by Jeff Marshall

With this blog, I officially become an old man.

I have always given my dad a hard time about the many stories he shares about his childhood. How he had to walk 72 miles back and forth to school everyday – without shoes – through 4 feet of snow. How he had to eat off the land and kill his own food – with his own bare hands – through 4 feet of snow.

Sure, slight exaggeration. But only slight.

Spending a lot of time with my six year old nephew lately, I find myself harkening back to my own childhood. I was his age in 1979. That’s 35 years ago. 35 YEARS! Just a fraction of time within the scope of mankind – but a huge amount of time within my own life and times.

So, with a nod to my older-than-dirt dad John, whom I love more than my luggage (that’s for you, Sara!), I present a look back at my own childhood.



WHEN I WAS A YOUNGSTER, going out to eat was a privilege and a rare occasion. Today getting a Happy Meal or a Peanut Buster Parfait is as common as changing your socks. Back in the old days, before socks were invented, going to McDonalds or Dairy Queen was something to look forward to – for weeks! A rare treat indeed! Today you find a Chinese buffet every few blocks. In my youth, a Chinese restaurant was sacred – the Holy Grail of dining pleasure, although the “I’m not eating anything I can’t pronounce” logic made pretty much everything except an egg roll obsolete. We actually cooked our own meals – over an open fire in the dead of night. There was a new invention called a microwave oven, but rumor was that the radiation would kill you dead!

WHEN I WAS A YOUNGSTER, televisions didn’t have remote controls. Get this kids, we actually had to GET UP and physically change the channel. Makes the 72 mile walk to school seem like a breeze, doesn’t it?!?! Not only that, but if you had 12 channels to choose from, you were really living high on the hog! Rabbit ears were not found on Bugs Bunny – they were found on top of the 12 inch black and white set you had to use binoculars to see. The only television in the house was found in the family room, and everyone had to SHARE! I’ll explain that word in a future blog.

WHEN I WAS A YOUNGSTER, our iPhone was two Dixie cups with a string. Our computer was Speak ‘n’ Spell. Our iTunes was an 8 track featuring the best of Engelbert Humperdink. The only text we had was in our textbook in the one room schoolhouse on top of the hill with no heat or electricity. A VCR cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars. A video camera was the size of a Kenmore refrigerator. And an internet was only used when you went fishing.

I can only imagine what the youth of today and the generations to come will use in describing their hardship stories. I suppose it’s true, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Unless, of course, the grass is covered in 4 feet of snow…

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