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Gilbert, Edmund Scientific, and the Post-War Flowering of American Techno-Industrial Virtuosity
A Pre-Enstupidation View
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It was 1953 in the white newly prosperous suburbs of Arlington, Virginia, just outside the Yankee Capital. I was eight, having been born, like so many of my small compatriots, nine months and fifteen minutes after our fathers got home from the war. These men, my father anyway, had spent years in the Pacific, being torpedoed at and watching Hellcat fighters screaming off wooden decks, and seeing ships sink. What they wanted now was lawn mowers, lawns, children, and a life as boring as possible. They got them.

We kids did not know that we were at the cusp of an explosion of technological mastery. We were, though. In addition to me there was Michel Duquez, dark-haired, raffish, and of Frog extraction, who would later die fighting for the French Foreign Legion in the Silent Quarter of Arabia. Or if he didn’t, he should have. And there was John Kaminski, or Mincemeat, blond and crewcut, who could spit out of the side of his mouth with casual aplomb the way Humphrey Bogart did, or would have if he had spit much.

American society on North Jefferson Street, and all the burbs for miles around, was everything that today would be thought intolerant or not very inclusive. There was no crime, diversity not yet having become our strength. When we rode our bikes under blue skies, I think the only kind we had then, to the shopping strip at Westover on Washington Boulevard, we could leave the bikes for hours on the sidewalk, or anywhere else, and they would be there when we came back. There were no transgenders. We were little boys and little girls. This seemed to work. For some reason now forgotten, for a year or so we referred disparagingly to each other as “queerbaits.” There were no queers to bait though, and anyway we didn’t know what one was.

But this is a techno-economic column, so to Gilbert and Edmund Scientific. We were, if not quite scientists, at least tilted in that direction. At age eight or nine, we had microscopes. There were two kinds. First was Gilbert, which cost ten bucks and had lenses of, I think, fifty, one fifty, and three hundred power. Mine, more upscale, costing fifteen dollars, was from Edmund. I guess this indoctrinated me with elitism or classism or some other demonic trait. Anyhow, they worked, and you could look at bugs and rotifers and such horrors as right into a hornet’s face. These instruments actually were instruments, and could not quite be called toys. When I got to real bio courses, I already knew how to use microscopes, mechanical stages, well slides, and such. Dukesy and I occasionally slit our wrists slightly to get blood to look at.

Hey, we were little boys.

In those far-off days, a lot of kids were smart, which was OK, or even encouraged, since there was no affirmative action. There was no one who needed it, or had the gall to ask for it. Reading seemed normal to us. In the drugstore at Westover were shelves with long rows of The Hardy Boys books, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, and The Lone Ranger. This, as noted, was before national enstupidation. The Hardy Boys have since been dumbed down. This will make us all love each other, or something.

You can see where this is going. Microscopes. Reading. Then Chemistry Sets. These, from Gilbert, were red sheet metal cases whose degrees of gloriousness were measured in bottles: Twenty-five bottles hoi polloi and, I swear I think I remember, fifty bottles the illuminati. All contained such powders and elixirs as sodium thiosulfate, cobalt chloride, sodium silicate, sulfur, and iron filings that you could blow into the flame of the alcohol lamp, included and not thought excessively dangerous. The particles burned in a shower of sparks, which was Oxidation.

Gilbert chemistry set. “Banning toys with dangerous acids was a good idea, but was the price a couple generations of scientists?”
Gilbert chemistry set. “Banning toys with dangerous acids was a good idea, but was the price a couple generations of scientists?”
Ghastly political incorrectness, nakedly using the B word
Ghastly political incorrectness, nakedly using the B word

There was also a booklet that explained atomic structure and the difference between atomic structure and atomic weight. Not…exactly toys. We just thought they were.

In this, I tell you, were the seeds of the Apollo program.

Add Captain Video. This was a TV space opera, still available on YouTube. Captain Video was a nondescript hack whose sidekick was the Ranger, also devoid of personality or acting talent. It didn’t matter. When their spaceship, the Galaxy, was going off on an adventure, the two stood behind the steering wheel, like a ship’s wheel, and swayed monotonously back and forth to indicate motion.

Look, you need to know this. It’s cultural history. Read it.

For several episodes, on the flickering black and white screens of the day, with rabbit-ear antennas, we watched these two inspirations being chased through space by Tobor. Tobor was a malign robot whose name plate had been put on backward at the factory, making him go bad. We had nightmares about Tobor. Anyway he finally landed on the hull of the Galaxy, and Captain Video went out in a spacesuit and fought him, spraying his joints with what looked like a shellac gun until he was gummed up and couldn’t move.

Now, put all of this together and you can see the genesis of the Heroic Age of American technology. This lasted into the Sixties. Then it all went to hell as if a switch had been pulled and the polarity of everything reversed.

Microscopes. Chemistry, Reading. English grammar. Encouragement of intelligence. Spaceships. Robots, however misspelled. Shellac guns.

Even the psychostructure (patent applied for) moved us toward building supersonic aircraft and the Hubble Telescope. We played baseball, not knowing that it was toxic masculinity and hierarchical . We had Mattel windup submachine guns that fired whole rolls of caps in long satisfying bursts. This was homicidal violence, but nobody had yet realized it. In recess at school we played tag, which we didn’t know would make some kids feel left and tnd turn them into psychopathic killers.

We enjoyed, or today we would say suffered from, a measure of adventurousness. Running under Arlington were storm drains. These were–are–concrete pipes, usually with a trickle of water running through them, that a kid can go through, bent over, tennis shoes making an echoing Plonk Plonk sound that, once heard, cannot be forgotten. A world closed to adults, who wouldn’t fit.

It was entered by lifting a manhole cover when no one was looking. We got candles and learned different systems. I will never forget where the pipe widend out at Westover and we saw the Monster Rat with Red Eyes. OK, it was probably a normal rat but that’s not the spirit of the thing.

Recent photo of the very manhole on North Jefferson Street through which Dukesy, Mincemeat, and I entered subterranean Arlington 67 years ago. Strange tales could be told of the depths, as curious as any lore of King Solomon’s mines, and cryptic things are there written in candle smoke that none will ever again see. Ha.
Recent photo of the very manhole on North Jefferson Street through which Dukesy, Mincemeat, and I entered subterranean Arlington 67 years ago. Strange tales could be told of the depths, as curious as any lore of King Solomon’s mines, and cryptic things are there written in candle smoke that none will ever again see. Ha.

Around the Fourth of July we got skyrockets and fountains and other fireworks, which were then legal, and fired them deep underground, oh wow. I know, we should have spent our time in a cooperative game led by a caring adult, but we would rather have committed suicide.

See? This is why America briefly did all sorts of astonishing things. It was not because of capital flows or compound interest or free enterprise or the rest of the world being in wreckage because of the war No. It was Edmund Scientific, Gilbert, schools that taught things, kids like Dukesy and Mincemeat and a society that knew when to leave kids the hell alone.

Write Fred at [email protected] Put “pdq” anywhere in the subject line to avoid autodeletion.

 
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  1. In the UK, you could add Meccano to that list. Construction toys be and simpler and simpler until … Lego.

    I still have my chemistry set. I fear that I would face prosecution for disposing of it now. Ours were all test tubes. The bottles on yours look great.

    Part of that package was that boys were expected to acheive things. A scout with an armful of badges was a model to look to not an object of contempt. Country’s gone to the dogs! Things aren’t what they used to be. Damned EU.

  2. Gosh, gee whillikers, how your excellent commentary has evoked my own pleasant boyhood memories!

    Today, I’m seventy-four years old, totally disabled, and a veteran of the war in the old Republic of Viet Nam (i.e., a “STAR WARS” movie fan, I love referring to, “the old Republic”!)

    As an adopted Army brat, I grew up mostly in Spring Lake, North Carolina, just outside the main gate of Fort Bragg, in a White, racially segregated community, which is why it was so clean and safe.

    Alas, you should see what Spring Lake has deteriorated into today!

    I remember getting a Gilbert chemistry set for Christmas, and on the following Christmas, receiving a Gilbert microscope set.

    I really wanted something that would explode, but I couldn’t figure out how to do that with the limited resources of that beginner’s outfit.

    I spent a lot of happy hours exploring the woods next to our house, picking blackberries for Mama’s cobbler pies, and snacking on huckleberries and pine cone nuts, which were everywhere.

    With neighborhood boys, we’d dig foxholes, build forts, make bows and arrows, and play soldier.

    Each Armed Forces Day, in the years before the green beret was authorized or seen, we’d tour the static displays at Fort Bragg, and tour the aircraft at Pope Air Force Base.

    On numerous occasions, we’d go watch paratroopers jump from C-119s, and in later years, from C-130s.

    When Daddy was stationed at William Beaumont General Hospital in El Paso, Texas, our Armed Forces Day event was going to White Sands Missile Range to see the Nike Ajax, Nike Zeus, Nike Hercules, Sergeant, Corporal, and Navy TALOS missiles, some of which were used in demonstrations to shoot down drones.

    I loved the mountains, canyons, and desert, and I loved the Western lore.

    I thought the Mexican girls were delightfully pretty.

    Back then, there was no thought of any danger when visiting Ciudad Juarez, where I purchased a souvenir bull coin bank, a bull whip, and a sombrero.

    Daddy retired from the United States Army, and I became a soldier in the United States Army, traveling to Germany, Korea, Japan, Australia, Thailand, Israel, and of course, the good old Republic of Viet Nam.

    (Note that the name of that country is TWO words, not one.)

    John Robert Mallernee
    Vernal, Utah

    (The comment form wouldn’t allow me to use my real name or e-mail, even though it’s correct, and was used successfully to comment on your previous post, so I have to experiment with an old nickname and an old, unused, e-mail address. Boy, I hate this stuff!)

  3. dearieme says:

    “Mattel windup submachine guns”: I’d forgotten those – wonderful things. My own chemistry set was rather feeble and the microscope even more so. The meths burner was good though. As Philip says, Meccano was excellent.

    Anyway, I got bored with the chem set and went to work as a gofer for the boatbuilder next door. It was a good apprenticeship because when I was a teenager he recruited me to do proper work: I could caulk a seam, for example, steam a plank, and so on. I could be trusted with a chisel, saw, or hammer without supervision. And when we launched her I was given a man’s reward – a bottle of beer to drink on the quayside. Rite of passage, eh?

    So if Britain had planned to send a wooden rocket to the moon I’d have been just the lad to work on it.

    • LOL: Realist
    • Replies: @Alfa158
  4. How did you miss this one?

    users should not take ore samples out of their jars, for they tend to flake and crumble and you would run the risk of having radioactive ore spread out in your laboratory. This would raise the level of your background count

    Wilson cloud chamber with short-lived alpha source (Po-210) in the form of a wire

    Four glass jars containing natural uranium-bearing (U-238) ore samples (autunite, torbernite, uraninite, and carnotite from the “Colorado plateau region”)
    Low-level radiation sources:
    beta-alpha (Pb-210)
    pure beta (possibly Ru-106)
    gamma (Zn-65)

    Prospecting for Uranium — a book

    A. C. Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab

  5. Patriot says:

    Remember, also, that boys first received Tinker Toys, and later, Erector sets and electric trains, all of which provided excellent mechanical training. Most boys graduated to fixing bicycles, and then old junked cars, which gave another 4 to 50 yrs of advanced mechanical training.

    OK, it is true that today’s youth can get your computer to work, but ask them to bring you the torque wrench with a 14-mm deep socket with a 1/2 inch drive and they look at you dumbfouded as if you are from Mars.

    In the 1950’s all non-city boys were mechanically inclined.

  6. OM freaking G! I thought we were the only ones brave/stupid enough to explore the underground sewer world. Slingshot fights with rocks – no aiming above the neck allowed. Lawn darts with sharp, deadly points. Tackle football without pads. Drinking from the hose afterwards. Our parents would be shot on sight today. What a fabulous, incredible, amazing country we once were. All this ruined, so that psychopathic politicians can stay in power forever?? Great job, “our side”.

    • Agree: Realist, Dannyboy
  7. Uncle Al says: • Website

    Those, plus “Things of Science.” The monthly blue box package arrived. Mother blanched. I ended up with letters dripping from my surname and had a lot of fun…including one VP/R&D who turned brilliant scarlet, put his knuckles on his desk to stand up, and yelled “GODDAMNIT! IT CAN’T WORK THAT WAY!” It was a $even figure project in Engineering I bootlegged for $800 in Chemistry.

    So it can’t be done, so what? We are children of a Golden Age. We learned how to dream.

  8. PT says:

    I stumbled across the Hardy Boys rewrites by accident. Around twenty five years after, as a kid, reading “ The Sinister Signpost”, I thought of buying a copy for my son. My version had the brothers chasing Nazi spies. The current version had been completely rewritten. I later learned the FW Dixon, the supposed author was actually a stable of hacks, whose job was to keep the books current ( iPads and cell phones replacing two way radios, etc..).

    As a kid I used the Gilbert chemistry set to make gunpowder.

    • Replies: @Knickerbocker Flat
  9. I was in the kitchen with my 9yr old daughter who was cutting some cheese with a very sharp knife.
    She did not believe me when I told her that when I was her age I used to carry a knife and a box of matches around with me.

    • Replies: @Crazy Horse
  10. Crazy Horse says: • Website
    @BDS Always

    Not only did I carry a knife and a box of matches but a pack of cigarettes as well 🙂

    Couldn’t do that in Kalifora today. A biker friend of mine a ways back got popped for carrying a replica, I repeat A REPLICA of a switch blade on a key chain and was arrested for carrying a “concealed weapon”.

    • Replies: @Tom Welsh
    , @Verne
  11. IvyMike says:

    Then there was JFK and the President’s Council On Physical Fitness, which was even promoted in the Holy Writ of Superman comics (and the Charles Atlas chest expander!). Kids had to exercise in elementary school! We wore white t shirts and little white shorties and had a P.E teacher who would quirt us across the backs of our naked thighs with his braided whistle strap if we were cheating at pull ups. Maybe 5 kids in a hundred were fat, and it was not cool to be one of the 5. Now the only place I can say that Lizzo is a disgusting pile of lard sweat and stink who can’t sing but must be idolized is in the comments section of Unz.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
    , @Jay Igaboo
  12. Used to be, every 7th and 8th grader took shop class wherein he learned drafting, woodworking, sheet metal and acrylic plastic working and some electricity. Also he learned teamwork. At the end of each class some guys swept the tools and benches off onto the floor with foxtail brushes while others used regular brooms to do the edges and the third group went down the center of the aisles with push brooms. Now all gone. The lawyers put an end to it. School systems can’t afford the insurance payments.

    Boy Scouts have declared bankruptcy due to law suits brought against them by former victims of homosexual encounters with staff. Scouts had kept records of all such. Cases then (thirty, forty, fifty years ago) were handled internally; the offending adult was promptly fired.

    Today lawyers are outraged because the police weren’t notified. They are seeking financial settlements on behalf of plaintiffs.

    How many teenagers would have wanted to have had their brush with a gay counselor made into a public spectacle? How many such boys were gay themselves? (I know one personally who both had an encounter with a gay adult counselor at summer camp and who went on to become completely gay himself).

    Again, the lawyers love it. They delight in bringing down an established, largely white, American institution.

    I noticed that all four of the media who advertise and promote this investigation were Jewish owned or run. Time, NPR, U.S. News and World Report and another that I forget. As usual.

    • Replies: @Patriot
    , @ThreeCranes
    , @Rurik
  13. Patriot says:
    @ThreeCranes

    Interesting that 30 yrs ago Jews sued to force the Scouts to allow homosexuals to serve as Scout Masters.

    As feared and predicted, many boy scouts were subsequently sexually abused.

    Now Jews are suing to destroy the Boy Scouts organization, as a consequence of the problem they created.

    America saved the Jews from Nazi extermination, allowed them to immigrate and prosper.
    How do the Jews repay us?

  14. @Patriot

    There seems something amiss in your reasoning, but I cannot quite fathom it.

  15. Bill Meyer says: • Website

    Thanks for the article, Fred. I had most of these, but my favorite was the Radio Shack 100 in 1 electronics experiment kit. Got me into ham radio, and a 40 year career (still going) in broadcasting.

  16. I know a guy who has the chemistry set pictured in the story. You could probably make a half dozen different explosives out of that stuff.

    I read a story written by an old boy scout who was complaining about how kids in the old days had more responsibility and could accomplish more, whereas the kids of today have everything done for them and get a lot of merit badges for it.

    I often go to the park on saturday, and the weather is perfect. the park is empty. kids are at home playing video games.

  17. Tommie says:

    Even as a female who was a kid in the 1960s, I can relate to some of this. Namely – the FREEDOM. We explored to our heart’s content and did what the heck we pleased. It bred independence and we learned how to socialize and most of us were normal weight because we were outside running around. It was considered unhealthy to be inside too much.

    Books were a treasure and since I was a tomboyish type girl, I was much more into Trixie Belden than that prissy Nancy Drew.

    My only discontent with my childhood was the boys’ attitude towards us. There was no reason to not let the girls play ball – it was just plain old “we’re better than you” and “you’re just GIRLS.” I wish you guys could have let us in. No, not to Scouts – I was perfectly content with GIRL Scouts, but it wouldn’t have killed you guys to let us play ball on the street with you.

    But our childhoods were great compared to today. We were free. Once our homework and chores were done, we were free to explore and have fun. There was no parental micromanagement. I feel sorry for the kids of today. They have no idea what they missed.

  18. I did All The Dangerous Stuff as a kid. Made my own bow and arrows, arrows tipped with Mom’s darning needles, which made ’em stick into plywood really well. Got all the necessary cuts with a pocket knife out of my system early, and made all kinds of stuff myself with it. I had a chemistry set *and* a microscope and combined the two, watching crystals grow on a slide. I made a sling and after much practice, still am pretty sure that David and Goliath story is really just a fairy tale. Had a BB gun I had to save for, literally pennies nickels and dimes in a cigar box, and got really good with the thing. First ride on a another kid’s mini-bike of course I crashed the thing and rubbed the side of my (bare) foot raw and couldn’t wait to get back on the thing. I made kites and really scary fish spears and wooden swords and shields enough to arm a few of us thereupon we had fruit and mud-clod fights. And we used to eat dangerous stuff too. There’s a fruit called Natal plum, that all the other kids thought were poisonous. It made sense, the plant having nasty thorns, thick leaves, and a white milky sap. So we’d eat some (they’re good) and the other kids would stand around waiting to see if we’d die.

    Even the stuff that was parentally approved like skateboarding, naturally with no helmets, no pads, and no shoes, are unthinkable now.

    • Replies: @washingRic
  19. Alfa158 says:
    @dearieme

    How did you and Fred get Mattel machine guns that worked? Mine somehow wasn’t synced with the roll of caps so after a few shots the caps weren’t being struck and you had to re-align the roll. It was like the rolls of caps we could get in Canada were metric or something so the spacing was slightly wrong.
    My fond memory was my Erector Bridge building set, and my Gilbert telescope. The telescope was incredibly cheaply made. 3” reflecting mirror, black cardboard tube, tripod made from flimsy angle steel, and the eyepiece was held in place by friction so you had to delicately slide it up and down to focus. I loved that thing. I remember the thrill when I managed to get a shaky look at a blurry spiral galaxy.

  20. MattinLA says:

    Thank you for your beautiful rememberances of a time long past, and a world murdered. I shall weep for thee, just as I weep for me….

    • Replies: @Wayne
  21. Biff says:

    I started out with Erector Sets in grade school and when I can of age I moved on(with natural instinct) to the real thing, and too this day I still build, own, and maintain property. Back in the day they had a vision for the future.

    What do they use to prepare the kids of today? Derivative Sets?

  22. 6dof says:

    Yup.

    My dad got the Edmund catalog. Built his own telescope. Gave my older brother a Gilbert chemistry set AND a Gilbert erector set.

    I grew up to be a missile engineer.

    I’m glad somebody remembered.

    ps: we had storm drains too. The dare was to properly identify the brand of matchbook left at the far end !

  23. @Patriot

    Gratitude does not seem to be their strong suit.

    • Replies: @Realist
    , @Hamlet's Ghost
  24. anon[727] • Disclaimer says:
    @Patriot

    America saved the Jews from Nazi extermination, allowed them to immigrate and prosper. How do the Jews repay us?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scorpion_and_the_Frog

    • Replies: @Anonymouse
  25. Dammit Frederick – just when I think you’ve finally succumbed to Padre Kino, you pull me back in.

    Then again, I’m roughly half-drunk and I’m primed to reminisce about doing boy-shit, because I just spent the day teaching an old mobile phone to report my parents’ ‘smart’ meter data to an SQL database in real time (by counting the blinks on an LED on the front of the meter: turns out it blinks once per 10W!).

    Their solar inverters have wifi, their grid-connection meter doesn’t: we’re building a model to capture the usage measured by the grid meter, after the solar winds down to zero (i.e., from dusk ’til dawn).

    It’s also set up to take a photo every 3 seconds for 2 minutes, that triggers every 10 minutes – capturing the LCD screen, which shows 8 different metrics, 6 of which are of interest… which I will use tomorrow to train a DL model to actually read the little LCD screen and store the numerical data for each metric so that we can use the “blink counts” as a check as opposed to the only measure.

    Boys never grow up by choice, Frederick.

    Give an interesting little project to a 55 year old who used to be an inquisitive 15year old, and he will be 15 all over again – but with current tools.

    Same’s true of 70-somethings: Dad’s in his late 70s and has a 40′ container full of shit he’s tinkering with (which is why he has 5 ride-on mowers: people these days throw the damn things out when all they need is a half-decent service).

    Best.holiday.ever.

    Tomorrow I’m going to rig a rope swing over a nearby a river that’s higher than I’ve ever seen it. I’ll probably end up on Ridiculousness.

    (I also have a USB ‘1000x’ (lol) microscope that I use to take pics of the inside of the cell phone SIM slot (or my chin 4 hours after shaving, ot this thing on the side of my nose that I think is getting bigger). HAHAHA

  26. @ThreeCranes

    I should add that, according to the article, the scouts on whose behalf the suits have been filed number either 600 or 2000. This out of 130 million boys who have participated in scouting. Taking the larger number, this comes to 1 out of 65,000.

    The lawyers representing the plaintiffs spoke hysterically as though molestation were an ever-present, defining characteristic of scouting.

    It is this ignoble behavior which gives such lawyers a bad name. What sort of man would wish his reputation to be defined by having deliberately lied to ruin a fine social institution? And the answer is, “Not any sort of man at all.” or, “No man would wish such.”

    These are not men in the generally accepted meaning of the term. They have no sense of honor, no shame; no sense of living up to a noble ideal. They are charlatans.

  27. Fred forgets to mention the theme music introducing Captain Video episodes: The Flying Dutchman overture by Richard Wagner. Blew me away every time.

  28. Nodwink says:

    It’s nice that your whitebread picket fence fantasies help you sleep at night, princess.

  29. Franz says:

    Edmund Scientific, yeah. But don’t forget the other gem.

    Edmund was worthless without the Johnson Smith Novelty Catalog. A true trove of insanity. All the stuff Edmund Scientific only implied was made flesh with the cheap junk Johnson Smith sold.

    In 1962 you could buy (from J&S) a genuine surplus United States weather balloon for a couple bucks, a smoke grenade guaranteed to explode and form a mushroom cloud like a nuke, a bicycle-mounted hand-crank BB machine gun to destroy “whatever you aim at.” And so much more: Cut a record on dad’s turntable, all of that.

    In 1964 they had a small mechanical computer the size of a lunch box, looked like a cross between a miniature voting machine and a Roach Motel. Only $9.98, plus postage.

    How many people bought THAT item, couldn’t make heads or tails of it, and took computer science just to find out. Is this how we got Bill Gates?

  30. Fred, it’s going to get much worse. John Whitehead wrote a really depressing article on elementary and middle schools in America, where young inmates wearing bullet-proof backpacks (pink for girls) are learning only terrified obedience to the aggressive and often brutal guards in their fascist mini concentration camps. This new normal will snuff out the remainder of those ‘good ‘ol days’.

    Compliance 101: Gun-Toting Cops Endanger Students and Turn the Schools into Prisons

    https://www.globalresearch.ca/compliance-101-gun-toting-cops-endanger-students-turn-schools-prisons/5704030

    BTW, You forgot the crystal radios. Mine had several crystals, one each for the three local radio stations.

    5.Patriot says:

    “Remember, also, that boys first received . . . Erector sets”

    I’m not sure you could call them that today. 🙂

    • Agree: Denis
    • Replies: @Pontius
  31. jsinton says:

    I still have my Edmunds Scientific microscope sitting on the shelf in it’s wooden box. We played “Kill the Man with the Ball” at recess as little kids, the ultimate psychopath game. Mattel Maurauder M-16 didn’t shoot caps, just wind it up. The #1 selling boy toy for 1964 was the Johnny Seven OMA gun, which everyone should view on youtube. You probably remember shooting caps from Johnny Seven.

  32. But did you boomers have the opportunity to call in a tactical nuke on Modern Warfare 2, or did you have the opportunity to dab on the corpse of your vanquished foe?

    I thought not.

  33. Anonymous[140] • Disclaimer says:

    Gilbert Scientific sets could never survive cultural Marxism and Jewish hegemony allied to racial diversity.

    Every aspect of these kits is now politically incorrect.

    Jews want to smash every set to pieces. The same way they want to smash every child who has a disposition to apply themselves to them.

    These kits are part of a white America that must never be allowed to reconstitute.

    For a start they evoke a nuclear family which is merely the foundation of politically correct independent European thought and sociological phenomena.

    There is not scientific law beyond subjectivism.

    Every kit should be smashed and instead every child should be issued with a kit containing dildos for sexual consciousness and class awareness and racial servitude and psychological fragmentation.

    These should be negro tools and actually it would be better to learn about the Holocaust and the 15 million.

    Popular chemistry, astronomy, physics, biomechanics etc have no place in the current year.

    Abolish white ideas, abolish white science and stop trying to take America backwards. We have to be progressive and progress.

    The only way to keep the privilege of Gilbert sets now unfortunately is fairly hard right activism for a very long time. Thanks to the moderates.

    • Agree: Dannyboy
    • Replies: @James Forrestal
    , @Dannyboy
  34. RouterAl says:

    I grew up in the 50’s-60’s in the UK. In Edinburgh you could walk into the local laboratory supplier Griffin & George and walk out with all kinds of stuff. Concentrated acids no problem. I could make all kinds of explosives and even make your own commercial detonator. Many happy summer days were spent in Dreghorn woods making big bangs , Phosphorous Ether Molotov cocktails , using home made gun cotton to fire a cannon I made in metal work , even the old favourite Sodium Chlorate and sugar. My friend was into making rockets and launching them to a decent height. We both went on to careers in science based disciplines. I was listening to Sir Alec Jeffreys who invented DNA profiling on the radio recently and he was born in 1950 like us and got up to much of what we did. Now science has been ruined by risk averse women and diversity. Griffin & George is long gone , if you tried to repeat anything my friend and I got up to the police would probably shoot you or at the very least arrest you and ruin the rest of your life. There is going to be a price to be paid for this in the future if their is one.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  35. Tom Welsh says:
    @Crazy Horse

    ‘…was arrested for carrying a “concealed weapon”’.

    Figures. So well concealed it didn’t even exist.

    • Replies: @Crazy Horse
  36. sally says:

    yep in 1948 I had 40 car two union pacific engine powered Lionel Trains.. running in my parents basement on a table tennis table top.. it had everything Pullman cars with lights, railroad crossing signals that went up and down, whistles, and rail switches, all hooked up to electrical transformers and running in the country side and cities that I had hand crafted from Plaster of Paris. Even had a two way radio to talk to the engineer and slow or speed the train. by a talker we called it.. I was a wealthy 8 year older because I sold cucumbers, Tomatoes and other fruit and spud-nuts from a hand basket door to door, and I had two newspaper routes one in the morning 125 or so customers and 600 person in the afternoon. Never felt tired and loved the Hardy boy books and read intensively into Sigmund Freud // gave all that up with I moved from Virginia to the South, where I learned to play golf and and read more.. and often got shunned because I did not want to spend my time chasing elusive women.

    When I took Chemistry in the 11th grade, the instructor had a masters degree from UT and he was great.. Math, was a graduate mechanical engineer but he was not up to par, and math was not then thought to be a tool of chemistry so we took math and physics separately, it took graduate school before I again felt like I was learning by then they wanted to categorize learning(that is the arts and science in academics was disappearing), and well it just felt like I was no longer learning to be educated, but studying to become somebody’s employee. Soon as I hit the work world, I found no body studied, everybody was partying, only interested in hearing about was yesterdays Baseball and Football events and wondering when their next raise would be. Weekends were get drunk enough not to be able to drive home affairs..

    We were Americans degrees did not really matter, it was what you could contribute, your reliability that counted. People were not promoted, they earned the job. Then along came Sputnik, everyone went to work for one the government contractors. after that the USA set about destroying America trying to make the world be Americans.

    • Replies: @Pontius
    , @Joe Stalin
  37. anonymous[341] • Disclaimer says:

    Wow, same experiences going on for me in Chicago at the time, nearly a thousand miles away from the exotic Confederate bastion of Virginia. The movie critic Roger Ebert, who did his growing up in Urbana, IL, wrote a whole book about how our generation grew up in the 40’s and 50’s, and soon thereafter died of a cancer that wouldn’t quit. He pretty much nailed it. The notable thing that everyone remembers is the great freedom to roam wherever we pleased that our parents gave us–just as long as you returned home in time for family supper. We coulda been out making black powder bombs with young Bernadine Dorn with no problemo. All you needed were charcoal, sulphur and potassium nitrate. Who DIDN’T try this?

    Rather than growing up to become “a bum on the street” or the “ditch-digger” the nuns in Catholic school or our mothers predicted, we mostly ended up earning advanced degrees and becoming highly successful professionals (unless unfortunate enough to have been caught in the draft, sent to Nam and returned in a box), a professor of biochemistry in my case. Tried as I might to use my chemistry set to copper plate a zinc-coated steel 1943 penny I could never produce one that was without a give-away blemish and so I failed to become a rich man at an early age. My engineer dad gave me one of the nuclear science sets that came out while the bomb was an everyday thing (literally atmospheric tests basically happening on any given day, guaranteeing frequent exposure of the population to radionuclides of Cesium, Strontium and the rest of that cast). I was no more careful than the adult “establishment,” routinely handling the sample of trinitite that was to be observed using the crude fluoroscope included in the set until it was reduced from crumbly green “glass” to a green powder scattered all over our flat. Who’s ever living there now can relax, the number of half lives elapsed for all the isotopes present should have taken the radioactivity down to near nil by now.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
  38. gotmituns says:

    Here’s one Fred missed, mothers left their babies outside the supermarket and went in and did their shopping and when they came out, there was the baby (my baby sister) in the baby carriage just like we left her.

  39. Kim says:
    @Tommie

    From my own boyhood I should say that boys didn’t want to play with girls because they weren’t very good. Girls slowed down the pace of play and reduced its quality. They were also often not really familiar with the rules.

  40. Moi says:
    @The Saigon Kid

    Nothing like indulging in nostalgia now that America has screwed itself with its greed, corruption, amorality/immorality, militarism, wars of choice (e.g. Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.) and bs’d itself into believing it is the exceptional nation blessed by God.

    PS: God’s now decided to bless China. Get used to it.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
  41. Moi says:
    @Patriot

    Well, someone has got to have the brains to run this country.

    • Replies: @HdC
    , @Thomasina
  42. Don’t forget crystal radio receiver kits. electric motor kits, gas model planes, cars and boats and last but not least, REAL M-80s.

  43. anarchyst says:

    My favorites:

    –Edmund Scientific catalogs and stuff
    –Johnson Smith catalogs and stuff
    –Heathkit “build your own” electronics (sometimes called “griefkit (lol)” good stuff
    –Lafayette Radio catalogs and stuff
    –homebrew amateur radio equipment
    –shortwave radio listening
    –freedom to roam all over the city until the streetlights came on
    –built “minibike” out of an old bicycle frame and lawn mower engine
    –built things that go “boom” without fear of prosecution for possessing “explosives”
    –troubleshooting electronics to the component level
    –vacuum tube equipment, had to wait for tubes to “warm up” before operation

    and many others.

    Please feel free to add to the list…

    • Replies: @Johnnyboy
  44. I remember the Chemistry Set. My dad built a custom table and shelves for me……. Lab!
    And the microscope. The microscope had a wooden storage box , the wood gave off a pungent smell, which I would later compare to marijuana.South Florida Miami landscape provided all sorts of items to “ fix” with balsam on a microscope slide.

    Then……. an ominous event. I sensed trepidation in the household, Mom and Dad upset. Proposed new Interstate Highway ( I-95) was to be built through the neighborhood, right over Kitty Lee’s house next door. We would be next to an “ Expressway”
    Eventually 1-95 was aligned a mike to the East, desegregation occurred and now the neighborhood of my youth is no more diverse, has morphed from all white to all black.

    And I still continue to monitor and battle new road building proposals and developments driven by White Flight.
    As if stuck in Balsam.

  45. Parfois1 says:

    You old geezers were all dainty sissies… comparatively! Playing with educational toys! No wonder the place degenerated into a sissy state. In my days, my birthplace was wilder than the wild west, minus the guns. In my street, where no outsider dared to enter, we were all armed with slingshot catapults, the shots often being explosive impact crackers. We did explore stormwater drains but also went down water wells 20 metres deep as daredevil test for admission into the gang. As far as I remember we only lost one five-year old in the well, recovered too late by the firemen with shiny brass helmets.

    I’m not telling you more – you would think our dads and mums were uncaring and irresponsible. And they were… Processions behind little white coffins were frequent. Anyway, it did not take long to make a replacement.

    But now that the memory lane has been revisited, I’ll also tell you how a four-year old was found in the nearby regiment barracks, wearing only a shirt, gaining admission past the sentries undetected. There was some military je-ne-sais-quoi quality about that kid. The guard sargent recognized the brat and took him home. He later joined the green berets and the brat, now as a seven-year old street urchin, saw the sargent again in his dashing new outfit before he went to a distant war. Seven years later, the adolescent boy received a letter from his older brother fighting a war in another tropical region to say that his platoon commander was the said sargent. Five years forward and now the young man joined a group of 42 regular army volunteers to be tested for admission to the green berets. The volunteers lined up for review by the instructing officer who welcomed them one by one and when he got near the end of the platoon he noticed a name on his list and said to the young man: “Are you the brother of…?” Being answered in the affirmative, he added softly to avoid being overheard by the other chaps : “I carried you on my lap when you were a toddler.” Yes, he was the sargent who fifteen years earlier had rescued the stray infant. He was KIA.

    Just a little stitch in the vast tapestry of life.

    • Replies: @Lo
  46. Truth3 says:

    Took apart my Dad’s watch when I was 8. Couldn’t put it back together so it would work. Whoops. But he wasn’t mad… just smiled, then did it himself.

    Dad taught me to change a tire when I was 9. Until that age (I was like 45 lbs) I wasn’t big enough to lift a tire from the trunk. I still remember stompng on the breaker bar to loosen the first lugnut.

    I used sugar and a blowtorch and carburized the steel lawn mower blade and sharpened it with a steel file when I was 10. Thought it would help cut thru the heavy grass. When I showed Dad proudly, he proceeded to educate me on the reasons why they didn’t do that at the factory making mowers, because they needed the ductility because of tensile forces on blade at high rotational speeds. Had to get a new mower… he didn’t want me cutting off a toe with a fractured blade.

    Not only did we fry ants with magnifying glasses and a dose of Helios, we went a step further… we tried to create lasers with various combinations of lenses… sometimes burning our little fingers in the process.

    Of course, soon we were teenagers and graduated to taking apart and modifying bikes, and messing with tractor attachments and snowmobiles.

    By the time I was 16 I was an accomplished and skilled Tool and Machine Designer. An engineering career sure beat anything else for doing good and making the world better. No defense work… bombs or bullets or tanks or planes for me though… not that that industry didn’t try to get me.

  47. God how I miss “that” America.

    • Replies: @Just passing through
  48. Saggy says: • Website

    Great article. Things you missed or forgot – BB guns, we shot birds and pigeons in our small town in WV, things we did with our pants down when no one was around which would get us locked up today, model airplanes with gasoline engines, Sputnik, duck and cover drills, I’m not sure we actually had these, but I did have dreams/nightmares of being bombed for years, bomb shelters, Howdy Doody, American Bandstand, ROCK AND ROLL, ducktails. I ended up an anti-war protestor at Berkeley and then a PhD engineer working on Star Wars, the Centaur rocket, GPS, etc. Now a holohoax denier (but still pursuing tech ambitions).

  49. I grew up in the Fifties too. Most of what we thought was OK then is not currently fashionable, apparently, and it certainly can be disorienting at times. But the thing is that most of what people think is OK today will also be obsolete in sixty years, and the PC crowd will be cussing and complaining about missing the “good old days” in their dotage too.

    It’s called the human condition and the phenomenon is as old as history. It’s not a matter of right/wrong, good/evil, as these are personal value judgments which exist only in people’s thinking. It’s just the way it is. Accept it or not as you choose, because our approval or disapproval alters nothing but our chance to have peace of mind.

    I’ve been watching reruns of “Leave It To Beaver” lately and it really struck me how much they resemble the popular films of the 1930s. Because of the worst leadership in our history, our parents’ generation suffered the horrors of the Great Depression and a totally needless great global war: all they wanted was to get back to something approaching normalcy.

    The heartbreakingly young faces that stare back at us in fading photos of the highly propagandized “greatest generation” are the images of innocents betrayed by the same warmongering elite who are scheming today to destroy Iran and Russia. If some of us went a little batshit in our youth, maybe it is because we grew up in the toxic shadow of the anguish and rage they were never allowed to acknowledge.

    • Replies: @anon
    , @Johan
  50. Realist says:

    I remember the Gilbert chemistry set, it was lots of fun but it was severely limited in possibilities. I was able to gather materials to make my own chemistry set with expanded possibilities.

  51. ARYLIOA says:

    Even as the kid always picked last, I enjoyed baseball and football on our side lot. Hated Little League and Babe Ruth. How come? (Rhetorical question.)

    I want to know who to sue over the asbestos kit you could get by writing to the Asbestos Association or whatever they called themselves. Had rock, fibre, fabric, and you could do all sorts of stuff with them. Even encouraged you to “play with fire” to demonstrate its insulating qualities. Who hasn’t mercury-coated a dime or rolled globs of it back and forth in the pencil tray on the school desk? How did I make 81?

    Junior-year chemistry teacher (an ordained Methodist minister) had us making all sorts of stuff that went bang. BIG bangs. With his encouragement, for $1 we bought our own copies of a mail-order, mimeographed booklet titled “Dazzling Chemistry Experiments” (as I recall). We did a presentation of what we learned in the school’s chapel. I still remember the smoke filling the hall from the top downward and the Potassium Iodide we planted on some seats leaving purple stains on the other guy’s pants. Any of that today would get you handcuffed and hauled away. And the Dean and Chem teacher fired.

    I didn’t know a single kid with ADHD (cause we all had it, I guess), nor one with a peanut allergy or Autism. What changed? I remember staying after school and being sure not to whine about it to my parents or face something much worse. I recall the vice principle shoving a kid into a locker, without first opening the door, one afternoon while I was being penitent. That was 1951. He would be eligible for parole about now. Was that “excessive punishment”? Probably. But it noticeably humbled the JD-in-the-making.

    We built log cabins by molesting forests not owned by ourselves but whose owners overlooked that fact. They were just trees, and “Boys will be Boys!”. We dug a cave, eight feet underground, sure that the tree roots above would support the unshored roof. Had it collapsed they would have never found us.

    My Boy Scout leaders would have expelled anyone molesting us, with visible bodily harm. We always had a Benediction at the end of each troop meeting. OMG!

    The hardest thing to predict may be the future, but the hardest thing to relive is growing up.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @ThreeCranes
  52. Realist says:
    @Gleimhart Mantooso

    Gratitude does not seem to be their strong suit.

    Or integrity.

  53. Realist says:
    @Patriot

    Remember, also, that boys first received Tinker Toys, and later, Erector sets and electric trains, all of which provided excellent mechanical training. Most boys graduated to fixing bicycles, and then old junked cars, which gave another 4 to 50 yrs of advanced mechanical training.

    Yes, indeed, I remember it well.

  54. HdC says:
    @Moi

    Well, running it into the ground, anyways.
    A modicum of observation would disclose that everything zionists touch in public life turns to shit.

  55. Possumman says:
    @Patriot

    I worked for a bit at a new Lowes (retirement job) and the store was not yet open but we were putting it together. Spent several hours building racks in the garden department with a young (30ish) guy who had never in his life used a socket wrench and had no idea how to reverse the spin—told him he better figure it out as he was working at a HARDWARE store and customers might ask him a question some day. Every day I had young guys and girls from various departments asking me and the other old guys how things worked. It was hilarious.

  56. @anon

    If you look at the populations of Jews in America by decades, you see no jump in their population during the war years or very much after the war. American jews saved themselves like other white immigrants by emigrating in mass to the US starting in the 1880s and peaking around 1910.

    No, America did not save jews from Hitler except for a few scientists and professors numbering less than 1000 individuals who got hired by universities. Before WW II, some German jews were able to leave Germany and come to the US (perhaps 50,000 individuals). After the war, there were survivors of Hitler’s death camps who immigrated to the US (I met 2 or 3 myself in those years)..

  57. Reed was trained to love the military in school but first he was trained to sit, and then raise a paw to speak. From there it was all downhill but the truth about the past was the first thing under attack. By 1980 it was all over.

  58. Alfred says:

    In the UK, at a private boarding school in the 60’s, a boy I knew made a silencer for his .22 rifle. He used the school metal shop. No one asked him what he was doing on the lathe. Of course, his rifle was in his study which was never locked. He said that he needed the silencer for shooting rabbits. Lots of boys had 12-bore guns for clay pigeon shooting.

    Another boy had a smaller folding shotgun that he could hide in his trouser leg. He used to go poaching with it on the land of neighboring farmers. Once, he and some others were shot at by a farmer. They ran. When they took off their coats, there were lead pellets in the lining. They said that it felt like being punched in the back.

    We had military training and an arsenal with a huge number of ex-WW2 .303 rifles. Some boys worked out how they could shoot out pebbles by using a blank cartridge.

    The boy who had the folding gun went to Rhodesia. He joined their army. He came back minus one eye and he became a gamekeeper.

    I was part-owner of a motorbike that we kept hidden. On weekends, we would ride it on the playing fields. My younger brother and a friend used to “borrow” a teacher’s car and drive at night to a girl’s school that was a long way off. They would raid the dormitories. They had no driving licenses or anything like that.

  59. Lo says:
    @Parfois1

    You North Korean?

    • Replies: @Parfois1
  60. Mr. Hack says:

    Your magical “storm drain” world is highly reminiscent to my own playground growing up in an inner city neighborhood in Minneapolis of the 1960’s. Ours was laden with dangers and adventures and included actively navigated railroad tracks and dark underneath via-docks including alcoholic winos that we just called “bums”. “Hopping on” boxcars was the height of adventure that opened us up to new worlds that we never new existed. One way took us to the “outer limits” of suburbia, and the other direction took us to the inner city of downtown Minneapolis and Nicollet Island. During the summer months, these rail trips took us to our own private Mississippi beaches (ala Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn) along with swinging ropes, the type you would see in old Tarzan movies with Johnny Weissmuller at his favorite swimming hole. Occasionally, one of our compatriots would be sacrificed to the great river god (nasty currents).

    Within our pantheon of gods, of course was James Bond of the filmscreen and the Man from U.N.C.L.E. These films helped open up even more exotic faraway lands. Every kid dreamed of owning the Man from U.N.C.LE. attache case, including invisible ink, a high powered rifle with a scope and a hidden dagger:

  61. anonymous[342] • Disclaimer says:
    @Tommie

    I was telling an aunt about another cousin who always “had to go to the bathroom” when it was time to wash dishes.

    My aunt told me that her sister pulled the same stunt: In alternate weeks, one washed the dishes, the other dried.
    When it was her sister’s turn to dry, she “had to go to the bathroom” until the dishes in the rack air-dried.
    Whereupon, Auntie confessed with no hint of remorse, “I poured cold water over them.”

    Whirlpool has saved us from such acts of malice.

    Whose turn to load the dishwasher?

  62. I made this when I was 12 or so. Take a tiny polythene bag with glycerin and a bent pin attached to a thread sticking out. Enclose this in another flat bag with potassium permanganate, glue the bags in a greeting card and the thread to the bottom of the envelope. Voila, you have a self igniting greeting card when it’s pulled out.
    I wanted to send it to the school principal but the demonstration (successful) was witnessed by too many of my schoolmates.

  63. Pontius says:
    @Ayatollah Smith

    As late as the 80s I can still remember a full-auto BB gun that ran on an auto ac Freon refill bottle being advertised in the back of Soldier of Fortune magazine. Yeah, cant think of anything much more politically incorrect than that one today. SOFmag was pretty politically incorrect as a whole of course,which is what made it fun.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
  64. Fred’s article and some of the generous comments brought back so many memories of things long forgotten. For sure we learned to take things apart, occasionally being also able to reassemble them. But like many others we could repair bicycles and eventually dismantle and repair our first cars.

    An American educator wrote an article in which he claimed that teenagers today know less than their parents or grandparents knew in the 1950s, in all ways. That may be true. We knew how to do so many things. How many males today know how to disassemble and tune a set of SU downdraft carburetors? Build a tree house? Have skill with a full slate of hand tools?

    A friend of mine and I made some marble guns with what we called ‘blockbuster’ firecrackers as the propellant. A wooden gunstock cut from a 2×4, a section of household water pipe firmly plugged and screwed at one end. We’d light the firecracker and insert it into the pipe barrel and toss a marble in after it. The firecracker would blow that marble clean through a 3/4 in. sheet of plywood. Dangerous as hell. My mother would have killed me.

    We also made crossbows, stock cut from a 2×8, and a small leaf spring from a car through-bolted into the stock. Arrows made from 1/2 in. doweling and arrowheads cut and sharpened from heavy sheet metal. We had to stand on the spring and pull with both hands to load it, but it would drive that arrowhead through the same sheet of plywood. That crossbow had enough power to bring down a buffalo. Again, dangerous as hell. We weren’t bad. Just stupid boys. No idea how we survived childhood.

    We also learned to make smoke bombs. Break off the heads of wooden matches and stuff them beyond capacity into a little aspirin bottle, and then light it. The sulphur stench was overpowering. It must have taken the policeman days to get the stink out of his car.

    Did anyone go out after dark to steal crabapples from the neighbors’ trees? The same apples that were free for the asking during the day? Knock on the neighbor’s door and run? As early as Grade Three and Four we would put thumbtacks on the teacher’s chair. Anyone tip over an outhouse? Knock a hornet’s nest out of a tree and run like hell?

    A lot more fun than sodium thiosulfate, although we did that too. In Chemistry class (after hours), we discovered that the right mixture of liquids would produce flammable substances sufficiently volatile that, with the aid of a match, would blow the tight rubber plug out of a beaker with sufficient force to lodge the pipettes permanently into the ceiling tiles.

    Okay, we were bad. But not really bad. And we were always at the top of the class.

    Fred wrote: “This lasted into the Sixties. Then it all went to hell as if a switch had been pulled and the polarity of everything reversed.”

    Yes. That is what happened.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  65. Patriot says:
    @Anonymouse

    Dear Anonymous # 56,

    Please check your information re: Americans saving Jews from Hitler and the Immigration of Jews to USA after the war.

    If America had not entered WWII against Germany, Hitler would have won and would have completed his Final Solution. Hence, America did, in essence, “save the Jews.” You would think that Jews might be thankful and appreciative of the 1 million American soldiers who died to defeat Hitler and the political and military support, and Trillion Dollars we’ve spent on Israel since WWII.

    Starting around 1965, massive numbers of “Russians” and other “Eastern Europeans” were eagerly and actively brought to the USA, due to lobbying by USA Jews, and political contributions to Congressmen. These “Eastern European” immigrants were actually largely Jewish.

    • Replies: @dearieme
    , @Patricus
  66. Pontius says:
    @sally

    Model railroading was a very interesting and satisfying hobby. With dad being an actual railroader, it brought a whole other dimension to the pastime. I still fondly remember him pulling a fuel injector for a locomotive out of his trunk to show me the scale of the machines he worked on. It was as long as his forearm. I got a detailed explanation of the two stroke diesel cycle, with his heavy fists representing the rise and fall of the pistons. I still have an EMD 567 overhaul manual on the shelf, a long with the operation manual for the 1200hp road switcher he operated and a small set of train wheels turned out by the machinists at work as a memento for the workers who would all be losing their jobs with the shutdown of the railway in the late 80s.

    It’s too bad this hobby has become so very expensive. I doubt there are many kids who would debate that much time and effort to something like that now. It’s probably nearly impossible to find enough unused space to set up anything worthwhile anyway.

  67. If there was ever a Heaven on earth, it was the USA in the fifties.

    If we had headed Joe’s from Wisconsin, warnings, we would still be in Heaven.

    • Replies: @Jake
  68. @Johnny Walker Read

    Civilisations after have the paradoxical effect of making their inhabitants lose the human qualities that brought about the civilisation in the first place.

  69. Jake says:
    @Patriot

    You do not go back to the start of the story. Anglo-Saxon Puritanism was a Judaizing heresy. A Judaizing heresy always breeds pro-Jewish politics and culture. WASP culture is a product of Judaizing heresy, and it necessarily is pro-Jewish. John Derbyshire understands that even if Peter Brimelow pretends he does not.

    The deal was cemented forever by none other than Mr. Archetypal WASP Oliver Cromwell, who took Jewish banker money so he could have the funds necessary to continue warring against non-Judaizing natives of the British Isles.

    A WASP Empire is, and always will be, an Anglo-Zionist Empire. It began by acting to inflict cultural genocide on whites who refused to bow to the whims of a Judaizing heresy and its cultural product.

    Obviously WASPs were going to save Jews, and then turn Jews loose to destroy non-WASP white cultures.

  70. My favorite Fred column since, well, forever.
    I’ll mark the occasion with some examples.
    Television wasn’t yet completely evil.

    Now, thanks to modern tech, televisions are amazing in their size and picture quality, and generally purvey the sort of filth that destroys societies. Is this progress?

  71. Jake says:
    @Common sense Giuseppe

    Joe from Wisconsin was not a WASP, nor was he a German or Scandinavian Protestant. He was Irish Catholic. He was seen by the WASP Elite as worse than trouble. The WASP Elite saw McCarthy as the great foreign threat, the same one the Know-Nothings hated with their very beings: the Irish Catholic threat to what they felt they owned and had the right to refashion as they chose.

    • Replies: @Republic
  72. And did you ever wash paint or grease off your hands with petrol (gasoline)? Or sniff a little of it accidentally or out of curiosity? In those days it was loaded with tetraethyl lead which was lethal. But little did we know and never saw anyone die of it. Or play with mercury? Chew on lead perhaps? And the elders never counted how many drinks they had before driving.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    , @Franz
  73. anon[191] • Disclaimer says:

    The story sounds like my boyhood only I experienced it about ten to 15 years later. Climbing trees with abandon, building forts, building electronics, playing with chemistry sets and riding bicycles on sidewalks with no helmets. School was for education, not indoctrination. Parents met with teachers to improve the learning experience for their kids. Kids were allowed to express themselves naturally. The few kids that showed self-destructive tendencies or violence were weeded out and treated as individual cases. The whole of society was not deemed to be the cause of their problems because most kids turned out OK. We’ve had politically correct insanity for so long now it seems almost as if those good times never existed. We have them as memories, no political correctness can take that away from us.

  74. ken19 says:

    Yes, I grew up in the 50s and 60s but I have put all that behind me now that I have been informed my color (W) and sex (M) have done major harm to my country (all the inventions, space travel, medicine, etc. ) and I am now ‘woke’.

    Well, today I learned with the help H1B engineers, skilled immigrant machinists and laborers , and Chinese products we are very ‘close’ to being able to put a ‘gender?’ in space.

    Praise Diversity!

  75. I’m sorry I didn’t get a word in earlier, but that was a truly excellent column, Fred! The chemistry sets were great, as were erector sets (no we didn’t joke about the name at that age), with which one could put together machines or structures with pieces of steel with regular hole patterns and real nuts and bolts. Nowadays there are pretty cool Lego sets of the “Technics” series. Though almost all plastic, one can put little cylinder heads on with moving pistons, connecting rods, and a crankshaft.

    You knew I was about to write something derogatory, but it’s just that I wasn’t sure if this wasn’t an old column of yours, Mr. Reed. Almost every other one was bound to have some criticism of all things American at some point. There’s a whole lot to criticize, granted, but could you keep in mind that there are still people with the same background as you that didn’t arrange for this New America any more than you did?

    OK, well you did mention the Hardy Boys and whatever is the new Hardy Boys, so for laughs here is Peak Stupidity with “The case of the Gay Hardy Boys”.

  76. @Commentator Mike

    I know people, Mike, who seem to think 100LL avgas is the universal cleanser. They even “freshen up” with it. It IS a whole lot cleaner than modern gasoline, and can be had for nothing out of the water-drain hole in an airplane wing. Those people seem OK… for now…

  77. @Ayatollah Smith

    Thank you for the memories/anecdotes, Ayatollah. On your crabapple bit, there was a time we’d egg houses occasionally even with NOTHING WHATSOEVER against the residents. We didn’t even know who some of them were. Things got a big boring is all… As a homeowner, well, I’m sorry now, people.

  78. macilrae says:

    I can recall my delight when I found several white tablets of mercuric thiocyanate in my Christmas cracker aged around six (touch one with a flame and Pharaoh’s Serpent will emerge – swallow one and you’ll go straight to hospital). In England in the 50s I don’t recall chemistry sets – you had to buy them individually from the “chemist” – taking care to get the saltpetre and suphur from different shops. They never would let me have potassium chlorate.

    In class we learned how to pour concentrated sulphuric acid into a test tube containing water (NOT the reverse) and we made phosphine, handling white phosphorus and hot caustic soda – delighted as the bubbles of gas exploded on contact with air (phosphine – allowed 8 hour exposure 0.3 parts per million). We never wore goggles. We’d hold a test tube of mercury over a Bunsen flame and watch it boil – do the same with iodine and watch the beautiful purple vapour emerge as it sublimed (these last behind the teacher’s back). Somehow there were beads of mercury lodged in all the cracks of the lab floor and sometimes you’d tread on the odd misplaced crystals of nitrogen triiodide (wantonly strewn). Wire for making magnets, electric motors and induction coils came from old radio sets with dusty glass vacuum tubes inside.

    I always enjoy Fred when he lets his hair down in nostalgia – and of course we all take his point.

  79. anon[191] • Disclaimer says:
    @Observator

    “and the PC crowd will be cussing and complaining about missing the “good old days” in their dotage too.”

    I don’t think that there’s a whole lot today that today’s kids will want to remember when they’re older because kids today don’t have a lot of fun. Most of them sit around zombified in front of their smart phones playing computer games the whole time. Other than comparing smart phones and games, there isn’t a whole lot in their lives and not a whole lot to remember.

    • Replies: @Rex Little
  80. @Alfa158

    Ahh those good old “war toys” my mom didn’t let us have …. machine guns etc., it was OK the neighbor kids had ’em.

    I had my own Ka-Bar knife by the time I was 12, and a cap gun that looked *just* like a Luger and to make a little kid up the street laugh, would quick fire half a roll of caps then suck the smoke in from the barrel and make it come out my nose.

  81. Republic says:
    @Jake

    Tail-gunner joe was a great American.

  82. @IvyMike

    “We wore white t shirts and little white shorties and had a P.E teacher who would quirt us across the backs of our naked thighs with his braided whistle strap”

    And then there where the little girls in their navy blue knickers…..

    But enough of the Podestas..

  83. @Tommie

    Did you ever play “doctor” with some of the boys in your ‘hood?

  84. JM says:

    This description is eerily similar to my experience growing up in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s, right down to the science toys and sewer adventures. It’s a lot different now.

  85. DWright says:

    To this day, the smell of isopropyl alcohol reminds me of experimenting with my chemistry set.
    I pored over the pages of the Edmund catalog, not being able to afford it’s contents.

    Add a reflector telescope and the obligatory metal finish microscope and I had pretty much what Fred describes here. Oh, and my bedroom wall was filled with clippings from the newspaper following all the exploits of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs.

    Effing Boomer , right?

  86. Anonymous[118] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymouse

    It’s really pristine reading about Boomer memories of America.

    That America doesn’t exist anymore, and it will never exist anymore.

    https://www.jihadwatch.org/2019/11/uk-national-health-service-to-deny-treatment-to-racists-sexists-and-islamophobes

    Single payer health services are coming.

    What does that mean in socio-political terms.

    Owning a Gilbert chemistry kit or harbouring ambitions to own one will mean summary imprisonment, and denial of health-care.

    It means soon, anyone who even thinks about owning a Gilbert chemistry kit will be denied health-care for worrying signs of nostalgia for a politically incorrect white past. Such nostalgia will be indicative of
    anti-semitism (only Jews are allowed the kits, and they must consider Holocaust themes. Only kits which tell white children they are evil monsters who need to be abolished aren’t anti-semitic)
    sexism (women choose not to get the kits at the same rate)
    racism (Shitavious and Shitnandez don’t get the kits, couldn’t use them anyway, but must have them free)
    White nationalism (kits were prevalent at a time when America was Nazi pre-1965)
    Terrorism (a 6 year old interested in chemistry can only be another Tim McVeigh you filthy goyim)
    Nuclear Family exclusion (these sorts of kits tend to exist in families with stable marriages – and that breaches state-issue only rules regarding equalitarianism and village upbringing and molestation rules promoted by Linda Sarsour, Kemala Harris and Ocacio-Cortez etc etc, and the Jews).

    [MORE]

    Interestingly, many of these vectors overlap – so what happens if a Jew gets a Muslim doctor? So interesting. Such bright future.

    This all happened on the Boomers watch.

    It’s really nice reading Boomer memories of America.

    Your daughters and grand-daughters are now on Tik Tok dancing for men, due to Jewish and Chinese propaganda. Or they’re just straight up cam-whoring for Jews. Or they’re being raped by Jewish led diversity.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/grooming-child-sex-abuse-exploitation-rotherham-rochdale-police-a9215261.html

    Apparently there were 19,000 new rapes confirmed in Britain just in December for last year alone. Amazing. That doesn’t include the old figures. That’s just last year. Almost all white children raped by diversity.

    “Campaigners say the true figure is far higher and accused the government of failing to tackle child sexual exploitation, despite promises made after high-profile cases in Rotherham and Rochdale.”

    Maybe we should issue all young white children today Gilbert STD’s and AIDS and RAPE kits instead of chemistry kits.

    Of course the government is never going to investigate those 19,000 and climbing new rapes per year. Because the investigations will lead to Britain’s Jews and the City of London Corporation. They love sex-trafficking. Why would they stop now?

    The Gilbert chemistry set West was a white-Christian west and it’s dead dead dead dead dead thanks to the Boomers.

    And the same rape figures will exist in the United States, just similarly suppressed.

    It’s funny reading about Rhodesia – that’s the future of the Boomer’s progeny everywhere lol.

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/diaspora-pedophiles-increasingly-use-israel-as-a-haven-activists-charge/

    No, given that diaspora Jews write all the pedogogy and fake all the history and run and own all the social media companies that turn white children into sexual objects, I think we need Gilbert rape kits.

    If ‘Diaspora Jews’ as opposed to noble Israelis are some of the biggest pedophiles in Israel, imagine what those same diaspora Jews are doing in the United States and Britain and Europe. Those poor Eastern European girls don’t stand a chance.

    Every kid should be issued with a complimentary black dildo by their nearest Jew.

    Yeah, hahaha, yeah, screw those white boys playing video games. They’re just dulling pain and total fragmentation of their psyches and spirits, real Jew loving Boomers use Jewish Opoids.

    It’s not like video game playing losers are the only people in decades who actually opposed Jewish culture wars. They came for the games, the last place there was any motherfucking peace, and now, they’re going to have people coming for everything.

    Here is your Gilbert Chemistry kit now Boomer.

    Unlike the faggot Boomers, a new generation is going to oppose the Jews on every, single, tiny, ripple, of, their, cultural, destruction. Everything. Any sign, any portent of their mischief, will be opposed. Without compromise. Without demur.

    Because if there is even the slightest compromise with Jews it means there will be a new Holodomor.

    The Jews got really upset in Virginia, and they even decided in the Senate to withdraw their Soviet era pre-genocide preliminary Goy Holodomor law, for some reason. Why did they do that?

    Oh yeah, about 30 thousand assault rifle wielding young people turned up. And now, they’re all watching what their government is doing really really closely.

    The Chinese are going to be so angry when they start tracking the names of their ‘advisers’ in their virology clinics and reconciling them with the leaked Israeli Census and electoral population data – which also included dual-citizens. They might even make a mistake.

    But what matters isn’t ‘truth’ right, according to my Rabbi, but ‘accuracy’. The Chinese when they retaliate in a targeted manner will be ‘false, but accurate’.

    America did save the Jews from Hitler, and those 1000 individuals including the Frankfurt school were more then enough.

    Lol, yeah, those 1880’s and 1910’s Jews got to America and the first thing they did was start attacking the Naturalisation Act and the sentiments behind the Immigration Act of 1924. They even had their friends write homosexual little poems and plays about how America was a ‘melting pot’ – which were really psychosexual plays about subverting English maids. Meanwhile, they were running terrorist attacks against British in Israel and working out how to build their own ethnostate whilst demanding open borders for Europe and the United States. From the very, very beginning.

    Anyway it’s a wonderful world and this was a really nice article. You can just feel the wholesomeness and be newly infuriated for it’s destruction. Fantastic.

  87. Franz says:
    @Commentator Mike

    And the elders never counted how many drinks they had before driving.

    They didn’t care if they couldn’t see and could barely crawl, yeah.

    We kids would jump the fence after dark at our county “exclusive” golf course and steal all the balls that landed in the wooded area or the trees. The caddies were too lazy to go fetch them during the day.

    After we had our haul we’d hang around the top of the valley for a bit. The winding road to the gated entrance to the course had a hairpin turn on a steep angle and at least every few weeks some drunken former golfer would fly over the side, or better, into an oncoming vehicle and make the night a winner.

    The duputies in our county never patrolled the area, no matter how drunk the lads got. They had no intention of arresting a judge, the mayor, the county engineer, or their own boss…

    But digging their bodies out of a wreck, what the hell?

  88. Rurik says:
    @ThreeCranes

    Boy Scouts have declared bankruptcy due to law suits brought against them by former victims of homosexual encounters with staff

    Why don’t you call it what is was. Rape.

    Boy Scouts are boys.

    Even if a predator sodomite was able to convince a confused little boy that he might be ‘bi-curious’, he’s still a boy. It’s still rape.

    Today lawyers are outraged because the police weren’t notified.

    So am I !

    The rapists should be castrated, and then do their time, and then executed.

    I’d even pull the lever.

    the offending adult was promptly fired.

    so he could go to different Boy Scout organization and rape some more boys. When he should be in prison for life, (or dead, if I had my way ; )

    (I know one personally who both had an encounter with a gay adult counselor at summer camp and who went on to become completely gay himself).

    what’s your point?

    That since he became gay, it wasn’t so bad after all?

    I think it’s far worse, when a predatory sodomite rapes a little boy, and destroys not just his innocence, but his very identity. (and often turns him into the kind of monster that will go on to destroy other little boy’s identities, and set in motion a cycle that repeats endlessly).

    Better that these monsters should be caged for life, or put down like rabid dogs. At least then the cycle of abuse ends with their miserable lives.

    the lawyers love it. They delight in bringing down an established, largely white, American institution.

    If the leadership of the Boy Scouts would have prosecuted these monsters as soon as they knew of them, then the Boy Scouts would be as solvent and in a position to help do the good works they’ve been known for, into the foreseeable future. But instead, they coddled the rapist monsters, and so the whole institution is doomed, as it must be. An institution like the Boy Scouts, simply can not tolerate boy rapists, and stay in decent people’s good graces. It’s just like the Catholic Church. People are leaving, because they tolerated boy rape, at the highest levels. Only a demonic organization could possibly do that.

    I used to think highly of the Boy Scouts, until they said openly homosexual troop leaders were perfectly aligned with their “Christian” values.

    That did it.

    Good riddance.

    Perhaps if some actual Christians wanted to offer an alternative to the Gay Boy Scouts of America, then I’d be all for that.

    • Agree: Commentator Mike
    • Troll: ploni almoni
    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
    , @anarchyst
  89. dearieme says:
    @Patriot

    “If America had not entered WWII against Germany …”: she didn’t. Hitler declared war on the USA.

    • Replies: @Parfois1
    , @ClassicBenz
  90. Thomasina says:
    @Moi

    “Well, someone has got to have the brains to run this country.”

    Don’t you mean:

    “Well, someone has got to have the psychopathy to RUIN this country”?

  91. We would swim among the shit in the Hudson.

    Now the ‘shit’ swims around me in the city….

  92. @Anonymous

    Gilbert Scientific sets could never survive cultural Marxism and Jewish hegemony allied to racial diversity.

    I wonder how many mestizos bought stuff from Edmund Scientific?

    Fred’s views are very problematic in the current year. Everything that he’s celebrating here is not merely implicitly White, but positively saturated with “anti-semitism” and “racism” — not to mention sodomotranniephobia. Oy vey. Oh well, at least he didn’t say anything complimentary about ancient Rome, Christianity, or classical architecture — that would have made this a truly genocidal not-see rant, instead of the run-of-the mill White supreemist screed that he actually produced.

    There were no transgenders. We were little boys and little girls. This seemed to work.

    In those far-off days, a lot of kids were smart, which was OK, or even encouraged, since there was no affirmative action.

    Now, put all of this together and you can see the genesis of the Heroic Age of American technology. This lasted into the Sixties. Then it all went to hell as if a switch had been pulled and the polarity of everything reversed.

    But of course, that “switch” had absolutely nothing to do with the Forced Integration Act

    Or the Open Borders Acthonest.

    Because you can abolish freedom of association, and declare that when the rule of law conflicts with an oppressor/victim narrative, the Constitution loses every time… and not start down the slippery slope that leads to child trannies and (((Drag Queen Story Hour))).

    Clearly, the aspects of Fred’s childhood that he remembers so fondly had absolutely nothing to do with the fact the Whiteopia that he grew up in, and everything to do with, ah, those durn kids today just ain’t got da same moral fiber or somethin’…

    • Replies: @anarchyst
  93. @Christopher Marlowe

    CPS will take your kids away if they are unsupervised, directly, at all times.

  94. Parfois1 says:
    @Lo

    You North Korean?

    I suppose that question was suggested by my socialist spelling of “sargent”, which I presume is the North Korean variant to the feudal “sergeant”.

    But that is not the reason why I used it – it was a charitable bait to entice a storm of rage on the pusillanimous pussies to do some exciting nitpicking and brake the monotony of their idle lives.

    As the tale unfolded by its telling, it also developed a riddle of its own and that might also induce the “racist” crowd to do some guess-making discoveries, another charitable “Scoutish” act of kindness as a side effect.

    Too cold.

  95. @Anonymouse

    No, America did not save jews from Hitler

    EXACTLY!!!

    Just as you say, the historic American nation did almost nothing to fulfill their obligation of service to the Tribe! ALL White goyim are the same, really. Ebil not-sees at heart. Amalekites, all of them.

    Not only did the American goyim fail to exert themselves as hard as they should have to save billions of self-chosenites from the unimaginable horrors of the Holocoaster:

    [MORE]

    And the pedal-driven brain-bashing machine:

    But there’s good evidence that American goyim were actually involved in the design of the diabolical masturbation machine, at the hands of which millions of rootless cosmopolitans suffered and died!

    Never Again!

  96. renfro says:

    Yea…those were the good days. Today’s youngsters will never know the pleasures and freedom we had as children. ..ponies, soft ball, swimming holes, spin the bottle, camps built from cardboard boxes we lugged home from store alleys, playing outside till dark all year, stealing pumpkins, eating wild strawberries, dancing lessons for young men-ugh, the Hardy boys, model ships and planes, our best friend dogs, tree climbing, go cart races , marbles, popsicles and candy cigarettes, bows and arrows…..all replaced by zombie electronic devices.

    Soon to be worse.

    https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/483934-mulvaney-says-us-desperate-for-legal-immigrants-to-boost-economy

    .Mulvaney says US ‘desperate’ for legal immigrants to boost economy: report

    Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told a private audience Wednesday that the U.S. needs more immigrants to keep the economy growing, according to an audio recording of his remarks obtained by The Washington Post.
    “We are desperate — desperate — for more people,” Mulvaney said at the gathering in England. “We are running out of people to fuel the economic growth that we’ve had in our nation over the last four years. We need more immigrants.”

  97. Parfois1 says:
    @dearieme

    “If America had not entered WWII against Germany …”: she didn’t. Hitler declared war on the USA.

    Sorry to interlope but that is a sloppy “correction”, dearieme. On two grounds at least:

    1 – Canada, being the largest portion of America, did declare and enter the war with the UK against Germany.

    2 – Hitler did declare war on the US, after the US had entered the war against Germany. The US broke its neutrality by assisting a belligerent in an armed conflict.

    • Replies: @dearieme
  98. roonaldo says:

    Well, we boomers had freedom to go out and have fun, were taught to use reason and logic, and were allowed to express ourselves. How bizarre is it that so many boomers spew the most bat-shit crazy, unscientific, unreasonable, warmongering nonsense (damn near every congressional democrat, most of their presidential candidates, and too many republicans)? Money? Greed? Power? It breaks my freakin’ heart. Great piece, Fred, God bless you.

  99. anarchyst says:

    Another aspect of life in the 1950s was that most people did not have a lot of money,
    the housewife was just that, a “stay-at-home mom” which was much better than that of successive generations. In those days, a family could live on one income.

    Regarding the various technology catalogs of the day, it was fun just to go through them, even if you could not afford to purchase many of the things they offered.

    The upside to all this, is that almost every young person could gather up enough materials, either thrown away as scrap or out with the weekly trash to build things.

    We had to be (unwittingly) engineers, utilizing materials that we could find.

    My claim to “fame” back in the day, was a simple two-transistor AM radio transmitter that I put together that I used for a wireless electric guitar setup. My friends still talk about me playing a guitar outside while the sound was coming from a radio in the house.

    I delivered newspapers from 12 years of age and was able to make enough “spending money” to pursue my technological (and other) passions. Building up the route from an initial 50 customers to around 200 customers increased my pay considerably.

    I was not monetarily rich, never thought I was, but was able to purchase things that I wanted. No one was rich (that we knew of) in those days, but I would not trade those days for today’s wealth and affluence.

  100. anarchyst says:
    @James Forrestal

    To paraphrase a famous song “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel, it’s not every “boomer” that is the problem. In fact, many of us boomers struggled through life, but finally “made it”.

    I am a “boomer” who has worked all my life, starting at 12 years of age. Being one of a large family, life for my parents and us was not easy, but we all persevered in our own ways and were successful in life.

    Nobody ever gave me anything. What I did was gained “with the sweat of my brow”.

    If there is any “blame” to be placed, it must be placed at those of previous generations, especially the “greatest generation”, that formulated and passed many of the destructive laws and customs that we live under to this day.

    From the enactment of the federal income tax and the creation of the unconstitutional Federal Reserve cartel, previous generations have a lot to answer for.

    The “greatest generation” was duped into fighting a war for European (jewish) interests, destroying much of European culture as a result, and solidifying international jewish power by NOT going after the REAL enemies of human culture, legitimizing the state of Israel, thereby consolidating jewish power, and assuring the jewish zionist hold on the world political process.

    Let’s not forget that the “greatest generation” pushed for the terribly misguided “civil-rights” acts, statutes and laws, which effectively disenfranchised whites (but only whites) with the abolition of “freedom of association” (but only for whites). In fact, federal troops were used against law-abiding whites in violation of “posse comitatus” laws which prohibit utilizing the military for domestic law enforcement purposes. Us whites have been effectively neutered since these laws were passed. Forced integration of schools (cross-district bussing and other schemes) was enforced by jewish leftist judges who insisted that blacks needed to sit next to whites in order to learn.

    The “elephant in the room” to which blame can be squarely put on the “greatest generation” was the “Hart-Celler Immigration Act of 1965″. This act successfully cut off the immigration for white Europeans while opening up the floodgates for third-world brown and black immigration.

    Both major political parties were responsible for this travesty. Democrats saw increasing third-world immigration as a source for votes while the Republicans saw it as a source of cheap labor.

    The wages of native-born Americans have not increased in real terms since 1970, that point in time being seen as the “high-water mark” in relation to wage growth. There has not been any “wage growth” since then.

    All of the above can be attributed to those of the “greatest generation” NOT boomers, as we were too young to affect the political processes of the day…

    • Agree: Parfois1
  101. Well, we boomers had freedom to go out and have fun, were taught to use reason and logic, and were allowed to express ourselves. How bizarre is it that so many boomers spew the most bat-shit crazy, unscientific, unreasonable, warmongering nonsense

    It’s telling that so few people attempt to even ask let alone answer that question.

    I think it’s because these reminiscing Boomers are spinning a narrative by cobbling together a bunch of different things that don’t really impinge upon one another. They act as if this kind of childhood was something unique to them, and then credit it with producing the great American post-war boom that they strangely insist was their own doing. Both claims are ridiculous.

    This is pretty much everybody’s childhood. I had exactly the same kind of dangerous, free-wheeling, physically and intellectually demanding fun as Fred describes, and I was born in the ’80s. Childhood has preceded adulthood for every person and every generation that has ever lived; and, while every generation of children likes to sneak off and have dangerous adventures, every generation of adults becomes thoroughgoing philistines and worldlings who by and large lack the moral fiber to stand for something eternal in this sublunary world. So it should not come as any surprise that the Boomers, too, failed in this regard. It’s just that, since they are the generation currently trodding their last boards on the stage of history, they are the ones waxing the most nostalgic about it.

  102. Kouros says:

    A bit younger and born and raised in Eastern Europe. Same memories. However, I can say that things haven’t change much in terms of attitudes, except that education went a bit downhill and the youngsters are more sexualized than in my youth; but definitely not this North American (US + Canada) nonsense.

    If one goes to Russia for instance, one would feel at home…

  103. I did not have a chemistry set. Of course, I did build a crystal radio with a wound tuner, and, from the Boy’s Second Book of Radio and Electronics, a geiger counter. Could not get it to work, however. It was normal to buy .22 cartridges unsupervised. And, since, at the summer country place, I also had my own shotgun and an army rifle, I had to buy ammunition for those also. No questions asked. Indeed, at the age of eleven, by myself I walked into a country store where I had never been before and bought a box of 9mm cartridges for my Luger automatic pistol. Also, the first time at the wheel by myself, without lessons, at the age of twelve I, unexpectedly drove past a rare state trooper going in the other direction on a dirt country road. He did not bat an eye, probably because I was driving at an appropriate speed. But most interesting of all, in the big city, without an ID, the first time you saw the grocer, you told the grocer to run a tab and paid him at the end of the week or the end of the month, no questions asked, and no one checked his addition. The grocer trusted you, you trusted the grocer. It was obvious who was who. Also, the parent could tell the grocer—”if the 8 year old kid comes in for a six pack, give it to him.” (Probably they would not give it to a sixteen year old, but an eight old year was obviously running errands for his parents.) People were normal, then, even if they weren’t.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
  104. @anarchyst

    All this generation nonsense is tiring, can we just blame stupid whites for this?

    • Agree: Poco
  105. What I would give to have a few more hours of that life, Fred. Thanks for the trip.

    • Agree: renfro
  106. Johan says:
    @Observator

    While it is true that people get nostalgic about all kinds of small things to which they are attached, complaining about the loss of them. On the other hand, this smacks like total relativism. A popular type of unthoughtful argument these days, as if societies can never slip below a certain standard. As if there is a magical standard which is kept up in despite of everything which happens..
    Societies though, due to the force of gravity of human nature, all what floats there down below in the collective psyche…, can decline towards the level of basic primitivism, they can dissolve into chaos and barbarism, and they will do that very rapidly as soon as the forces which keep society organized and on a level cease to function.

    In this case the main factor in the article concerns the massive unleashing of fanatic primitivism (ironically called progressivism) on society, enacted by global elites, condoned and supported by the current clueless, incompetent and corrupt establishments. Not that this will likely lead to a dissolving of societies, rather a reshaping.

    The issues hinted at in the article concern a massive growth of organized primitivism, of which the observation is not just a mere thing rooted in nostalgia, and it is not a mere thing of the US, but it is distributed globally, and it is pervasive. Educational institutions for youth, called ‘daycare centres’ by a writer on unz.com are by now turned into no less than intensified ideological training centres. Where normally primitivism in itself is unorganized and undisciplined, it lacks the power of civilizational organization and discipline, when unleashed, organized and disciplined by intelligent contemporary elites it becomes a very powerful instrumental force. Communism provides affirming examples of the scale of destruction this can bring about, when controlled intelligently.

  107. @anarchyst

    Exhibit A. Another total fool posting his thoughts and feelings on the internet.

    • Replies: @anarchyst
  108. @Rurik

    I’d agree with you completely but I don’t believe that all gay encounters involve sodomy. Remember, these were claims filed by offended scouts so it’s likely that many of them didn’t go beyond touching, groping and so on. Not condoning this of course. For lesser offences castration and cutting off their ears (as a readily recognized brand) sound reasonable. For buggery, then I’l cheer while you throw the lever.

    My point about the guy I knew was that he made himself available; he put himself in the way of the counselor. He went along with it and then had buyer’s remorse. From what gay people tell us, they are aware, by the time they are 14 -16 year old, that they have a “gay” nature. Who am I to argue with them? Just saying that young people are sexual creatures too and have sexual curiosity. Not my cup of tea, but obviously, I don’t speak for everyone.

    My addendum pointed out that the numbers were statistically tiny. Why should scouting as a whole be ruined by the behavior of a relatively small number of encounters?

    • Replies: @Rurik
  109. Pft says:

    Yet the happy smart kids of that proud generation (myself included) allowed the country and its culture to descend to the current level, mostly under our watch as adults . Now retired we look upon our creations today unfavorably and consider ourselves blameless.

    How did it happen? Who was to blame? Why did we do nothing. Just let it happen. Good food, good drink, entertainment, plenty of credit and totally oblivious, blaming the other party, blaming immigration, blaming Communists and Russians then Chinese then Islamic terrorists and now Russians and Chinese (neither of whom are communists) and LGBT’s . Blaming everyone except ourselves and those that shall not be blamed.

    The generation that lost it all. Thats us. Baby Busters.

    The puppet masters above us that pull our strings and mold our perception and reality laugh in glee at their handiwork. You see, for them these are the Good Times, the Best of Times and also the End Times. End in the sense that there is no possibility of the peasants going back to the Happy Days of the 50’s and early 60’s.

    They tested us with JFK. We meekly accepted their lies. So they just fed us more of the same. The lies got bigger and to their great amazement we kept accepting them. Then at the turn of the century they realized we would believe anything and so tested us some more. They even televised it. Lol, we still believed them. They can do anything, we will believe anything they tell us, and so it is and forever will be.

    • Agree: Parfois1
    • Replies: @Sparkon
    , @Patricus
  110. @The Saigon Kid

    “…[W]e’d dig foxholes, build forts, make bows and arrows, and play soldier….”

    Yep and some of us girls did too, but those activities including playing with GI Joes in the forts were far more fun than playing with the Gilbert Scientific Chemistry set where mixing Phenolphthalein solution was the only fun activity, turning it puce pink in the alkaline solution.

  111. Sparkon says:
    @Pft

    They tested us with JFK. We meekly accepted their lies.

    You may have, but I sure as hell haven’t. Don’t presume to speak for anyone but yourself.

    In any event, you don’t even know what you’re talking about. The majority of Americans have never believed that there was just a single assassin:


    https://news.gallup.com/poll/165893/majority-believe-jfk-killed-conspiracy.aspx

    In fact, we have only your word that you’re even a Boomer. Based on the style of your cheesy narrative, coupled with your complerte ignorance of basic facts, I rather doubt it.

    Nullius in Verba

    • Replies: @Parfois1
  112. @Tommie

    As a male who was a young teenager at that time you bring back fond memories. Yes, we were free. None of the village mentality (political correctness) of today. And as a little one half a decade earlier, if I, a little boy, was told by an irritated parent to go outside and play, I could go outside and roam the town, explore. No need for a parent to drive me to school, I was free to walk there.

  113. Parfois1 says:
    @Sparkon

    In any event, you don’t even know what you’re talking about. The majority of Americans have never believed that there was just a single assassin:

    I think you miss the forest for a single tree. A swallow does not a summer make.

    Pft #110, used “we” to signify us all as a collective, not every individual. My personal contribution to the debacle has been almost zilch (e.g. I never voted) yet I feel blameworthy because I have not done enough to keep the bastards honest or their greedy hands out of the till and the levers of power.

    The fact that most people don’t believe the JFK lie does not exculpate everything else they condoned or did not oppose. Everyone, collectively, particularly the “baby-boomers – who happened to be the current ruling elites – are guilty, if not by commission, then by omission. Our present reality is our own construct. Still, some are more guilty than others.

  114. @The Saigon Kid

    Thank you for reminding me of Armed Forces Day. I remember going with my mom & watching the paratroopers every year. This was the 70s.

    My dad was a jump master and was under Eddie Tabata’s command when he was shot up in Laos. Maybe you knew my dad.

    Thank you for your service. I’m sorry to hear you’re disabled. I hope your children are nearby. God bless you.

  115. anonymous[304] • Disclaimer says:
    @ARYLIOA

    I had completely forgotten the bit about mercury-coating silver coins like dimes, quarters and (yes they were commonly used!) half dollars (the walking liberties or the new Ben Franklins). Left kind of a white frosting on the surface. Made them toxic, of course, which we didn’t know and so we cluelessly circulated them. That would be so illegal today. Of course, it took dentists nearly fifty years to stop using mercury in dental amalgams!

    Asbestos: all the hot water and steam radiator piping in our apartment building was covered in asbestos, as was the coal furnace where you burnt your household garbage in the winter. Of course, as kids, we swung from those pipes down in the basement where we played both winter and summer in Chi town. Kicked up so much asbestos dust when one of our thrown darts or balls impacted those pipes. Should be dead from mesothelioma several times over.

    Suddenly another chemistry-related life experience pops into mind from back in the day. Back then the old wheat back pennies were made of bronze (95% copper with a 5% mix of tin and zinc) and could be shrunk to the size of a dime with nitric acid and used in vending machines of the day. One lunch period at my Catholic high school I tried using one of my shrunk-down pennies in the soda vending machine (the old type that mixed a dollop of flavored syrup with carbonated water in a paper cup) and was caught in the act by the priest on patrol as the penny kept being rejected by the device (must have been slightly off in size or weight). I could have been expelled for that offense, but the guy let me go. Probably used to do the same himself.

    Another amusing thing about the old bronze pennies was, though you could never bend them between your fingers (far too strong), you could perfectly replicate the effect by slamming the penny down flat on a smooth surface. It was so warped that it couldn’t be wrapped into the coin rolls commonly used (still used, though coin usage itself has become absolutely trivial).

    Back then a penny was actually worth something. There WERE actual penny candies you could buy at actual “candy shops” (long extinct). There WERE actual five and dimes (aka “dime stores”) where the products only cost that much. You could send a first class piece of mail across the country (and to some foreign countries) for three flippin’ cents! But your paycheck, even for many in middle management or college-educated tech workers, was well under 10K–usually more like 5 or 6K in the mid-50’s to early-60’s. My engineer father gave me the advice to become a college chemistry professor rather than a high school science teacher because “they make as much as 10 grand a year!” Today that’s a poorly paid month. Ah, memories!

  116. Crazy Horse says: • Website
    @Tom Welsh

    Such is our constabulary. If they can’t arrest you on an actual charge they’ll just make shit up.

  117. Wally says:
    @Patriot

    said:
    “America saved the Jews from Nazi extermination, allowed them to immigrate and prosper.”

    – You must be new here, but sorry to disappoint you, but there was no ‘Nazi extermination of Jews to be saved from’.

    – Facts and free speech matter.

    That’s why some people are generally referred to as “The Usual Enemies of Free Speech”.

  118. @Parfois1

    No. I thought he misunderstood KIA, Killed in Action for a Korean vehicle brand or some Korean Intelligence Agency and then inferred that you worked for the same.

    • Replies: @Parfois1
  119. Alden says:

    Thanks Fred. Thanks guys for all the stories of what you did as boys.

    The damage was done by the greatest generation between 1953, Brown vs Topeka when the oldest boomers were 7 years old and 1973 Grigs vs Duke Power when the oldest boomers were 27 and the youngest 12.

    Great stories thanks again.

    • Agree: anarchyst, Dannyboy
    • Replies: @Sparkon
    , @Dannyboy
  120. @The Saigon Kid

    The comment form wouldn’t allow me to use my real name or e-mail

    Not sure if it’s a security thing with some names, but I have always used my real name. Maybe Ron allows that because there are so many folks with my name, I’m as anonymous as anyone with a fake username. Ron could easily provide the who of me with the credit card info, but outside of that (I trust you, Ron, really!), tracking my name would lead one down a lot of false roads, heh..

  121. anarchyst says:
    @Steve Unplayed

    Your name calling exposes you as a troll or hasbara. Instead of name-calling you might attempt to refute my statements.
    Trouble is, you can’t.

  122. anarchyst says:
    @Rurik

    Homosexuality and pedophilia are inextricably linked . . . That being said . . .
    It’s homosexual “recruitment” in action.

    I don’t believe for one second that homosexuality is “inborn”. All homosexuals started out as pre-teen boys being “introduced” to the “lifestyle” by OLDER ADULT homosexuals.

    As young children’s sexual mores are not “set in stone”, the recruitment into the homosexual “lifestyle” by adult homosexuals is easy to accomplish and is responsible for ruining a person for life.

    The Catholic Church priest “child abuse scandal” was actually homosexual “recruitment” in action.

    Of course, the “mainstream media” could not afford to offend a certain portion of its audience by calling it for what it really was. . . pedophilic homosexuality . . .

    As far as adult homosexuality is concerned, I don’t care what they do.

    It is the predatory nature of homosexuality, homosexual adults recruiting young boys into the “lifestyle” that I have a problem with . . .

    I refuse to use the term “gay” to describe homosexuals. There is nothing “gay” about homosexuality.

    • Replies: @Rurik
    , @Parfois1
    , @Rex Little
  123. @Patriot

    Most boys graduated to fixing bicycles, and then old junked cars, which gave another 4 to 50 yrs of advanced mechanical training.

    My kick was old lawnmowers. My old man used to rag me to get my own mower (we had a Toro he paid three or four hundred bucks for, this was late sixties IIRC) because he didn’t want me wearing his out on the neighbor’s lawns I mowed for dough. I’d grab an old mower off the curb meant for the trash men, if when I pulled the rope it wasn’t seized, it only needed points, a clean plug and fresh gas. They made things of metal back then, they never needed wheels. I sold several back to the neighbors that trashed them. The old man liked I could replace his water pumps, points and plugs, it became another chore. They made us work back then from the start and that was suburbs, we all knew how to spin wrenches. And Pop didn’t hand out allowances, we Christian boys hadda earn our own money for weed and girls. Like you said Patriot, you graduated to bigger and better mechanicals. After high school, no student I, I went to the recruiter, told him I wanted to work on airplanes on the flight deck of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and in a year, before I was 19 they had me, sure ’nuff, fixing ejection seats and troubleshooting air conditioning on the flight deck of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

    A lousy scholar I was until much later, but I spent the rest of my life earning well by fixing things. Because the world needs ditch-diggers (fixers, anyway) too!

    • Agree: anarchyst
  124. dearieme says:
    @Parfois1

    It might be wiser, and certainly more manly, to admit your mistake, rather than pretend to be a lawyer.

  125. Rurik says:
    @ThreeCranes

    I don’t believe that all gay encounters involve sodomy. Remember, these were claims filed by offended scouts so it’s likely that many of them didn’t go beyond touching, groping and so on. Not condoning this of course.

    If it was between two similarly aged Scouts, and it was a misunderstanding, then I don’t see a big problem.

    But if a troop leader, (and homosexual) grabbed a scout’s butt or package, I’d want him prosecuted the ends of the earth. No less than an Army drill sergeant or high school coach, (or anyone in a position of power and authority), fondling a girl’s breasts.

    There are lines that are sacrosanct, for trust in a society. When predators cross those lines, they don’t just violate the trust of their charges, they undermine the glue of a society, and in this case, have destroyed an icon of Americana, the Boy Scouts, because they allowed troop leaders who were attracted to boy’s butts.

    Open homosexuals have no business being priests, Boy Scout troop leaders, high school coaches, or in any capacity in close proximity to children. Ever.

    There are millions of jobs they can do, and volunteer work they can be appreciated for, without the necessity of being around children.

    Recently, I see where Phillip Schofield- the man the BBC (ground zero for Globohomo) hired as a presenter for Children’s BBC, then as a presenter on the children’s Saturday morning magazine show Going Live!

    has decided (shock of all shocks!), to come out as ‘gay’.

    Now, if I weren’t as cynical as I am, I might wonder if the ((executives)) at the BBC didn’t know he was a homosexual in the first place. In fact, I’m just cynical en0ugh to believe that such was his qualification for getting the job.

    We’re in a culture war here, just as Fred nostalgically laments his childhood, (and mine), what they have in mind is the same thing they did when they controlled Germany, during the Weimar regime.

    My point about the guy I knew was that he made himself available; he put himself in the way of the counselor. He went along with it and then had buyer’s remorse. From what gay people tell us, they are aware, by the time they are 14 -16 year old, that they have a “gay” nature. Who am I to argue with them? Just saying that young people are sexual creatures too and have sexual curiosity. Not my cup of tea, but obviously, I don’t speak for everyone.

    No argument with any of that.

    the numbers were statistically tiny. Why should scouting as a whole be ruined by the behavior of a relatively small number of encounters?

    Because it was tolerated, and emblematic of the wider problem, when an organization like the (overtly) Christian Boy Scouts, allows openly, practicing homosexual men, as troop leaders (and therefor, role models) for little Christian boys.

    When it gets to that point, it obviously should have been burned to the ground long before that.

    Allowing openly homosexual men as troop leaders, (is for me), like replacing the crucifix at the sanctum of your church, with a statue of Beelzebub

    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
    , @Parfois1
  126. @ploni almoni

    ” It was normal to buy .22 cartridges unsupervised. And, since, at the summer country place, I also had my own shotgun and an army rifle, I had to buy ammunition for those also. No questions asked. Indeed, at the age of eleven, by myself I walked into a country store where I had never been before and bought a box of 9mm cartridges for my Luger automatic pistol.”

    The USA needs to bring back the VISIBLE manifestions of Liberty. Get rid of the Gun Control Act of 1968, bring back USPO delivery of ammunition and dump the hazmat fees, and bring back TOBACCO advertising. Bring back fireworks and eviscerate all the state laws against them. You can’t even have SPARKLERS in Chicago.

    We have allowed all the whiners and safety Nazis to destroy our freedoms. I have heard companies ratting out their customers when buying chemicals. An ABC program mentioned how the Branch Davidians had ordered some grenade bodies and the box accidentally broke open. They informed the “authorities.” If it’s lawful, why would they do that and help to bring on needless violence?

  127. Rurik says:
    @anarchyst

    As far as adult homosexuality is concerned, I don’t care what they do.

    It is the predatory nature of homosexuality, homosexual adults recruiting young boys into the “lifestyle” that I have a problem with . . .

    Agree.

    Of course, the “mainstream media” could not afford to offend a certain portion of its audience by calling it for what it really was. . . pedophilic homosexuality . . .

    The (((MSM))) wasn’t so much trying to avoid offending, but rather were bull-horning their relentless demands to normalize homosexuality.

    Just as it was the (((SPLC, and ADL))) that sought to cut off funding for the Boy Scouts, until the Boy Scouts leadership relented, and decided the shekels were more important than the souls of the boys under their leadership.

    It’s like the Sierra Club’s love of wildlife, when set against their love of ((($100 million shekels))), to betray that wildlife, the wildlife loses.

    (((Laws against BDS combined with shekels))) in the state governments, vs. the free speech of the citizens of those state governments? Guess who wins, ((shekels)) and who loses – the citizens.

    From the Catholic church, to the Boy Scouts of America, to our state and federal governments and the cultural vanguards of America’s soul, is there any force in human societies, (or in the human heart), that can resist the power of shekels?

    from this

    to this

  128. Anon[342] • Disclaimer says:

    This article is everything that is wrong with Boomer social critique.

    Notice the typical flaws of Boomer logic. Reed recounts happy moments in his childhood (playing in storm drains). He confuses positive nostalgia with all sorts of good things in society (scientific advancement), because it just feels good to him. He provides no hard, scientific evidence that the things he feels nostalgia for (playing in storm drains) causes the good outcomes that he claims they did.

    The fact is that virtually every third-world country has boys running around freely, having a good time. African children build little cars and carts, and learn how axles work. So do Latin kids, or Italian kids. If you visit Southern Italy, you will see that the children are playing freely throughout the towns. And then they grow up to be unemployed 25% of the time.

    Every Fred Reed “cold take” is 95-IQ Boomer boilerplate that we have heard a thousand times from other Boomers. Fred Reed writes a little nicer, with a strong, know-it-all attitude. He intimidates his opposition by trashing them: he categorizes peoples and throwing the entire categories of peoples under the bus.

    Do you cuck to his tough-talk, and as a result, buy his dumb arguments? You shouldn’t. You should develop critical thinking skills, and if you do, you will surely be ticked off at this guy, and will surely find his argumentation severely lacking.

    Why keep him on Unz? Because Unz likes some of his conclusions? That can’t be it; there are plenty of people making similar conclusions, who emply better logic.

    Because maybe the Boomer philosophy has merit? Clearly not. The fact that they couldn’t successfully pass it on is due to internal inconsistencies and deep flaws (a topic too deep to get into right now).

    Because we have a conservationist urge to not let the Boomer voice die out? That can’t be it, as most Boomer takes live on in our wine aunts (although maybe not this particular conflation of running around in storm-drains in childhood and making advancements in string theory in adulthood).

    I fail to see the merit of this 95-IQ Boomer.

  129. Dannyboy says:
    @Anonymous

    For a start they evoke a nuclear family which is merely the foundation of politically correct independent European thought and sociological phenomena.

    Excellent comment, although I assume you mean “politically incorrect” there.

  130. anarchyst says:

    Because maybe the Boomer philosophy has merit? Clearly not. The fact that they couldn’t successfully pass it on is due to internal inconsistencies and deep flaws (a topic too deep to get into right now).

    Your statement is disingenuous, to say the least.

    Us boomers were the last generation to see real wage growth, despite our “forbears” (those of the greatest generation) “poisoning the well” with misguided “civil-rights (for some)” and ” forced “public accommodation” statutes which effectively disenfranchised us whites (especially white males).

    As well, our “birthright” was stolen from us with the imposition of the “Hart-Celler Immigration Act of 1965” which redirected immigration away from Europe in favor of the third-world.

    Us boomers were too young to affect the political process, which, by then had been given over to jews.

    ALL of these things were “put in place” BEFORE us boomers were able to exercise the political process. We “inherited” our “troubles”.

    • Thanks: Rurik
    • Replies: @Alden
  131. @Tommie

    The upbringing of Millennials was totally different from the childhood you described. They were forbidden from going outside, taught to distrust strangers, and playing “cops and robbers” was against the rules. If you even made a drawing of a gun, you would be suspended from school. There was far less socialization and freedom compared to kids in the 1950’s and 60’s. Unsurprisingly, millennials have a whole host of socialization problems and mental illness. I think a lot of this “woke” stuff might be a result of this.
    Its a shame the boys didn’t let you play, though.

    • Replies: @Parfois1
  132. I’m a 62-year-old woman and I built Heathkits. Learned how to read a simple circuit diagram at a very young age. And still can. We also had those great sets with the molds and the goop that you cooked over a little hot plate… Creepy Crawlers might’ve been one of them. But there were monster sets and other sets. Some of the rubber pieces had tabs and slots that fit together after they were peeled from the molds. My Dad used the Creepy Crawlers to make fishing lures. We also had a chemistry set and microscope and Erector set.

    My brothers had air pistols, and one of my brothers was always blowing things up. I think maybe there was a way of filling the air pistol cartridge with a pile of wooden match heads and turning it into a little explosive device? Anyway, he’d build a model and within a day or two, blow it up! Go-carts… My younger brother built one, took it for a ride, and then promptly sold it to another kid. And we rode our bikes all over the place. Came home with frogs and tadpoles from a nearby pond. Played in empty building lots. My Mom never worried about where we went or what we were doing.

    The only thing that caused a whole lot of screaming and yelling was if my younger brother dragged a pile of tools from the basement and out onto the driveway to work on some project outside, and then left the tools sitting in the driveway…and it started to rain. Oh, God! I, however knew better. I hated hearing my Dad yell. But, there could never be too much WD-40!

  133. @Rurik

    I agree with the spirit and content of what you say.

    The encounter I described took place between a temporary Summer Camp counselor/instructor and a scout. It did not involve a Scoutmaster. Of course, this only goes to demonstrate the truth of the popular notion that gay men will put themselves in a position where they can find victims, willing or otherwise.

    I speak from an earlier, pre-homo-Scoutmaster era, when such a proposal would have been considered so perverse as to be out of the question. I guess my mind still runs in that track. I still haven’t taken the notion of gay scoutmasters seriously. It seems so preposterous.

  134. Sparkon says:
    @Alden

    So far, no one has mentioned sports.

    Parfois1 thinks Boomers were “all dainty sissies,” but he seems to think many strange things.

    Certainly, competitive sports played a very big role in my childhood during the 1950s, not least in keeping me mostly out of trouble, and I doubt that I am alone in that regard. Baseball, basketball, football – I played them all, and so did most of my friends. Three on a side to get up a game of hardball. Those were thrilling moments for me when my muscles started growing, and I began hitting long home runs over the fence at the Little League ball park, knocking them out from from both sides of the plate even, just like my childhood hero Mickey Mantle, and the only kind of switch-hitting I’ve ever done.

    We also hiked, camped, went hunting and fishing, rode our bicycles all over, went swimming in the creek, ice skating and sledding in the winter. One fine day, I was finally able to pedal my 26″ heavyweight bicycle all the way up and over a big hill in the neighborhood, and kept going to the local grocery store where they had a machine dispensing ice-cold 8 oz. bottles of coke for a nickle, but you couldn’t leave the store with the bottle without paying 2 cents deposit.

    And, like others here, I had a chemistry set, Skilcraft microscope, balsa wood gliders, yo yos, Block City, View-Masters, germanium diode radio, and many of the same things already mentioned upstream. Some of these activities were known as hobbies, and I had several, including a coin collection, mostly Lincoln pennies.

    Many weekends, my pals and I went downtown on Saturday afternoon for a double-feature with cartoons at a big movie theater. The old movie palace with its gilded columns would be packed with a full house of kids. For an 11-year old, this was about the epitome of fun…

    We Baby Boomers were and are a big cohort, and all the marketers were jumping at the chance in the ’50s to bring a whole host of youth-oriented toys, hobby items, and gadgets to the marketplace. Hula hoops, anyone?

    I was in Cub Scouts and Boys Scouts too, but never got hassled by any queer, nor was I aware of anything like that going on at my Catholic grade school or high school, although the Catholics were certainly hypocrites in many ways, like most Christians, failing even to observe the Golden Rule.

    By and large, our parents — the Greatest Generation — tried their best to provide for their children the kind of childhoods they themselves had never had, being first, Children of the Depression, and then hornswoggled into fighting WWII.

    FDR, Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, and their inner circles and hidden enablers really were the scoundrels in that catastrophe, not the millions of poor saps on all sides who marched off to die so that the aspirations of these madmen could be realized.

    These are the many variations of the Book of Job, when bad things happen to good people. It has happened to entire generations, but there are always malcontents who come along later, essentially stupefied by their ignorance and easy marks to be convinced that others are somehow responsible for their misfortunes, real or imagined, because playing the blame game is something humans do so eagerly, and so well, setting off a new round of recriminations, while the relatively few guilty parties continue their devious machinations from behind their gilded curtains to divide and rule, virtually certain of undying support from all the useful idiots who will help them in their efforts.

    Sure, those two decisions you cited played a large role in the nation’s decline, but you could also look at Pres. Eisenhower’s decision to send the 101st Airborne to Little Rock to enforce integration, or even Ike’s landslide win in ’52, and Truman’s midnight rally in ’48.

    Just think. After the polls had closed in 1948, and everyone had gone to bed thinking Dewey had won, Truman staged a miraculous rally in the wee hours, and the nation awoke to find out that Truman had been elected president, after all.

    Pres. Truman had established the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947, and he had also hastened to recognize the State of Israel in 1948. Many of our current troubles spring from those two acts.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    , @Alden
    , @roonaldo
  135. @ARYLIOA

    “We always had a Benediction at the end of each troop meeting.”

    We stood in a circle, in the center of which was a lit candle, with our arms around each other’s shoulders. We sang taps.

    “Day is done,
    Gone the Sun
    From the lakes
    From the hills
    From the skies.
    All is well
    Safely rest
    God is nigh.”

    Very moving.

    Then we all raised our right hands in the Scout salute towards the middle of the circle and said

    “And now may the Great Master of all good Scouts be with us till we meet again.”

  136. Verne says:
    @Crazy Horse

    I’m younger than Fred but not by so much that as a 14 year old boy carrying a shotgun and walking close to the newly opened Pomona freeway (LA California) On my way to hunt rabbits. A highway patrolman pulled up asked where I was going. \Then told me a better way to get there now that the freeway was opened and I really shouldn’t be so close to it. No arrest, no SWAT team, hunting was just what boys did. And of course you need a gun to hunt.

    • Thanks: Crazy Horse
    • Replies: @Crazy Horse
  137. Parfois1 says:
    @Commentator Mike

    No. I thought he misunderstood KIA, Killed in Action for a Korean vehicle brand or some Korean Intelligence Agency and then inferred that you worked for the same.

    Thank you Mike for your input. Never saw the KIA as meaning something else other than the most familiar, to me anyway. I mean, from the tale there was no hint of a connection to Korea, even less the Northern variety.

    But my answer was partly in jest too. Had I had a hint that I might have been linked to the intelligence outfit, I would gladly seize the occasion and brag about my secret exploits in that field!

    PS – The last sentence hides another clue to the riddle. Sometimes feel like Bilbo in the underworld…

    Cheers

  138. Parfois1 says:
    @anarchyst

    I refuse to use the term “gay” to describe homosexuals. There is nothing “gay” about homosexuality.

    Hear! Hear!

    I actually still use that word to mean what it means, not the meaning given to it by devious deviants. To me this is an act of defiance in defence of the language and against the theft of it for propagandizing sexual aberrations. Anyone who uses it as an euphemism for repugnant acts against nature is an accomplice and an aider and abettor to theft.

  139. Mr. Hack says:
    @Sparkon

    Many weekends, my pals and I went downtown on Saturday afternoon for a double-feature with cartoons at a big movie theater. The old movie palace with its gilded columns would be packed with a full house of kids. For an 11-year old, this was about the epitome of fun…

    Good memories indeed! In my neck of the woods they would even show 2-3 cartoons and even an occasional newsreel too. At the local neighborhood movie house, “The Ritz”, they would even present local kiddie show TV personalities like “Casey Jones” and “Clancy the Cop” including such films as “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and “Fantastic Voyage.”

    • Replies: @anon
  140. Parfois1 says:
    @Rurik

    Recently, I see where Phillip Schofield- the man the BBC (ground zero for Globohomo) hired as a presenter for Children’s BBC, then as a presenter on the children’s Saturday morning magazine show Going Live!

    Shocking beyond words! I did not do any research on that. It was enough to watch his mannerisms to see what he and the BBC were up to: institutionalize pederasty. I hardly use swear words, but when it comes to the BBC’s promoting such criminality, I give myself an indulgence to let words fly.

    Unspeakable despicability! Another meaning for BBC: British Bullshitting Criminals.

  141. @PT

    I made gunpowder from ground-up charcoal briquets and powdered sulfur and potassium nitrate that I bought over the counter in the town drugstore as a ten-year-old kid. No questions asked and no problems at all. It was about fifty years ago in small-town America, and things were different.

    • Replies: @SonOfFrankenstein
    , @anon
  142. Parfois1 says:
    @Anon

    I fail to see the merit of this 95-IQ Boomer.

    And you fail to see the point. Does everything a man create need to be measured and assessed as to its scientific or logical veracity according to some standard set up by the paragons of the age? Why intellectualize everything? As far as I know that is a defensive mechanism to make sense of false logic or reasoning.

    Can’t we have some fun without the experts coming in as spoilsports and trash innocent reminiscences as insidious doctrines?

    What about joie de vivre and enjoying lively writing?

  143. Rooster says:

    “See? This is why America briefly did all sorts of astonishing things. It was not because of capital flows or compound interest or free enterprise or the rest of the world being in wreckage because of the war”

    Fred, it did kind of help that Europe, Russia, China and Japan were shattered, burned, bombed-out wastelands which had lost millions of working-age men in TWO world wars. It did help that America, thanks to geography, avoided all this. It did help that America was flooded with gold and orders from England. It did help that America took Nazi scientists in after the war to mastermind the Apollo program. By the way, America came second in the space race, despite its vast economic advantage. The Soviets were first in everything except the race to the moon.

  144. Meccano and Mamod steam engines was big for myself and my friends. So were the elecronic sets and crystal radio sets.
    We eventually moved on to small motors and mini bikes..
    The late 60’s and early 70’s were a great time to be a kid..

  145. anon[206] • Disclaimer says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Now white kids pay to see advertisements and movie trailers followed by a main feature that trashes their people, culture and history. Had Hollywood known that they could’ve gotten away with that 50 or 60 years ago they would’ve started the rot much sooner.

  146. Dannyboy says:
    @Rooster

    Fred, it did kind of help that Europe, Russia, China and Japan were shattered, burned, bombed-out wastelands which had lost millions of working-age men in TWO world wars.

    Wars that the majority of Americans wished to have no part in. Of course our political class and media always know best.

    Americans did have help from Germans ( and we tip our hat to them) that is true, but our people made it happen.

    We broke the sound barrier before that.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Yeager#World_War_II

    Born in West Virginia.

    • Replies: @Rooster
  147. Alden says:
    @Sparkon

    Eisenhower sending troops to Arkansas and Tennessee was to enforce Brown vs Topeka. Thanks for the memories.

  148. Parfois1 says:
    @Michael Tomac

    They were forbidden from going outside, taught to distrust strangers, and playing “cops and robbers” was against the rules

    You may see there a correlation between the “normalization” of unnatural sexual practices and a more protective attitude by boomer-parents. Haven’t done a sociological study on that topic but it screams to reason that when homosexuality becomes “respectable”, children are more at risk, hence parents more restrictive about children’s freedom to roam at large.

    Sometimes I wondered whether the moniker “stranger danger” was a ploy promoted by the in-foxes (now respectable homosexual guardians) to exclude strangers from the coop and lowering the vulnerable children’s defences.

    I personally observed some teachers “coming out” brazenly and openly exposing their deviance deliberately to influence children’s acceptance of their (teachers’) homosexuality as normal.

  149. Crazy Horse says: • Website
    @Verne

    Yeah I know. Sad that kids are being popped these days for carrying toy guns in school. It’s getting ridiculous.

  150. Alden says:
    @anarchyst

    I post the same comment beginning with Brown 1953 ending with Griggs 1973 detailing the damage the greatest generation Jews and liberals did to us bombers before some of us were born often

  151. Patricus says:
    @Patriot

    The number of Americans killed in WW II was about 400,000. It is curious we only have an estimate since almost all dead Americans were soldiers who were presumably counted.

    Unfortunately we can’t take credit for defeating the Germans. The Soviets did that.

  152. @Rooster

    “The Soviets were first in everything except the race to the moon.”

    Yeah right.


  153. Patricus says:
    @Pft

    The generation that lost it all preceded the boomers by about two generations. When the 1930s population elected politicians who multiplied taxation and looked to a centralized government for salvation permanent damage was done. The American spirit was broken.

  154. @Knickerbocker Flat

    That’s exactly my formula (ground up charcoal, sulfur, drugstore potassium nitrate)! But it never exploded, only fizzled. That’s OK, we had “other things” which did explode!

    Great article by Fred. Brought us all together (mostly).

    Like others, my Dad encouraged me with Lionel trains, Gilbert chemistry, Knight and Heathkit electronics, and amateur radio. Ended up being an engineer like many of the others on this thread, with a vein for political dissent.

    The big thing was the freedom, kids roaming around freely, riding bicycles for miles, boys being allowed to be boys. We could organize a sandlot baseball or football game with only a few phone calls. Today, kids have helicopter parents who micro-manage everything. I almost NEVER see kids out in the neighborhood. They’re all inside getting fatter or else the fortunate ones are chauffered around playing expensive sports, with the parents attending every practice. The amount of money which a family must pay out these days to have their kid in sports is ridiculous and there are many kids who have never played baseball. Ridiculous.

    • Replies: @anon
  155. @Rooster

    “It did help that America was flooded with gold and orders from England. ”

    Huh?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-American_loan

    (Part 1, rest Part 2,3,4 are on YT)

  156. ET says:

    I remember Edmund Scientific as a young man in the 1960s I would go visit them in New Jersey On Saturday I would rummage through the war surplus bins in the back room where they had good lenses with small chips in them that I would use to make my own telescopes. But my favorite find was a tank Periscope Optical kit with really great prisms. I learned more about Optics reading their catalog than I ever learned in school.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
  157. @anon

    kids today don’t have a lot of fun. Most of them sit around zombified in front of their smart phones playing computer games the whole time.

    Trust me, those computer games are fun. If they’d existed 60 years ago, my parents would have had to throw me out of the house by force.

  158. roonaldo says:
    @Sparkon

    Yep, “go outside and play,” being 50% of the necessary repertoire of parenting skills, meant nonstop sandlot and school-related baseball, basketball, and football. We golfed and swam whenever possible and played ice hockey on frozen driveways and lakes for kicks. Good sportsmanship and respect for referees was taught–any of today’s in-your-face trash talk drew a penalty and got you benched (“play with class,” my baseball coach insisted). Since, as sixth-graders, making set-shots from the top of the key was no big deal, I think that the 3-point shot ruins the game and that there oughtta be a 2 1/2 point shot from, say, 21-26 feet and 3 points beyond that in order to restore the value of the 2 point floor shot.

  159. @anarchyst

    I refuse to use the term “gay” to describe homosexuals. There is nothing “gay” about homosexuality.

    You gotta admit, though, that it’s amusing to hear a song about San Francisco describe Paris as “sadly gay”. . .

  160. anon[162] • Disclaimer says:
    @Knickerbocker Flat

    Yeah, Tim McVeigh ruined it for everyone after they clamped down on the sale of all nitrates that could be used as oxidizers in explosives, even if the product was meant to be used as fertilizer you needed a background check to buy it in bulk. I suspect that is still in force. The required charcoal and sulphur have never been impediments. (Imagine registering to buy a bag of Kingsford briquets.)

    Interesting recounting of the history of making gunpowder in the TV series Taboo that aired in 2017. As recently as the 19th century they still used urine (from any species including human) and/or bird guano (which had to be carefully processed) as a source of the essential nitrates. Significant naval battles were fought over obscure islands covered in seabird crap.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  161. anon[162] • Disclaimer says:
    @SonOfFrankenstein

    Ah, yes, bicycles. Bicycles took us boys everywhere, at least until you grew up to be a big boy, at which time you got yourself a motorrad–a motorcycle! Mine was a used Yamaha which I tooled around on until I eventually got a used car. At 73 now far too old to ride choppers, but the memories remain–no helmets, either for me or the girl riding on the back!

  162. @Anonymouse

    Believe that one of the 50,000 was Albert Einstein. Sort of worked out well for us.

  163. Billy3 says:

    Wonderful essay.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  164. @Parfois1

    Why if it isn’t John Jeremiah Smith. You’re still not able to fool me.

  165. Dannyboy says:
    @Alden

    Here’s a “Boomer”.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Orr

    You fuckin Millennials can’t carry that man’s jock.

    • Replies: @Dannyboy
  166. Had all those kits and toys and did what most mentioned. Did we leave anything out that was popular with kids then? Having your own dark-room in a closet and developing your own photos. Stamp collecting. How about assembling your own TV set? I never did, but was even that possible? Could you get kits for that? Radios sure, no problem.

    • Replies: @anarchyst
  167. Rooster says:
    @Dannyboy

    The Bell X-1 broke the sound barrier using British technology. It was basically a copy of the Miles M52. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miles_M.52

  168. Eduardo says:
    @Christopher Marlowe

    I too had a Gilbert chemistry set. It included a Bunsen burner, of course, and a small asbestos cloth of maybe 3 by 5 inches. It is so true that the Left destroys everything it touches.

  169. Nowadays a chemistry set won’t produce a genius but more like a terrorist. Better off not selling it!

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
  170. @ET

    In Chicago, there was a clone of Edmund Scientific called IIRC, “?American Scientific?” whose catalog was basically the Edmund catalog with their name slapped on the cover, I think.

    Whereas ES basically became an optics company, the Chicago company still exists as: “American Science and Surplus.”

    https://www.sciplus.com/

  171. @Billy3

    AGREED!

    I hope Mr. Reed gets enough comments to see that maybe this kind of writing is enjoyed just as much by Americans as his Anti-Americans crap is detested. I suppose I contribute more comments to his detestable columns than his good ones, so … hmmm….

  172. Wild Bill says:

    I was greatly impressed by Fred’s last column which reminisced about being ten years old. The thing that impressed me was not so much what Fred wrote but the voluminous response of readers of a similar age who were engulfed by the nostalgia and their cognition that something is wrong in society today. These same readers want to take no responsibility for the conditions in the world today. It is our fault. It was not our fault as children, but having spent our lives here and having all that time to do something about it, and having if anything, made it worse, it is our fault. We should have cleaned up some of the mess by now, not spread it out. There is always that nagging question – “What can I do? I am only one person, with no power to speak of.” In reply, I offer the advice of JFK “Do what you can with what you have.”
    Initially, when confronted with finding a solution to the problem, we resort to wanting to employ the methods we have been taught to use by those who oppress us and who really created the problems. “Kill them all”. Those methods of violence and negative actions perpetuate the current conditions. Our feeling of helplessness derives from thinking that those methods and types of thinking will be effective. They are like pouring gasoline on a fire to put it out. By this time in life you know that, to quote Mark Twain, “If voting mattered they wouldn’t let us do it.”. So, dispense with any views of a wider area of influence and just look in the mirror. What can you do? You and everyone else can move mountains if you want to. Start by making kindness and generosity your basis in life. Treat everyone, especially those you are not really fussy about, as well as you can. Will you be disappointed? Will people try to take advantage of your good nature and actions? Of course. Will you care? No. We only have a few days left in life and if we can make life better in some way for someone else, we will have made a contribution to the world. Someone will be left with a memory of what kindness and humanity is. For those who try to exploit you, that will be their memory. How they tried to take advantage of someone who was kind to them. Maybe in the long run, they will get some realization out of it as well. Your example will be your legacy.
    Encourage kindness in others. Love your life. Enjoy all the time you have and laugh a lot.

  173. @sally

    “We were Americans degrees did not really matter, it was what you could contribute, your reliability that counted.”

    I knew a Romanian woman where I once worked and she said something interesting; Americans were willing to try different stuff in which they had no particular expertise or training in.

  174. @anonymous

    “We coulda been out making black powder bombs with young Bernadine Dorn with no problemo. All you needed were charcoal, sulphur and potassium nitrate. Who DIDN’T try this?”

    The problem you ran into with this was that you had highly variable explosive performance because the potassium nitrate was hydroscopic.

    Far better kid’s bombs were constructed using the match heads cut from packets of matches people got with their cigarette packs. Bomb bodies constructed from the cardboard tubes of coat hangers and using Jetex or cannon fuze.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  175. @Moi

    “PS: God’s now decided to bless China. Get used to it.”

    Right. Covid-19.

    PRC is receiving the blessing of the CCP.

    Check #battlebeagle on twitter.

  176. @Pontius

    I actually saw one of those “Annihilator” BB machine guns in an industrial Design Engineering show display at McCormick Place in Chicago. It was in an enclosed plexiglass box and powered by an external air hose.

    Purpose: To display the impact resistance of an eyeglass lens made of a company’s plastic as compared to others.

  177. anarchyst says:
    @Commentator Mike

    Yes, Heathkit had a color television kit that was high quality. Critical components like the tuner and IF section were pre-assembled and properly set up. The kit builder had to assemble the horizontal and vertical drive sections as well as assembling the CRT into the cabinet. I knew a few people who successfully built them. They were nice sets.

    • Thanks: Commentator Mike
    • Replies: @Commentator Mike
  178. @anarchyst

    I wasn’t sure so I asked but I thought I vaguely remember seeing adverts for TV kits. My memory must be fading.

  179. anonymous[103] • Disclaimer says:
    @anon

    Yeah, Tim McVeigh ruined it for everyone after they clamped down on the sale of all nitrates …

    Tim McVeigh was a patsy, and the victims were “collateral damage” in a bizarre incident that made zero sense in terms of furthering any agenda other than that of the Deep State itself.

    UK journalist Ambrose Pritchard did some digging into this case.

    http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/RANCHO/POLITICS/OK/ok2.html

    It makes perfect sense for the scion of a political dynasty in a U.S. colony to be assigned a visible role in a false flag operation. We would have been a known entity in the intelligence world, and as a foreign person, he could simply return to his home country if things get uncomfortable. Conveniently, his country does not extradite its nationals. The FBI can then shrug its shoulders and say that further investigation would be fruitless.

  180. I well remember my chemistry set from the 70’s. There used to be a chemical supply place in Palo Alto where you could buy almost any chemical you wanted in these little square shaped glass jars.

    Of course all we wanted to do was make explosives, which was quite easy. Potassium Nitrate, Sulfur and Charcoal was the classic recipe for gunpowder. (Although Potassium Chlorate was an even better oxidizer, IIRC). You would grind those up in the right proportions in a mortar and pestle and the result was perfect for making firecrackers and bottle rockets. Model airplanes and toy soldiers were ideal for blowing up or melting in this manner.

    Making hydrogen gas (zinc mixed with acid) and igniting it in an upside-down test tube made a very satisfying explosion as well. Not to mention experimental mixtures of stink bombs (hydrogen sulfide — which makes the distinct “rotten egg” smell), and smoke bombs (I think Ammonia Nitrate and Charcoal was the best result we ever got for this).

    We did all this when we were ten and eleven. Far from being worried, my dad thought it was great and highly educational. (He was in aerospace and loved chemistry and science as a kid in the ’30s.)

    Today, chemistry sets are totally lame sets of experiments to make things turn into different colors.
    And Child Protective Services would take your kids away for letting them do the stuff we did.

  181. Wayne says:
    @MattinLA

    Weep for the youth of today. I am 68 and in retirement I substitute teach a couple of days a week. Today’s youth have no idea what they missed.

  182. @Joe Stalin

    American Science & Surplus, where you could buy your very own Norden Bombsight and the catalog was full of fun items like “Topless culture flasks!”

  183. anonymous[161] • Disclaimer says:
    @Joe Stalin

    If we could have gotten our hands on some cellulose nitrate (aka gun cotton)… oh, baby!

    They used to make disposable tubes for isopycnic centrifugation out of the stuff. Of course, a kid had no access to that unless his old man worked in a lab where such work was done. But wait! Old movie film, made mostly of cellulose acetate also had a cellulose nitrate component and was highly flammable. Would have been a good experiment torching a bunch of that.

    Flash powder, which is a mixture of an oxidizer like perchlorate or nitrate plus a finely ground incendiary metal like magnesium or aluminum, could be lots of fun. A kid might get his hands on those components in the high school chem lab.

    Explosive crystals of nitrogen triiodide can be simply made from ammonium hydroxide and iodine (medicinal tincture of iodine should work, as might liquid ammonia for cleaning). Simply recover the ppt on a filter, dry out and watch it go boom with a purple flash when impacted.

    If a kid has access to dry ice he can simply cram a lot of that into a plastic soda bottle and screw the cap on tightly. Eventually, when kept at room temperature, the pressure of the subliming carbon dioxide will cause the bottle to explode with great force. Just don’t use glass bottles unless you are a dedicated terrorist. I suppose a kid might even go “dynamite fishing” without the dynamite by chucking the bottles into his local fishing hole. Liquid nitrogen would work even better, but how many kids have access to that?

    I had forgotten so many of these hijinks kids could enjoy using elementary chemistry.

    Oh, then there’s the gag where you pour some indicator dye, like bromthymol blue, into somebody’s coke, coffee or iced tea and the next time he takes a piss his stream is whatever color of the rainbow is appropriate to the pH of his urine. Only a chemist or biologist will know he’s been pranked. Anybody else–> hair on fire.

  184. @Anon

    African children build little cars and carts, and learn how axles work.

    They do?

  185. K-Dog says: • Website

    I was there with you Fred. Before video people had to read unlike now and it was fun. But video killed our Camelot of words and technology subjugated America into robot people. I was afraid of sewer rats. I traveled about 200 feet of culvert for a while. I’d go in where it emptied into a creek. The last time I saw the culvert there was a metal grate installed to prevent explorations. That was long ago and far away in a world of Monarch Butterflies.The world changed frontiers are gone and now things die.

  186. ” I was afraid of sewer rats.”

    You need a personal army of dogs and minks, then you can order them annihilated.

  187. Johnnyboy says:
    @anarchyst

    Anarchyst,

    You and Fred are breaking my heart. Had most of these things and did many of these things. What a time it was. Hell, we could even go to the local dump with our rifles and the cops would come by and ask us (in New Jersey yet) if they could blow off a few rounds before they resumed patrol. Damn we’ve gone downhill……

  188. @Hippopotamusdrome

    They do. In fact there are areas where they make bikes out of wood, wheels axles and all because it’s all they have, then carry loads on them running beside them.

    Stuff like this cracks me up. Like the observation of your average Fox viewer that the Incas never developed the wheel. They knew plenty about the wheel, and used it on kids’ toys. But in their mountainous area, foot and pack animal travel worked fine and their footpaths were finely stair-stepped, perfect for feet and bumpy for wheels. Not falling to your death from a slippery icy path mattered more.

  189. Anonymous[401] • Disclaimer says:

    We boys used to make “fountains” and “bombs” from plastic bottles, baking soda, vinegar, etc. like this kid does:

    We also played with “Navy frogmen” liberated from cereal boxes:

    We made “smoke flares” from spit-moistened kitchen matches fired from clothes-pin “guns” like this one (only a non-safety match was used instead of a toothpick, its head place near the metal trigger):
    https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Clothespin-Gun

    We tossed water balloons, fired squirt guns, threw “dirt bombs,” and mastered Duncan Yoyo tricks:

    There were also…

    Gyroscopes:

    and:

    Slinkies:

    Good times!

    We skipped rocks on lakes, caught pollywogs, and ate berries right off bushes.

    We flew around the ‘hood wearing kitchen towels as Superman capes and read Captain Midnight’s messages via Ovaltine decoders:

    There were also tons of things to learn/do in Boy Scouts and from ‘project books.”
    https://www.amazon.com/Boy-Mechanic-Projects-Mechanics-Childrens/dp/0486452271

    We lads spent a lot of time unsupervised. Playing sandlot baseball, we learned how to resolve disputes. We also explored woods on our own, learned to use maps and compasses, rode bikes everywhere, and never once feared being abused by pedos or thugs.

    We also did crazy things…like riding behind trucks spraying DDT, pretending we were mounted GIs attacking “Japs” from behind smoke screens.

    Erector sets, microscopes, battery-operated gizmos, crystal radios. Flipping baseball cards, attaching said cards to bikes to “motorize” them, and going to Army-Navy surplus stores to outfit the “platoon.”

    I shudder sometimes thinking what could have happened during all our solo outings.

    Then again, we learned independence (along with needing group support) from Scouting and other responsibility-building things. Parents seemed to trust the kids they raised more then. And we kids learned to earn that trust. We learned to learn from other kids, too. And so on.

    Plus Scouting and similar things taught “preparedness”…so when inevitable cuts, bruises, and sprains occurred we knew what to do.

    Compare all that to “kids tudday” who are spared most pains and consequences. Later they rage like loons at places like Yale when professors suggest it’s okay to dress up for Halloween.

    Most can’t find their own arses using both hands…and get degrees in Queer Dance Theory and Early Wakandan Mudhutism.

    It wasn’t heaven back THEN, but close to it. TVs had just arrived with 1-3 stations tops…some only broadcasting a few hours daily. So there was time to fill…by reading and recreating (mostly outdoors).

    Polio was a thing for a while, but most kids were active and slim. Not that candy wasn’t eaten…it was inhaled! Just that we were more active then. Maybe because neighborhoods were stable. Companies tended to be stable, too, investing in communities where they got workers from. So most families stayed in-place, not having to move for jobs. It’s hard to form cohesive neighborhoods when families move in and out too often.

    Most families had two parents, too. And most families were religious…if only on Sundays.

    School days began with reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and the Lord’s Prayer. Rituals. Even if we kids weren’t true or strong believers, the rituals somehow united us. There was diversity in backgrounds (Jews, Italians, Catholics, Germans, etc.) but unity in patriotism.

    I never heard any kid say that America sucked.

    Today we swim, barely afloat, in a sea of cynicism and anti-Americanism. There is tons of pluribus…much of it angry…and too little unum. Of course, no one mentions the failings of other nations.

    The Left keeps pushing and pushing and pushing limits, acting like our social balloon can expand forever. I mean, we all knew Little Richard, Liberace, and others were gay. It just no big deal. Today, kindergartners get read books by drag queens in full operatic plumage. WTF? It was one thing for farm boys to meet hookers in WWII Paris; quite another for grammar school kiddos to watch porn online in 2020.

    I fear the loss of the safety WWII parents paid for…and insisted in manifesting in “boring” white-picket-fence communities (having seen war upclose for 4 years!). It’s being destroyed before our very eyes. It’s being promoted by folks who live now better than kings of yore. Yet they mock my youth as Pollyanna-ish, a Mayberry RFD pipedream…while marching to make hell on Earth.

    Again: having been spared negative consequences for most to their lives, they live in a dangerous fantasy world where unintended consequences are never imagined, much less experienced.

    In the civil war they seem to want, how will spaghetti-armed antifa soyboys react to being savaged by men who KNOW how to fight?

    They mock Roy Rogers, yet get “triggered” by ideas more than Roy’s horse Trigger ever was by snakes. They also think men are women if they think they are. Just like they think Mr. Ed could really talk.

    Anyhoo, methinks something there is that likes hands-on chemistry set experiments over YouTube demos.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Joe Stalin
  190. Anonymous[401] • Disclaimer says:

    For males of a certain age, this might provide a pleasant stop on Memory Lane:

  191. Anonymous[538] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    A+

    Spot on about what regular Americans once had and then lost because of the insider elites. I remember that reality fondly and mourn that it will never return to this land, not how they’ve got things set up now.

    • Agree: Sulu
  192. Anonymous[538] • Disclaimer says:

    You know, I sent in my Ovaltine jar liner to Captain Midnight and never received my decoder, official ID and the rest. At 73 years of age, I am still so bummed. And to think, I lived in Chicago just like the captain. He forgot Mike Royko’s official city dictum: “Ubi est mea?” (Where’s mine?)

  193. Sulu says:

    Fred,
    Now this is the Fred of old. Waxing nostalgic about a short time in American history where boys were encouraged to do boy things and girls were mysterious creatures that we had little to do with because we had not yet reached puberty.

    And of course the sexes came in twos. I grew up in a small Southern town and no one I knew even knew some one that was “queer.” I didn’t meet my first fag till I entered college at 18. And I still remember thinking, “Jesus, this guy is queer and he admits he’s queer.”

    I was born in the 50’s and was a kid in the 60’s so I did get in on the tail end of all this. I remember having a chemistry set when I was probably much too young to truly utilize it. But I do recall that it had some mildly (probably) radioactive compound in it with a warning that it should be used only with adult supervision. I initially thought I was going to be a chemist so the first order of the day was to start making explosives. Gun powder was first, of course, with potassium nitrate scraped from the barn walls and it was fun but it was more smoke and fire than boom. This lead to ammonium tri-iodide, then brake fluid and HTH pool chlorine as the oxidizer. My efforts finally culminated in taking about half a bag of ammonium nitrate, infusing it with diesel fluid and setting it off with a stick of dynamite which any farmer could purchase from the local hardware store and my father had for demolition. I had a short window to do all this because I got home from school about an hour before my folks would arrive from work. I made the mistake of setting it off on top of a stump that my dad had earmarked for demolition. Luckily I knew enough to give it a long fuse and get far away before the explosion. When it exploded there was a supersonic crack and a fireball about the size of three cars and upon inspection there was a pretty good size hole where the stump used to be. My father got around to noticing it in about a week and missing the bag of ammonium nitrate he put two and two together and I got what was probably the last whipping of my life. I must have been about 13. It was probably for the best. Puberty was coming on and my new interest was a 58 Chevy Apache Truck with an inline six and three on the tree, that I assumed was somehow going to lead to me getting laid. I got my license a day or two after turning 16 and the rest, as they say, is history.

    I remember my first toy plane was a model P-51D with a cox .049 engine in it. Being an only child I couldn’t quite manage to get it to fly around in a circle like it was supposed to. But it was quite satisfying to fire it up and adjust it till it was screaming and run around with it like a damn fool feeling all the time like it was going to escape my grasp.

    I can recall also being at my older cousins house and seeing my first bonafide scuba gear with first and second stage and a tank. I don’t recall if it had a BCD in those days. Already a fan of Sea Hunt I knew it was an apparatus for breathing under the sea and I was determined to some day own my own. And just touching sent an electric thrill down my spine.

    One has to wonder how much early exposure to such things influence a young boy. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that among my two College degrees one was a B.S. in Geology. I also ended up being a pilot and I have about 600 dives in the Pacific Ocean. Many being tech dives one of which was a tri mix dive to 300 feet.

    I much like your nostalgic writing about the America of long ago, Fred. It is so much more satisfying that your recent bent to convince everyone (even perhaps yourself) that Mexico is the finest flower of civilization to ever bloom on the American continent. You might think about laying off of that crusade for a while. It rings a bit hollow for those of us that are old enough to remember the Great White America that was.

    Sulu

  194. Anonymous[401] • Disclaimer says:

    After chemistry sets, Erector sets, and microscopes came…the once-and-mighty Heathkits!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heathkit

  195. Anonymous[401] • Disclaimer says:

    Remember when Cutty Sark was not a whiskey to savor but the dream of every young model-builder?

    http://tinyurl.com/vy2a2ck

    Or when assembling THESE was near orgasmic?

  196. @Anonymous

    OMG! DRAINO BOMBS!

    Yeah, they can be a felony just like that bump stock for your AR-15.

    Plastic soda bottles left in unsuspecting residents’ yards may be bottle bombs.
    https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/drano-bottle-bombs/

  197. Anonymous[401] • Disclaimer says:

    >”You and everyone else can move mountains if you want to. Start by making kindness and generosity your basis in life.”

    Nonsense. Deciding not to litter a road with your candy-wrapper does nothing in a town where everyone else litters.

    YOU, sadly, exemplify the problem. Boomer males refused to unite and fight toxic blobs like feminism. They took a “Let the little ladies have their say” stance. They felt no need to fight back, thereby letting liberalism metastasize.

    FACT: No lone snipers, nor loose militias, beat seasoned army regulars. EVER!

    Women united, formed an army, and acted.

    Men responded by remaining passive, pooh-poohing the very need to unite. They felt only bad men got indicted and that every REAL man faced massed enemies alone.

    Insane.

    Thus did millions of men lose their families, kids, and assets. All because they were too lazy/embarrassed to effectively oppose liberal groups that attacked masculinity 24-7-365 for the past 50 years.

    If losing their sons wasn’t enough to get men off their asses, nothing will.

    Also, bleep all the “be nice” stuff. Turning the other cheek just gets your arse kicked twice.

    Even Gandhi was no puerile passive putz. Above all he hated cowardice…THE mark of men today. He was not…repeat NOT…against violence:

    “Cowardice is impotence worse than violence. The coward desires revenge but being afraid to die, he looks to others, maybe to the government of the day, to do the work of defense for him. A coward is less than a man. He does not deserve to be a member of a society of men and women.”

    “I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence… I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour than that she should, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonor.”

  198. Anonymous[247] • Disclaimer says:

    Being a wretched millennial, I am not familiar with any of these games. But my boomer mother says she remembers playing “Go to the Head of the Class” and “Chutes and Ladders.”

  199. Anonymous[247] • Disclaimer says:

    It seems there was an “Asian Flu” epidemic during a prime baby boomer year. But unlike today, people don’t seem to have gone off the deep end believing it was a bioweapon or that millions were going to die. Keep calm, take sensible precautions and be patient, it will pass — that seems to be the way people reacted. And this was at a time when plenty of people were still alive who remembered the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  200. I’m old enough to remember the DDT, it smelled like rotten eggs.

    And the Duncan Yo-Yo guy used to come around every year, and I remember the commercial for the “Wheelo” which was that wheel thing that ran on a sort of wire frame you’d hold in your hand.

    That Heathkit electronics experimenter breadboard thing was sold well into the 80s.

    My dad swore by Bufferin and we always had it in the house. In fact other than childrens’ aspirin (with that delicious fake-orange flavor!) I don’t think we bought any other kind.

    The guy I worked for, about 15 years older than me, hit the Boomer sweet spot. He lived in the same damn house all the time growing up and into college, his parents raised him (and I believe 4 siblings) in private Catholic school, and the guy never missed a meal, missed out on having friends, or decent clothes to wear, etc. It blows my mind. I grew up just in time to experience the loss of our middle class with a front-row seat.

    We went from middle-class complete with the large station wagon to very very poor, in less than a decade. It was, looking back, a spectacular fall, and this was happening all over the country. With our fall from middle-class to underclass our chances to go to college or get decent jobs fell away also. Two of the five of us have done well, and that was by marrying well. You can work as hard as you like in this Neverending Depression and you’ll only end up that much more worn-out and tired.

    And I wish people would stop ragging on liberal arts degrees. As a member of the underclass, expected to work fulltime while studying engineering, spending hours a day on the bus, there was no way I’d be able to complete an engineering degree. But a degree in history etc., would have worked out fine – with that degree I’d be able to get past the gate-keepers to teach English overseas, and with some post-grad courses in computer programming I’d have even had a chance at one of those computer programming jobs everyone says are so great. A degree in music would have been even better. If you can play an instrument well you’ve always got a job, and I can tell you for a fact that busking (playing on the street) pays better than being a hotshot electronics tech. By which I mean you can go out on the sidewalk and play any time (try to find a job in tech now – ha!) and it pays better than min. wage.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  201. Anonymous[388] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    Yeah, I contracted that in grade school, as well as measles, german measles, chickenpox, the mumps and the Hong Kong flu. That one kept me laid up at home for three weeks, the other standard (for the time) childhood diseases kept me out of classes for two weeks each. At least our generation didn’t face the scourges of small pox, diphtheria or tuberculosis, every one of which killed or institutionalised aunts and uncles before I was even born. I was among the first children in the country to get the Salk vaccine back in 1953 (the Sabin live virus was given to the later cohorts of boomers) so I was in no danger of contracting that. Some of the aforementioned diseases got your house quarantined by the public health department back in the early 50’s. When I got measles in ’52, an official spoke to my mother through the kitchen screen door and posted quarantine signs back and rear. Our doctor had reported my case as was the law. My grandmother had to buy the groceries and pass them to my mom without entering our flat. Only our dad was allowed to leave the house to go to work, while I was confined to what had been my parents bedroom for the duration. Everyone else had to temporarily sleep on couches, cots or hideaway beds. They weren’t foolish enough to allow even uninfected family members to spread the disease as carriers. People today will get irate and blow off any lock down directives handed down by the professional medics when Covid-19 rolls across the USA as it will do.

  202. Anonymous[388] • Disclaimer says:
    @alex in San Jose AKA Digital Detroit

    I am in the vanguard of the boomers, the same age as Slick Willy, Killary, Dubya, BadOrangeMan, Inventor of the Internet, OJ, Spielberg, Reggie, Indiana Solo, Clarence Thomas and more rich famous people than you can shake a stick at. Our cohort has been running this country for the past 30 years, with the presidential candidates if anything actually getting OLDER!! You are correct, sir. The cards fell just right for us as a group (not so much individually, especially if you take into account the 58,000 of us killed in Nam). Shoot, the CC provided my edu virtually free for 8 years of grammar school and at quite reasonable prices throughout HS. The state covered my tuition and fees through college and the federal government paid for a cost-free Ph.D.

    They unleashed me onto the world totally debt-free into a job market that provided a respectable if not prestigious and well-paying position to anyone with any kind of degree and a pulse. Irrespective of what they might tell you, women and minorities could also find work, including well-paid professional work, with no problemo. A blue collar worker could support a family of five, own two cars and a summer home on his paycheck alone back then. Wifey could stay home with the kids, watch afternoon soaps, and pop darvons with her highballs to take the edge off. We’ve come a long way, baby. 1970 A.D. (the last year workers got a real payraise) is 50 years in the rear view mirror. Sorry you ended up with the dirty end of the history stick, kiddo. But you must admit, that many boomers, though in the pink as young bucks have come a cropper in their dotage. So that must give you some Schadenfreude.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  203. J says: • Website

    The boys in my gang were focused in building a working pistol from wood and water pipe; later we sent rockets to the air. We wrote letters to NASA asking for picture of jets and rockets and sent us wonderful free colour photographs. IBM sent me a de luxe magazine Think, with detailed explanation of how their invention of computer memory worked (a simple matrix of magnet rings), I tried to build one but it did not work for me. Those were the times of the Cold War. I also wrote the Soviets to send me pictures, never got anything. We looked up “vulva” in the dictionary and masturbated in class. We had no idea how girls were built nor how sex was done. Yet somehow we grew up, got real jobs and produced children.

  204. @alex in San Jose AKA Digital Detroit

    The ancient armies had “slingers”. (Not sure of the exact name). They were deadly. Goliath would have had no chance against one of them. If David was killing lions to protect his sheep then he was probably just as good.

    The Carthaginians adored the Balearic slingers, whom Vegetius says actually invented the sling, and Hannibal had a large core of them in his mercenary army. They often bested the Roman skirmishers and during the battle of Cannae one of the Roman Consuls Aemilius Paullus was killed by a shot to the head. Once Rome expanded to the islands they employed the Balearic slings as skirmishers until the end of the empire.

  205. @dearieme

    Hitler declared war on the US because the United States was already at war against Germany without bothering to declare war (just like in WWI). After Pearl Harbor, Hitler declared war on the US so that he could finally start shooting back after two years of ordering his U-boat commanders NOT to respond to US provocation, despite the fact that the US was openly attacking the U-boats and shipping tons of war material to Britain and Russia by convoy protected by American warships. The U.S. Navy was also transporting British troops with impunity to war zones throughout the British empire BEFORE we were officially at war.

    • Agree: Pat Kittle
  206. @washingRic

    I have no doubt. Having to contend with wolves, eagles, etc predating on sheep, they had to be at least pretty good with a sling. Obviously there was something I was doing wrong. I remember seeing an illustration in a book (the kind of interesting factual kind that used to be abundant, aimed at kids and adults who wanted to enlarge their knowledge) a photograph of a lead slug used in an ancient sling, with Roman/Greek lettering on it that the book said translated to “take this!”

  207. @IvyMike

    Being British, Ihad no idea who Lizzo, if a real person, was, so I Googled……..OH MY EFFING GOD!

    How I wish I hadn’t, I should have remained blissfully unaware and un- “woke”.

    You’re right re. fatties, in my primary school ( that’s grade shool in Amurican) class in the 50’s there was only one fat kid, same in High School. Looking at the class photo today, he looks like like what would today be regarded as normal-sized!

  208. Doug1943 says:

    Don’t forget zinc-dust-and-sulfur rockets.

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