Growing up then vs. now

When I was a child I was completely oblivious.  I didn’t realize that my grandmother was an agoraphobic alcoholic.  All I knew was that she lived in a fancy pink apartment filled with antiques, with picture windows overlooking the tugboats as they puttered along the East River.  She was loving and funny and popular.  She ordered Steak Diane, beluga caviar and banana fritters when we went out to restaurants, but ate none of it.  For lunch every day she ordered a well done hamburger with french fries, which sat on her dressing table for hours getting cold and soggy as she steadily sipped her always full drink.  I didn’t know what  Canadian Club was.  To me it looked like watered down ginger ale.

My grandmother Nana (pronounced Nanner) always ordered me Shirley Temples with maraschino cherries in them when we went out.  She was driven around town (once she was significantly plastered enough to leave her house) in a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce, and she dressed in beautiful suits with matching hats.  I could have lobster whenever I wanted and when she took me to FAO Schwarz I was allowed to buy anything my heart desired.

Nana was my favorite person in the world.

Now our children watch “Intervention” and see Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen on t.v.  Everybody talks about their addictions: drugs, food, alcohol, sex…

Too much information everybody!!! Let our children be innocent for a moment or two.

Sometimes my parents would pretend to get lost when we were driving home from Peter Luger’s or Bruce Ho’s.   I feared for our safety, worried that we would run out of gas or be attacked by hoodlums on foreign grounds.  Little did I know that they had taken a minor detour to amuse us.  When I was old enough to venture out alone I had no sense of direction and was constantly lost, though I had lived in the same place all my life.  East versus West? Why not left versus right?

In high school, when I fell in love and was in a long-term relationship, my boyfriend broached the idea of a blow job.  I literally thought that he meant that he wanted me to blow on his penis.  This was a disgusting thought, and since I was not allowed to close my door when I had boys over, out of the question.

My children know more about sex than I do.  They can define terms and facts that astound me.  They discuss homosexuality and bestiality and things I don’t even want to think about, let alone write.  They don’t need Playboy or Playgirl magazines because they have internet porn, which is so much more graphic, not to mention free. 

My children ride subways alone throughout the boroughs of NYC and get lost less often than I do (somehow I still end up in the depths of Brooklyn or Queens or Harlem at least a few times a year when I have meant to go to Battery Park or Bloomingdale’s or the Upper West Side). 

When I was a child our idea of fun was going skating or to the bowling alley or to Friendly’s for fries and a Fribble.  Today children are searching the web, blogging, making and displaying videos of themselves, and going to hookah bars.  They are texting and skyping and playing video games with strangers from Tokyo and Texas.  They don’t speak on the phone — they text or i.m.  They prefer to communicate digitally rather than verbally or face to face.

We used to go to the library to research a paper.  Now our children look everything up on the internet.  We held books in our hands and added columns of numbers in our heads, while they read on ipads and calculate on HP’s.  We learned about sex from our older siblings or in school, and today they know everything and more before they are old enough to absorb this knowledge.  We saved money our allowance to buy an album and they can download every new song online the moment it’s released. 

What do they have to look forward to? What are they working for? I used to spend hours playing 5-3-1 with my older brother in exchange for the definition of a single curse word, and I hated basketball.  I would have much rather stayed in my room listening to records and talking to my friends on my Princess phone.

I wish we could turn back time.  I am glad that I was oblivious.  I wish my children were. 

The weather is strange now and so is the world.  Is it global warming or a global warning?My children’s stepgrandfather thinks that the world as we know it will not exist in 100 years and I fear that he’s right (I would be happy if this meant that things would slow down and go backwards, but we all know that is not going to happen).  We are moving too fast.  We need to take time to be in the moment, and to reflect.  To be grateful.

What would happen if we took all of our smart phones, digital readers, desktops, laptop computers, iphones, ipods, ipads, calculatorsand more and threw them into a giant bonfire?

We need to slow down.  Smell the roses before they no longer exist.

Think about it.


About mallorylayne

midlife mom seeking meaning for the rest of her life.
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