By the way, in response to my previous blog post two folks called and chatted with me. It meant a great deal.
I know many of us older, cranky people talk about how much better it was in the olden days. Much of it was, actually. We kids weren’t over-booked with activities; we didn’t have helicopter parents; we lived in a slightly safer world. That’s not to say we didn’t drink out of the garden hose, rode our bikes behind the town truck spraying mosquito killer, played on all metal jungle gyms, shared a bottle of soda with several friends, rode in cars without seat belts, you get the idea.
It was kind of a wholesome life. Many kids had moms who didn’t work outside of the house. Even those of us with moms who did work, they managed to have a hot dinner on the table for us most nights. We were taught manners, respect for ourselves and for others. As a girl, it was impressed upon me not to let a boy take liberties because I wouldn’t be respected. Besides, I think it made dating a little more exciting if we were still discovering romance rather than counting conquests. It made dating more meaningful in my opinion.
I digress. Two things were instrumental in shaping my life (other than family): books and television. As mentioned in other posts, I was a goofy kid. I was a blend of funny, spontaneous, imaginative, active, bookish, and very shy. I loved to play and if it was outdoors, all the better.
But I also enjoyed watching television. We had a smallish tv when I was a kid, maybe a 14″ screen. It was black and white and we had to get up and change the channel manually. There were a total of three channels. Captain Kangaroo ruled the mornings. Afternoons featured many choices such as My Favorite Martian, My Mother the Car, The Munsters, The Addams Family, Gilligans Island, and a host of others. One of my favorites on the weekend was ABC’s Wide World of Sports where “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” was captured on film for us to watch. I remember watching arm wrestling one week only to see a competitor’s arm break during the match. Didn’t faze me in the least. Now it would give me the dry heaves. And heaven forbid if the show was interrupted and the words “Special Report” appeared in large letters on your screen. We kids in the 60’s saw that a lot as we were witness to many political assassinations.
And the Cold War always hovered just behind us. Our basements were stocked with canned goods, sterno, and bottles of water. Not the type of bottles you see today, but real glass bottles that had once contained juice, milk, or other products. Living in a city that had a missile silo made me all too aware of the threat. Yet, we carried on.
Kids these days will never know the thrill of watching a space shot or a splashdown. A thrill to see the launch but we never knew if they were going to return or not. It was a joyous event when they did. Classes were often stopped for us to be taken into the cafeteria or gym to have 200 of us watch the event on a single 19″ tv set. Then there were the magical sleepy afternoons of fall when we might catch a glimpse of a World Series game. Or if one was lucky enough to own a transistor radio with an earphone, it was brought into school and hidden in the desk. That student’s job was to provide score updates.
I don’t know. Things were good back then. It was fairly uncomplicated. We appreciated what we had and didn’t expect things like $700 cell phones to be handed to us. If we wanted stuff, we saved for it. We mowed lawns, babysat and did odd jobs for the neighbors. We stuck with our part-time jobs as it spoke well for our work ethic. Kids have jobs du jour now. and their work ethics are often horrible.
I don’t deign to return to those days. But, as a memory, it was a special time. A time that had an impact on my character, on my morals, and ethics. I’m proud to be a product of those days. It means something to me. I will touch on reading another time.