There is this woman I know, who may just be the most adorable human being alive. Some call her Sister Mary Alice, some call her Mama…I call her Grandma. Yes, of course I’m biased. You’d probably like to nominate your own mother or grandmother for the title of “most adorable”. In the back of your mind, you’re polishing pistols and ready for a duel at dawn to make your point and satisfy the honor of your “most adorable”. I don’t need a weapon. All I need to do is get you in a room with my grandmother for five minutes and you’ll be hooked…and apologizing to me.
Then you’ll be mad at me for not introducing you to her sooner.
My grandmother is, without question, from a different time. As I listen to her and approach my 40th birthday, I soon realize that I too am from a different time. It’s interesting how we view the past and miss certain aspects of it, even from different perspectives. Today she talked about the news and how it’s all bad. It scares her to the point where she refused to open her window at 2:30pm to cool off the house for fear of someone breaking into the house through it. So…I sat with her, sweating, still thinking she’s the most adorable woman in the world. She talked about the days in the past though when leaving the window open wasn’t a problem. She talked about the fact that kids used to play outside and people didn’t feel the need to carry a gun to feel safe. She was certain that I either wasn’t around or simply did not remember those days.
But she was wrong.
I’m old enough to remember the wonder of movies on laser disc and the sheer joy of going to the home of friend’s of my parents to watch a movie on a giant album. It was cutting edge! It looked expensive! And it was probably something we would never get. I didn’t care so much about the laser disc though once we got a VCR (yeah, we skipped over Beta Max). You see, I’m old enough to not only remember VCR’s (hell I still have one around here somewhere), but I’m old enough to remember TOP LOADERS. We had a VCR unit with a wired remote control that had only a few, essential buttons. It worked quite well until the dog got excited one day, ran through the house, became tangled in the cord and took the VCR for a ride with him to the front door. Fortunately, they were made of metal instead of plastic which made them durable.
The remote control though…not so much!
I’m old enough to remember the days when kids could play on the streets until the street lights came on. The only exception was on the nights our parents were out with us as well. I’m old enough to remember having the first Green Machine on the block, the Rubik’s cube and the Speak & Spell. There was life before DirecTV and Comcast. We called it ON TV.
I’m old enough to remember having to sneak upstairs into my grandparents room to flip the switch so we could watch movies after 10pm. Why me? Because I was from out of town, visiting for the summer, meaning I was less likely to incur the FULL WRATH!
I’m old enough to remember Friday Night Videos and the world premiere of THRILLER. I remember the first Walkman…followed a few years later by the first Walkman that could also get AM/FM radio. I’m old enough to remember when the Chicago Sun-Times was only $.35, when comic books were $.75 and gas was $.99. I’m old enough to remember Joe Montana taking snaps, Rick Sutcliffe on the mound and the controversy over Iran/Contra and the Star Wars Defense Initiative.
The trip down memory lane is not an effort to say things were better in the past than they are now. Or vice versa for that matter. It is not a contest to see if you remember more or an effort to say my life was better. No. The trip down memory lane is my attempt to remind myself that even though I’m in debt up to my eyeballs and may be unhappy with the way certain things have played out over the years…I’ve had a good life. Honestly, I don’t need to look much farther than the eyes of my son or grandmother to see that. Talks with either of them are heart warming, satisfying and always entertaining. Talks with them remind me of how wonderful things truly are. The experiences, good and bad, have taken me on an amazing journey in which I have been able to grow along with the world around me. Things have changed, people have changed, but all in all I am thankful to be here and to share the ups and downs of life with good friends and a loving family.
I’m old enough to remember a great deal.
And for that…I’m am blessed.