family is story

Things I’ll Tell my Kids When They Whine About How Hard Their Life Is

Old TVI grew up west of Atlanta in a town called Douglasville. We had 40 acres of woods and creeks and pastures for our horses. It was awesome. With all of the technology today (and the expansion of water/sewer/cable in the area I grew up in), I can look back and compare how much easier kids have it these days. But then, I had it easier than my parents, right? So, here’s just a starter list of things off the top of my head. I’m not denying the possibility of future posts that add to this list.

What are some ways you’ve noticed that kids today have it “so easy”?

  1. Clothes didn’t look already worn when brand new. They were new. Wearing them made them worn. And if you wanted acid wash, you had to do it yourself, with bleach and stuff.
  2. Cars did not have heated seats. Nor DVD players in the headrests. Nor automatic windows. You looked out windows on road trips. Or read a book. Imagine that.
  3. Phones were attached to walls and had a long chord connected to a piece of plastic you held to your ear. And that’s all the did—send and receive calls.
  4. Phones rang. They didn’t play a song or vibrate or yell a TV quote at you.
  5. The Internet was housed in volumes of books called encyclopedias, with pages you had to flip.
  6. Televisions were more often called TV sets and they were deep, not narrow, and sometimes had to be smacked to stop the picture from rolling.
  7. TVs once came in two-color: black and white. And they had metal rods coming from the back called antenna. Sometimes you had to stand on one leg, hold a glass of water, look to the left, and hold the antenna to the right with the other hand in order to see The Muppet Show.
  8. Water came from a well on our property, not from the city water works. That meant that the duration of a shower was determined by how long it took the water to turn brown. This also meant the well froze in winter, forcing a half-mile trek with two thirsty horses to find water—you can lead a horse to water AND make him drink. And it meant that too many successive laundry cycles turned clothing orange and brown and yellow.
  9. Food actually had to be cooked. On the stove, or in the oven. Taking minutes. There were no 30-second reheats in a microwave.
  10. Music had to be purchased from a store like Turtle’s Records and Tapes that you had to drive to. With each purchase, Turtle’s would give you stamps, and they’d give you a booklet and you’d try to fill that booklet with some stamps so you could get free music. And you spent $500 to achieve the goal. And music came on plastic discs or cassette tapes—both of which you would have to flip over to hear Side Two.

©2013 Jennifer Wilder. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint or publish this content elsewhere, please contact me through this blog.