"Hey Dad," one of my kids asked the other day, "what was your favorite fast food when you were growing
"We didn't have fast food when I was growing up," I informed him. "All the food was slow."
"C'mon, seriously. Where did you eat?"
"It was a place called 'at home,'" I explained. "Grandma cooked every day and when Grandpa got home from work, we sat
down together at the dining room table, and if I didn't like what she put on my plate I was allowed to sit there until I did like it."
By this time, the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer serious internal damage, so I didn't tell
him the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table. But here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood if I
figured his system could have handled it:
Some parents NEVER owned their own house, wore Levi's, (I had to wear Corduroys that ate the insides of my legs off, but
that's all we could afford), set foot on a golf course, traveled out of the country or had a credit card. In their later years they had
something called a revolving charge card. The card was good only at Sears Roebuck. Or maybe it was Sears AND Roebuck. Either way, there is no
Roebuck anymore. Maybe he died.
My parents never drove me to soccer practice. This was mostly because we never had heard of soccer. I had a bicycle that
weighed probably 50 pounds, and only had one speed, (slow). You knew the name of the bus driver on your route to downtown - ours was Tommy
Thompson, a WW2 vet.
We didn't have a television in our house until I was 11, but my grandparents had one before that. It was, of course,
black and white, but they bought a piece of colored plastic to cover the screen. The top third was blue, like the sky, and the bottom third was
green, like grass. The middle third was red. It was perfect for programs that had scenes of fire trucks riding across someone's lawn on a sunny
day. Some people had a lens taped to the front of the TV to make the picture look larger.
I was 13 before I tasted my first pizza. It was called "pizza pie." When I bit into it, I burned the roof of my mouth
and the cheese slid off, swung down, plastered itself against my chin and burned that, too. It's still the best pizza I ever had.
We didn't have a car until I was 15 and I let it roll down the hill until it came to rest at the base of a Catalpa tree.
Before that, the only car in our family was my grandfather's Ford. He called it a "machine." I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone
in the house was in the living room and it was on a party line. Before you could dial, you had to listen and make sure some people you didn't
know weren't already using the line.
Pizzas were not delivered to our home. But milk was. Bread and rolls came from the Omar man. All newspapers were
delivered by boys and all boys delivered newspapers. I delivered a newspaper, six days a week even when the snow was 18" deep. It cost 7 cents a
paper, of which I got to keep 2 cents. I had to get up at 4:00 AM every morning. On Saturday, I had to collect the 42 cents from my customers.
My favorite customers were the ones who gave me 50 cents and told me to keep the change. My very best customers were the ones who gave me $1.00
as a Christmas tip. My least favorite customers were the ones who seemed to never be home on collection day and you had to go back and back and
back. These customers never gave you a Christmas tip.
If you grew up in a generation before there was fast food, you may want to share some of these memories with your
children or grandchildren. Growing up isn't what it used to be, is it?
Submitted by Marianna, Columbia, Md.