Some Things Beyond Our Horizon

Montgomery Blair High School as it looked on a June morning when the Class of 1950 bid it "farewell".
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Our class was graduated from high school in June 1950. Here are some of the things we didn't learn about in school ... because they didn't exist yet!!!

The space program. Sputnik wasn't launched until 1957. Manned space flight began in 1961 and Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon was 19 years in the future.

Touch-tone phones ... direct dial long-distance ... answering machines ... cell phones ... FAX machines.

The Korean War ... the Vietnam war ... two wars in Iraq ... and various lesser conflicts around the world ... The Berlin Wall (it went up and it came down.)

Heart transplant operations ... CT-scans ... nuclear medicine ... genetic engineering. These are just a few examples of the developments that were about to explode on the scene in medical science. A modern hospital is jammed with equipment to diagnose illness and save lives. None of it existed on my graduation day.

By 1950, there was commercial TV but only a few stations. Many homes didn't even have a set. There were no satellite channels. Color TV was a long way in the future. So was video-recording.

Super bowls ... instant replays ... major league baseball on the West Coast.

McDonald's (that was four years in the future) ... pizza restaurants.

Jetliners. They were way over the horizon. One nice thing ... so were airline hijackings.

Guys wearing earrings ... girls sporting tattoos. (Not in our school, anyway.)

ZIP codes ... area codes ... the genetic code.

Microwave ovens ... Disneyland ... the interstate highway system.

Personal computers ... transistors ... e-mail and the Internet. Pong, the first computer game, didn't exist. Neither did Microsoft nor its founder Bill Gates (born in 1955).

The birth control pill ... commercial movies with nudity and obscene language.

ATM machines ... credit cards. The average family didn't have many debts other than a mortgage on the house and, maybe, a car loan.

"All news -- all the time" radio. I made my living in all-news radio for 25 years ... but on my high school graduation day, nobody had heard of it yet.

Those are some of the things that didn't exist on Graduation Day, 1950. On that June morning, to the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance" march, we filed into Blair Stadium to get our diplomas. I thought I knew it all. Turns out we all had a lot to learn.

Ironically, there has been another change since Graduation Day, 1950 --- Montgomery Blair High School itself is no longer in its old location above Sligo Creek Park in Silver Spring. The town simply outgrew the beautiful old brick building where Goldie Hawn, Connie Chung, Silvester Stallone, Ben Stein, Carl Bernstein and thousands of other less-famous students prepared for fruitful lives. Blair High is now in a much bigger campus in a different part of town.

But the old building is still intact ... and so are countless good memories of days spent there.