Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Congratulations to all my friends who were born in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank sherry while they carried us and lived in houses made of asbestos.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese, bread and butter, raw egg products, loads of bacon and processed meat, and didn’t get tested for diabetes or cervical cancer.

Then, after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, or locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets or shoes, not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, seatbelts or air bags.

We drank water from the garden hose, not from a bottle.

Take out food was limited to hamburgers and fish and chips, there were no pizza shops, McDonald’s, KFC, Subway or Taco Bell.

Even though all the shops closed at 6pm and didn’t open on a Sunday, somehow we didn’t starve to death!

We shared one soft drink with four friends from one bottle and no one died from this. We could collect old drink bottles and cash them in at the corner store to buy licorice, gobstoppers and bubble gum.

We ate white bread and real butter, drank cow’s milk and soft drinks with sugar, but we weren’t overweight because... we were always outside playing!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day, but we were OK. We would spend hours building go-karts out of old crates and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.

We built treehouses and dens and played in riverbeds with Matchbox cars.

We did not have PlayStations, Nintendo Wii and Xboxes, or video games, DVDs, or color TV.

There were no mobile phones, computers, internet or chatrooms. We had friends and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. And we ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, too.

Only girls had pierced ears.

You could buy Easter eggs and hot cross buns only at Easter time.

We were given air guns and catapults for our tenth birthdays. We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or just yelled for them.

Not everyone made the school baseball or football teams. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that. Getting into the team was based on merit.

Our teachers hit us with rulers, gym shoes and threw the blackboard erasers at us if they thought we weren’t concentrating.

We can string sentences together, spell and have proper conversations now because of a solid three Rs of education.

Our parents would tell us to ask a stranger to help us cross the road.

Mom didn’t have to go to work to help Dad make ends meet because we didn’t need to keep up with the Joneses!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

Parents didn’t invent stupid names for their kids like Kiora, Blade, Ridge and Vanilla.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

You might want to share this with others who grew up in an era before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives.

And while you are at it, forward it to your children, so they will know how brave their parents are.

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