Last Saturday morning my husband Jeff was sitting on the living room floor playing with the twins when he posed an interesting question. “What happened to the real Saturday morning cartoons?” he said.
Has it been a slow progression from looking forward to cartoons on Saturday mornings to having “kid-television” available 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week on various channels targeting our little ones? Even my favorite shows like The Brady Bunch, where Mike and Carol peacefully work through sibling rivalry and lost dog issues, have been replaced with a yellow sponge working as an under-the-sea fry cook and a sassy nanny wrangling the likes of poorly-mannered, impolite affluent kids. The latter of which I have blocked from our TV program menu.
A conversation ensued about what we used to do when we were kids that our kids will likely never experience. Call it the advancement of technology or just the progression of the human race, but creating the list made me feel a bit nostalgic as we kick off the not-so-lazy days of summer. I narrowed it to 5 things but I’m certain you will think of many more!
5. Change the channel on the television… by hand!
Oh kids, if you think rolling down the window with a crank seems exhausting, try wearing out a path over to the television set each and every time you wanted to change the channel. You would turn the dial and select from just 13 channels and if the weather was just right you could get a bonus channel to come in.
4. Riding bikes with no worries.
We just got on our bikes and rode them. Big packs of kids moving from one park to another and just riding because we could. The only rule was to be home before the street lights came on. There were no bicycle helmets or special paths to ride on (though I think both are important nowadays).
3. Looking up stuff on paper.
Really this applies to anything that was on paper but is now electronic. Maps, we used a paper map with my mom navigating on family vacations. Encyclopedias, pretty much anything you ever wanted to know was contained in this multi-book set. Now we just ask our phone to tell us how to get somewhere and “google” the needed information that will solve our problems.
2. Eating cookie dough and doing other stuff that is dangerous now.
We grew up eating cookie dough straight from the bowl at grandma’s house. We made mud pies and went for walks around the neighborhood. We piled five kids in the back of the station wagon and begged Aunt Sharon to “take the big hills.”
1. Taking pictures with a camera requiring film.
Photography is one of my favorite things. I got my first point-and-shoot camera that required film and flash cubes when I was about 10 years old. I loved taking photos. Each one was thoughtfully planned because there were only 24 exposures on the film. Once the photos were taken, we’d drop off the film canister and go back a week later to pick up the pictures. The anticipation was half the fun!
My mind was definitely wandering when I was thinking back to the freedom those school-free summer days brought. I hope that I’m not allowing my kids to sign up for so many activities that someday they won’t have the same memories of summer fun, albeit much different than my youth.