The olden days

Posted on November 28, 2011 by

“What were the olden days like, Grandma and Grandpa?”
It was my favorite question, queried constantly to my beloved grandparents as I grew up in the ’40s and ’50s. They talked of riding streetcars, living in turn of the century (that’s the 19th into the 20th-century) New York and moving to the suburbs – East Orange, N.J. — from the wilds of Brooklyn when my dad was a child in the early part of the 20th century.
Now the tables are turned, and I’m the grandparent, being queried on the “olden days” by my beloved grandson, Jack, who’s 7 1/2. It’s a Q & A project for his second grade class study on “Acton Long Ago.”
I didn’t grow up in Acton, but my answers are probably like a lot of other grandparents, who grew up in my time and are being interviewed for this project.
Back in our “olden days” of the ’40s and ’50s, we played jump rope, hopscotch and kickball. Girls loved playing with dolls and paper dolls and being with friends. Boys loved playing sports and being with friends. We walked to school and came home for lunch. And our TVs — if we had a TV — were tiny and black and white with two or three channels, not hundreds of cable options like we have today.
Computers were far away in some science fiction future we only read about or imagined in comic strips or movies.
But we were still lucky kids, especially when we had grandparents who loved — no adored — us.
And that hasn’t changed in 60, 600 or 6000 years. Grandparents love doting on their grandkids, cherishing them and offering a listening ear without judgement or condemnation.
My grandparents did it for me and my sisters. And I do that now for Jack, Molly and Claire.
How would Grandma and Grandpa Davies react to these three little miracles — their great-great grandchildren and my perfect grands?
I think, first of all, that they’d laugh a bit when they realized their granddaughter is now a grandmother herself. How could that happen, they’d think, recalling my rebellious teen years when they always stood by?
Then, they’d marvel at how funny and smart kids are today — especially Jack, Molly and Claire. And while they wouldn’t be able to fathom computers, the Internet, iPads or remotes, they’d marvel at how far the world has come.
But they’d still take delight that, despite push buttons and multimedia electronics, kids still play dolls, jump rope and play hopscotch and kickball, keeping the “olden days” alive — at least for this generation.

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