When our son was a child, we had definite ideas about what was unsuitable for him. Outside of the obvious ones I won’t list here, I personally had it in for a 3x5 inch piece of plastic known as the Game Boy. In my opinion, that toy and other electronic toys are a waste of time when the whole world of outdoor play, board games and books exists for a child.
What in the world caused me to be this old-fashioned?
As a child you are certain that your future self as a parent will be exactly the opposite of your parents (if you are lucky enough to have parents throughout your childhood.)
You will be the coolest, hippest most uptown parent ever. I’m dating myself with the antiquated word “hip”.
Why act like those Puritans who raised you? You’ll never be like them. You swear you will be cool.
Then you have your own child.
If you are lucky, you won’t be too cool for school.
What I mean is that you won’t be a buddy or a partner in crime; you can be an ally and still behave as the adult in the relationship.
My parents were markedly traditional as were my husband’s parents. My husband and I were certainly a match made in heaven. Perhaps God decreed it, “Let’s put these two cool kids with the 4 squarest parents together, and we’ll see how they parent.” (Oops. I used another antiquated 1960s word: square.)
The joke was on us. We were not cool. Those apples didn’t fall far from those 4 square trees.
With our child, we were just as conventional in parenting as our parents.
I did not allow my child to play or own any video games. Was it the end of the world? No.
What crimes were my parents guilty of that left me so wounded that I denied my only son of video games?
My parents denied me the pleasure of looking like a buffoon and also kept my feet warm and dry. For shame!
Let’s talk about granny glasses and go-go boots.
I got glasses in the fourth grade, a winter in which my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Prudence Thompson, and I had a daily “come to Jesus” meeting over the poor quality of my penmanship.
Getting glasses helped, but the dark frames made this “fourth grade nothing” look like a “fourth grade nothing with thick, old-fashioned horn-rimmed glasses.” My extraordinarily bad handwriting has not improved much since the invention of the personal computer upon which this trope is written.
Remember a musical group from the 1960s called The Beatles? I have to ask, because when my husband teaches a college class the students rarely understand any cultural reference before 1990. This is clearly a wiser audience.
Beatle John Lennon wore his first pair of gold-rimmed wire framed glasses. The press called them “granny glasses.” Donned in what would become his trademark frames, the twenty something young man said on a 1966 US tour that the “Beatles were bigger than Jesus.”
Isn’t that just the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard?
I liked and still like John Lennon’s music, but it seems that a self-named peacenik would not dishonor the greatest Prince of Peace.
I wanted those granny glasses and I wasn’t getting them.
I was losing hope. Some of my friends (I might be making this up) had granny glasses. So I changed my attention on what I needed to get popular.
Are ya ready boots?
In 1966, one of the best songs was Nancy Sinatra (yes, Frank’s daughter) with “These Boots are made for Walkin’.”
Nancy wore these white boots that go-go dancers wore in dance clubs. Soon, somebody was marketing go-go boot look-alikes to teenage girls. The kiddie version was cheap, unlined, white plastic and rose about five inches from the ankle.
Fourth grade girls aren’t teenagers, but we think we are.
I told my parents that I needed go-go boots because “Everybody had them.”
Like my demand for granny glasses, that request didn’t play well in Peoria, or small town Indiana, either.
When I wouldn’t stop barking about it, I was sent to my room (where I read many books with my ugly horn-rimmed glasses.)
Today I have several pairs of horn-rimmed glasses both for reading and distance. My parents were right about the granny glasses go-go boots, and pretty much everything else.
Yes, Dad, even the t-shirt from the Alcatraz prison I wanted on our San Francisco vacation. You wouldn’t even let me buy with my own money. You were right. Are you happy now?