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More Stories - The Way We Were

From Rich Rowand of Recipe du Jour's great newsletter, printed by permission.  

Sort of describes my conversations with the grandkids and next door munchkins a lot of the time. Sometimes they're listening, or pretending to (they're polite kids), sometimes granddaughter Jackie who is direct to a fault (!) says "Granny, you're lecturing again...."

Why, When I Was Young. . .
by Rich Rowand

At the cusp of another New Year, I was talking to a younger guy yesterday and mentioned an old television show.  He had never heard of it, of course; and I got a perverse thrill in starting to describe what life was like back in the 50's.  He blanched when he heard that we only had three TV stations. . . and that all three were in black & white.  He laughed when I told him that the closest thing we had to video games was when Etch-A-Sketch came out.  I went on and on for 10 or 15 minutes until he edged away in boredom, finding something that just had to be done right then.

I realized that I was now one of "them."  You know who I mean. You might even be one of "them" yourself. We're the ones who start off sentences with, "Why, when I was young. . . ."  And we're not ashamed of it at all, no sir, not at all.  We consider it our duty to inform all young-uns what life was really like.  "You think you've got it tough?  Why when I was young. . . ."

Perhaps it's not really one-upmanship at all that we bore younger people with our memories.  Perhaps, as with any other accomplishment, we just want to share the details of something we succeeded at, which is surviving until now ("Mommy, Mommy, look what I did!")  Few of us are proud of everything we've ever done; but I think most of us take pride in making it to a point where life can be a bit more comfortable and in making things a trifle easier for our children.  The children may not think they have it easier than anyone else whoever lived.  We know better.  And our parents knew better than we did.  Why, when they were young. . . .

Copyright Rich Rowand 2002

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