09 August 2010

The good side of town.

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!

yankeedog out.


  1. Not something I really think about YDog, even as an apprentice working in Toorak (The expensive end of town). Guess I'm not overly concerned with it ;)

  2. Mate of mine's parents owned the local toy shop. They were loaded, made money in property etc, had new and flash cars, but it was OWNING THE TOY SHOP that registered as the Big Achievement.

    Another set of friends (two brothers), their parents had a house with both a spa and a sauna. In subtropical northern NSW where the latter is far more useless and pointless than a chocolate fireguard.

  3. As a kid I once lived in a small town (Pop - 200) and the most popular kid in town was the Butcher's son because they were the only ones to have a TV (Rich Bastards).

  4. Bangar-It never concerned me on one level. But it is in a way interesting.

    Doc-Yeah! That's the stuff! That's what I'm looking for.

    Al-Yep! Rubbing it in with their fancy television set. Did they actually get any reception, though?

  5. Great post Yankee! I remember thinking my uncle must have been SO rich because he was one of the first people to buy a video player. Pity he bought BETA!!!!

    I used to work in this uniform shop when I was a teenager and the lady who owned had me babysit her kids a few times. They lived in this freaking MANSION on the side of a cliff overlooking the river in the ritzier part of my suburb. To rub salt into the wound, they had a set of stairs that descended to a jetty and a boat.

    Mum and I drove past the place on Virginia Avenue just last Sunday. The place looked like a dump compared to the other monstrosities that had been built around it since. Amazing how perception changes over time isn't it?

  6. Nat-Your uncle was the stuff. He could watch movies ANYTIME! Even on Beta.

    Oh, definitely, people with their own dock on a lake or river must be wealthy as all get out! Forgot about something like being on a body of water.

  7. Countries like Australia and NZ where most of the population is on the coast, the water thing is even more of a focus.