Thursday, September 09, 2010

Back To School - Then & Now

With a lot of kids going back to school after Labor Day I started to remember what it felt like back in the olden days (60 years ago....yikes!). It seems to me it was so much simpler. As a public school kid the "new school outfit" was important...maybe a snazzy pencil box and book bag (for nerds), and a strong leather strap to hold your books together (for the "cool" kids). No cell phone, ipod, head phones, calculator, netbook, or backpack; no texting and no twittering! No school bus, even living down a country road in New Jersey. I caught a ride into town on the dairy farmer's milk truck and sat in an empty elementary school classroom by myself for about an hour before the "townies" arrived at 9:00 a.m. At 3:00 p.m. I walked back the lonely country road to an empty house (my parents and Aunt were all at work; my baby sister was at a sitter's house.) Today that would be unheard of and my parents would probably be charged with neglect! The thing is...I never realized I was neglected, unhappy, or in grave danger. I just thought that was the way things were and was perfectly OK with it. In many ways, I think it prepared me for dealing with whatever life throws at you. Perhaps self-pity, the inability to cope, and blaming everyone else for your problems are things you are taught.

Of course, this is a very different world and no way could anyone leave an 8 year-old in an empty building (except for the janitor), in an empty farm house, or walking on a mostly deserted country road. In fact, some 68 years later, I wouldn't put myself in those places either. Kind of a sad statement about today's world, isn't it?

As for all that techie stuff that keeps people from looking into each other's eyes while talking....I must admit that the stuff in the collage is mine and not some grandchild's..both new and old. Of course, the ipod nano and the motorola razr cell phone are "old" by technie standards, but they work for me. Only the netbook is new and I plan to take it traveling with me, along with the DSLR camera...but I still like to look people in the eye when I am talking with them (or taking their picture). Some of the "old" has fond memories...the "slate" from a Dollar Store, the glass inkwell from a shop in India; the beautiful Murano glass pen a Christmas gift from my nieces. And if truth be told, I mostly correspond by e-mail and do very little "real" writing anymore.

These are probably the most words I've put into this blog....I've been "home alone" for a few days and since I no longer have my dogs Belle and Ariel to talk with, I've got all this conversation to get out!

P.S. I loved Richard Harris' MacArthur Park back in 1968 and practically wore out that track on the 33 1/3 Vinyl LP, so I also love the fact that I could download it from Amazon to my ipod Nano for 99 cents!

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