So something that's made the rounds on my Face Books feed this week was a picture asking that we note something from our childhood that someone younger might not understand. Then answers ranged from technology to social differences between my generation and my childrens', and I got to thinking about how much is really, really different. I decided to avoid the obvious for this week's list, which makes the list not only more challenging, but I think funnier. Bear in mind, I'm covering my experiences from about 1977-1985, (My junior high and high school years) so here we go.
5) My mother had to plan dinner before she even got out of bed in the morning.
One of my most vivid childhood/teen memories was waking up in the morning and hearing my mother say, "What am I going to make for dinner tonight?" She often wouldn't get our of bed until she'd run through everything we had in the house and decided on what we were going to eat some twelve hours later.
Well, not only did she not have a microwave (so anything she had in the freezer had to be set out to thaw) there was also a wild lack of food delivery places. I was late in my high school career before Domino's changed the restaurant landscape by providing pizza delivery to the masses in fly over land. Getting something delivered simply wasn't an option. Very few restaurants had take out (again, this is in the Upper Midwest. I'm sure the cool people on either coast had all of this) and even if it had been available, eating dinners not made at home by mom (or someone else in the family) was just not a common thing in my growing up world. Moms were stepping into the work force in bigger numbers, but someone still got home in time to whip something together for dinner.
We had fast food places, like Mc Donald's, but those were places where kids met after a school event, not a place to pick up family meals, not on a regular basis. In fact, the town I lived in from 1977 -1982 didn't even HAVE a McDonald's or a national chain restaurant of any kind! (A shocking realization my mother came to the day we moved in and she sent Dad and me out to get some burgers. Took us a full hour to find the one place in town that made fast food...and wasn't a bar.)
4) Night time was a lot darker...and quieter.
I realized a few weeks ago when the power went out and my kids and their friends were trying to get dressed and pack, suitcases in my basement, that there is no such thing as darkness anymore. I mean, sure, if you want to go camping (ummmm, no thanks..that involves being outside) you can probably still get some semblance of dark, but that's assuming you aren't packing a cell phone, laptop, iPod, iPad, or some other electronic thing that not only gives off light, but hums as well. (And if you're camping, it's a good idea to have at least one of those things with you. Remember the guy who had to cut off his arm because he was trapped without a cell phone? You don't want to lose an arm do you?
|This should have been called, "Take THAT|
Back when I was young, the only thing that hummed at night was the fridge. For those of us with a digital alarm clock, there was a small source of light in our rooms after dark, but very few people had TVs in their bedrooms and no one had a phone screen or computer screen that went to a screen saver at night, but still glowed and hummed. My house is not what you'd call a hub of technology, not compared to many, but upstairs we have two computers (of the three) that rarely are fully shut down at night, plus it's a safe bet that there's a TV on in either the living room or our bedroom. And of course, who turns their phones all the way off? Move to the basement and the kids, with their computers and phones and video game systems are never fully in the dark. Even Skippy's windowless basement room isn't completely in the dark ever. And, hand in hand with that, nothing is ever completely silent.
3) It was a "Service station."
Remember when gas stations sold gas...and maybe gum..but you could talk to a mechanic and get your car fixed if you needed to? Remember when you were more likely to to buy engine oil and not olive oil at a gas station? Now it's all about convenience stores...mini grocery stores that sell anything from chips and candy to dairy products, fresh produce and...yes, here in Wisconsin anyway, beer and WINE. Wine from the gas station. (Which goes nicely with the rib eye steaks I buy there.) The people who work at gas stations today are all about retail and not about mechanics. They can tell you all the details about the 750 different kinds of scratch off tickets they sell, but they aren't going to change your oil. They can make the donuts (not kidding, I actually worked at a gas station convenience store and my job was to make the donuts) but they aren't going to fill your tank. (Remember full service gas stations?) Most young people these days would run in horror from the gas stations of my youth, the places where the bathrooms were cleaned...oh who am I kidding, they were never cleaned...and if they sold soda (pop) you had one choice: Coke or Pepsi. And it came in bottles that you got from a machine outside the gas station. You want hot food? Go to McDonald's.
2) We only had orange carrots and we survived.
One of the biggest things I've noticed that's different from my childhood to my children's is that cooking shows are now the mainstream. Cooking competition shows seem to be more popular with younger kids than cartoons. I don't blame them. I never really liked cartoons and these days I really don't like them at all. Well, except for "Bob's Burgers" and "The Simpsons," and, if I'm being honest, "Family Guy"...but THAT'S IT!
Cooking shows, thanks to the Food Network and Cooking network, have brought an entire universe of cooking options into everyone's homes. Now kids raised on cooking shows are competing on cooking shows and doing things like butterflying a pork chop or braising rabbit. When I grew up, unless you lived on a farm that raised sheep, you ate three kinds of meat: Beef, chicken, and pork. Turkey was purely for Thanksgiving. If you were a hunter, you got venison and goose, but only in the fall. No stores just sold goose. or duck...or seventeen kinds of shell fish. Lobsters were RIGHT OUT! (We were vaguely aware, here in Middle America, that people ate lobsters, but that was something people in far away, exotic place ate.) Now, not only do we watch people cooking all kinds of fun proteins, we watch people catch-raise-hunt-fish for exotic proteins. ("Deadliest Catch" anyone?)
|Yes, you're in fourth grade. Now...braise those golden beets in|
duck fat and be quick about it!
We had orange carrots, and we were satisfied with that. But now...now it's rainbow carrots, white carrots...we can't just have ORANGE CARROTS! We must have four kinds of beets, all of them different colors. (and all of them tasting gross in my opinion.) We must not just have eggplant, we must have cooking shows where 9 year olds are cooking six different kinds of egg plant and if they don't get it right they are CHOPPED. (Honestly when I was a kid, eggplant was the thing everyone grew in their garden, but no one ate and they'd dump truck loads of it on our front porch in the dark of night. You know, because the Lutheran School principal wasn't actually paid in money, he got paid in eggplants and zucchini.)
1) Plan ahead...nothing is going to be open.
My parents had to plan ahead before weekends so they'd have enough cash in case they had to buy groceries or something. Why?
No ATMS. Banks weren't open. And they didn't do credit cards at the stores.
My parents also had to plan ahead for holiday meals, because...well...no one was open on Christmas. and by no one, I mean NO ONE. No fast food places were open on Christmas. No gas stations sold food. ( I remember driving from Detroit to Milwaukee on Thanksgiving Day in 1989 thinking I'd hit up a McDonald's or something on the way. Nope, I wound up celebrating with a candy bar from the gas station in Paw Paw, Michigan because they were the only ones open (and he was in the process of closing up shop when I pulled in) and that's all they sold was candy. I went back recently and it's a mini mart selling fresh produce and hot food. and it's open 24 hours.
But the younger folks now have no concept of worrying about 'what's open" because EVERYTHING IS OPEN and everything has an ATM machine. 3 AM Christmas morning and you need gifts and food for dinner? No worries...Walmart, Woodmans and Meijer are open (along with countless other regional places). Need cash at noon on Thanksgiving Day? Just drive up to any bank, gas station, grocery store and and you have cash in hand.
Now granted, there are still many places that aren't open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Skippy,
|Now we don't have to wait until Monday to buy|
I wonder what my mother would have done with that kind of access to everything?