To the Point by Jack Bobo
We live in a fast world today, and it is easy to lose perspective in terms of some of our most important decisions. For that reason, I believe it is important to occasionally look back over the road that has been traveled to take some measure of how progress has been achieved.
But it is also important in doing so not to become chained to the past or to expect the past to be revisited. The past is past, but we can learn from it.
I recall in the early 1960s the vice chairman of the board of a major financial corporation telling me that he had sold his brownstone home in Manhattan because he was convinced that the good times could not last and we would soon re-enter the Depression of the 1930s. He expected that the tidy profit he had made from the sale would see him through the rough times he envisioned for the future.
Well, he was dead wrong. If he had kept the brownstone until he died some years later, it would likely have quadrupled in value. Being mindful of the past is not a signpost for the future, but it can help keep things in perspective–providing a balance between how far and how fast we have traveled and providing expectations for the future.
The year 1924 was a great one in my life, primarily because it was the year I was born. It was also great because it produced many notables who have in one way or another impacted our lives. Joining me in starting life in 1924 were Presidents George Bush and Jimmy Carter, along with Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Joining from the world of theater were Lauren Bacall and Marlon Brando, and from corporate America, Lee Iacocca. Leaving the world in that year were President Woodrow Wilson and Russias Vladimir Lenin.
Songs popular in 1924 were “Fascinating Rhythm,” “Indian Love Call” and “Ill See You in my Dreams.” Some of these are still playing, and I wonder how many of todays hits will be remembered 78 years hence. A popular movie was entitled “Thief of Baghdad” and thats still playing in a sense, but in a different context.
Two popular inventions of 1924 were Kleenex and the loudspeaker. Boy, did they ever have an impact upon life. Kleenex was probably among the first, it not the first, of our “throwaway commodities.” At times, I am sure, most of us would also like to throw away the loudspeaker.
In 1924, the average income was $2,196; the price of a new car was $265 and a new house was $7,720. A loaf of bread cost 9 cents, a gallon of gas, 11 cents and a gallon of milk, 54 cents. The Dow Jones average that year was 100. Life expectancy was 54.1 years.