feeling old but in a good way

i was reading this article recently over on alphamom called “what our kids will never understand” (great site, by the way. that one and askmoxie are two i look to when worrying about growth spurts, nursing, etc.)

my parents would tell us kids these stories about growing up, and i remember finding them pretty fascinating. especially my dad because my mom’s stories were about growing up in bolivia, of course, so i knew it was going to be pretty different from maryland, but my dad grew up about 40 minutes from where i lived so it was a bit shocking to hear some things. like he remembered some neighbors who were the first to get a color TV in their area and how it was a big deal. that kind of thing.

i think what made it harder to imagine was because there were such few pictures, and all in black and white. it’s already hard, when you’re little, to believe your parents were ever little like you are, much less when the ‘proof’ they have are odd stories and funny black and white photos. whereas now, we have video and camera of our little one’s life from the months before she was born, from sonogram to weekly pregnant belly shots, and after she was born, from an hour or so after she was born to two days ago, i think (time to break out the camera again!)

i do have proof of own childhood, pics and video galore (though mostly starting once i was in elementary school), but some things that i really just took for granted as normal and nothing, are instead now a fond trip down memory lane and can never be really understood unless you lived through them.. like:

~ piling up in a station wagon. this is like quintessential hull family times, we spent years in a station wagon it seemed like. usually singing, or else fighting, or else i’d be reading by myself (very proud i never got motion sickness), or chattering my dad’s ear off. minivans, much less SUVs, are a totally different animal. also, buying gas for 99 cents in New Jersey my last year of college, 2000. (or maybe in the fall, ’99?)

~ how exciting it was to get a computer, so exciting we got a macintosh se ii in black and white because we didn’t want to wait until later that year when apple would come out with a COLOR screen. i begged for tetris and absolutely loved it to bits. still get those songs in my head. still pretty good at tetris. ;)

~ waiting impatiently as our modem, with a blazing speed of 4800 baud, would connect to Prodigy Online, the main competitor to America On Line. that was 8th grade, i remember, and when i first learned about fanfic (my Pern persona was called Ariel.).

~ using the new fancy CD-ROM set-up at my elementary school to access the new world book encyclopedia that was supposedly interactive but actually quite slow and boooring. (and this to a girl who loved encyclopedias! my dad’s first job was selling encyclopedia brittanica’s door-to-door, so we had every set they put out for a long time.)

~ using the card catalog in the school library to look for books. sigh. i like OPACs, they’re great, but there’s something about analog, always. also, the little handwritten additions by librarians were an interesting little delve into penmanship styles.

~ i had some gloves (called Freaky Fridays? why does that ring a bell?) that would change color when in cold weather, so we’d store them in the freezer for fun. later, i had a shirt called HyperColor that changed color when you blew on it with warm air, or put your warm hands on it. (i bought one like that at american apparel a few years ago.. i was thrilled, as ever. nowadays, i can’t wear the shirt much since nursing tends to warm up certain areas..) also, cold-related, does anyone still use plastic newspaper bags with rubber bands at the top as faux snow boots?

~ the way the TV would glow for a while after you turned it off, i guess due to the tubes in the back? freaky. coincidentally, my sister’s cabbage patch kid, his name was Chad according to his birth certificate, his head would glow if you put it near a bright light and then turned the lights off after a few minutes. i loved to torment my sister with that.

~ putting little pieces of rolled-up paper in the cassette deck in the car so that it could still play cassettes. learning that you can splice a cassette back together with tape if it breaks. also, a walkmam without it’s door can still play tapes ok, you just gotta push the cassette in firmly.

~ rewinding by hand when the VCR tapes would get all chewed up in the VCR player. wanting to buy a movie at blockbuster but realizing they only had it in BETA. darn. rushing home to watch a tv show because if you didn’t see it then, you missed it forever.

~ Elio’s Pizza. ..they still make them, i know, but are they really truly appreciated?? i used to inhale them and be so so happy. shoot, kids these days. anyhow, smorgasboards. are they still around? how about when mcdonalds only accepted cash. when taco bell was the new fast food in town, and therefore slightly suspicious.

it’s such a different world now, different place. and though i’m glad to be where i am now, and slightly envious at times at not being the young one anymore (nothing like being a mom to make one realize there you’re getting old, that you fulfilled some human survival imperative and there’s a replacement for you. it’s funny to type because it sounds all bleak but mostly i just find it amusing.) anyhow, though i’m glad to be where i am now, i’m also glad i grew up in the 80s. those were some great times. 1977 was a good year to be born. 2011 is much scarier (worries me) and definitely less stylish. ha.

ok, hungry now ~ what i’d give for some elio’s right now! hope your weekend went well. ~ ~

(pic: me in 1981, greeting my brand-new little twin sisters coming home from the hospital… here’s another: no car seats! oh and no seatbelt laws!)

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