I am a survivor, a survivor of the 70’s & 80’s, eras of many horrors that were just plain wrong; big hair, wind suits, brass home furnishings, brown paneling, Home Interior parties, cigarette smoke, Coke changing its formula, Alf, shoulder pads, & so much more. But so many things were right about these eras, too. Riding on the back of a truck, walking around barefoot, making mix tapes of your favorite tunes, shopping for the best hairspray to give your hair maximum height (my fave was Rave), gathering of family & friends & staying up late into the night listening to the adults gossip as they sat around drinking Maxwell House coffee & smoking, hanging out the window of a car hollering at friends, plastic charm necklaces, Scooby Doo, Mama’s Family, jelly shoes, Member’s Only jackets, Swatch watches, talking on a landline phone for hours & prank calling people, who shot JR. I could write on this for hours. I had such a good time growing up even though I can’t remember who shot JR!
What an amazing time for my parents generation. They lived through such an explosion of changes. Daddy didn’t have electricity until he was a young boy, neither Mama or Daddy had a television until their teens, they used party lines to talk-often picking up the phone & to hear other conversations about people in the community. A lot of you reading this have parents who were born in the 40’s or earlier. They worked on the farm or worked for a farmer picking cotton, priming tobacco, pulling watermelons, etc. Look at us now, we are on handheld phones constantly, able to find out any type of information instantly & wouldn’t dare think about going outside barefoot much less going into a field to get vegetables or going out in the backyard to kill a chicken for a meal. Speaking of farms, one of my fondest memories is of Daddy plowing the field & I would walk through the field with the cool sand flowing in between my toes, nothing was any better. Well, let me rephrase that, almost nothing was any better. The best was riding to the store & getting a square of greasy, room temperature hoop cheese & a Pepsi for a treat.
I played outside as a youth, but still our grandparents & parents would say ‘those Ataris have ruined kids, they never go outside any more’. I do suppose when tv came about & later on video games, that’s when the trend began of kids staying indoors. I am a huge fan of playing outdoors just ask Coleman & Ava, I made them play outside all the time & I joined them, but television & video games saved my hide nearly everyday when the kids were growing up & now since Jack often could/can not enjoy outdoor play due to heat or cold (intolerant to both as a result of Dravet). These modern conveniences are absolutely wonderful for a lot of reasons.
Do you remember sitting in front of a box fan & talking into it to hear your voice change? Maybe we were trying to cool off or maybe we were just entertaining ourselves. Many a Saturday evening was spent in front of the box fan shelling peas & watching the Yankees. I looked so forward to the weekends, just not Friday nights-that was cleaning night. Every single Friday night while growing up (and my parents still to this day follow this rule), sheets are washed, floors vacuumed, mopped, bathrooms cleaned, dusting, the works. Saturday’s were the real treat. If we didn’t have to shell peas that evening, we went to town. This town is known as Rockingham, a neighbor to my hometown Ellerbe. 15 minutes from our house, small, but it had Belk & a Western Sizzler! This was when a steakhouse was great. Beef tips with peppers & onions, a piping hot baked potato, & a salad bar. We would hit Belk afterwards, Daddy would stay in the car to people watch & Mama & I would shop. Belk is “the” store all southern women shop. Whether you need an Easter dress, a baby shower gift, a wedding gift, or a new pair of tennis shoes, Belk was/is the place to get all of the above. It was not uncommon to see ladies in Belk or the grocery store with their hair in curlers in preparation for church the next day out shopping! I think of this image all the time. Can you imagine going out in public like that today? You can rest assured your picture would be on Facebook! I remember going to the fish camp & getting my parents packs of cigarettes out of the vending machine or running in the store for a pack of Vantage cigs when I was 6!
Now you can’t even smoke in a restaurant, which is a wonderful thing. I’ve always hated smoke even though I was surrounded by smokers as a kid. The parents smoked, aunts & uncles chained smoked, all my friends parents smoked, the teachers lounge was like a bar scene except the drinks were glass bottle Cokes (with the one exception of a certain teacher) & a thick cloud of smoke wafted through the halls, there was even a smoking section for the students at our local high school. I am thankful I did not get the urge to put a burning ring of fire to my lips!
How I would love to go back to the good old days when times were simpler. I, too, like many teenagers & young adults have become a phone junkie. When Jack started school, I had to keep my phone on me all the time in case of an emergency & the same still holds true, I must keep it on me at all times when I leave the house or even while I’m at home in case he tries to get rowdy. My addiction kicked into full gear when I started staying up late at night last year waiting on Jack to fall asleep. I needed something to stimulate my mind to keep from drifting off from the hours of 12am-sometimes 4am. Reading lulls me to sleep, so I indulged in too much Facebook & Instagram to keep me awake. I learned the hard way that electronics does something kooky to the brain. It is very much like a drug. I find myself checking my messages constantly, checking Facebook & why? It is a fun way to connect with others, I really do love it, but the constant need to be on a phone during downtime is kind of ridiculous. Now while watching my favorite shows like Grey’s Anatomy or one of the Real Housewives, I am also on my phone texting or Facebooking. Forget actually being 100% into the characters, now I’m into 2,900+ friends & their business, plus a tv show. This multi-tasking has been proven not to be healthy for our minds. While I recognize the problem, the question is, will I be able to reduce my screen time. I’m really going to try to. I do a lot of texting to many people; employees about work, updates on what’s at The Berry Patch, my ball team people, I text look-a-like pictures throughout the day to a lot of friends (that’s one of my obsessions as well), I text odd pictures of produce & have friends guess what they look like, I do weird things. Pictured below are sweet potatoes Lee grew that I sent to many people to get their take on what the taters resemble.
This is one of my phone comparison pictures of two celebs, Amy Schumer & Fredrik Eklund:
Could be siblings, right? Coleman & Ava hate me texting them, usually because it’s typically something strange or like the above pictures. You know, teens hate their parents any way, why not give them more ammunition!
I listen to podcasts on my phone to help me not be so consumed by the struggles at home, I am forever taking pictures of various beautiful & odd things, & let’s not forget one of my favorite apps-QVC (highly recommended).
Our phones do so many amazing, wonderful things, however, they can’t create the pleasure felt from interacting with family & friends, our phones can’t go outside & exercise for us, nor does the silent option allow you to experience the joy of complete & utter silence on a lazy Sunday afternoon because your phone is still looming nearby. These are the things a lot of us are missing…as I type this blog on my iPhone-no judgement 🤣. I want to one day write a blog titled “I am a phone survivor”, but don’t think this will be possible with all the cool things this gadget does for me & the diversions my iPhone creates. I will just keep looking for ways to create new fun memories & have proof of them on my phone.