THE FROG POND - Old Fashioned Fun

(02/17/2002)

By Suzanne Mazer Stewart

Our ten year old recently had a couple of her friends over for a sleep over. Listening to their giggles and chatter reminded me of when I was their age. Everything, it seemed, from the make-up party to the midnight whisperings , brought back memories. And, with the memories, a stark realization of just how different my children's world is from the world of my childhood.

Growing up, we got 2 stations on our television, and only a slightly larger number of radio stations on the FM dial. Satellite TV systems were just beginning to become available, and only the "better off" could afford them. Only a handful of folks living out of town had had cable wired in. Needless to say, TV watching choices were limited. Radio stations, at least those on the FM frequencies, were few and far between. Most of the ones we could get only offered country music, anyway. Once again, your choices didn't amount to much.

Video games, computers and VCR's existed. I know only because my relatives in Baltimore had some. Here, though, only the school had a computer and even the teachers had to rent a VCR. The only video games available to my friends and me were the ones in the only arcade, in the "new" mall.

When I had sleepovers, we did things like play board games, sing and dance to the record player, talk endlessly about boys, and make cookies. We'd go visiting, too. I was fortunate enough to grow up near several elderly farm couples. One old neighbor of ours still worked his land with his team of big, grey horses. He milked his dairy herd by hand, and many times my friends and I cranked out our own ice cream in his wife's spotless kitchen. Anywhere you went on Saturday night, the radio was tuned to the Grand Ole Opry out of Nashville. We got our laughs from Grandpa Jones and Minnie Pearl.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, it just so happens that the subject of MY sleepovers came up at during out daughter's. Now, you wouldv'e thought I was describing rocket science or heart transplant surgery to those kids. They just couldn't grasp the concept how any of that stuff could ever be considered fun! No electronic entertainment, no TV with 150 channels to choose from, no movie rentals, no NOTHING?!? Why, I was just so underprivileged, they couldn't imagine how I ever survived to adulthood. Somehow, somewhere along the way with the CD players and the DVD's and the Backstreet Boys, the simpler joys I had so loved had gotten lost.

I've decided that for the next sleepover, we're gonna unplug the entertainment center, turn the radio to a country station and dance in our pajamas while munching on still-warm cookies. I want the best for my kids, I really do. But best does not always equal modern. After all, we do call them the "good" old days, don't we?

I think I'll still let them talk endlessly about boys. Some things are too good to mess with.

Contact Suzanne MSZFROGGIE@aol.com"


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