Remember when. Is everyone who passes the half century mark programmed to utter those two words?
Today on Page 27, Chapter Two, in my book of Opportunity, I’m contemplating that.
With more than half of our lives over, is that why those of us who cross over the big five-o threshold tend to look back at the past instead of forward to the future?
Recently I ate lunch with a co-worker who is just a few years younger than me and we started talking about “the good ol’ days.”
At first, we discussed restaurants and stores long gone from the main street of my hometown and then we delved into childhood reminiscences.
Most of our conversation revolved around those two words, “remember when.” Remember when the drug store had a soda fountain counter? Remember when there was a five and dime store? Remember when you could eat at the snack bar in that store? Remember the candy counter?
My friend remembers her grandma taking her to the “five and ten” (as we called it) where she allowed my friend to pick whatever candy from the big bins that she wanted and she would happily go home with a ¼ pound of goodies. I also remember salivating there as a kid surveying all the candy and salted nuts you could purchase.
In the middle of the wooden floored store stood a wide staircase that led downstairs to where the magical toy department existed and the pet department where you could buy not just fish but tiny little turtles too. I know because I had two of them.
I was one lucky little girl because my oldest sister worked at the five and ten store while she was in high school and sometimes I was the lucky recipient of a treat from there. I especially recall receiving packages of cut-out dolls.
Life was a whole lot simpler back in the day. Children played with simple toys. We didn’t have electronic gadgets that blinked, beeped or lit up like a Christmas tree. Computer games, video games…non-existent. A computer was something mentioned in science fiction books.
Indoor play consisted of items like jacks, yo-yos, pick-up sticks and cut-out dolls – cardboard folders with a flat cardboard figure (mine was National Velvet) and sheets of paper clothing that we cut out with our scissors. The paper clothes had tabs on them that folded down on the doll to keep the outfit on.
A package of cut-outs could keep me occupied for a long time. I loved playing with them so much, I would even make my own from the huge Sears and Roebuck catalog. I would cut out an entire family, their clothes and a household full of furniture and appliances all out of that one catalog.
But a large segment of my play time was spent outdoors. My neighborhood girlfriends and I even set up elaborate Barbie doll arrangements outside under the trees or on the front porch. We ran as we played different versions of tag, we jumped rope, we rode our bikes, we swam in their pool.
We made up our own games and imaginary playtime scenarios. Sometimes we played secret agent, sometimes restaurant, sometimes house and we did it all outside. If it wasn’t raining we were outdoors. If it snowed, we couldn’t wait to be outside sledding, making snowmen, building snow forts and engaging in snow ball battles.
Hours of very inexpensive and simple fun. All accomplished without a computer, an expensive game system or TV.
When today’s children reach their half-century marks in age I wonder if they will sit around and reminisce, “Remember when we stayed inside all day with our noses stuck to a computer screen or the TV playing video games. Those were the days.”