The other night my sister called and asked me what I had planned for the weekend. I hadn't seen her in over a year and if she was calling because she wanted to visit, it didn't matter to me what I'd planned, because nothing was more important than seeing her. Sure enough, she said she could manage a couple of days away from her hubby and young daughter, so she made the 3.5 hour drive and arrived at my door around 8:00 p.m. It was not long after that we had a glass or two of wine and remembered that we'd been threatening for a while to write a post together. We decided then that this might be a great time for me to re-open my blog after a 4-month hiatus.
Once we cracked open the wine and started refilling each other's glass, it wasn't long before the stories of our upbringing surfaced. As we strolled down memory lane, we couldn't help but compare the childhoods of our children to what we had considered normal 40 years ago. So much has changed in such a short time. We remember the simple games and toys we had compared to the computurized and electronic gadgets and must-have toys of today.
We laughed hysterically about the day our Mum had noticed that Deb had been in her room and very quiet for a while. Mum called out "what are you doing Debbie?" to which a little voice answered, "oh, just sweeping up my bangs!" We didn't have a lot of store bought toys, so we made our own fun. Deb's experiment with cutting her own hair or sometimes wearing a clothes basket on her head that was adorned with clothespins, was actually a precurser of the days to come when she would grow up to be quite the fashion plate in the New Wave and punk movement of the 80's.
I spent hours learning to walk on homemade stilts that our father had fashioned from a couple of 2x4s. We played in the fields near our home all day long with only our imaginations, our faithful dog and a couple of dolls. No one worried if we were gone all day because they knew we'd come home at suppertime, tired, a little dirty and browned by the sun. But this lack of supervision had a down side, like the time we redecorated the wallpaper in the spare bedroom of the rental we were living in with our brand new set of "Paint Wheels"!
At one point we had to give up our bedroom to our visiting grandmother, so Dad moved our bunkbeds out into the landing on the second floor. We would lie awake for hours watching out the window at the big semi-tractor trailers going by lit up like Christmas Trees, making up stories about what they were hauling and where they had been; and don't forget that vent in the floor that allowed the heat to rise up into our room. We'd lie on the floor peering down into the room below and wait for our parents and their friends to order pizza. Then we'd make our way downstairs for a drink of water or some other trumped up reason, to beg for a piece. Eating out was a rare treat and we relished every bite as we polished off that little wedge of pizza between us.
Deb & I talked late into the night about the things we'd done and we realized that we could probably write for hours about the family members who had put the 'fun' into disfunctional (which would fill another post!). In the end, we couldn't decide if we were really disadvantaged by our childhoods, or if maybe our own children in this world of cell phones, computers and video games are the ones missing out.
What do you think?