Grandsons and grandfathers have a special relationship. Many times they get into conversations even while watching cartoons together. At least that is happening at our house. This following conversation between a grandson and grandfather didn’t happen in our family, but it certainly could have taken place in our home:
The grandson asked his grandfather, “What was your favorite fast food when you were growing up?” The grandfather answered, “We didn’t have fast food when I was growing up.” Grandson – “C’mon, seriously … Where did you eat?” Grandfather –
“It was a place called home. My mom cooked every day and we sat down together at the dining room table, and if I didn’t like what she put on my plate, I was allowed to sit there until I did like it. Then I had to ask to be excused from the table.” This was not the world the grandson knew.
The grandpa then told him about his childhood. His parents never wore jeans, set foot on a golf course, traveled out of the country or had a credit card. There was no TV until he was 7 years old. It was, of course, black and white, and there were only two stations that went off the air at 10 p.m., after playing the national anthem. The test pattern came on then. The whole TV was about 30 inches square but the screen up in the right hand corner was only 12 inches square. You had to sit pretty close to it.
During his years as a young boy he was free to play in the neighborhood and just check in for meals. (The world is probably too scary for that now.) Respect for his elders was required at home and some punishment included a spanking.
Pizzas were not delivered to his home, but milk was. So was bread and donuts from the Omar man. There were no movie ratings because all movies were responsibly produced for everyone to enjoy viewing, without profanity or violence or almost anything offensive.
This grandfather also knew about headlight dim switches on the floor of the car, using hand signals in the car for turn indicators and party lines on the telephone. He also remembered coffee shops with juke boxes, metal ice trays with levers and washers with hand crank wringers to get the water out of the clothes. After each of these “ancient” contraptions was explained, the boy was amazed.
The reaction moved the grandpa to go on with the explanation that he was even born before polio shots, frozen foods, contact lenses, pantyhose, air conditioners and dishwashers. In his youth he never heard of electric typewriters (at this point the grandson didn’t even know what that was because they were already gone) yogurt, Donatos, McDonalds or guys wearing earrings.
Here’s another big change – the grandpa grew up thinking anything that said “made in Japan” was junk and would break easily. Oh my, not anymore!
Just wanting to top this whole discussion off, the grandfather concluded, “In my day, grass was mowed, coke was a cold drink, pot was something your mother cooked in and chip meant a piece of wood. In addition, hardware was anything found in a hardware store and software wasn’t even a word.”
Oh yes, we should quickly add, this grandfather was only 72 years old!
(Melanie Behrens – firstname.lastname@example.org)
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