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, easter bunny
by Joyce Slaton posted in Mom Stories
I found a small stash of Life magazines from the 1970s this weekend, and paging through them, particularly the Mad Men-ish ads, made me unbearably nostalgic. There were so many ads for flash cubes! And for hair pieces, and bygone brands of liquor, and the amazing Daisy crochet tool that you could use to make an afghan in just four days!
Looking through those giant, luscious old pages made me remember a bunch of things that I did as a kid that my own child won’t. Stuff like this.
Getting in the newspaper
Everyone used to get the morning paper, and sometimes the afternoon paper too, for good measure. When you got into the paper for such things as graduating high school, being the first kid on hand to greet the Easter Bunny at the local mall, or, oh, launching a savage attack on a local grocer, everyone you knew would see it. Sometimes your mom would clip it and save it in a photo album. This is another thing our kids will not have.
Taking pictures with the subjects’ heads cut off
Did the viewfinder on Polaroid and other old cameras not match up exactly with what appeared on the film or something? Because our family photos were always coming back from the developer with a bunch of headless and blurry people.
Marveling over pneumatic bank tubes
Your mom would put her check in the little pneumatic tube, press the button and then whoosh! A minute later, the person inside the bank would be holding her check. It must be magic! When the magic tube came back, it would have money in it and sometimes even a lollipop for you. This was, of course, back when you had to deal with actual humans at banks.
Building a secret house in the woods
There was once a time when your parents would shoo you out of the house in the morning and tell you not to come back for lunch. Lots of us made secret little forts and houses in the woods, where we could spend mornings alone watching spiders make webs or ants trundle back and forth. Modern parents are too aware of the whereabouts of their kids to make this possible.
Making prank phone calls
Oh, the joy of calling people to ask them if their refrigerator was running. Not as joyful when the person you are calling can see your number and call you right back.
Breaking your parents’ records
Records were large and heavy yet somehow fragile things that your mom and dad treasured and bought at great trouble and expense at record stores, or at Sears. When you broke one, you were in for it.
Standing up in the car while driving
Seatbelts? Who wears those? Kids were free to roam around the car, jump up and down on the seats. I remember one car my parents had with a sunroof. They would let my brother and I stick our heads out and shriek as they drove.
Riding in the back of a pickup truck
Sort of like the no seatbelts thing, but even worse. Anyone with a pickup was happy to fill it with kids and dogs and ride down to the river or the beach with everyone bouncing around in the back. Whee! Projectiles to be!
Seeing a movie only once
If you saw a movie in the age before cable and DVDs, you saw it once. Thereafter you would have to rely on your memory and dreams to reconstruct the best ones, which would lead my husband to play many a confused game of Planet of the Apes with his brothers.
Staying up late to watch something on TV
Similar to the way that few people watched movies repeatedly in the theater, once something aired on television, it was gone. Poof! If you did not catch it the first time, you were out of luck. There was no taping it for later, or putting it on your DVR schedule. You had to sit out the conversation at your cafeteria table about the Fembots last night on Bionic Woman. Thus the after dinner exhortations to please please please please let me stay up to watch it, conversations that this generation of parents do not have to endure.
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