Life Before Technology- A Trip Down Memory Lane
I have so many wonderful memories of my childhood and not one of my memories or activities included modern day technology. As a boomer, did I just call myself that... yikes, anyhow, everything we participated in was either by means of using our imagination or becoming involved in activities. We spent more time outside of our homes than indoors, all year long. Life seemed so simple then, I wonder if our children (and their children) will say the same one day?
If we wanted to go somewhere, you didn't ask your parents or demand that you need a ride. We rode our bikes or walked. It was nothing to ride your bike 3 miles or more one way to visit a friend. It was a piece of cake to walk 1-2 miles in order to get to school. It was our way of life.
During the summer we spent most of our time on the beach on Lake Erie. I was lucky enough to live 4 blocks away from the lake. I think my mom allowed me to become a beach bum during the summer when I was in 9th grade. We would bring our radio's with AM/FM tuning and hope to tap into a good FM station to hear the latest pop tunes. I admit, I was bit of a wild teen- just wanting to fit in like teens today and it was common for us to find beer somewhere and share it with each other as we hung out sunning on the beach. There were no police on the beach, so we didn't worry about getting caught drinking and of course we all walked, so no worries- no drunk drivers on the road. When we weren't beaching it, we were working part time jobs. Most of us obtained employment at the age of 15 years old so we could pay for things like an extra pair of jeans, the movies, fast food and more. Our parents did not hand us money freely and we didn't expect it because it wasn't the norm.
We had curfews but our parents set them, not the law. We abided by our parents curfews because we knew we'd be in deep crap if we didn't. It was common to get grounded for a week or longer when I was growing up. Who wanted to be stuck inside for an entire week while their friends were out having fun, not many!
Winters were fun too. My brother and I are 15 months apart and we were constantly competing with each other. We used to go sled riding a lot and one day he dared me to take my sled down a hill everyone called "Big Momma" and I took him up on the dare. The hill was steep, icy and full of trees. I got on my stomach and started down the hill. Suddenly I realized I was headed towards a tree and had no way of controlling my sled since it was going so fast. I nicked the tree while holding on to my sled as it did a 360. I fairly certain I broke my baby finger because the blade of the sled came back down on it while I was still on the sled holding on for dear life. My brother laughed as I ran off to cry. I never told my mom because she would have been extremely mad that I took the sled down that hill. Not sure who named the hill because it doesn't appear that large to me now that I'm an adult.
We had so much fun growing up. We also spent many nights at the outdoor ice skating rink above Lake Erie. It was actually a tennis court but in the winter they turned it into an ice skating rink and of course it was also a place teens hung out with typical teen desires... meeting a guy or a girl. Some things never change.
We played baseball in neighbors yards, I even played football with my brother and his friends. Uh, I think I liked football because he had some cute friends and the idea of being tackled didn't seem so bad. When we weren't working or doing something outdoors we spent time reading books, helping with chores and watching TV.
Most families only had 1 bathroom which meant if you were a family of 5, you had to wait your turn- again this was a norm. I remember a few friends moving to a new home during my High School years and they had showers. Taking a shower was like a luxury back then, seriously! Most of us had to share the same bathtub. Parents were very conscious of how much electricity and water they used so guess what- many families shared the bath water. I know right, gross? I was lucky because in our home the oldest always got their bath first. My sisters, not so lucky... they had to use the water left in the tub after me and my brother took our baths. I was old enough to think, I can't believe mom won't let them fill it up with clean water. They were allowed to add warm water but they weren't allowed to drain it.
Flying to a destination back then, what was that? Only rich kids and their families flew. I don't think I knew of anyone that took a vacation via a plane until I neared graduation. I would only dream of flying when I saw the commercials. If we went on vacation mom would cram all 5 of us into the car (6 people, including herself) and off we went. I remember fighting over who was going to get the window seats, I always won on that one too. There were benefits of being the oldest in the family.
Here is an old commercial we used to see quite often playing on our black and white televisions during the 60's.
Neighborhoods had the true definition of being neighborhoods back then. Neighbors watched over not just their own children but others as well. Neighbors sat together in the evening drinking coffee together on each other porches while we played until dark. Well, I think it was coffee? If a neighbor was in need, the entire neighborhood would see to it that the person or families needs were met. It was common to run dinners to neighbors, have them over for dinner and to do chores for them as well if they were ill or elderly.
I wouldn't trade my days growing up without technology for anything. We learned self-discipline, creativity, and we also learned that we were not the center of the universe. I see this trend coming back today and it makes me happy. Yes, children have to learn to use technology but their parents, Millennials now, grew up using technology, much of it was newer to them and they spent too much time with it. I think today's Millennials don't want their children tethered to technology and they are out doing much of what we used to do, enjoying what nature has to offer that's free.
This isn't an anti-technology article, it's an article that takes you back in time. I'd love to one day see a 1960's or 1970's Village open up- no technology allowed. Off the grid as Lance 🐝 Scoular would say. So many great memories.