Growing Up Awesome


Do you see this picture of my kids? There are four kids there (look closely) and they are all holding a tablet. That is their favorite pastime. Yes, I am aware it is completely my fault. I am, after all, the one who bought the tablets. As I watched them play with them though, I started thinking back to my childhood. I had a great childhood. What an awesome time to grow up back then. I felt as though I should compile a list of the things that I loved as a child, just so my kids would have some sense of what they are missing.

<strong>1. Televisions with knobs</strong> Weren't those the best? You actually had to get up and walk to the TV if you wanted to choose a different show. There were no remotes back then. You were the remote. If you wanted the privilege of watching TV with adults, then you had to sit close enough to change the channel whenever your parents requested. After many years of spinning that dial, the knob would ultimately break off. This is when you were handed a pair of pliers to do the job. Now mind you we didn't have all of the channels that are available now. Some families only had three network channels. Thank goodness because surfing hundreds with a pair of pliers would NOT have been fun.

<strong>2. Turn-dial car radios complete with 8 track player</strong> Now that was living large. Before satellite radio and push button memory recall, we had two little round knobs. One was for volume and the other was for channel surfing. Now unlike the television, you were not allowed to touch the radio. It was way too complicated. Finding a channel without static could prove very challenging. It took time to tune to the exact right position, so you could hear your favorite channel clearly. Back then we also had commercials in between songs. When Mom got tired of the commercials she would pop in an 8 track. With an 8 track you didn't fast forward or rewind but rather chose a track and committed to it. Those were the days.

<strong>3. We didn't wear seat belts</strong> I'm not saying it was smart, I'm just saying. When I was a kid you were completely free to move around the cabin. We would climb over the seats. You would fight your brothers and sisters to be the one who sat ON the hump between the two seats in the back. If you were lucky, your parents had a secret compartment in the back that you could crawl through and play in the trunk. Yeah, sometimes I do feel lucky to have actually survived my youth.

<strong>4. Video stores</strong> When I was a kid there was no video on demand or Netflix. If you wanted to watch a beta or a VHS movie you hopped in the car and rode down to the local video store. Where I grew up it was called Video Plaza. You walked around and looked at walls and walls of all of the coolest movies ever made. You picked your favorites and paid a rental free. I still miss this a lot. There was just something about spotting that movie you were looking for, there is still one copy left and it is all yours for three whole days.

<strong>5. Casey Kasem's American Top 40</strong> This is where you stayed up to date with the hottest songs in the land. You would sit and listen to four hours of the days most popular music. Sometimes you would even take a cassette tape and record the countdown so you could listen to it again, later. From the week's biggest movers to long distance dedications, this was the only place to be on Sunday afternoons.

<strong>6. Atari</strong> This was only the best game system ever created. From River Raid, Pitfall, Pacman and Frogger, you would spend hours glued to your TV. The best part had to be the joystick. Why can't we still have real joysticks? You would play these games until you were cross-eyed and never get bored.

<strong>7. The skating rink</strong> Don't think we just sat around being lazy. On the weekends we had to hit the rink. If your parents told you that you couldn't go skating on a Saturday night, your life was ruined. This was a place where you could meet all your friends. If you were lucky, you owned your own multicolored, neon skates. If not, you could always rent the brown skates with orange wheels. Then off you went, skating round and round as the DJ played Midnight Star. When you got hot and thirsty, you could swing up to the concession stand for a blue snow cone to cool off. This night was the highlight of your whole week.

<strong>8. Talking on a real telephone</strong> There was no Skyping or picture messaging. There was no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. There was just the telephone, and not a cell phone, a real phone with a twisted up, annoying cord. You would beg your mother to let you call your bff, because back then you only had one phone line and if you were on the phone, your mother couldn't get her calls. You would talk about this boy or that school subject. You would spend HOURS talking about nothing important and it was AWESOME.

<strong>9. Letter writing</strong> There was no text messages or IM. If you wanted to write you friend, you pulled out a piece of notebook paper and a pencil. You would see your friend before 3rd period, but by the end of 6th period you had written her a letter about the important events of your day. You had to be careful not to be caught writing these notes, because how embarrassing for a teacher to take it away and read it to the class. Wasn't this the best? I would kill to have all of my old letters from friends.

<strong>10. MTV</strong> Not the MTV that you know now. Back in the 80s, MTV was actually Music Television. I remember watching the very first video that ever played. I knew right then and there that my life was forever changed. Not only could I listen to my favorite artists, but I could see them too. Stephen Pearcy, who was hanging on bedroom wall, was now on my TV, dancing around!

Ahhh those were the days. I do realize that nostalgia makes everything seem better than it actually was. Growing up in the 80s was completely different than my kids are growing up now. I am not saying that it was better. I am just saying that it was awesome. I want to paint a picture for my kids. I tell them these stories and they act like I grew up right down the street from Abraham Lincoln. It is all ancient and foreign to them, because everything now is so available at their fingertips. Heck I wouldn't give up my iPad either. But if I could put on my neon stirrup pants, thigh-length button up shirt (with the collar sticking up of course), two pairs of socks and my LA Gears, I would absolutely do it for a day.

What would you like for your kids to know about growing up? What did I forget?