What do Montreal, Colorado, California, Texas, Washington, Virginia and Toronto have in common?
When I was young those things would have been very typical of life in the 60's -
Mac and cheese - jello - tuna casseroles, a Dad at work - a Mom at home - grandparents that lived close by - cousins that lived in the same neighbourhood - parents that sat out on the stoop looking out for everyone. We were all still living on the cusp of Leave it to Beaver and Father knows best - respect was KEY - there was no discussion of only respecting those who deserved it or earned it - you respected or else. ( not always a good thing I know ) but it really has served me well in the long run.
We played hide and seek - and hopscotch - and pick up sticks and mother may I and tag and skipped rope and swung on swings and explored and rode our bikes and each of these activities were happily done for hours on end. We camped out in back yards - roasted potatoes and wieners on campfires, ( never heard of s'mores when I was young ) tried our best to catch fireflies and told ghost stories. We could spend an entire day at the pool without any props at all just our arms and legs and when we came home as red as a lobster we were slathered in noxema. We all ( north american children ) wore the same clothes - there was no such thing as a label - we wore keds and high tops - polyester shorts and little smocked tops or dresses.
Most girls had long hair - most girls wore ponytails - or pigtails - we did not go to salons unless there was a wedding to attend and even then most of the time our mothers would pin curl our hair the night before. All boys had crewcuts.
We had imaginations and we had no choice but to use them - sitting in the house all day watching t.v. was so beyond the realm that it wasn't considered an option - unless you were very sick and even then there were only a few channels. You were better off with a book and so we read. And if you didn't feel like going out and playing you were told " Out! Go out and get some fresh air - go on - get out from under my feet! "
And so we learned to be social - we learned most of our social skills by the time we were 5. We adapted and we adjusted by moving around in a network of friends.
We didn't have 24 hour t.v. - or game boys - or play stations - or computers.
We certainly did not have cell phones or debit cards or credit cards. We had roller skates - one size fits all and they lasted for years unless you lost the key - not state of the art rollerblades.
Boys jeans were patched - girls dresses had their hems lowered.
We didn't have Grill Masters - our barbeque's were simple contraptions and they were only for hotdogs and hamburgers - the rare steak as a very special treat. Dinner was whatever was served - if Jane didn't like corn - well that was too bad - because there were no special menus - we ate what we were served, period ( and there was a lot of imagination used in that area too e.g.feeding the dog - filling pockets ) but the point is that our mothers would never have thought to cook 3 different meals.
Fast food was a bowl of cereal.
We physically went to the the theatre when we wanted to see a movie - and even though it was probably only a quarter, it was considered a big treat. As was the amusement park.
Days at the beach included large picnic baskets with egg salad sandwiches - peanut butter and jelly - and Kool Aid, maybe some chips - and the highlight of summer evenings was when the tinkling sound came from the ice cream truck that drove in and out of all the neighbourhoods.
We drank milk. We took cod liver oil pills. We ate home made cookies. We made our beds.
We said May I, and please - and thank you - without being told to - and unless you were quite wealthy vacations were spent up north - of which far too many squeezed into the car to get there.
I don't recall a lot of whining about being bored - I don't recall a lot of whining period. It wouldn't have been tolerated.
We played hard - ate hearty - and slept sound.
Anyone my age ( 53 ) from Texas to British Columbia - from California to Prince Edward Island - from Boston to Montreal can relate to my childhood. With a few changes here and there it could have been anyone's.
Am I simplifying my childhood?
Probably - but life was simpler - there's no denying it.
Was it better?
Sometimes definitely not - but for the most part I think it was.
Simple is good.
And it's not simple anymore.
Colorado, California, Montreal, Virginia, Texas, Toronto, Washington - what we now have in common breaks my heart.
And I'm numb with grief - truly numb with grief.
|Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break. ~William Shakespeare
Adorned from Above
Stuff and Nonsense