Did you ever dread the day when someone would stop and ask what life was like back in our day – you know the time frame I am referring to but they don’t actually come out and say it – “back in the Dark Ages of your childhood!” One would think that we didn’t have air, dirt, and water back then and that we had to fend off dinosaurs and pterodactyls – you know those prehistoric flying animals. In reality some might say that pterodactyls never actually existed. But that is not the subject of my rambling today.
Some might think that being individuals born in the 40s, we should all be gone by now, and seeing that we are not, we should be marveling at some of our modern wonders – you know what I am talking about – driverless cars, machines that clean our houses for us without our even asking it to (just by programming it ahead of time), and being able to see and talk to people with our watch – anyone remember the imaginary policeman’s fictional gizmo, the two-way wrist radio in 1946 worn by none other than Dick Tracy.
Is it any wonder why we might refer to those younger than us as young whippersnappers because they cannot remember much of the things that happened in our day! You know the days I am talking about.
I am talking about when I used to wear high-top sneakers and doing so was not considered cool. Especially when one had to wear them to the school dance with a suit that I would not want to even be buried in today. Talk about embarrassing moments!
Back in the day, we could get a whole handful of candy for five-cents – you know, Mary Janes, Tootsie rolls (back then we only had one flavor tootsie rolls), and Root Beer barrels. Girls wore saddle shoes. Ask a girl what they are today and they will probably say: “Are they worn when one goes horseback riding?” Both our shoes and our clothing lasted a long time and believe it or not, should any of the clothing have holes in it, it was due to wear and tear over the years the item was worn. Our parents would not even think of buying clothing that already had holes in them
As a family, we were expected to eat all three meals together and breakfast usually consisted of runny oatmeal. We did not sit at the breakfast table eating breakfast while reading about athletes or missing children on a box of cereal. Or like today’s children do – noses in some high-tech gadget.
The rule was you ate what was being served to you and if you didn’t like it – well, you would have to wait until lunch to eat again and hopefully it would be something you liked because that same rule held for all three meals. If it was put in front of you – you ate it or you went hungry until the next mealtime. There was no luxury of eating chips, crackers, candy, or soda because such things were not kept in the house. And coming from a family of eight children, one learned real quick – you had better eat whatever was being served because (1) it would be hours before your next meal and (2) chances were that there would be no leftovers.
Both my parents loved coffee and I can remember when I asked if I could have a cup with my dinner one night. The response was: ‘No, you’ll stunt your growth.’ Seeing that I only grew to 5 feet 3 inches, I guess two things must have happened – one – I managed to drink some coffee when they were not looking and two – their comments must have been true.
Several rules applied at the dinner table or whenever we were all together eating – one was that tipping one’s chair back on the back two legs was a no-no, another was that no elbows were allowed on the table, and third – we had to eat all our vegetables or we didn’t get dessert. Hmmm, what was I thinking when I wrote this third rule – what is dessert? Ah, the good old days!