I can’t even believe I am old enough to write a blog about the “Good Old Days”. My only consolation is that when Christa and I don’t have make up on people say I look 29 and she looks 30 (not 36)…haha. (I will never let Christa live that one down).
I started thinking about this topic the other day when Christa and I were at a store that sold random stuff. All of this random stuff was 50% off because the lady just opened the store. As I was checking out, my eye caught candy in the case, but this was not just any candy. It was candy cigarettes. WOW!!! Of course you remember those (if you are 35 or older). They were 79 cents and with 50 percent off I felt like they were a bargain. I sent a picture to a few of my new neighborhood friends who are my age and told them I wanted to start my kids early. Of course they knew I was joking. I bought the rest of them (all 9 packs) out of nostalgia. I remember spending countless hours sitting outside the convenience store at the front of Village Green. We would buy these “candy cigarettes” and pretend we were as cool as our parents. The really good ones had bubble gum in them! I decided I wanted the candy cigarettes to give as gag gifts to my friends. My kids won’t ever know about them until they are old enough to read this blog.
The candy cigarettes got me thinking about all of the things that we used to do that we could never do in a million years today. I will insert here the fact that I get that my title is a half-truth because not everything about past rituals were good. Also, there are new rituals that are pretty cool (hello, not having to use a real map or the million pound phone book). I remember when I was around 10 years old my mom sending me into the same convenience store to buy her a pack of cigarettes (before she quit smoking). I remember being 8 and up and riding our bikes (or walking) a couple of miles to the store and never thinking anything about it. We never worried about perverts who would steal us. I can’t even imagine allowing my kids to play in my front yard without me until they are in their teens! Today you are carded if you want to buy white out, spray paint, or cough syrup (who would have thought!).
I remember when I was really little we had a video camera that was so expensive to tape, we would just wave for a couple of minutes at Christmas and Thanksgiving. Later when they became cheaper, we invested in one that my dad was lucky enough to tote around on his shoulder all throughout our vacations. Who would have known that years later we would be able to video way too much on devices that literally fit in our pockets.
Perms. Where do I even go with this? For some reason my mom thought this was a good look for all 4 Skelly girls. Newsflash, it was terrible. I remember every six months she would give us a home permanent. It looked bad five minutes after we were finished (sorry Mom) and it looked even worse after that. You had to have a “pick” to make it look good (or not terrible). I remember we just wanted to brush our hair so we looked like very frizzy white girls. Years later when I taught students (usually African Americans) who would leave picks in their hair, I just couldn’t get over it. They had no idea why I made such a big deal about it. Of course it is never appropriate for you to leave a hair brush/comb in your hair at all times, but for me it resonated with the 80s perms.
I remember that we were not spoiled brats and our parents did not buy us everything we wanted. They went crazy at Christmas, bought us nice birthday presents, bought us new school clothes, and bought us a new Easter dress. My mom would “pretend” to look the other way at the grocery store when we could throw in a couple of small items into the cart. Other than that, we really didn’t ask, I don’t think it occurred to us. We also did not go out to eat every other night. Going out to eat was a treat and a big deal in the Skelly household. I know having 6 family members was one reason, but it just was not something that you did all of the time. I remember it being a treat to go have breakfast at Shoney’s after mass on a couple of Sundays. My biggest fear is that my parents and husbands parents’ raised such hard working children who have been blessed to be successful, that we might fail by giving our kids them too much.
Ok, enough ranting. I want to know from anyone who reads this blog two things:
1. What is something that you or your parents’ did in the past that would never “fly” today?
2. What is something that you are very grateful that exists today and makes today the “Good New Day”?
I will start:
1. Not always wearing seatbelts (this was normal for the times).
2. Having the internet (remember the Dewey Decimal System).