I was thinking the other day about how my kids are growing up very differently from how I did. For one, there are several elements (maybe not necessarily traditions) of my childhood that I know my kids will never know existed. Some of these may be good things, and some may be bad. Some of these make me excited about the future, and some make me sad. Some are attributed to the rapid progression of technology. I’m not saying that these things don’t happen anymore at all, but I do think they are becoming less and less prominent through the generations. What do you think?
1. Having clothes hand sewn. Now some of your mothers or fathers may have been wizzes with a sewing machine. My mother was and a good percentage of my clothes growing up were matching outfits with my sister. They were rather simple dresses, made of cotton or linen. I think the most complicated was a tank top and short set she made with a matching head scarf. She was also very handy with “mending” clothes that had a tear, rip, or missing button. I think most parents nowadays can say they just discard the clothes and buy a new one if needed.
2. Eating out is a treat we do once in a while, not once a week or every other day. I remember growing up that going to the local pizza parlor or McDonalds was a treat. As I got older, and the restaurants became more populous, we started to eat out more often (maybe a few times a month….definitely on Saturdays since the advent of the “food court” in the mall). Usually every meal was homecooked…even if it was just a single pot…AND both my parents worked.
3. Having to share time on a single phone line in the house. We all remember having one phone line in the house. Sometimes you’d accidentally pick up while someone else was talking. As soon as one person hung up the phone, another came running to use it. I especially love how we had those super long phone cables so that we could stretch across the kitchen with the phone. Or maybe sometimes you’d see the phone was actually in use because the receiver was gone and you traced the phone cord pinched off on a closed utility room door. With the popularity of cell phones, and the popularity of having family cell phones, kids no longer have to worry about “sharing a phone”…but instead are cognizant of “sharing minutes”.
4. Standing up while the car is in drive. Like every thirtysomething and above, we do remember times when seat belts didn’t exist.
5. Watching Saturday morning cartoons. Yes, now there is a multitude of cable channels…some ALL cartoons all day, every day. However, we all remember the times when we couldn’t wait for Saturday mornings because it was a special treat to see the coolest cartoons for a whole 4 or 5 hour block on Saturday mornings. Then the rest of the day, TV was limited to westerns, movies, and sports. Honestly, I think the limited channels we all grew up with really forced us to be creative with our time.
6. Cooking popcorn somewhere elsewhere instead of a microwave. Enough said. Everyone remember the old popcorn poppers or Jiffy pop? I totally remember cooking popcorn as an “event” that we all looked forward to.
7. TV show theme songs. Good Times. The Jeffersons. Three’s Company. Happy Days. Laverne and Shirley. The list goes on and on. You know the lyrics of these theme songs and more will forever be engrained in your head. Nowadays we have too much attention deficit to be offered a show theme song with lyrics, let alone one that lasts more than 10 seconds!
8. Watching a TV movie and having to wait forever to see it again. All I have to say is that I’m amazed at how Disney Channel enjoys playing their hit movies like High School Musical at least 25 times during its “opening weekend”. I remember having to wait years before the “Wonderful World of Disney” on Saturdays replayed “Escape from Witch Mountain”!
9. Recording your favorite songs off the radio via cassette player. Everyone remembers making mix tapes of their favorite songs off of the radio…waiting in anxiety to see if you can press pause or stop right before the DJ starts talking. Very different now from the kids downloading clean copies of songs off the internet eh?
10. Wearing a plastic drape and mask for Halloween. I am amazed at how authentic most store bought costumes are nowadays. From kids to adults, you can find a pretty realistic looking costume. However, I grew up knowing that if my mother did not hand make my costume…I would be wearing a storebought plastic “gown” that had an illustrated drawing of my costume. I remember the eyes of the mask cutting into my own face and sweating profusely underneath the mask. My kids will never know this kind of Halloween joy…hehaeha!
What are some of your memories that won’t be passed down to the next generations?