Yesterday I posted this on my Facebook "fan" page. I can't say I really have fans, just people who apparently enjoy reading my occasional drivel. And I thank them. Remarkably, this was my most popular post. I got to thinking why. It occurred to me that much like myself, in many ways we long for those days.
Childhood. I was born in '57 (yeah, that long ago). Chevy's, Elvis, Eisenhower was President and The Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles. All this news and information was only delivered through a newspaper, AM radio or if you were lucky to own one, a TV. Since the color TV first came out in 1953, we watched most all our shows on our black and white. The black and white TV with the rabbit ear antenna on top and the edge of a spoon stuck into the manual dialer to get better reception.
I played outside all the time. Our bathtub at the end of a summer night was typically filled with water that you couldn't even see through. We were scrubbed, read a story to and if we were lucky, sometimes we would have a 10 cent ice cream treat from the Good Humor Man. Ours was Morrie and he would take all us kids on rides around the block and we would laugh and laugh (he did not molest us, no kidnappings either).
We rode our bikes everywhere. We had unlimited imagination when we would play. The bushes on the side of our house weren't bushes; they could be covered with a blanket and be a fort. They could be where the princess met her prince. They lined the sidewalk where we played hopscotch. We timed each other at the fifty yard dash. Sometimes we would take a quarter and walk to Golf Mill which was near where I grew up. We loved to watch the mill go around and throw food at the fish. Simple.
In winters we went sledding, we had snowball fights. On cold nights inside we played house in the basement. We set up pretend kitchens. Not the fully equipped miniature versions we buy for our kids now. Cardboard boxes, colored paper. Cans, little aprons. We pretended so many different things. We could be anything.
Meals were always as a family and they were traditional. Salad, meat, potatoes, vegetables and a dessert. There was no dishwasher. Well there was, he was 6 feet tall and always had a towel over his shoulder. One of us had to clear the table and sweep. The other had to dry and put away. You didn't argue, you just did it.
We watched Creature Features on Friday nights on WGN. There were only 4 channels on TV so there wasn't a huge choice. When WFLD came out as a fifth channel it was a huge deal. 2,5,7,9 and wow, 32!! A double digit channel. On Monday nights I was allowed to stay up late and watch The Carol Burnett Show. That was on 2 (CBS).
We'd go downtown sometimes on Sundays. That was exciting as we got to wear party dresses, lace trimmed anklets and black patent leather shoes. One would never consider wearing jeans to the city; that was for rural folk. We never wore jeans to school; we weren't even allowed to wear pants until I was in 7th grade. And that was a special treat. It was called "pants day". And at that time, boys didn't have their asses hanging out of their pants.
I drew alot. I played Barbies (yes, my friends and I had Ken and Barbie having pretend sex, some things never change). I played softball. I had sleep overs with my friends. We'd stay up and talk half the night about boys, school and what we wanted to be when we grew up. And yes, we drank from the garden hose and didn't come in until Mom yelled out the door.
You'll notice the conspicuous absence of several items that today we think we cannot live without.
All those play dates and sleep overs, high school dates and plans were all made on one rotary phone with one phone number. A seven digit number that did not require a 1 or an area code and your social security number/drivers license number and...well you get the picture.
When we had a family meal we actually talked. No cell phones. No texting. No Facebooking. No Tweeting. No Instagram posting. No Linked In. Nada. Just good conversation. After dinner we would either play a game or watch a little TV. We didn't retire to our video games. We didn't know what a computer was, let alone a laptop or an I Pad.
And dinners were standard fare. We didn't count calories, carbs, grains, or otherwise. We didn't know how many grams of anything were in what we ate. We didn't care about gluten, sugar, fat or high fructose corn syrup. McDonald's had sold about a million.
Dating? If a boy wanted to go out on a date he would call me. On the rotary phone with one number. Not on a cell phone. No texting to see if I wanted to "hook up". If I had a boyfriend and we were arguing, we actually talked. We didn't text back and forth for hours.
I drove a car and paid attention to the road. Not to a phone. Not to that thing that kills people while they drive and text. I didn't have a seatbelt and as kids we all flopped around the back seat.
Anyone who grew up then knows what I'm talking about. I miss those days. I miss the simplicity. I miss the time we used for communication and closeness. I wish that my own children grew up exactly that way, without all of the distractions that are supposed to make our lives easier.
Why don't you try it for a week? Give up all the technology. Give up the diet. Have family meals. See why we who lived it, loved it.
And take a sip from the hose. It won't kill you.