Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away……..”

I’m the good-looking one (on the right)

September 8th

On the day I was born, World War II had been officially over for less than a week.  Harry Truman was president (you get a gold star if you can tell me who was vice president – without looking it up).

In the year I was born, gasoline cost 15 cents a gallon (if you could find it).  You could buy a new car for about $1,000 (again, if you could find one).  Coffee sold for about 50 cents a pound.  A loaf of bread was 9 cents.  Tuition at Harvard was $420 per year.  All of which sounds pretty good, of course, until you realize that the average income was only about $2,400 per year.

To conserve gas, the national speed limit was 35 mph.  Yeah, that’d work today……….Then again, cars didn’t go much faster than that.

The total number of TV’s in the U. S. was something like 5,000.  The rest of the world had none.  Heck, the rest of the world had pretty much nothing.

In the year I was born Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play baseball in the Major Leagues.

The Cleveland Browns won the NFL title.  That might happen again in another 100 years or so.  Probably just before or just after Buffalo wins a title.  And Army was the best college football team.  Which will NEVER  happen again.

Robert DeNiro was born that year.  As was Goldie Hawn, Tom Selleck (one of my favorites), and Henry Winkler.  The best movie of the year was Lost Weekend, starring Ray Milland (who won the award for best actor).

Life expectancy in that year was 63 years.  Heck, when I was 63 I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up.  And still don’t.  Maybe I should make up my mind…….

There were no computers.  Or tablets.  Or smartphones.  If you wanted to talk to someone over any distance at all, you dialed the ‘O’ on your big, black desk phone.  If you were nice to her (the operator), she might put the call through.  And then you paid the “long distance” charges.  If you couldn’t call, you wrote a letter (stamps were 3 cents).  If you were lucky, you might even get an answer back in a couple of weeks.

Life has really changed, hasn’t it.  We have so much more to be thankful for today.

Like BP, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, and Snooki.  Well, what the hell.  I guess that proves that “progress” takes a detour every once in a while.


11 Responses to ““A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away……..””

    • Paul Maxim

      Thanks, Kathryn. Yes, I’m really sorry I missed it. If there’s one next year, I’ll be there. Good heavens, I’ll be even older……..

      I saw a picture of your oldest son you posted a while back. Damn, they grow up fast.

  1. oneowner

    What’s amazing is that the hand colored tint, probably oils, has held up so well if this is an accurate representation of the print. There was a high level of artistic ability the retouches had to have in order to do this level of work and I believe it was very popular up through the 1950’s and even in the early 1960’s. This was not inexpensive portraiture either as the retouching was always an extra charge. The detail in the shirts was really well done. This is certainly worth preserving and sharing with the family.

    • Paul Maxim

      I didn’t know that, Ken. I found this print when we were cleaning out my mother’s house after she died. I remember thinking that it was remarkably well preserved. Except for being a bit more contrasty (the scan?), the print looks much like what you see here. And yes, this has to be from the late 40’s, given the apparent age of my brother and I.

  2. Earl

    Happy belated Birthday young man — the only one which can determine if you’re truly old is yourself. You were a cute kid — do you still have those dimples?

    I was thinking the other day while filling up my car with gas that while going to college gas was around 30-32 cents…and I thought that was high. LOL

    I’m with Ken it’s amazing how well some of their colorized photos have held up. I have a treasured tinted photo of my Mom and Dad’s from their wedding in the early 40’s which still looks great.

    • Paul Maxim

      Thanks, Earl. I only feel “old” on my birthday………..when I’m reminded.

      No, unfortunately the dimples are long gone. I remember one of my aunts always saying that with those dimples I should have been a girl. I never knew quite how to take that…….

      • Earl

        With my red hair and fair complexion my grandmother use to say I should have been born a girl. I didn’t know how to take that either at which point I usually found a way to make a hasty retreat from the room.

  3. Cedric

    Happy belated birthday Paul. Nice little walk down memory lane even if my memories don’t go back quite that far. I do remember collecting soft drink bottles as a kid and getting 1c for each which would buy me a couple of Redskins sweets.

    • Paul Maxim

      Thanks, Cedric. Hmmm – don’t think I’ve ever heard of “Redskins sweets”. An Australian goodie?

      I find it ironic – and amusing, I guess – that the strolls down memory lane seem to span so much time in terms of human experience and “progress”. And yet most of the things I like to photograph have been standing in the same place for thousands or millions of years. A cliche, of course, but it does give me a sobering perspective on things……..

  4. Dave

    Think the good looking one is on the left. At least as we got older it proved to be so…….

    • Paul Maxim

      Don’t know about that big brother, but I do know that I definitely had more hair then. And it was curly, too. By the way, I talked to Mark a week or so ago – he’s already down in Florida for the winter. And I get to look at snowflakes today………


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