by Barbara Sanders

boy and girl

We all remember people telling us how they yearn for the old days. They tell you how much better life was 'back then', and they believe it. Well, perhaps it's the truth, with some things, but not all.

I am a grandmother, that feels younger than my age, and others tell me I look younger. But, I'm young (or is that old) enough to remember when I was a child, that you didn't sass your Mom. You were set a curfew and you stuck to it, or you reaped the consequences! You went to church every time the doors where open, and you might as well like it, because you were going anyway.

Most children in my neighborhood had to work. But, it wasn't at the local McDonald's, Hardee's, or the Pizza Hut. We did our chores, cleaned the yards, and some of us even worked in the fields of others, helping hoe and reap the vegetables that the farmer had planted. We even chopped and picked cotton (not my best endeavor). It was tiring work, but, it was also invigorating and rewarding! We had the chance of making a few pennies of our own money and being able to spend it like we wanted. But, then, we didn't have a need for coke (the drugs), or alcohol (beer), cigarettes, or wild parties. Our parents would have 'cleaned our plow', had we shown any interest in these things. Oh, there were a few that defied their parents, but they also got into trouble! My Mother made believers out of us, and we were too scared to go against her!! We had been taught to hold our parents in high regard; otherwise, the backsides wouldn't be able to sit for awhile!

The paddle has lost its place in the home today. Thanks to Dr Spook, parents were taught that a spat on the backside would hurt them. I believe the Bible speaks of 'not withholding correction from a child', and the rod will definitely not kill him. When a child has been left to his own wiles, then he's an unruly child. He grows up to be an unruly adult, if he makes it to adulthood. My parents never held back on spanking us, when it was needed, and I can say I am still alive!

Oh, those were the days! Sass your Mom - get a slap! You didn't have to worry about having privileges such as television, CD players, Play Stations, and such, taken away from you, if you rebelled. You didn't have them in the first place! You got sent to your room with a book to read, and told to come out when you could apologize! We were even made to hug the one we had wronged, telling them we loved them and we were sorry for what we had done. Wow! Our parents were so mean, as to make us 'love one another', and be respectable of the rights and materials things of others!

Life wasn't all roses, but it wasn't all the pits, either. We didn't have lots of the things that children today take for granted, but life was nice. We knew how to draw hopscotch on the dirt, shoot marbles under the streetlight, make playhouses in the woods, or use our imagination in a number of different ways. Today, the children's imagination has been all but hidden behind the television, the Nintendo, or Play Station. To have fun with your kid, you rent a movie and watch it with them. Our parents got out in the yard and rode bikes, played horseshoes or basketball with us.

We didn't have all the frills of today's children, but we had as much fun, or more! We played enough physical games to make us tired enough to sleep. We got enough rest to make us want to get up and have another go at it!

I wouldn't want to go back to 'those days', because of no phones, dirt roads, bad transportation, and other things that I can remember that was not all that good. But I don't want to erase them from my mind. They are the memories of those that lived them, the yester years that were spent with our parents, siblings, and friends. We may not have had all those costly things, but we had each other. A trip to the post office, or the nearest drugstore for an ice cream cone was a deal in itself! You were really enjoying life, when you were able to spend the night at a friend's home. You got to listen to their Mother telling them what they could or couldn't do, and you compared this to your Mom's rules! One close friend asked me the other day if I remembered her Mom telling us we weren't supposed to 'drink our meal'. We were to eat first, and then drink our drink. My Mother never specified what to do with our drink - we ate and drank, together. So, it was lessons learned, having the time with other's parents.

Those were the days! We were free to make a choice, to live life to it's fullest, and become what we are today. Because of those days, we can say we are stronger adults, a little more understanding of what people are going through today. On the outside, it seems so different from our years. But, on the inside, they are going through the same things - having to make choices with what they have been given. The materialistic side of life is one thing, but the one thing that matters most in our society is communication. If we are unable to communicate, then we lose in life. Communication is the crux of things…without it, I'd be unable to say 'THOSE WERE THE DAYS'!

Written ©January 27, 2002 by Barbara Sanders, AL. All rights reserved.


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