Posted by: abbiewatters | August 5, 2011

Growing Up Misc.

What was the best gift you remember receiving as a child? – This is really a tough one. I remember I got a bicycle for my 9th birthday from Miss Robbie. And I  got a record player when I was in sixth grade, I think. I do remember I wanted it to snow for Christmas when we lived in California. I begged Mama for snow, and I prayed for it every night. Of course, it didn’t, but two years later, when we were in New Jersey, it DID snow for Christmas. The only problem was, I think that was the year everybody had the flu and strep throat the week before the big day, except for me. I warmed up soup and took it to the sickies all week long, and I did get to go outside in the snow for a little while. BUT, on Christmas Day, everybody else was feeling better and I came down with the flu and felt like death warmed over all day long. I couldn’t even enjoy the “White Christmas”.

I wanted a piano badly when I was in High School, but I was saving my money for my trip to Europe, so I always asked for money for the fund. Finally when I was a senior in High School I was able to save up enough money to help buy an old clunker of a piano, and I loved it, but I didn’t have time to take lessons, then.

What did you want to be when you grew up? – I never had any ambitions about what I wanted to be except I wanted to be grown up. Remember in those days, even if you went to college and grad school and everything else, the best a woman could hope for was to be a teacher or a nurse or a secretary. The rest of the professions were basically closed to us. My high school was really snobby and only the kids who couldn’t cut it academically took “business” courses. I learned how to type because I needed an elective. I loved music and singing in the choir, and I had some dreams of doing something with that although I knew I didn’t have the talent to earn any money that way, unless I taught choir. I was also handicapped because I didn’t play the piano, so being a music teacher was out.

What big world events do you remember from the time you were growing up? – I remember Eisenhower’s campaign for president, and I vaguely remember Joe McCarthy on television. I remember hearing about the “police action” in Korea. I remember the rise of Elvis Presley and how Ed Sullivan almost wouldn’t let him on the program because he might “shake his hips!” I remember his first movie, and how some kids threw bricks at the screen when he died at the end. The tear in the screen at the Rialto Theater in Westfield was there as long as I went to the movies. I remember Sputnik. I remember the election between Kennedy and Nixon. I remember the Cuban missile crisis and the Kennedy assassination, but they happened when I was in college. I was in college, also, when the Beatles phenomenon happened, and I was taking music courses and was waaaaay to good to listen to that “stuff.” (I told you I was a real prig.)

What inventions do you remember? – I remember when we got our first television set. We lived in Houston then, and I remember we finally got a set because “The cable is coming.” Until then, TV was only local news and wrestling. After the cable came to town, we were able to get network programs. After I was in college, I remember Mama got a rental car one time that had cruise control. I think it was the first time it had been offered.

What’s different about growing up today from when you were growing up? – The main thing that’s different is that kids are much more protected and live much more circumscribed lives today. When I was growing up we walked all over the place. I walked several blocks to school in grade school, including crossing a pretty busy street. I walked almost a mile to Junior High, and over a mile to Senior High. When I was with other kids it was because I wanted to be, not from some enforced buddy system. As long as I came home when I was supposed to, or called if I was at somebody else’s house, Mama didn’t worry about where I was or what I was doing. After supper I had to stay within “yoo-hooing” distance.

The other big difference is the electronic gadgets. My growing up would have been much different if I had had electronic virtual toys, and mechanical dolls, and TVs and cell phones. I read books and created my own virtual worlds with the help of the printed page instead of having the images created for me.

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