Home > Amusings, Parenting > My Childhood Could Beat Up Your Childhood (Pt. 3)

My Childhood Could Beat Up Your Childhood (Pt. 3)

This has been a pretty fun series that brought back a ton of memories. Alas, like Boys II Men sang, it looks like we’ve come to the end of the road – mostly because everything else from my childhood wasn’t so awesome. So if you missed part 1 or part 2, go check ’em out. Go on. I can wait.

So here are the last few things that I miss from my childhood that are also why I’ll always tell my daughters that my childhood can beat up your childhood.

Airport Security (or lack thereof)

One day, I’m going to tell my daughters that 1) even if you didn’t have a ticket, you could escort your friend all the way to their gate and wait until their plane took off, 2) you didn’t need to take off your shoes to get through security, and 3) Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue, and Green were colors of the rainbow; not terror alert levels, and they will put me in a home because they will think I’m nuts. Thankfully, I still have a picture of me before I headed out to missions in 2000 with 20 people from my church with the gate and plane visible in the background as proof that I’m not crazy.

Today? You get dropped off by a friend or loved one hours before your flight. You say your goodbyes and can’t take pictures together anywhere near anything that would indicate you are at the airport. You have to wait by the gate all alone for an hour. And then you hope and pray that you make it to your destination. These were all things that never crossed my mind when I was a kid. Now people quote statistics, such as: you’re more likely to die using an escalator than riding an airplane, to reassure that air travel is safe.

Oh and baggage fees? Those also didn’t exist.


I was a dude…well, I am still a dude…so I never made a scrapbook because that’s not very dude-like. That being said, I always wished and hoped I’d go over to a girl’s home and see myself in their scrapbook – hopefully not with the letters D, I, and E cut out from magazines and my name written in blood.

My wife is a sentimental being. For example, just before she got married, we cleaned out her room and began moving things over to our new house. That mug still had journals, diaries, scrapbooks, and teen heartthrob posters. Show of hands: how many of you ladies had NKOTB, Devin Sawa, Jonathan Brandis, and JTT posters? So for an anniversary gift, I made her a scrapbook of our first year of marriage.

I wish I could say that it was an awesome experience, but it wasn’t. It sucked. I’m anything but meticulous and I got tired and finished half-way through and put a note in there about how the rest of the pages are blank to symbolize all the adventures we’re going to have together. That’s right – call me Ellie, Mr. Fredricksen.

But my wife still loved it. There’s something special about a scrapbook that you simply cannot capture with a MyPublisher, SnapFish or Shutterfly photobook.

Physical fitness

Ok, so this may be a sensitive subject but I’ll go ahead with it anyway. Did you know that in every class of my elementary school years we had a stinky kid and a fat kid? I wasn’t spring fresh nor was I the epitome of fitness, but I wasn’t the stinkiest nor the fattest.

Today, however, if you visit an elementary school, you’d probably find that the fat kids have in fact become the majority and have eaten all the skinny kids. You’ll also likely be considered a pedophile if you visit an elementary school, but that’s a different story.

Printed Photos

I take a lot of photos of my kids but I have very few of them printed up. There was something special about dropping off a roll of film and eagerly anticipating how the photos turned out. Nowadays, you know exactly how they should turn out but end up complaining about how crappy the print quality is. Before, since you only put the good photos in your albums, showing off your photos to friends was always fun. Now, you flip through photos on your computer but since you took 8 shots of the same thing at different angles, the slideshow gets old REAL quick.

Safety (or lack thereof)

I rode my bike without a helmet and rode in my parents’ car without a seat belt, let alone a car seat, and I’ve made it this far. Did I suffer permanent brain damage? That’s debatable. Today, kids look like they’re trying out for a football team just to ride their bikes in front of their house.

Back in the day, we used to have people called Safety Patrols (sadly, a Google image search didn’t yield the iconic, neon orange belt) but they did nothing but get people they didn’t like in trouble. Today?! Everyone is a freaking safety patrol. Like fat kids, narks were in the minority in my childhood.

Thumbs Up, Seven Up

They may still play this today, but on rainy days in my childhood, we always played this game during recess. And if a girl you thought was cute was up there, you hoped that she would pick you (she never did 😦 but I figured she was just playing hard to get). And you also knew who the kids were who cheated and you never picked them.

Play dates (or lack thereof)

Growing up, we didn’t have play dates; we just played with friends. Today, you have to schedule play dates far in advance. The scheduling is so hectic and finding the right fit for a play date is so difficult that I’m wondering if I should start-up a play dating service, e.g., KHarmony, KidMatch, or It’s Just Snack Time, to help parents find the right play date partner for their kids.


Maybe it’s just me, but there seems to be a lot of distrust in America today. We don’t know if we can trust food companies (expansive food recalls, HFCS), corporations (greed, corruption, product recalls) the government (wars, national debt), public toilets, and even our own neighbors. And I’m guilty of it too. (yeah, that’s right. I hover if there isn’t a Rest ASSured in the bathroom – I don’t know whose butt has been on that seat and where there butt has been).

Whether I verbalize distrust or not, my actions clearly communicate that I am prone to question people and their intentions, and I fear that will be transferred to my kids. And that is a crappy outlook on life and people. Things were simpler when I was a kid. If my mom had to run out, she left me with my neighbor, and that was without Googling their names and finding out their backgrounds. I want my kids to be safe but I also don’t want them to be paranoid about every little thing and person they encounter.

The Concept of Us

Growing up, we were taught how powerful a group could be, you know, only being as strong as your weakest link and all that. So it’s ironic in an age of unprecedented tolerance that the individual is stressed more than the collective.

Think about all the things we consume today – it’s all about what we want, when we want it, where we want it, how we want it. Somehow forgot to clear your calendar for Mad Men? First of all, how dare you?! But no worries – you have DVR and can watch it when you want. Don’t like onions on your burger? Have it your way! The Web is all about an experience that is tailored to what the individual likes. So many things are on demand. Heck, in my childhood, I didn’t even get food on demand – I ate when momma said it was time to eat. And if she didn’t have food when I was hungry? Guess what? I continued to be hungry.

Additionally, I was rarely told I was special growing up. In fact, when someone said you were special, that was a nice way to say you probably rode the short bus. My parents never stressed how gifted I was; they stressed what a gift to my family I was. By these powers combined (I love squeezing in Captain Planet references), I realized that I needed others and that together, we could achieve great things.

I want my daughters to know they are special people, but I also want them to know that they exist in a larger collective and they need to do their best to make that place the best it can be. I want them to know that their value is not in what they can do but in how they can add value to others.

That’s something I learned from my childhood and I hope it’s something I can instill in my kids as they navigate their way through their childhoods.

You know how Uncle Joey was a comedian but he wasn’t actually really funny? This post was supposed to be lighthearted but somehow wasn’t. Good thing this series is over because I’m getting all crotchety. So as Uncle Joey would say, “Cut. It. Out!”

What about you? What do you miss from your childhood?

  1. October 7, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    I don’t even know where to start. The fat kids eating the little kids make me laugh out loud and then all my kids wanted to know what was funny. So I told them, “fat kids”.

    I hear you on the printed photos. I miss the suspense of a developed roll and seeing what magic had happened, or not happened. Although I will tell you that after scrapbooking for years and years, I think Snapfish and Picaboo are the best invention ever. I documented a vacation in two hours the other night and DONE! Love Picaboo.

    And to everything else – yes and yes! I miss it too. I want to put the world on pause. Maybe even rewind.

    • Pop
      October 7, 2010 at 1:05 pm

      True on the ease of the photobook – but they just don’t feel nearly as sentimental. Maybe it’s the fact that I you can make several photobooks every year, whereas, scrapbooks covered years/phases in life.

      I’d put the world in a car-shaped cassette rewinder if I could.

  2. October 7, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I miss playing hide and seek OUTSIDE. It was a much more challenging game.
    Come to think of it, running and playing tag, actually climbing trees without the worry of a lawsuit in case of an accident. I miss all those things.

    You are right people don’t trust, and I don’t trust and it is sad. What about the manners kids have these days? Is saying please and thank-you so hard? I feel old typing this. Does that make me crotchety too?

    You are too funny and I love you posts.

    • Pop
      October 7, 2010 at 1:07 pm

      Yeah, that’s another thing: lawsuits. I remember some kid hurt me in elementary school and my dad said it’s your fault for getting hurt, gave me a Tylenol and told me to sleep it off.

      And I am definitely teaching my kids to say please and thank you. It’s ridiculous how inconsiderate teens can be.

  3. KLZ
    October 7, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    I miss the idea that moms don’t have to be with their children 24/7.

    I love being with my son. But I recently saw a parent waiting in their car at the bus stop with their teenager because it was all of 45 degrees out. At what point can we let these kids grow up, be a little cold, and learn to fend for themselves? What happened to responsibility and learning to cope with life?

    • Pop
      October 7, 2010 at 1:08 pm

      You’re so right! At the bus stops now, I don’t see kids waiting – just a line of cars. There’s like maybe one or two kids that are actually “braving” the sub-room temperatures. THE HORROR!

  4. October 7, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    This is all so true!! I was nudging my husband every 3 seconds and giving him the “stop what you’re donig and pay attention to ME!!” look so I could read your statements to him. What the hell are our kids going to be saying were the “good old days” when they’re grown? *Shivers*

    • Pop
      October 8, 2010 at 9:38 am

      Maybe: In the good old days, we actually had to talk to each other via social networks, not like you little whippersnappers all reading each other’s minds!

  5. liz
    October 7, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    I LOVED playing Thumbs up Seven up! And riding bikes throughout the neighborhood! And the old photo albums that were sticky, and had a clear page that layed over.

    • Pop
      October 8, 2010 at 9:48 am

      My parents gave me my baby album and the pages are still sticky. I really like the look and feel of the old picture paper.

  6. October 7, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    The airport stuff? You’re right- they’ll never believe you.

    • Pop
      October 8, 2010 at 9:49 am

      Even for me, it’s becoming a faint memory. Aside from the thrill of going to a destination, I hate going to airports now.

  7. October 7, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    This has been an awesome series. (Like how I threw in a totally 80’s adjective for you? One that I, sadly, still use way too often, no less.) Yes, suing people is my biggest pet peeve. Not that I don’t appreciate the government’s concern for our safety, but some of the product recalls are ridiculous. Kids shouldn’t live in a bubble! They need to fall down and get bumps and bruises. It’s life. Suck it up.

    • Pop
      October 8, 2010 at 9:58 am

      Like totally awesome dude! And yes, I still use it too. I refuse to use Epic, and will only occasionally use awesome.

      Same goes for childproofing. I think some of it is important but I’ve seen far too many parents/homes that go overboard.

  8. October 7, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    I would come here for your Full House references alone, but thankfully there’s much more here! This was a great series. I love what you say about being part of the larger collective. Amen! That’s so important to pass along to our kids.

    • Pop
      October 8, 2010 at 10:13 am

      I miss Full House and all the other programming. There were so many good, wholesome shows. Did we even have the rampant skankiness that exists today, e.g., Brittney, Miley, LindsayLo?

  9. October 7, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    Oh, the memories. I remember my grandmother still had an eight track stereo (and a Beach Boys cassette). She had a Commodore 64 computer, and our “computer game” was to type in a bunch of code from a book, and then watch as a small animated character made out of alpha text would dance across the screen. We thought it was “rad”.
    At our house was an Atari. I rocked Space Invaders, when mom would let me play. But what I really miss is just heading out the front door, finding my friends and doing fun, crazym imaginative stuff until sundown, when we headed home. Looking back, I suppose my mom checked on us from time to time… but maybe not.

    • Pop
      October 8, 2010 at 10:17 am

      Your comment reminded me of the ASCII games like Drug Wars we’d play on our graphing calculators in high school.

      My older cousin also had a Commodore 64 and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. Along with his Spirograph.

  10. October 8, 2010 at 12:14 am

    This series brought back such great memories for me. And I gotta raise my hand, I had photos of NKOTB, Devin Sawa, Jonathan Brandis and JTT, just not on the wall because my mom wouldn’t let us defile her pristine walls. You had me chuckling so hard at myself with that.

    I mourn not having the freedom and peace of mind that my folks had – allowing us to go bike riding in our neighborhood, and Christmas caroling at night during the Christmas season. We live in a gated community but it just isn’t the same anymore.

    Oh and I wholeheartedly agree with this: “I want them to know that their value is not in what they can do but in how they can add value to others.” Amen.

    • Pop
      October 8, 2010 at 10:18 am

      haha~ Did you laminate your photos? Wife had a couple of those too.

  11. October 8, 2010 at 1:30 am

    O, this is a walk down memory lane! Loved playing Thumbs Up, Seven Up. And, you know, your post actually brought to mind the fact that I have a 11 yo roll of film from our honeymoon that is still sitting in the junk drawer… undeveloped. Maybe on our next anniversary I’ll get it developed and surprise my husband…

    • Pop
      October 8, 2010 at 10:18 am

      Do places even develop film anymore?!

      My sister still uses a film SLR, and she asked me to develop her photos at Sam’s Club. Turns out developing film is CRAZY expensive now – $5 or so for single prints!!!

  12. October 8, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Your post is so funny, that it’s sad too! These kids are missing out on so much! The part about the fat kids just shows what schools without recess really means. And airports and those terror alerts, really freak me out. I like the convenience of flying but I feel so dirty after stripping down at the airport, geez.

    I love this blog, feels like home when I stop by. Have a great weekend!

    • Pop
      October 8, 2010 at 12:01 pm

      I haven’t run into the bodyscan things yet, but I’m pretty sure the security people don’t wanna see an outline of what I’ve got going on.

  13. October 8, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Oh how I miss thumbs up, 7 up! Those rainy days really were the best, though I don’t envy the teachers, we were cuh-razy!

    I remember flying to see my dad a few times a year as kid and my parents always walked me directly to the gate where I was given directly to a flight attendant/babysitter. I don’t even remember security.

    • Pop
      October 8, 2010 at 12:04 pm

      I imagine on a rainy day when the kids stay in during recess, the teachers feel the same way I do when the kids wake up early from a nap.

      My sister and I flew to Korea in the same way when we were really young. Sad that I can’t dump my kids off on my overseas relatives for a summer.

  14. October 8, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    There was so much I enjoyed and agreed with in this post that I was nodding and laughing the entire time. Every point you made was oh-so-true! I loved the part about airport security. You’re right: people are constantly giving statistics to prove how safe air travel is. Well I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t have to grab onto the wing if your escalator landed in the ocean.

  15. October 8, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Oh, these posts trigger me wanting to do the same thing and be a copycat. I know samoan copyright laws are much more lax than the USA.

    I think of all the loss of “tangible” experiences our kids have. They can’t touch and feel their picture books. They see pictures of them flashing every 3 seconds on the desktop.

    Everything is entertainment, a slide show.

    And, the fear of always being sued. That weighs on us as parents.

    Also, the Wii and the way you can “create” reality.

    You really can’t do that….I know, I know, me..the eternal worrier.

    Very sweet series. Thank you.

    • Pop
      October 11, 2010 at 9:33 am

      Our copyright laws are lax, especially for royalty. So you should be good.

      I’m deathly afraid of being sued. Any kid whose parents are/have an attorney are not welcome over our house. 😛 Unless they sign a waiver or something.

  16. October 8, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Oh yes! The fat kid AND the stinky kid. We had one of each. ONE.

    What I miss? Well, my mother would/could kick us out of the house in the morning and not expecting to hear from us til the streetlights went on. Now I get nervous just letting them play in the fenced in back yard unsupervised. I wonder if Mom even knows how good she had it.

    • Pop
      October 11, 2010 at 9:39 am

      We had one of each for both sexes.

      Seriously. That and no one looked down on her when she gave us benadryl to knock us out.

  17. October 9, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Dude, I just got charged an extra $5 each time I booked an aisle seat on USAir. The good days are over.

    • Pop
      October 11, 2010 at 9:40 am

      $5 to have the fat, incontinent person with the window seat have to climb over you to go pee 8 times for a 2 hour flight? No thank you!

  18. October 10, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    I’m a little older than you so it took me a few minutes to figure out the NKOTB acronym, but I did love me some Ricky Schroeder before he was just Rick.

    What you wrote about instant gratification is so spot on. I remember being so excited when CD’s first came out because I could listen to the same song over and over (during my brooding phase) without having to constantly rewind the tape.

    • Pop
      October 11, 2010 at 9:53 am

      Remember Discmans? With anti-skip protection?

  19. October 10, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Aah – easy Airport Security and carefree school breaks of Seven Up! Those were the good ole days! xoxo

    • Pop
      October 11, 2010 at 9:54 am

      They definitely were. xoxo

  20. October 11, 2010 at 6:13 am

    OMG your fat kids line crack me up so bad I ROFL!
    Oh yeah, I miss those old days where people are much much more laid back at the airport and we can actually see our loved ones took off. Love this series, Pop!

    • Pop
      October 11, 2010 at 9:54 am

      Thanks, Maureen. Being able to get all the way to the gate was so much fun. Now, I like the exhilaration of parking illegally and hopefully getting back in time before my car gets towed.

  21. Seister
    October 12, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    I feel like I remember this scrapbook… did I help you to cut and glue because you couldn’t cut straight and you glued messy? And leaving blank pages?… is that another way of saying giving up?? 😛 Enjoy the bbq this wknd!!

    • Pop
      October 13, 2010 at 8:28 am

      LOL. Yes. You did assist in the scrapbook. And I’m pretty sure you told me to finish it but I flat out refused.

  22. October 13, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Oh yeah, I think we’re the last of the generations that are gonna remember going up to the gate and seeing your party off or greeting them as soon as they got off the plane. How times have changed.

    And there’s something about the word “play date” that just irks me for some reason. I didn’t go on “play dates;” I went out to play 🙂

    And regarding safety–yesterday, I saw some kid who couldn’t have been more than three or four riding a scooter (nothing fancy, just the old-fashioned skateboard with a stick type) and a crash helmet.

    Heck, he can probably only get up to what, 10 miles per hour? And he’s only got about two feet to fall in any event! I think that’s a bit much

    • Pop
      October 14, 2010 at 10:55 am

      I really miss greeting people right at the gate. It’s just not the same at the concourse.

  1. October 18, 2010 at 3:24 pm
  2. March 30, 2011 at 9:14 am

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