Thursday, March 13, 2014

Best of AM - My Childhood and Young Adulthod Considered as a Museum Piece

I will be running some "best of" here and there over the next couple of weeks.  This first blog post, from 2009, is one of my personal favorites.  As I look at this post in 2014:

I am 61, have been blogging for five years now, and am still blogging.

The woman in the first paragraph is still alive, and thriving.  She travels across the country several times a year by plane, and texts with her grandchildren.  She even set up a Twitter account, although I don't think she uses it.

I am still amazed when I am interacting with people my son's age (mid 20's) and even a little older, at how far removed so much of their everyday life is from what I experienced when I was (wince) "their age".

If you are older than, say, 35, do you feel the same way as I do-that your childhood belongs in a museum? And what about if you are younger? Do you feel the elders in your life are obsolete?

Herewith:

My Childhood and Young Adulthood Considered as a Museum Piece

I thought about a woman who has been my mother in law's neighbor for many years. The neighbor is in her 70's.

We both grew up in the Bronx, 2 miles and some 20 plus years apart.

We can reminisce about a major shopping area in the Bronx off Fordham Road and the Grand Concourse, shopping at the same stores, going to the same movie houses and even eating at the same restaurants. We read the same magazines (including Life and Look). We used pay phones. We drank the same brand of soda (in 7 oz green bottles). We remember the same shows, although it is true that she heard a lot of them on radio and I watched them on T.V. We even remember when TV had steady schedules and seasons that always began the same week each year. We played potsy on the sidewalks. (I'll stop now before I sound like one of those "I love the 50's" emails that circulate.)

There were many differences (popular music, fashions, hair styles, to name three) but we have so much in common that we've had several nice chats about our respective childhoods.

Now think of someone 26 years younger than me. Or, put it this way. My sister in law is 12 years younger than me and there is so much we don't have in common (not that she grew up in my neighborhood, but just in general).

And the 38 years between me and my son? It's sometimes like trying to build a bridge across the Grand Canyon.

Never mind how I accessed the Internet in my childhood or if I played video games during a teacher's strike in 1968.

Let's see some of the things I've had to explain to him: For starters: typewriters. Record players. Rotary phones. Carbon paper. Mimeograph machines. Telegrams. The Space Race. Communism. The Soviet Union. Hollerith cards (OK, I am being technical here, but my son did dream of majoring in computer science at one time in his life.)

I've had some surprises in my career as a parent but having my childhood and young adulthood considered a musty museum piece was a big surprise.

I will, however, have my revenge. Just wait until he has kids.

12 comments:

  1. Things are changing at a faster pace now and kids are growing older quicker before their time due to the techie world we live in.

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    1. This is so true. When I see little kids, barely toddlers, playing with cell phones - sometimes, I don't know what to think.

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  2. Your list of the things we used in the past is good and bring back memories. I remember learning to type on an Olivetti typewriter on my first job. Hum! I worked for my father. Where else is a girl to get gentle coaching? I don't consider myself as a museum piece, but one filled with memories.
    Today, at the supermarket, a lovely young 20-something approached me with a pineapple in her hand as I selected one. She gave me a tip about how to tell if it's ripe, which of course I knew already. Her caring touched me.

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    1. I haven't had pineapple picking lessons recently, but now that I've let my hair grow out grey, the changes in how people interact with me in public are interesting indeed. Perhaps the subject of a future blog post.

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  3. Kids these days are growing faster than ever before. Growing fast and technology is allowing them to do that. I remember back in my day, things were different!

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    1. I really don't know if the fast growing up is good or not. I've heard too many stories (from co workers, etc. raising children) of online bullying, and other things that have always been out there - but technology makes them so easy, and so much more hurtful.

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  4. Yes I agree with Nayna. In this day and age, 6 year olds know how to work Ipads...when I was 6, I was still playing with barbies! How times have changed!

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    1. Yes, they have changed. It was bad enough when my young son used to program my VCR for me. Oops, dating myself again!

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  5. Time had really changed! My daughters don't understand how we could meet our friends because you couln't text them on the cellphone or talk to them at facebook and decide what to do:) When I told them that you had to walk to their home and asked them if they want come out and play they look at me like I'm a dinousaur:)

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    1. I love your example. I wonder what they think when you tell them you used to talk to your friends instead of text them.

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  6. What memories your post brought back! My sons (22 and 25) wouldn't understand half of these things. And I have to admit, I totally panic when my internet is down because that's where I LIVE -- online bill paying, my business, etc. How did we ever live without texting, internet, etc.?

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    1. You are right - so much of our lives are online now. People my age panic when Facebook is down, too! And I get so much breaking news on Twitter. I can remember when talking to someone in another country over a phone line was a big deal (and tremendously expensive.)

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