Things Just Aren't the Same Anymore - or Are They?
Our WWII parents and grandparents had it going on. I just didn't realize it.
When I was a kid, even though it was the 60's and 70's (1960's and 70's, that is), we thought our parents were 'dumb.' Just like kids do now. It's just a kid thing, I suppose. We thought our parents had no idea what it was like to be a third grader, or a high school girl wanting our hair a certain way, or what is was like to date and fall in love. Really silly when you stop and realize they were married—to each other, usually—and had had babies, like us.
We would make fun of them every time we drove by a certain place and they'd repeat for the umpteenth time what used to be there, what it looked like, and their favorite memory from the joint. We would make fun of them when they put condiment packets in their purse, or got angry at us for throwing away a box without folding it up and storing it somewhere 'to use later' or throw away an old brown paper bag from the grocer. We'd get mad because we couldn't go to one of those new places called 'fast food chains' and instead have to eat what mom made after we helped dad week the garden so we could pick half of our dinner ingredients. The list goes on and on.
Today as an old, aging hippie (after all, I was a kid of the 60's and 70's) I can totally see why my grandmom had me let her know when I arrived somewhere safely. Don't you? It's a really unsafe world out there.
We kids of 'that' generation had a strange life. We were born and raised at the cusp of the modern age. You know, that weird time after WWII when push buttons made life easier, frozen dinners saved time, and all-things-disposable made cleaning a breeze. On one hand, we were being taught that these things were 'modern and better,' while on the other hand, we were also taught as children that women become only housewives, teachers, or secretaries, women don't have their own credit, and a woman's only purpose in life was to take care of her family and not herself, except for their viewing pleasure. Seriously, a woman's doctor wouldn't even tell her what was wrong, but would tell her husband.
So then what happens? Just as we graduate from school and get out on our own, women are given the right to have credit. Bras are burned. Women get jobs. It all changes. I was turned down for a job at McDonald's because I had a tattoo. Yes, really. And in the midst of all of this change we had to learn about, we dated, fell in love, and had babies just like the generations before.
But wait! Things hadn't totally transformed yet! We still had to cook, clean, bathe the children, get their ballet class tutu's, pick up the hubby's dry cleaning (I really hate that word—hubby), and still take care of ourselves and get up and go to work and come straight home and start all over again. Boy, were we glad those 'modern conveniences' existed!
So now, here we are. We have become our parents in lots of ways. We lament about places we used to go, but see it as history and wish our parents and grandparents were still around so we could learn about the history of a building or area, so we can renovate it. We've learned that saving those old boxes is really important. We can use them over and over again for many things. We've learned that those old brown grocery bags are very important to the earth, and we're banning the modern plastic bag that kills wildlife and the oceans. We're learning that it's 'cool' to use reusable everything, and not all of those styrofoam cups that don't ever (and I mean e.v.e.r.) decompose. They even make reusable cups you can buy that look like old mason jars, and here we used to get embarrassed when our parents put our drinks in a mason jar. We've learned that breastfeeding is a good, natural, normal thing after about 50 years of thinking it was horrible and that manmade powder with chemical ridden water was better.
One thing I learned through my education, career, and through life, is that it takes two generations to change anything. It took two generations to get to the modern 'us,' and now we are all banking on our children's children to finally get it right.
I have confidence it is doable, if we all pitch in regardless of age, race, creed, or opinion.