Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Good Old Days

It hurts my vanity a little to know I can even use the term "good old days", but ~sigh~ I'm approaching zzopfiftythreeuu...

When I posted about our love/hate relationship with technology, I started thinking about what I miss from days before my cell phone:

  • That little vent-window on cars. You know the one that isn't in the newer cars?
  • Ashtrays in cars. I don't even smoke anymore, but I just miss the ashtrays. Memories, maybe...
  • Sitting curled up in bed, playing with the curly-cord on the phone while I talked to a boyfriend or best friend. For those of you who don't know phones not named Android or "i":
I think everything from the 1970's was this color!
  • Wood-slat swings. Remember those? Your butt didn't scoop down like it does on the soft plastic seats.
  • Getting a letter in the mail. Not a bill - or offer from Ed McMahon or Capital One - but a real letter. Addressed to you and written in ink or pencil. (Letters from Grandma with those loose dollar bills don't count because you probably still get those!)
  • Hanging out in the yard with your friends, watching the glow of lightning bugs

Aww... so cute!
  • Should I admit here that my friends and I used to tear off the "light" part and make temporary earrings or do this:
...til we used them as ornaments
  • Telling secrets to your very best friend, mouth-to-ear, where no one else could hear, instead of texting her.
  • When your "network" of friends were your in-real-life friends who lived down the street, or around the corner, or up the way.
  • I kind of miss the cars with the single seat. You know the one where it was a group effort to slide it forward? (I couldn't find an image, but older folks will know what I'm talking about!)
  • I miss going to gas stations where someone ran out to clean the windshield and pump the gas for you. (Except when I'm broke and don't want anyone to see I'm stopping at twelve dollars and eighty cents so that I don't overdraw my bank card! Of course, back in the day twelve dollars would satisfy a monthly gas budget.) By the way, here's an interesting article.
Don't know when this pic was taken, but... wow!
  • I miss getting long-distance calls from the guy who loved me so much that he would pay for a long-distance international call. These days, some ladies are lucky to get a gift of virtual roses from inside a Facebook game.
  • Waking up to the National Anthem playing on TV because you went to sleep just before those multi-colored bars came on. You know - back when TV went off air at night instead of playing informercials or really bad movies round the clock.
  • Speaking of TV, I miss TV Guide. I think it's still around, but who needs it? We have that handy little on-screen guide that comes with subscription services. The guide with so many channels and recording or scheduling options that make me glad I don't own a TV set.
Whatta know. Still around. They have a webpage...
  • I miss my old-fashioned childhood that my nieces and nephews won't get to have: going for hayrides at Christmas; licking the spoon after Mom mixed a cake from scratch; not talking back to the teacher because you didn't want a meeting with her "board of education" that hung from a strap behind her desk; not talking back to any adult because, well, they were an adult; and being excited to be grown so that you could drive, have your own phone and make your own rules. These days, kids are too "grownup" before they are really grown up.
I could go on and on. The older you get, the more memories you have! The thing is, I don't want to sound ungrateful for the fact that I'm still around. I just hope that when kids today get old enough to look back on their youth, they will have their own good memories.


Happy Mother's Day (for the non-moms)

I wish a happy Mother's Day to all the women out there who didn't give birth to kids, but sacrificed for them anyway.

Many thanks and blessings to every woman who didn't have her own children and still forfeited time and money and personal freedoms for the benefit of kids.

This society celebrates men and women for being a "mother" or "father" - and for doing what any good parent is supposed to do. There is no day, however, for the people who do what they do because it is the right thing to do.

The forgotten people are the ones who don't get titles such as "foster", "step", "god" and "grand". the forgotten people are the one who never asked for a title. These are the people who were there for a child when they didn't have to be, yet chose to be. They sacrificed out of love. And that is never really a sacrifice.

So, I want to give all of those people a special shout out. I know that they will appreciate it. I know this because I am one of them. I've endured all the remarks about not knowing what it's like to "be a mom" (or dad); I know what it feels like to sit by while the flowers and cards and candy is handed out. Kids only know what their parents teach them, so don't be offended if they never thank you.

Years ago, my sister and I were involved in foster care. A lot of the kids we fostered had parents who were constantly failing in efforts to become better parents. They didn't always show up for planned visits with the kids; some of them had hurt their children - physically or emotionally; and they sometimes expected the kids to be more in control than they themselves were. But, no matter how badly the parents had messed up, those kids were always, always, so happy to see Mom or Dad. That's the way it should be. No one wants to not love their parents.

In some cases, my sister and I learned, the kids ended up back with their "bio-parents" and we always hoped that things would work out well. In a strange way, we hoped that the kids would forget us - you know, because life with their own family would be so good. And that's the way it should be.

Still, I know what it feels like to want to be acknowledged with a little bit of return love.

So, bless all you non-parent parents! Your only reward might be in Heaven, but that's just fine.

I heart you