Just a thought: Reminiscing about the good old days


I recently visited my octogenarian parents for a week. As we talked about the “good ol’ days” I found myself reminiscing about the world that I spent my youth in.

I got to thinking about my children and the world that they are living in today. I realized that my children are missing out on life as I enjoyed it growing up. Things that I looked forward to, my children don’t even know existed. My children are living each year of their life three decades behind mine. Things sure have changed in just one generation. Those were the days.

As a child, when we heard the music playing through our neighborhood, we would chase down the ice cream truck to buy a special treat. We used to park our station wagon backwards at the drive in theater and watch a double feature wrapped in blankets in the cold night air, eating snacks that we brought from home. Fun would be saving our allowance for weeks in a piggy bank then going to the corner drugstore to buy a new toy for fifty cents.

At family gatherings we would work together taking turns hand cranking the homemade ice cream maker and, having all helped, it tasted sweeter. We traveled across the country on Route 66 in our new Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser station wagon with tinted windows in the roof. We would gather together as a family and watch Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color while we ate popcorn and sandwiches. We would share a box of candy cigarettes. I would pick up an Archie’s comic or a MAD magazine while my mother was shopping.

We would spend hours trying to get the Slinky to go all the way down the stairway. After playing hard outside we would grab a cold glass of water and enjoy watching “fizzies” bubble in a drink that was more fun to watch than to drink. All of my friends’ moms drove us around in station wagons. We would buy a pack of baseball cards for a dime, chew the stick of bubble gum, and with the help of a clothespin we would use the cards to make our bikes sound like motorcycles. We would get frustrated when we couldn’t find the roller skate key.

We had to be careful which direction we bounced our “superball” because we knew that the second bounce would always be the highest. We could buy a matchbox car and get change back from a dollar. We would pack full the pouch on the front of our Stingray bikes and throw newspapers onto customer’s porches. We would then go door to door without fear to collect the monthly subscription fees.

We bought soft drinks in bottles and saved the bottles so that we could get back the dime deposit. We would walk a half mile to the Saturday matinee movie and sit in the front row. We would stop to pick up a penny on the ground. The biggest meal of the week was the Sunday dinner that mom put in the oven in the morning before we left for church. We walked our neighborhood on Halloween receiving candy from people whose names we knew and not worrying about anything that was put in our bag, wrapped or unwrapped.

Eating out was a special treat and was the exception, not the rule. We spent our free time outdoors playing games like “kick the can” and “hide and seek.” We listened to records that would turn at 33 or 45 rotations per minute as we sang to songs by the Beatles and the Monkees. Saturday mornings were TV mornings with Bugs Bunny and Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the Roadrunner. We didn’t have to worry about what movies were rated; the use of a single word such as “damn” caused a stir. We made ice cubes in metal trays.

We could get a burger for a quarter at McDonalds back when their signs still counted the number of burgers they had served. A treat would be those wax bottle shaped candies with color sugar water inside them. Church potluck dinners and tent revivals were regular happenings. Our family would gather each evening and share dinner with Dad at one end of the table, Mom at the other, and us kids lining both sides. We would plan our week around a showing on TV of “The Wizard of Oz.” or “The Sound of Music.” We all wore PF Flyers so we could run faster and jump higher. We would pour over the S&H Green Stamp catalogue to find something to buy that everyone could agree on. Our telephone numbers started with letter prefixes.

We all want a better world for our children than we had when we were their age. I wonder if this is possible. Technology has “advanced” society. Or has it? Today our children expect to be entertained by 100’s of television stations, countless video games, computers, cell phones, and the internet. We are able to give our children more yet they often appreciate it less.

I believe this is a difficult time to be parenting. What used to be privileges for us as children now can be taken for granted. Are we teaching our children proper values in today’s different world? And what will the world be like for our children’s children thirty years from now?

My challenge to you today is to take time to reminisce. Appreciate the things that you had growing up. And pass down to the next generations what your world was like. Sit at the family dinner table or in front of a warm fire and share with your children or your grandchildren what your world was like when you were a child. Better yet, videotape yourself telling your memories. Today’s youth can then pass your experience on to the generation after theirs. I think that I will go kick off my shoes and lay down in a hammock and reminisce some more. Yes, those were the good old days.

Just some thoughts...

Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to rkraft@kraftlawfirm.orgmailto:thekraftlawfirm@aol.com or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202 - 0850.


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