Erie County Stay Fitness Program

By Richard Derwald,
Senior Fitness/Wellness
Consultant Erie County

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1962 vs 2022

Today at age 86, I can take retrospective look at how the culture of our nation was at various eras during my lifetime. I originally planned the focus of this article to include the timeframe between the years 1942 and 2022, but realized that beginning with the year 1962 would offer a more meaningful time frame to the readers of AFTER 50 MAGAZINE. There is an old song titled “What a Difference a Day Makes”. Comparing the differences between the year 1962 and the new year of 2022 is like comparing life on two different planets.

Frog in the water

Many may not be fully aware of how every facet of their life has radically changed over the years. There is an old tale about putting a frog in a pot of cool water and then placing it on the burner of a stove. According to the tale, as the water heats up the frog will not notice the change in temperature and it will remain in the boiling water until it ultimately dies – BUT if you attempt to place the frog directly in a pot of hot water it will immediately jump out. Obviously, the lesson to be learned here is that gradual changes are often hard to recognize and the cumulative effect is most often unrecognizable or overlooked.

Technology - Changes and progress

There have been more advancements in technology during these years than during the entire history of mankind. These advancements can be found in the areas including communications, transportation, and medicine. I am probably showing my age by stating there is no progress without change, but all change does not necessarily constitute progress. (Example) A committee comprised by members of congress has been established to study the negative effects on the mental and emotional health of younger people resulting from constant use of some applications found on smartphones such as tick-tock and Instagram.


Many elements of our culture such as art and education have drastically changed over the years. Music is often used in the background soundtrack of motion pictures to enhance a scene or to help define an era in time. When Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones appeared on the Sunday Night Ed Sullivan Show to promote their song “Let’s Spend the Night Together”, the producer told them that the title and lyrics were too risqué. In order to perform on the show, they were were forced to change the lyrics to “let’s spend some time together” so as not to offend the then delicate sensibilities of American TV viewers. Compared to the lyrics of today’s music, Jagger’s 1960s song is like a Mother Goose nursery rhyme. I have included this story as an example of how the culture has progressed (or regressed) since the 1960s.

1962 vs 2022

1962 President Kennedy asks Congress for $531 million to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade. 2022 SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin are in a competitive race to become the first to offer tourism to outer space. The cost per person will be about $200,000. 1962 On October 22nd, President Kennedy addresses the nation in a televised speech, announcing the presence of Russian offensive missile sites in Cuba. 2021 According to U.S. intelligence officials, Russia moved 70,000 troops close to Ukraine's border and is readying for a potential invasion early next year. 1962 James Meredith becomes the first African American student to enroll at the University of Mississippi on September 30th. 2022 Black Lives Matter Movement. 1962 In June the iconic Marvel superhero Spider Man made his first appearance in the Amazing Fantasy #15 comic. 2022 The movie franchise SPIDER MAN is now the most profitable of all the superhero releases.

1962 The development of the coronary artery bypass which uses a method called revascularization. This guides the flow of blood from the heart's nonessential left internal mammary artery, avoiding diseased arteries. This is what we know as open-heart surgery. 2022 According to the American Heart Association, the number of annual open-heart surgeries performed in the United States is now approximately 700,000.


Like everything else, every era has its good and bad times. Unfortunately, when most think about the past they tend to filter out the bad times and remember only “the good old days”. Quote – “Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.”

Personal observation - The way prices are rising the good old days were last week.