by Dave Williams
January 19,2021: Tomorrow Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. Harry Truman was the 33rd president when I was born just shy of 70 years ago.
When I was a child my grandparents never wanted to talk about their own childhoods. I didn’t know why, they didn’t tell me. They just said it was a long time ago. “Go play”, they’d say. If I persisted and they weren’t so busy as to be annoyed they would eventually talk to me a bit about their old days. They amazed me with tales of the world in which they were kids. Cars, phones and electricity were becoming common in the early 20th century but a lot of people didn’t have them yet. Some homes still didn’t have inside plumbing.
My grandparents never saw an airplane until they were teenagers or young adults. This blew my mind.
I can remember when my parents got their first TV. It was a large piece of furniture with a screen the size of a small laptop.
This morning on the radio I suggested people go online for more information about something. These days we talk as if everybody knows how to go online and they do. We just say, “Get more information at the county website” and people know how to do that with no lengthy explanation and instruction. About 25 years ago when relatively few people owned home computers I had to read the entire web address aloud very slowly: “H-T-T-P, colon, forward slash – forward slash, saccounty – all one word (added for clarification), S-A-C county, – dot – com.”
Then I’d repeat it all to make sure everybody got it.
While you younger people wonder how we old farts ever got along without the Internet and 600 TV channels we wonder how you managed to grow up pen-bred, never free-range kids. We’re constantly wringing our hands over that. We worry that our grandkids will never skin their knees or learn the frustration of losing a game and not getting a trophy. Maybe games will be banned altogether soon because competition will be considered unfair and unhealthy.
I worry about that a bit but then I wonder if it really matters; I could be wrong about everything.
I just hope my grandkids will think to ask me about my childhood before I’m gone. If they don’t, I hope they at least wonder.
If they don’t wonder I suppose it won’t matter. It was a long time ago.
Go out and play. Be happy.