It’s a strange feeling when you suddenly realize, to your children, you sound much the same as your parents and grandparents sounded to you when you were young.
I grew up with television, FM radio, and V8 engines, but I clearly remember my parents and especially my grandmother talking about how much had changed since they were kids. Of course back then it was impossible to think any of the adults in my life had ever been as young as myself, but they were. Once.
The talk of the times they sat around the radio in the evenings, just as we do the television today, except the pictures were in their heads and not on a screen. Long, lazy Summer afternoons and cold Winter nights curled up with a book because that was entertainment in those long ago days and just as I couldn’t imagine not having a television, todays children cannot imagine life without computers and cellphones.
They could never understand getting out of the house to just get away. No phone calls, no constant stream of information. Just time alone with your thoughts or maybe to spend time with friends walking, riding bikes, or when you were old enough, going for a drive in your friends beat up Pinto Wagon, Gremlin, or Pacer… you know because it was the only thing they could afford which was a sight better than you.
Those were the days of hanging out listening to the new record someone’s parents got them for passing a test, or birthday, or maybe Christmas. Of weekends at the Roller Rink and cruising Main Street on a Friday night.
It was catching a matinee movie or family night at the Drive In. It was when going to a fast food joint was a treat and you went to the library to get books, records, and magazines because you spent your allowance on candy the day you were handed the money and your best friend in the whole world refused to let you borrow that copy of Teen you were dying to read.
It was a world of three channels and that other one which always showed the Lawrence Welk Show.A world of transistor radios which turned into Boom Boxes. Of 8 Tracks becoming Cassette Tapes and the slow death of vinyl. Though there was still time to find some wonderful cover art before it was too late.
It was also a time of awful fashion statements, though we didn’t see it then. Neon tops and stone washed jeans. Headbands and Leg Warmers. Leopard prints and zebra stripes. Studded bracelets, belts, and Michael Jackson look alike pleather jackets. It was Rock’n Roll and Breakdancing.
It was the age of the “Brat Pack”; The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. It was Back in Black and Electric Avenue. Pat Benatar and Bruce Springsteen.
It was the best time of our lives… only because we aren’t living them anymore, except in our memories.
One day our children will look back with fondness to these childhood years and find in themselves an echo of us.