Wednesday, August 23, 2006
My soon to be 18 year-old daughter once lamented to me that she would like to have seen the 70's as I saw them, as a curious teenager basking in the glow of Elton John while watching the fading sunset of the Beatles. I explained to her that she would now be my age if she had experienced that all first hand.
I saw great things just as Matt saw great things and when we compare them with what we see today how can we find the present as anything but lacking for us?
My father grew up in the depression as one of 13 children. A few of his siblings died in infancy. He grew up in a family that huddled around listening to radio shows at night. All of the kids worked as soon as they were able and put that money toward supporting the entire family. He graduated high school and was drafted, like his older brothers, into military service. What would separate his family from many others at the time was that nobody was killed in World War II.
I grew up in a depression of sorts in that, although we were not poor, I would later realize how close we were. I don't think any child realizes their social status until it is pointed out to them. I grew up with a black and white TV that turned to color and I watched as the Beatles performed on Ed Sullivan and as the Vietnam war was protested and man landed on the moon. I saw TV move from Lucy and Desi in separate beds to dealing openly with racism as Archie Bunker yelled at "meathead".
My high school got a computer the size of a desk that we all marveled at in 1975 as we watched the Watergate hearings.
HBO was my first experience in other than local TV in Tucson in 1980.
I came home from my second trip to Bolivia in 1983 to full blown cable TV and chants of "I want my MTV". THAT was culture shock.
First cell phone was 1998.
First home computer was 1998.
All these are things MY kids grew up having at their feet.
Added since originally posted:
So when my kids are my age will their kids want cool stories about Green Day and Nirvana and how was it like to watch Survivor? My kids have all taken turns swiping my Led Zeppelin and Police box sets and a couple are into Pink Floyd. It's like a pop culture melting pot around here. I think I was lucky enough to catch the first years of what effects just about everything today.
What I see around town as facades will have those who are living in that world lament someday that THAT was the scene and is now sadly lost. This may lead a cycle that ends with Charleton Heston pounding sand before a half buried decaying statue of liberty.
I feel now that I will never grow old like my parents did because you can still hear the music I grew up with on tons of radio stations. The TV shows I watched as a boy are STILL heralded as ground breakers. The moon is still the farthest man has gone. It's all still so close that I can touch it with a slight reach of memory.
What do I lament about?
I lament that I have friends that I will never meet face to face. Friends whose words appear to me on a screen in a room in my house. Friends half my age and even younger who have written things that made me laugh and cry. Maybe it's better that we never meet.
Because then I might actually feel old.
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