Crow's-Feet Chronicles: Confessions of a Baby Boomer
By Cindy Baker Burnett
Oct 22, 2018
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I received an email from my sister Kathy this morning. Attached to the email was an old photograph of a hometown parade, and she needed help identifying the people. I could tell the photo was old because the men were wearing suits, the women were holding babies, everybody was smoking cigarettes, and the whole town was yellowish and curling up at the edges. It was most likely taken in the 40s.

The email read, “Look at the little girls who are standing in the street watching the band march by them. Could those little girls be you and me? I saw the one with all that forehead and thought of me. Then I looked at the little girl beside me with the fat arms and the sash that looks like it's cutting off circulation and I thought of you.” Trademarks are trademarks.

I was born in 1946, but I don't remember many specifics about that year because I spent most of my time burping up milk. But, from looking at photographs, I've decided that most of the cars were black and all of the kitchen appliances and elected officials were white.

As a baby boomer, I've witnessed some of the world's greatest products be invented and then replaced by other inventions. To think, my grandchildren will never know the frustration of trying to read the faint third copy that resulted from typing with carbon paper.

The musical recording industry made a big impact on our lives back in the day. We grew up with three record formats—78 rpm, 33 1/3 rpm, and 45 rpm. The 45s still baffle top scientists, who can't figure out why they had much bigger holes than the other two. Record players had to be real contraptions. For one thing, they had three speeds, with a little lever that you used to change them. Also they had two needles; you flipped the needle thing over, depending on which kind of record you were playing. And when you played a 45 rpm record, you either had to put a plastic insert in the hole or attach a special spindle to the record player, sometimes with a hammer.

On the personal grooming front, the 40s saw the introduction of Brylcreem, which many men used on their hair when I was growing up. Brylcreem (“A little dab'll do ya”) controlled hair the way the Soviet Union controlled East Germany. It gave the user a slick, totally immobile, bullet-deflecting hairstyle with an oily sheen. There were three styles for men—Hollywood, Continental, and Crew Cut. My mom didn't give my brother a choice—he got the Crew Cut. It was similar to the style worn by tennis balls.

It may not be prison worthy, but I do have some confessions about my childhood. Yes, there were times that I played a 33 1/3 record at 45, or even 78, just so Perry Como would sound like a singing Tweety Bird. And if that's not bad enough, I confess to spraying Reddi-Wip into my mouth. Oh, it gets worse. 

I sprayed it into the dog's mouth.