(Theme: reminiscing on things from my past)
I is for “I survived…”
A little bit of a cheat but this image really got me:
The little boy on there harkens back to a time even before me but those all remain true. I was born in ’79 and specifically remember all those things.
While I did not require a lot of spankings before I straightened right the hell up, I was not spared the rod. And you know what? That works. My oldest didn’t turn his attitude around unless he got some kind of physical punishment. My second kid only needed the threat of it to get his shit straight!
It’s funny to look at a list like this because each word or phrase conjures up very specific images in my head. My elementary school, when I transferred in 3rd grade, had a very old school playground: all metal monkey bars, climbing dome, slide that burned your legs. But sometime in 5th grade, we got one of those wooden monstrosities with all the ins and outs and hidey holes you could want as a kid. I don’t even remember ever getting a splinter but I see memes now that talk about that extensively.
Second-hand smoke is something I remember even into the late 90s, when smoking sections in restaurants were phasing out. We always asked for non-smoking but a glass partition isn’t going to keep that stuff away. I never understood cigarettes and food anyway. (That and letting cats on your kitchen counters; gross.)
I’m not going through all these but ‘play without supervision’ is the one that gets me because we now live in a world where we THINK it is more unsafe but I’m actually convinced that, statistically, it is not. We just know more now. And even though I have given my children all the tools to be safe and I try to also allow them time to do things on their own, I still worry. My daughter gets mad that I won’t let her play outside in the front by herself but you know, a small girl is always a target. I hate to say that but it remains true. I remember the days, though, of riding my bike blocks away, by myself, to my friend’s house. We played outside, we wandered neighborhoods, and we were always aware but also, left alone so often. Half the time I went to friends’ houses, parents weren’t even around. I’d like to believe my mother was aware of this but I’m not sure. And if you knew my mom, this would shock you, given her tendency to worry about everything under the sun.
So yes, I survived all these things and will say, I think I am better off for it. The hypocrisy though is not lost on me – between older generations who survived all this and worse yet, ran to the hills for Covid, even as data emerged that proved it was not the literal plague. I hate to say it but I think people are getting soft. And maybe every older person thinks this same thing; as new generations come in and have different things, the older folks just shake their heads and quietly whisper, “In my day…”