The election is over and some folks are saying the world is coming to an end. Of course, we D’arco kids thought that most of our lives. We didn’t realize how lucky we were to have two parents who made sure we learned how to be independent, had good manners and respected our elders. We did our homework without complaint and believe me, it could take a lot of time. Kids today have access to a lot more information in a lot simpler manner. Our Google was a set of encyclopedias that weighed a ton and took up an entire shelf in our living room. My Mom bought them at a second hand store and they were a steal since the S and T volumes were missing. You just had to remember to never pick topics that used those two letters. So let’s talk about some real world-ending events.
We rode the bus to and from school. At the top of our street was a tavern where the night shift workers shared a few beers and a cigarette or two before heading home to the little woman. In the late afternoon, when I got off the bus, the day shift workers ended their day huddled on the stools with the same agenda. My Mom was paranoid that “one of those drunks” was going to whisk me away so she stood at the bus stop with me and met me there in the afternoons. It was world-ending when I hit high school and the snitches on the bus told everyone at school that my Mommy walked me to the bus.
A two parent household with the Mom not working was very common in those days. Supper was at 4:30, as soon as my Dad stepped through the door or he hit the roof. It was not a pretty sight. We ate dinner together EVERY night, we didn’t know what carryout was (for years I assumed it was when they “carried out” one of the drunks at the tavern) and we ate what was put on our plate. I will never eat another beet. It made your plate very unappetizing when the beet juice seeped over into the mashed potatoes and turned them pink.
My grandparents were at our house every weekend. Grandpa went hunting in the woods for squirrels and rabbits (which if he had a good day, we had dinner.) It takes a lot of squirrels or rabbits to make a meal, and I was mortified when my friend spent the night and walked in on the carnage created when the animals were being “prepared” for the table. Giving her the squirrel or rabbit tail did nothing to abate her horror and I don’t remember her ever talking to me again. Of course she told everyone at school I was a true hillbilly (never mind that she ate chickens and cows). The world did not come to an end but it was getting tougher with the bus issues and now everyone asking if I was going to wear my “coonskin” hat to school.
When I hit high school, I was allowed to go to “Teen Town” on Friday nights. The weekly dances were a real chance to meet boys and show your dance moves, which we practiced for hours. EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE wore nylons and shiny loafers with a penny (or a dime if you had money) tucked into the front. My parents nixed the nylons and insisted I wear saddle shoes with white socks, which did not match my coonskin hat by the way J . I was so embarrassed to be different. Finally my cousin came to my rescue by stashing an extra pair of nylons in her purse. I changed out my attire in her car, but alas, one time I forgot to change back into my white socks. You’d have thought the earth had quit spinning when my parents saw the nylons. Of course, that was the end of Teen Town for me. Oh well, the boys were not very attractive anyway and I never really learned how to do the Stroll.
I think about these incidents now when my Grandkids complain about how strict their parents are and how they cannot survive in the world they give them. Of course, I am grateful that my children care enough and take the time to know what’s going on in their kids’ lives. The grandkids world will not end either, and they will be better adults for having been given the gift of loving, concerned and smart parents.