You've mentioned your age a few times. How old are you exactly? And how were things different when you were young?
Signed, A Kid
I feel 24 years old, but my driver's license says I was born on November 3, 1957 so... [calculating] that makes me 53 years old. Ouch!
Telephones used to be mounted on walls, not carried in your pockets. And they had rotary-dials. I remember when touch-phones were introduced and people thought that was a big deal. Dialing a rotary-phone takes forever.
My first significant memory of society was the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated (November 22, 1963). I was six years old and didn't know what a president was, but was shocked at the sight of adults crying. Everyone was so solemn and sad that I knew something important had happened, even though I didn't understand what. You just sensed life was different. It was similar to the grave mood on September 11, 2001.
On a brighter note, I remember four "mop-tops" coming over from Britain in 1964, starting a wave of "Beatlemania." You can't imagine how intense the reaction was to The Beatles -- they were huge. Everyone watched their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and the group was mobbed everywhere. Thousands of screaming young girls surrounded and chased them around America. The media reported on the band breathlessly and every possible way to merchandize their popularity was tried. You either loved or hated The Beatles; indifference wasn't possible.
The 1960's were an exciting time to live through, although toward the end it got chaotic. Order broke down in many places and people were actually killed in places like Kent State. Young people organized over opposition to the Vietnam War and rock music was a rallying cry. The "younger generation" set itself apart from their parents by adopting long hair and wild clothes. There really was a "generation gap" and large numbers of people argued with their parents and broke away from them. Drugs grew in popularity and, toward the end of the decade, it seemed everyone got high. Drug culture emerged and had many promoters like Cheech and Chong, Timothy Leary, and innumerable rock musicians. Sex, drugs and rock 'n roll was more than an anthem, it was a lifestyle.
The scene evolved into the 1970's which were significant for polyester and disco music. Mainstream culture caught up with what was happening among young people, co-opted it and de-fanged it. The authentic and original ideas of the Sixties were replaced with slick commercial exploitation.
I better stop here before someone yells, "The old guy's ranting again!"