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A reflection on what’s changed in the last fifty years, other than me…


1. The NYC boroughs all use the 212 area code (and you don’t have to dial it)

2. Touch tone phones are a novelty

3. Phone numbers begin with letters—XX4, FA5

4. The telephone operator makes person-to-person long distance calls for you

5.“Let your fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages”

6. Mail is delivered twice a day

7. Newspapers have evening editions

9. CBS, ABC, NBC, WOR (local), WNEW (local), WPIX (local), WNET (public TV)—and UHF, if you hold the antenna just right

10. There is only one phone company—Bell Telephone


11. There is an actual milk man in the Bronx(“…Ask me about our buttermilk, sour cream, sweet cream, orange juice, skim milk, chocolate drink, butter, eggs, yogurt, margarine.— Your milkman, Bill”)

12. A full-size Snickers bar costs $.15 when I am in grammar school

13. A slice of pizza is $.25 and then skyrockets to $.35

14. I purchase cigarettes for my mother after Sunday Mass (2 packs of Virginia Slims Menthol for $1.00)

15. McDonald’s hamburger=$.25, and Ronald McDonald is slightly creepy

16. Gas is $.64 per gallon when I learn to drive

17. A subway ride costs $.20

18. Stamps are $.06

19. Frozen TV dinners

20. The two dollar bill


21. The Beatles break up is all over the news, though I’m not quite sure who they are

22. Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated, and my kindergarten class is brought to the hallway to listen to the radio

23. Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated, and my kindergarten graduation is almost cancelled because mothers are so distraught

24. “That‘s one small step for man one giant leap for mankind”

25. Watergate—listening to Nixon’s resignation speech while I shopped

26. Busing and integration

27. John Lennon’s murder

28. The Vietnam War ends

29. The Thrilla in Manilla

30. Bill Gates founds Microsoft


31. TV shows that are in color announce, “Brought to you in living color” at the beginning, since color TV is still a novelty

32. The Brady Bunch and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood are first run shows, not reruns

33. My sister and I tune in to Laugh In and The Smothers Brothers, although we don’t understand either

34. Disco rules/sucks

35. The Burt Reynolds “nude” centerfold in Cosmo

36. There is only AM and FM radio

37. “Wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper, too?”

38. If you wanted to “download” music, you put your cassette player on “record” and wait for the song to come on the radio

39. “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony…”

40. The Sony Walkman 2 is cutting edge, as is the VCR


41. Cars have seat belts in the front only—maybe

42. Taxis have jump seats in the back

43. Our family doctor makes house calls

44. People smoke at the movies and on airplanes

46. The surgeon who operates on me in high school has a cigarette before our follow-up appointment

45. The dentist cleans your teeth himself, and you get a lollipop when he’s done

47. Rapidographs, waxers, Spraymount, T-sqaures… sigh

48. Sending out for type (to Haber, or to Photolettering if you want to get fancy)

49. Ronn Campisi buys a Mac SE for the design department at The Boston Globe and says, “I really think this is going to be the future”

50. Fred Woodward picks up the phone himself one evening in 1987 when I call to ask if he’d look at my portfolio

Illustrations by Ren-Julius Reyes