My kids cannot imagine a life without the internet.  They don’t believe me when I say that when I was growing up, we didn’t have it.  My son wanted to know how we did reports for school back in the olden days.  When I told him that we went to the library and looked things up in way out of date Encyclopedias, he was blown away. 

I had to go get a dictionary and look up vocabulary words by hand.  If I wanted to watch a movie, I had to hope it would eventually come on television, and that we wouldn’t miss it, because there were no VCR’s.  No DVD players.  No cartoon network.

When I was little, my mom would tell us stories about sitting around the radio and listening to shows.  She didn’t get a television until she was a teenager (though they were around, her family couldn’t afford one).  I felt so BAD for her.  How did she live without television?  What did she do all day?

My mom’s childhood was much different than mine, and my childhood was much different than my kids.  On our weekends, we went outside after breakfast, and only came home for meals.  We rode bikes and played kickball, caught frogs in the creek and climbed trees.  We didn’t have cellphones to call our parents and if we had, they wouldn’t have wanted us to bother them.  We had to be in by the time the streetlights came on at dusk, but that was the only rule.  No one wore bike helmets or seatbelts, there were no carseats, and my mom rode around holding and nursing my sister when she was an infant.

When my mom went grocery shopping she dropped us off in the toy aisle and we played until she was done.  If she went to the mall, we’d go into the toy store while she shopped.  And we were LITTLE kids when this happened.  If she went to the library, we just bopped around the children’s section while she looked for books.  I’m tellin’ you we were easy pickin’s and were lucky that nothing ever happened to us.  When I ask her about it she just says that it was a different time and it was much safer.  Except it wasn’t, because bad things happened to kids in the seventies too. 

All I know is that I would have LOVED to have an iPOD when I was a child.  I had a walkman when I was a teenager and I thought I was too cool.  Now my daughter looks back on those clunky, tape playing things and laughs.  How HUGE they were!  How low tech!  I would have loved to have baby dolls with voices that cooed and laughed at you!  I would have loved to have interactive games and computers (you didn’t have a computer until you were in your twenties mom?  OMG!!!)

And yet, even though my children think I was deprived and wonder how I made it though my childhood, I think it was fine.  And I can’t WAIT for my grandchildren to tell my kids how sad they think THEIR childhoods were!  My dad had to walk 2 miles through the snow to go to school.  I had to look up vocabulary words in the dictionary by hand.  Who knows what my own kids will later find out they were forced by the cruel hand of fate to do.

We live in interesting times…

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