got me on that one, mine is 2 years younger than I am…LOL

    Scottie- Oh yeah, and drive-ins! Damn… Good times! And that would be $10-12 today… sigh

    Bob- Thank you sir. And that WAS a mistake on my part!

    Fargo- Yep!

    GB- I didn’t see that one, but I have ‘insight’ on both of those… We’ll talk one day.

  12. First rifles and Veterans Day parades seem to cross all eras and generations. My CAP unit helped with the Columbia recovery and my first war was Gulf War II.

  13. OK, so you have a few more years of memories, but I’ve got a number of them too: Watching the same moon landing live on a B/W TV with Mom and Dad (before they got divorced). Loss of both Shuttles, made up by watching Shuttle landings at Edwards AFB while stationed there. And watching the YF-22, YF-23, and B-2 on their first flights at Eddy’s.
    Worked at college selling IBM PCs, Commodore 64s, HP 41C/CV calculators. Owned a Mac 128k, $3000 new, with a 300 baud modem.
    Oh, and I was one of those A-holes that worked for AOL. Tier-1 support, Mac help desk, before they were bought out people learned that they didn’t need AOL to access the Internet.

    Question is: What do our kids and grandkids have to look forward to? What grand project do they have to point to and say “Look what our generation did”?

  14. In West Tennessee (Henry County), we had more channels, but only because of location & ’cause we had the antenna on a tall pole. You’d (rather, as the kid, I’d) have to go out & turn it to the proper orientation, depending on the channel desired: Nashville, Paducah, Cape Girardeau, Evansville, etc. An adult would holler out the window when it was at the point of least “snow”, & I’d just have to hope the wind wasn’t up, for if it was I’d have to go & fine-tune it.
    I guess the first poem I ever really learned by heart was “High Flight’, because that’s what all the stations signed off with.
    Got a Buck 110 for my 12th birthday, & have carried one ever since. In one of my high-school yearbooks there’s a photo of me walking down the hall with it on my hip, and a pair of hemostats tucked into its holster (that’s another matter altogether). Of course, it’s TN, so most of us had gun racks (not empty) in the back windshields of our trucks.
    First stop upon arriving at school was the smoking area, to see who was there & who wasn’t (& to leave again if a buxom lass expressed a desire to skip school with me, or if I could talk one into it–dunno how I managed to be the 1st man in my family with a diploma, an honorable discharge, & a degree).

  15. Taught myself BASIC in the 70s by typing in code from the monthly magazine. Of course it didn’t work. Couldn’t wait for the next month’s issue to come out with the corrections so I had to troubleshoot it myself in the meantime. Excellent, though frustrating, learning experience.

    What is the oldest age today that doesn’t know what a TV test pattern looks like? I wonder.

    In charge of squadron mobility (Air Force). EVERY single piece of equipment had a punch card and if we moved a box from one pallet to another both pallets of cards had to be run all over again. Tons of greenbar paper and arguing with keypunch folks that no, that is NOT a zero, it is an oh! Re-do the card and run the entire stack all over again. Another ton of paper.

  16. Forgot:

    Status symbol — a BAMBOO slide rule. Everyone else had plastic. πŸ™‚

  17. DB- One hopes… πŸ™‚

    SPE- At least for now… sigh

    WN- YOU!!! πŸ™‚ Sadly, I don’t know…

    TB- LOL, at least I was lucky- Rabbit ears! πŸ™‚ And congrats, I’m the first in my family to get a college degree.

    Bob- Wow, I never tried that! I remember the greenbar paper and the Maintenance admin guys going bat nuts when the punch cards didn’t get turned in… πŸ™‚ I had/have somewhere a Dietzen 1734 πŸ™‚

  18. Makes you a bit older, I guess.

    My first handgun was a Ruger Blackhawk convertible in .357/9mm. First rifle was a M1903.

    Still have them.

  19. My first car was a 1967 Plymouth Fury with a 383 paid $175
    My first gun was a 1932 Remington single shot .22 it shot shorts.longs and long rifle.Dada got drunk and sold it