Sunday, July 29, 2012

Things My Kids Will Never Know

Since I'm an older than average waitress while going to school, I have a tendency to feel my age at certain moments...such as A) having a feeling of disgust when people come to work hung over and still sweating alcohol B) wanting to be done with their shift by 11 PM so they can still make a "party bus" and recently C) mentioning the song "Yellow Submarine" and someone looking at me with a complete blank stare. Wwwhaaa?!! How can ANYONE not know who the Beatles are?! Good Lord, has it been that long?

But it got me to thinking, what is it that I feel should be common knowledge, but my kids will have no clue?

So here's my list:

1) A rotary phone with a cord. And so many things that go along with that. They will never know the limitation of having a phone call ONLY when you're home, and then only 10 ft of cord length. Privacy? You had to shut yourself in a nearby closet, and your parents only had to trace the length of the cord to find you. AND they would always know who you were talking to, because you are RIGHT THERE. Not like you could disguise your conversation. AND I was from a Pierre, SD, so at one point, I didn't even have to dial the prefix. Only the last 4 numbers. I had to wait for that stupid phone to rotate all the way around, (7...tick, tick tick tick, tick) and if you had a lot of zeros in your number, you had to be a good friend, or you just weren't worth the effort.

Along with this, add an answering machine. They will only know voice mail.

2) Microwavable anything. NOTHING could be cooked in less than 10 minutes. Even now, when I cook a potpie for 4 minutes and it ends up still frozen in the center and I have to put it back in for 45 seconds...the kids complain!! Are you kidding me?? If I wanted a hot dog, it didn't take 20 seconds...first, I had to boil the water, then put the hot dog in and wait for at least 3 more minutes. Popcorn. Worse. Heat oil, put in 2 seeds, wait until they pop, add more popcorn wait an ungodly amount of like 6 minutes for it to finish popping. AND you had to stand there or you would start a fire. Which I did. Several times.

3) Television without the ability to fast forward through commercials, record your favorite program...or hell, even a remote! If you didn't set time aside to watch your favorite show, you were SOL. You had to pee? You waited for the commercial...and sat through them all. You missed something? Well too bad. Gone. You had to actually get off your fat bum to go turn a dial. You were considered rich if you had more than 5 channels. I remember the birth of HBO, and MTV. And MTV played music videos (gasp!) of bands in front of a psychedelic background. You adjusted antennas. Your TV was a huge box, not "flat." Your favorite program was on? You made time to all view it together, it was almost as important as the family dinner. If your favorite cartoon character farted, you couldn't rewind and play it over and over. (But, wait, farting and burping and vomiting weren't a part of our cartoons...)

4) We washed our dishes by hand, and you divided the chore into "wash," "dry" and "put away" and there were marvelous conversations held over hot water and bubbles.

5) We couldn't "Google" anything. You went to the library or you were lucky to own a set of encyclopedias.

6) We had "typing" class in Jr. High. With real life typewriters that didn't have a backspace or delete. Just "white out."

7) We played outside, made-up games. We knew our neighbors and we came home when it was dark. No worries. I remember a time when my parents had a camper parked in our driveway, and a friend and I spent the whole day drawing, coloring, and cutting out paper food for our "restaurant" in there. We sold lemonade, and painted rocks at the end of our driveway.

8) Parents (and Teachers) were allowed to "spank" us without fear of a 9-1-1 call or some sort of civil suit filed.

9) We behaved in public places without the aid of a "tablet" a "a Kindle" or any other electronic device. We behaved or we were spanked. End or story.

10) If you were a bully, you did it in person...not on Facebook, or via email. It's so amazing how brave certain people are when they don't have to confront someone face-to-face.

11) Obesity was not an issue.

12) Everyone suffered from chicken pox at least once.

13) Birthday parties were simple. You played pin the tail on the donkey, or pop the balloon by sitting on it and you blew out your candles on a lopsided cake.  It wasn't a competition of which parent could outdo which parent by rental blow up games, or rental of facilities or entertainment.

14) Roller skates that involved a key and a sturdy tennis shoe.

15) You had limited brand names...Wrangler, Levi's and that was about it.

16) College was affordable.

17) Video games were Pong, Donkey Kong, Centipede, and pinball. And they cost 25¢ to play.

18) Gasoline cost less than a dollar a gallon.

19) If you were lucky enough to own a video camera, it had a huge battery pack you strapped around your waist large enough to make Rambo proud.

And once you got older (18 was legal), choice of liquor shots consisted of whiskey, Everclear, Jack Daniels. Not a Chuck Norris, not anything involving Red Bull, or anything tasting like cake. Beer was American and was limited to brands such as Olympia, Pabst, Miller High Life, and Schlitz. We didn't care how many calories it had.

20) Barbie didn't have several Kens to choose from, or a mansion, or a car, or a Pet Shop. Most of mine had homemade clothes.

Ahhh, the simple life. Makes me wonder what my grandparents thought of as evolutionary....

My youngest is turning 6. He wants to play laser tag. He hasn't been to kindergarten yet, so I have to invite MY friends to be bait. Just so he has something to shoot at. Sad.

We look at everything wrong in the world today...drugs, shooting sprees in schools and public places, sexual and physical abuse, a disconnect with parents and children, violence, puberty happening sooner than 13....I think sometimes our world has allowed us to be more 'disonnected' in an all too connected world.

Family suppers have disappeared, holidays like "May Day," are gone, kids growing up too fast and exposed to so much too soon, families gathered around the TV instead of enjoying one-on-one interaction with one another...


Too many distractions, not enough interactions.

Life should be simple. It seems to have a greater impact.


  1. Hehehe. I remember all of it. Including the fact that doctors didn't want to take health insurance. They wanted good, old fashioned cash. On top of that though, I have an extremely large and old family. Old like my first cousins are older than my mom. My grandmother moved from Texas to Indian Territory in a covered wagon. No lie.

    So, in addition to washing the dishes by hand, I have a real working understanding of cooking in cast iron over a wood burning stove, doing the laundry with a washboard and an extremely dangerous crank wringer, ironing with sad irons, canning and preserving EVERYTHING, making butter, making cornhusk dolls...mowing the grass with a hand powered only push mower. Seriously. Just blades on a long handle. Bathwater was reused by all members of the family, youngest last. (I hated being at my Uncle Chief's house at bathtime, cuz I'm the baby of the baby of the family. EWWWWWW!) Incidentally, Uncle Chief didn't have indoor plumbing until the mid-eighties. Well water was toted and nature's business was done in chamber pots or in the outhouse.

    I rarely got sick though, no matter the lead paint or the dirty germs, and I didn't get allergies until a few years ago. I only used antibiotics once in my life, after my niece and nephew gave me strep throat.

    Love this post. Someday very soon, I'm going to return to the simpler days...but I'm not giving up the internet or my Playstation for anything!

    1. Thank you so much for writing! I love hearing stories of even the older "ol'" days. I truly believe that we do get sick more often because we wipe everything off and shield everyone from germs. My mom used to tell me of the bath thing too, but she was second oldest!