When I was a kid, my grandmother disciplined me by swatting my knuckles with a wooden spoon. It hurt and she got her point across. I also used to travel from the Bronx to Manhattan with my older brother on the subway to visit my dad. He was 8 and I was 6. It was just the two of us and we were fine. Today, child protective services would bring them up on charges of child abuse and neglect.
Now, I am in my 50s and, I have to say, the youth of today have it easy. When I was a kid…
- We had 3 tv stations to choose from and that included PBS. We had to get up and change the channels manually by turning a knob. The TV guide was included in the Sunday papers. The TV was a large piece of furniture in the middle of the room, even though the screen was small.
- If we had a research assignment, we had to go to the library and use encyclopedias and books too big to carry around. That is assuming we could find the books using the card catalog and finding out the hard way that were filed away incorrectly.
- Instead of texting and emailing, we called people and sent letters. If the person we called wasn’t home, the phone would keep ringing until we hung up. Some of us had clunky answering machines that we listened to as soon as we got home. Remember rotary telephones and busy signals?
- We listened to music on a turntable or using our 8 track players.
- If we wanted to record a song, we would listen to the radio and record it manually using a clunky tape recorder. If we were lucky, we had a boombox that played and recorded music. If I had a dime for every song that I recorded with the DJ’s introduction…
- If we wanted to meet up with our friends, we would pick a place and a time. If they didn’t show up, we would go home and call them.
- My first video game was the Atari 2600 which I bought using my own money that I earned delivering newpapers.
- We used the oven to warm up food. Microwaves were just hitting the market and my parents couldn’t afford this cutting-edge technology.
- My mom told me to go outside and play all day, every day. Of course, this was after chores were done.
- Family trips were in a station wagon and, instead of car seats, we laid down in the back like torpedoes ready to launch through the front window when mom hit the brakes.
Life was simple, safe, and enjoyable when I was a kid. I guess why they are called the “good old days.”