19 Things Only Boomers Will Remember

Many things have changed over the past few decades. History has been made, and technology has developed. This means those in the older generation (boomers) will still be able to remember the world as it was. Here are 19 things only boomers will remember.

Going to the Drive-In Theater

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Going to the drive-in theater used to be a fun, social occasion. Friends and family would drive to the theater and then relax in the car, but this doesn’t happen so much anymore. For example, Inspired by Insiders writes, “Today, these outdoor theaters are considered a novelty, but it was a regular weekend activity for baby boomers.”

Using Payphones

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Mobile phones didn’t exist a few decades ago, so boomers would also need to make sure they had some spare change in case they needed to make a call using a pay phone. Today, they’re seen as having a nostalgic charm and never needing to be used.

Black-and-White Television

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Before color TV, boomers had to watch their favorite shows in black and white. Color TV wasn’t invented until the mid-1950s and it wasn’t until the late 1950s and early 1960s that it started to become widespread. There was huge excitement for boomers when they got to see their favorite TV show in color.

Vinyl Records

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Playing music used to be a tactile experience where boomers would be able to collect vinyls from their favorite artists and play them out loud. Nowadays, we have digital streaming and rarely buy a physical album. Vinyl is still treasured and seen as a vintage item that some still collect.

Rotary Phones

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Good Housekeeping writes, “It used to take a lot longer to dial someone’s phone number, especially if it had a lot of nines or zeros in it.” The manual dialing process used to be a long one, and boomers will no doubt be able to remember the sounds that came with it.

Watching Man Land on the Moon

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The man landing on the moon in 1969 was a global phenomenon. Everyone watched it on television, and it was considered a communal experience to be able to watch it on TV. Nearly every single person who had a TV would have watched Neil Armstrong take his first steps onto the moon.

Changing TV Channels Without a Remote

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TV remotes never used to exist, and if a boomer wanted to change a channel, they had to get up to do it. TV was always seen as a communal activity that the whole family sat down to watch, so there were no doubt some arguments about who would be getting up to change the channel.

Postcards as a Primary Communication Tool

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If a person went traveling, they couldn’t just send a text or email like we can today. Instead, sending a postcard was a prime form of communication. Loved ones back at home would have the anticipation of receiving a postcard from somewhere else in the world, and they were often kept as souvenirs.

Adjusting the TV Antenna for Better Reception

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TV static and signal used to be a common annoyance, as it meant the TV antenna would need to be adjusted. Many boomers came up with creative solutions to this problem, including twisting antennas into funny angles or even using tin foil. It used to become a ritual to try and find the perfect position.

The VCR Revolution

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The Washington Post tells us, “The first VCR for home use to reach the U.S. market, in 1971, was the American-made Cartri-Vision.” Boomers were able to record and rewatch their favorite TV shows and movies. It was a huge shift from scheduled TV viewing, which meant they could watch something when they wanted, not when it was on live TV.

Polaroid Cameras

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Polaroid cameras were seen as a technological advancement because boomers had instant prints. Polaroids were used as mementos of special events and something that boomers could cherish. Nowadays, Polaroid cameras are seen as a form of nostalgia, as everyone can take photos on their smartphones.

Store Catalogs

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Browsing and ordering from thick and glossy store catalogs used to bring excitement to boomers. They had the anticipation of receiving items in the mail, which wasn’t an everyday occurrence like it is today. Catalogs were seen as a starting point for online shopping.

Waiting for the Milkman

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Boomers could expect either daily or weekly deliveries of fresh milk. This was before it became more common to purchase milk from the store. It was traditional for milk deliveries to come, and then the empty bottles would be left out for the milkman to collect and reuse.

Classic TV Dinners

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TV dinners used to be the modern-day equivalent of ready meals. Meals were placed into aluminum trays, and each food was often sectioned. It created the experience of eating food while watching TV. They became popular due to their post-war convenience, as they didn’t involve any cooking.

Cigarette Ads Everywhere

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Before 1970, companies were legally allowed to advertise their cigarette brands. This is supported by Alot, which writes, “Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man have been unemployed for decades–the United States officially banned cigarette advertising on TV and the radio in 1970. But before then, it was just about as common to see cigarette commercials as any other kind.”


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The Beatles used to be the most popular band in the world, and this meant they had a lot of fans. There were so many that there became a frenzy and fan culture around the band, which created the name Beatlemania. There used to be hysterical fan reactions at concerts and public appearances.

Getting Mail Twice a Day

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During the younger days of boomers, mail used to be delivered more frequently. There was the convenience and connection of a faster postal service, which meant mail could be delivered twice a day. This was commonly seen in the 1950s, but nowadays we only have mail delivered once a day.

Savory Jell-O Dishes

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This was a bizarre culinary invention that saw savory foods put into Jell-O. It’s now a culinary trend that most people prefer to forget, which probably goes to show that the Jell-O didn’t taste that great. It’s now seen as a retro dish and something Americans have happily stopped.

Dressing Up to Fly

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HuffPost writes, “In the ‘30s, commercial flights didn’t have tiered classes because only rich people flew―and of course, they dressed up for the occasion.” It was considered normal to wear formal attire on planes because flying wasn’t a common occurrence. It used to be a luxurious experience that only the rich could do.

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