I belong to a group on Facebook named “I Remember The 70s”. Most of the members were born in the 50s & 60s, I was born in 1962. It is a purely “Positive Post Only” group and I enjoy the posts that people share in this group, as they almost always bring back a fun memory of my childhood and school years. They show photos of old metal lunch boxes, asking which one did everyone have (mine was a plain red plaid one). I never got one with a cool cartoon like Bugs Bunny, or a television show like The Brady Bunch added. They must have been too expensive for my mama’s school budget back then. Photos of old toys, like dolls and board games are posted, asking if we had one or remembered the advertisement for them…you get the picture.
This week someone made a post about how children of the 70s are the last kids who will ever remember certain things. Listed were things like leaving our home in the morning to go out and play, not returning until the streetlights came on. Never worrying about being abducted or bored, riding our bikes all over our neighborhood and being unconcerned about safety (we walked and rode our bikes wherever we went). We spent our pastime playing card games like Old Maid, Go Fish, and board games like Trouble, Mystery Date, and Checkers. Everyone spent hours playing Hopscotch, jump rope, and Jacks. A big day for us was when we had some coins to spend on ice cream or a glass bottled soda pop at the corner store.
That post got me thinking of how different things are now for my grandchildren, and it made me sad that they will never know some of the simplest pleasures in life that I grew up with. Things like the need for a transistor radio, because now music is on their fancy smart phones and available any time and any place they want it. They will never have a desire to collect record albums just for their covers and know the joy of taking them to a friend’s house to listen to or trade on a Saturday night. Most will never know the excitement and anticipation of getting a new bicycle, and using it until it was worn slam out. They will never know the importance of carrying change in their pocket to make a phone call on a pay phone. Even sadder to me is that they will never know the feeling of security we had in our own homes. Windows were left open all night, and front doors and cars were seldom locked.
The majority of our children today, in my opinion, have never written a letter with ink and paper as a form of communication or friendship. I remember having pen pals as a kid. We had want ads for pen pals posted in the back of magazines. We felt perfectly safe having our addresses printed for all the world to see and never even imagined that a bad person would answer those ads.
Getting our picture taken was an ordeal. We got dressed in our best clothes and went to a photographer to have a professional shot taken. Now a “Selfie” is a part of everyday life for our kids. Taking home videos meant a parent taking an awkward home movie camera out of a case and making poorly lit and shaky films of family life. Now every minute of every day can easily be filmed with the touch of a tiny button.
I wish I could magically take my grandchildren back to my childhood and let them experience some of the wonderful things that were left back there. Like being dropped off at the public pool on a hot summer day, or the skating rink, without a care in the world. Being perfectly safe for hours until my dad would pick us up. I would like to take them for a ride in the country with the windows rolled down, listening to music on the car radio, stopping along the roadside to enjoy a homemade picnic lunch at one of the many picnic tables that used to be available.
Maybe this crazy year of 2020 has me feeling too nostalgic. Maybe this year will make other people realize how important more simpler times were. They weren’t always old fashioned and not good enough. Sometimes they were just right!