A long long time ago, back in the 80’s… (and 70’s), kids ran feral all day until their parents rang a cowbell at dusk from the front porch signaling supper-time. For pee-breaks and snacks, they popped in at whoever’s house was closest. The older kids looked out for the little ones between giving important life lessons. You know, on things like how to swing from the monkey bars better, what to do with a loose tooth, and what the word “fuck” meant for-real.
If another kid mooned you, nobody had recording devices or the ability to show his butt to the world on social media.
Talking and teasing was done face-to-face.
They rode bikes without helmets, and rolled around in the back-back of Grandma’s station wagon.
On the luckiest of days, they sat on their dad’s laps and helped drive to the grocery store. On others, they played a game called Padiddle and got to punch their siblings when they won the game of spotting cars with a headlight out.
They babysat neighbor kids when they were 11 years old for $1/hour, and let them stay up too late because the kids were friends with a younger sibling. The kids promised not to tell and always did.
On dares, they drank Coke and ate Pop Rocks, and waited for their stomachs to explode.
They made paper fans and sold them door-to-door for two cents each, jumping up and down on deep shag carpet shaking a piggy bank. They were rich.
They had everything they needed.
They watched an hour of TV each night and when they did, the entire family watched with them. The TVs had rabbit ear antennas and sometimes, one of the kids had to stand and hold them so that the rest could watch the show more clearly.
When the news announced that a new channel was coming out, people were in awe. “Five channels and PBS,” we said? “But what more can there be to watch?”
The television was off during supper and phone calls after 6:00pm meant an emergency or a guy trying to sell Mom a vacuum that was easier to lift.
Saturday mornings meant that parents slept and kids woke up early and ate cereal while trying to decide which was more scary – Sleestacks or living in The Land of the Lost with dinosaurs.
Some kids went to summer camp for five weeks at a time and only saw their families once, on family day. They didn’t text because texting wasn’t yet invented, and when their moms missed them, they made brownies, wrapped them, put them in a box, and sent them in the mail to arrive days later.
When the kids at summer camp missed their friends, they didn’t Snapchat because that wasn’t invented yet, either. They wrote letters on paper and drew curly words and smiley faces on envelopes. They waited days for a reply to arrive stamped with postage and hand-drawn hearts.
Those kids didn’t know anybody with peanut allergies or talking devices or wheelchairs because back then, those kids were somewhere else.
Today-me really wishes we would have known them. We’d all have been better for knowing one another.
Families were afraid of Russia instead of guns at school, and kids were taught drills where they hid under their desks. They were on the lookout for windowless white vans and strangers with candy although they went trick-or-treating alone. When they ran away, they waited up the block and went home when they got hungry.
Kids got in fights on playgrounds and May 1st was for leaving flowers on the doorstep of somebody you loved. The last day of school meant scrubbing and getting tricked by the cute neighbor boy who said “Who scrubbed you?”
“There’s a mark, here,” he said, touching your cheek. “And another here.” It took you hours to realize that he’d been the one to leave the marks.
When it snowed, kids wore newspaper bags over their socks, Moonboots on top of them, and walked to school.
Once there, they peeled off the bags and put carried tennis shoes over their dry socks while the bags and the boots dried in the hallway.
School fundraisers meant lugging bags of canned goods into the classroom and when there were Field Days, one kid actually was the winner. Another, came in for-real last-place.
Later, as the kids grew, if they loved a song, they rode their bicycle (helmet-less) to the store and purchased an entire album for $9.99. If you hated the rest of the songs on it? Too bad. But you never did.
Your other option was to sit in front of your ginormous stereo system, finger hovering over “record” until the DJ announced that Your Song was up next. Sometimes, he just started playing it and his voice messed up the beginning of your awesome mixed-tape.
If people called you, and you weren’t home, they called back or left a message on your answering machine. You talked on the phone that was tethered to a wall.
A long long time ago, back in the 80’s…, I wondered at what else could possibly be invented.
After all, we had everything.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “A long, long time ago and very far away, there lived…” (or “There once lived…” or “A long time ago…” or similar – you get the idea).
Your hosts: Me (Kristi) as always from findingninee.com and this week’s sentence-thinker-upper, Deborah from Life is Like a Hand Grenade.