Credit: deposit photo
This week has been a comedy of errors, well not errors exactly, but I have applied to more than ten companies in hopes of finding full time employment. It’s as if I signed my resume: Please don’t hire me or even give me any hope with a phone interview. It’s disheartening to say the least. I used to apply for jobs with certain knowledge that I would be offered the job, and that I could accept or refuse the position because there was always another position waiting in the wings. It’s made me feel nostalgic for what used to be.
Twenty-five cent ride
When I was young my mother would utter the phrase, “I need to go to the store.” It was enough for a storm complaints to flow from my childish mouth. The word shopping has a certain horror to a child raised in the country. A trip to town meant a long, hot, and dusty car trip to a store full of things I couldn’t touch, taste, or have. My mom was sure to run into all her friends in the store which meant instead of a quick stop to pick up some items I was in for at a two to three hour excursion while they caught up on the latest gossip. My complaints were cut off short when my mom would say, “If you are good you will get to go on a ride.” I shut up quick because there was nothing more thrilling than climbing up on fiberglass horse and holding on for dear life as the hydraulics of the twenty-five-cent-per-ride machine took me on thirty seconds of cowgirl bliss. As an adult when I go grocery shopping, I don’t see these rides anymore, and I wonder how parents pacify their kids to bear the boredom of grocery shopping.
Cameras with flash
Cameras have undergone a series of transformations throughout my thirty-six years. I remember my family Polaroid camera, which had a flat bar of “flashes” which was to attach to the camera and give the pictures better lighting, instead it just made those in the line of fire momentarily blind. The block would often fall out of the camera and when it struck the ground, the rest of the flashes would crack and be useless. We soon upgraded to a rotating cube flash camera, it was fewer flashes, but there was small change of the cube falling out of the camera. Now the only camera I have is the one on my phone. I never have to worry about falling flashes, but I wonder what was lost when picture taking became the norm instead of a special occasion.
Kids in trees
Trees were challenges when I was younger. I never met a tree that I couldn’t or didn’t want
to climb. There was something special about looking at the world through the filter of green leaves and tearing the latest pair of pants I swore over and over to my mom that I wouldn’t. I will still climb trees given half a chance. I live next to a park filled with a variety of trees just waiting to be climbed. Instead using nature’s monkey bars, I see kids playing on man-made swings, slides, and crossbars. These kids will never know the sense of accomplishment I felt when I conquered tree after tree. They also won’t have to deal with torn clothes and the unhappy parents who provided them.
Granted I live in the city now and seeing a barn would be really unusual, I have been back to the county to visit, and I noticed that something was missing. At the bottom of my uncle's hill and across the yellow bridge used to be an old barn. It had been there since the day I was born, and seeing the empty patch of dirt where a barn once stood was shocking. It was a testament to the reality that nothing lasts forever. I noticed many farms had bulldozed their old wooden barns in favor of more efficient buildings made of metal. I must admit that I sorely miss the sight of a brazen red barn.
The glove compartment used to house the most important things, a flashlight, emergency
money, and a collection of maps. I have an excellent sense of direction, and I can find any destination with a map. I worked as a delivery driver for three years and my sense of direction and ability to read a map were invaluable. Now anyone can have an artificial sense of direction, well until the battery in your phone dies. Grocery stores and gas stations used to have a ready supply of paper maps that would fit into your glove box nicely, unless you happened to unfold the map. Refolding a paper map was a level thirteen origami skill, and most ended up crumpled and stuffed into the glove box. I’m glad I have the skills and the added benefit of modern navigation.
Kids don’t seem to get into mischief anymore, but instead they get into trouble. I think this started when kids had more indoor options to play like, television, electronic games, and computers instead of playing outside with their neighbors. I knew my neighbors when I was growing up and when I was getting into mischief, like chasing horses around the field just to
see them run, my neighbor would yell at me with the same confidence as if they were my parent. It was a serious village raising this child. Now most parents have to run the show alone because other adults no longer see the benefit of helping them to keep their children in line. It was definitely hard to get into trouble with so many eyes and ears on me, the closest to trouble I ever got was mischief.
My trip down nostalgia road isn’t likely to find the right job for me, but it reminds me that I’m made of stern stuff, I know how to compromise, I am very flexible, and I know where I want to go even if I feel a little lost right now.
What are some things your childhood that you don’t see much of? Let me know in a comment.