“Was There a TV/DVD Player/Electricity When You Were Growing Up?”

| October 22, 2017 | Reply

The other day, Layla was home with a tummy bug. Luckily it was nothing serious, and the regular regimen of liquids, crackers, chicken noodle and Culturelle did the trick.

While Netflix was usually enough to keep her occupied, the programming wasn’t enough to stop her from chatting with Mom. So, as I sat typing a few feet away, our Resident Princess fired off with question after question about her life, my life, her daddy, her No. 1 Bro and practically everything in-between; “Mom, did you have balloons at your birthday parties as a little girl?” “When can I have a cell phone?” “Mom, when did you first give Daddy a kiss?” Did Darius really just want little sisters? What if I were a boy?” “Why don’t you listen to the radio when we drive?” “Was there a TV/DVDs/electricity in your house when you were growing up?”

Oh yes, Baby Girl actually asked me these things. And a lot more. So while she’s back at school, I decided to break a few things down for her, and other curious folks. According to socialmarketing.org, I belong to Generation X—–the 40-odd million folks born between 1966-1976. Despite the lack of modern conveniences and technology in my youth, being a “Gen-Xer” gave me experiences that “Generation Z” (1995-2012) can never hope to replicate.

For starters, I was a “latchkey” kid. It seems downright derelict in the modern era, but back in the day, while both of my parents worked, I walked home alone from school. Daily. When I reached the front door, I would dip under my collar, pulled out the hidden house key and let myself inside. Snacks would be waiting and when Mom back home, she would cook. Sometimes us kids liked it, sometimes we didn’t. But you know what? All of us are still alive, so it couldn’t have been all bad.

I wish I had a time machine—-even a souped-up DeLorean a la the classic 80s flick Back to the Future—–so that Generation Z could return to that slower, yet special time. Yes, we had TV; sometimes it was on a stand, sometimes it was a deluxe model that was resembled a long and wide wooden chest. You watched your favorite shows, as they aired, on about a dozen channels. Commercials and all. And if you missed it or lacked a VCR to capture the program, you bought actual paper TV guides to scour the times for the repeat.

When we were kids, there was no YouTube, Music Choice, or internet—-we had Black Beat and Vibe magazines, BET, MTV and used live face-to-face interactions to connect. The only phones we would carry around were the cordless type, and it was a life-changing event to acquire Caller ID. As teens and young adults, Calvin and envisioned robots walking the streets and cars flying overhead, like in The Jetsons. At the same time, our minds would have been blown if we knew of mini-laptops, instantaneous news/ video access and future children (ours and otherwise) who would exchange texts and emojis on hand-held computers, a.k.a. smart phones.

So yeah, we didn’t have, nor did we ever dream of, the present-day technology that we all now take for granted. Still, we came of age with family sitcoms instead of reality shows, and more musicians than instant boy and girl bands. There were bullies and mean girls, except the bad hairdos, social faux pas and fashion choices weren’t “made viral” in social media with a click.

But back to “20 Questions.” Yes, Darius would have loved Layla and Nia no matter what gender they were. Until middle school or a Hollywood gig, kids at this house don’t get cell phones. As for Daddy and Mommy’s first kiss? It was back in 2005, After watching “Coach Carter” on our first date. And we’ve been kissing ever since.

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Motherofcolor.com showcases the writings of an intelligent and socially savvy wife, mother and journalist who explores a variety of topics (culture, politics, race and gender issues, etc.) with a unique African-American/womanist perspective.* *COPYWRITTEN CONTENT, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED (c) . "Melody Charles," "Chocolate Mama & "Le[e] L[e]e Symone" are writing alter egos/pen names*

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