Friday, December 30, 2011

Times Have Certainly Changed

Last night, I was online and saw a post by a friend who was talking about how much times have changed...yet we scarcely notice until we see it through the eyes of our children.  Life is so busy that we just rock along taking all technological advancements and social changes in stride.  Specifically, though, the discussion was around her amusement about her daughter's comment that using the land line telephone was "so 1990s" since the cell reception where they were left a lot to be desired.

"So 1990s..."  Wow.  My children were born in 1990 and 1992.  I scarcely remember that decade.

Oh, I'm kidding, of course...amid the diaper changes, late night rocking marathons, and endless readings of "The Foot Book" by Dr. Seuss...there were a lot of wonderful memories in the 1990s.  And many of you know that I read that book so much because Jill's "F's" sounded like "G's" it came out "The Goot Book."   I still smile when I think about it.  (Especially at the part that read "Fuzzy Furry Feet...")

I am obviously easily entertained.

It's true, though...the kids today think of the telephone in a completely different manner than we did.  As teenage girls we sat by the phone hoping that we'd find out what was going on or that someone "significant" would actually call us.  There was no texting...cell phones were more business-related than personal...Facebook didn't exist...and neither did e-mail for that matter. 

Some even remember party lines...or having knock-down-drag-out fights with a sibling over an anticipated incoming call and use of the phone.  We'd put long cords on the phone so that we could shut ourselves away in a closet or bathroom so that everything we said wasn't broadcast to the masses.

Why?  Because our houses really weren't that big.  Many of us were raised in a house with three bedrooms and one bathroom.

I know...*insert scream*

In our house, my grandmother had apparently had enough of that and put four bathrooms in her house.  We rarely if ever used two of them...but we could if the need arose.  But sometimes I'd visit friends...and they'd be banging on the door yelling at someone to "hurry up!"

I assume that most of this was due to some extreme hair maintenance that had to be done.  We didn't have hair straighteners...but we did have curling irons, hot rollers, blow dryers...and perms.

Oh, the perms.

The girls of today really don't know what they are missing looking all beautiful and airbrushed every time they leave the house when they could be all hosed down with Final Net like we were.  Most of us had someone help us with our eyebrows...our mother...not a spa employee.  In fact, most of us didn't darken the door of a spa for services such as pedicures and manicures until we were in our 30's...except for our wedding day.

That's another area of immense change, don't you think? 

When Big Dave and I got married, the wedding was held at 2 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon...and the reception was immediately afterward in the "Social Hall."  I was throwing the bouquet at 3:30 and leaving the church.  I wore my mother's wedding dress and my stepfather was the photographer (as a newspaperman...he was a professional).  My sister-in-law (now a she was already good at this) made our wedding cakes...and they were phenomenal.  A lady in town donated decorated mints as her wedding gift to us.  The bridesmaids dresses were handmade.  The catering was done by the hotel in town and the rehearsal dinner the night before our wedding was prepared by my in-laws.  The video was set up in the balcony of the you get the general idea of our fifteen minute ceremony as opposed to a clear rendition of exactly what transpired.

Can you imagine?

There was no venue, no band, no alcohol, and amazingly enough...we are still married 26 years later.  Shocking!

Actually, many of my friends had weddings just like mine.  I'm not knocking the beautiful functions that I attend in the present age...but with the economy being what it is and all...I hope that we will revert a bit back to some degree of normalcy before it's Jill's turn...

Which brings me to the fact that my daughter will be 22 next month.  The fact that I was 22 when I got married doesn't make me antsy at all.  Okay, I'm totally lying.  But the truth is...we just seemed so much older when we were 22.  Most of us had jobs, had learned to make do with less than everything we wanted, and our parents didn't expect to support us after age 18.  Oh, many helped us through college, but not all did or were able to help out.  If you wanted to pretty much had to make good enough grades for a scholarship or figure it out on your own.  For those who did have help...we also had four years to get that diploma. (Yes, I realize that some programs such as accounting or engineering take five years now.)

Let's just say that nobody helped us out of the cocoon.  We fought our way out.  And I believe that we were stronger for it.  I know I am. And I personally admire parents who cheer those little butterflies to get out on their own instead of slitting the edge of the cocoon to make it a little easier.  Without that struggle, they don't develop muscles that they'll need in this big game of life.

Today, we do the best that we can for our kids so that they can be the best that they can be.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with this!  But helping them when they can help themselves is letting them assume that life is going to be fair or easy and just setting them up for living in our basement.

Fortunately, we don't have a basement in this house...and we will welcome our children back to let them figure things out for a short period of time...but after they finish college...we pretty much expect them to be off doing something fabulous and productive.  Or at least something earning their keep far away from my checkbook.

Life has seen so many changes...and I think we'll continue to see more and more as time goes by.  What we think is new and improved is actually going to be laughable and antiquated to future generations.  And that's okay...that's the way of progress and creative thought and capitalism.

Assuming that we don't do away with all of those.

But I do remember the days when we had a "best" pair of jeans and didn't assume that we'd have clothes in our closets that we barely wore.  Shopping was something that we did on special occasions or when we had outgrown everything we owned.  Hand-me-downs were passed along...not sold at a consignment sale.  We weren't as selective with having the best of everything...we just wanted to make the best out of whatever it was we had.  And if not having enough made us want to work harder...well...more power to us.

Our cars were even hand-me-downs...usually some old beater that came from the family...or that we purchased for less than $1,000.  My folks even put recap tires on my car...and somehow I survived that, too.  I know this because the baby blue on the tires matched my car.  (Yes, I do believe that my folks loved me in spite of this evidence to the contrary.)

I know that times have changed and will continue to fact, Big Dave was even entertaining stopping our phone service since nobody will ever get up to answer the telephone.  Only telemarketers trying to sell us septic tank products, time-share opportunities, or magazines...and political pollsters actually call us on our home number.  Sad, but true.

Magazines. They are trying to practically give them away at every opportunity for virtually nothing just to improve circulation and stay in business.  I remember spending hours looking over Seventeen magazine.  And Tiger Beat.

I know, I know...Tiger WHAT?  The only "Tiger" this generation knows about is Tiger Woods.

But perhaps all of this technology isn't so bad.  I've been watching the Hallmark Channel for weeks now...something that would have been impossible years ago when we had four channels - NBC, CBS, ABC and the dreaded PBS.  We actually read the TV Guide because we didn't want to miss anything.  We had to get up to change channels.  If we missed it...we missed it.  Now, we can DVR, channel-surf, and watch movies on demand.  If you think about it...that's pretty WOW.

And in all honesty...I'm glad that there were cell phones when my kids started driving so I didn't have to hand them a quarter in case they needed to call from a phone booth...another item made obsolete by technology.  Poor Superman.  I'm also happy that I can be in communication with my college age children every day...even if it is only a text message.  I used to only call my parents once a week...and sometimes "collect."

I won't even go there.


  1. I was told just today by an ungrateful tween in my house that my new shoes were so five minutes ago!

  2. So well written and so true! Thank you!