“Pictured here is a famous English statesman of World War II who won fame, among other things, for his statement about blood, sweat, toil and tears. If you identify him correctly you automatically become eligible for our mammoth contest with prizes totaling—”
“Can you use $50,000? Test yourself at the letter-scramble game by rearranging the letters A-T-C to form the name of a four-legged feline animal commonly kept as a domestic—”
“I was pulling down $300 a week. Then I caught The Vision.”
“If you are good at geography a three-month tropical cruise may be yours! You can qualify by supplying the last word to this two-word name for a large North American river leading to the Great Lakes. Saint—”
“Below are pictured four musical instruments— piano, saxophone, violin and harp, but not necessarily in the order named. If you can identify them in the correct order there is no reason why your skill shouldn't bring you—”
Remember the cool old days?
Martha put the paper down. It was dated 1983. She turned to the window, toying with her greying hair. "Dig those kids,” she said indignantly. “Wheeling around in a souped-up chopper.”
George, her husband, a perpetually weary man, ambled to her side and peered sourly out of the window. "And Fred’s with them,” he muttered. “A short’s not good enough for that cat any more.” "Helicopters,” murmured Martha, adjusting her pince-nez. "Who needs helicopters, man?” The back door tlew open. Fred, their teen-aged son, w'alked in.
"Man you drag me,” said George severely. “Out with the chicks all the time. Never coming home to the pad. You bug me, man, to say the least.”
"Sorry, Dad,” said Fred unconcernedly, slumping into a chair. “I went to the concert at the Auditorium. An Italian tenor.”
"Do you really dig that jive, dear?” asked his mother indulgently.
"Sure,’ said Fred. “It was a good performance. Outstanding I’d say.”
"Way out,” said his father huffily. “So far out the trains don’t run there. Is that what you're trying to say, man?”
Fred shrugged and smoothed a wrinkle from his plain maroon tie. “He was good on that Guadalajara,” he said mildly.
George shook his head sadly. “Guadalajara,” he said in a hushed voice. "A son of mine.”
Freddie got up. "On my way again,” he said. "Just wanted to tell you not to keep supper, Mom.” His mother stared fondly at him. “Darling,” she said reprovingly. “Must you wear those ties? Haven't you got any respectable shoe-string neckties left? And those wide-cuffed trousers. Don’t tell me your kitten's smitten with those, man.”
"It s the tashion,” said Fred tolerantly. "Bell-bottoms,” scoffed George righteously. He stared proudly at his own tightly draped strides. “In my day no self-respecting cat who was really hip . . .” “Yes, Dad, I know,” said Fred quickly. “Good-by all," he said turning to the door.
“See you later, alligator,” said George, rather stiffly. Fred nodded, wincing a little and the door crashed shut.
George sal back shaking his head. “I don’t dig this generation. Martha,” he said finally. "I don't dig it at all. What’s wrong with them? Everything's ‘good’ or ‘wonderful.’ Nothing’s simply ‘cool’ or ‘crazy any more.” He peered appealingly at her. "And those silly short haircuts and silly clothes. We didn’t act like that did we?”
"Fads,” said Martha wisely. “Give them time, man. They'll straighten up and lly right. Some day they'll settle down with hip chicks in their own pads.” “There’s trouble ahead,” said George darkly. "I ll bet you a stack of big ones.”
"Play it cool,” said Martha calmly. She took the dishes out of the radar washer and turned consolingly to her husband.
"Just blow this on your axe, Daddy-O,” she said, pointing to the TV program. “There’s a Good Old Days bit on tonight. R. & R. Gillespie. A message Iro , Kerouac. Readings from The Bird. Ginsbere, man.”
George tottered to his feet. His shoulders straightened and an expectant gleam brightened his eyes. He ran one hand through his thinning duck-tail haircut and smoothed a silvery sideburn. He walked carefully into the living room and relaxed contentedly in his favorite chair in front of the TV set. “Crazy,” he murmured softly. “Crazy.”
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.