The local morning radio crew here talked about this topic, and I thought it interesting enough to write about.
I imagine when most of us were young, we knew some family or some kid we hung out with that we thought were RICH!, because said family/kid lived in, say, a split-level house, or had a semi-circular driveway or a sunken living room or central air-conditioning (or better yet, central vacuum!). Maybe you knew someone you thought was all that because they had a basement that had carpeting and it was a rec room with a console TV and the console record player/cassette/8-track/radio system!
I spent most of my early life living in various apartments. Even spent a couple of years living in a trailer (I know some of you are saying 'Well, that explains a lot, YD.'), and in many ways that time was some of the most fun time of my childhood.
I remember one neighborhood back home, East Savanna. That was (and still is) kind of the newish part of town. All the homes out there seemed like big sprawling ranch-style houses with well-manicured lawns, and I know the kids out there had the basement rec rooms with those fancy Betamax players and Colecovisions and expanded cable with MTV and HBO and Playboy Channel if the cable company didn't scramble it enough. Some showoff might even have TV from a satellite! You could tell because they had the big dish in the backyard that was the size of the Arecibo radiotelescope.
I don't write that previous out of envy, but more to emphasize what we might think of as being wealthy. My mom now lives out in East Savanna, and most of the houses have shrunk down to the size of mid-1960s ranches and 1940s-1950s era tract houses. It still is one of the better neighborhoods in town, though.
That, members of the jury, is the question for you. What was the thing that stood out about some family you knew or someone you knew when you were young that might have made you say 'Wow! You must be RICH!'. Maybe they were the first family in town to have a VCR, the big top-loading one that cost $600 when $600 was like a hell of a lot of dough (double points if they owned a laser-disc player), or the friend that had a TRS-80 home computer with 16K! of RAM and a modem! (We could dial NORAD!), or the kid up the block whose parents bought him a Trans-Am when he turned 16, instead of letting him drive the family's old '74 station wagon back and forth to school or (horrors) let him walk to work, school, and dates.
Tell me about it. We're here for you!