“Why, Back in My Day…”

The Good Old Days


I recently came across an item on the Internet which depicted the “horrors” of the world those of us over the age of 40 inhabited before these modern days of cell phones, texting, video games and the lot. It was one of those tongue-in-cheek articles that ended with the inevitable “You kids today have got it too easy. You’re spoiled rotten! You guys wouldn’t have lasted five minutes back in 1970 or any time before!”


I laughed when I read that article, not so much because of the funny lines in it, but simply because I actually think I had it much better than the younger generation. And I’m a whole bunch of years over 40. I grew up without a whole lot in the way of toys because we were too poor for that. Our main toy was cardboard boxes we got from the back of furniture companies, but with imagination, they became almost anything. So I developed an imagination. There were no calculators, so I learned arithmetic, and if I were at the cash register and the power went out, I’d still be able to make change.


Because I had no machines with spell check, I was forced to learn how to spell, a process that developed my memory. There were no excuses permitted for undone homework in those distant days, so I learned how to be responsible for my actions. Since typewriters were all there was, I learned how to type seventy words per minute. Since I had no grammar check, I learned the rules of English grammar. Because developing children’s self-esteem had not yet become a mantra, I learned to give everything I did my very best efforts and to not make excuses for failures.


Because there were no video games of any kind, I learned how to better utilize my time and how to keep myself entertained whenever I was forced to simply sit and wait. To this day I can sit in a waiting room for hours with neither book nor game nor TV and pass the time quite happily by simply thinking about the projects at hand. Because we didn’t get a TV of any kind until I was in the fourth grade, I got to listen to the tail end of radio shows. I have the memory of lying in front of the old Philco radio in a room illuminated by its golden glow. And by the time we finally got that old time-wasting TV I had already developed an undying love of books.


Because we had no Kindles in those days, I have the memory of checking books out of the library and reading half of the first one as I slowly walked back home. Because the world was not so paranoid and bizarre, and because I grew up in Helena, Montana, as kids we simply told our parents we were going camping overnight and went without another word from them. Truth to tell, I don’t even think they knew where the pond was we always hiked to.


I grew up without a cell phone, but I did not grow up without values and skills and a love for learning that is with me yet. Quite frankly, I think it’s the younger generation that is deprived.



One Response to ““Why, Back in My Day…””

  • Kat says:

    A good writing and I agree with you.

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