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longgone's avatar

In what ways was your world different when you were a child?

Asked by longgone (7185 points ) 3 months ago

When I was small, everything seemed to be alive. If I dropped a french fry at Mc Donald’s, I’d drop a second one to keep the first one company. I was unable to eat anything with a face – including chocolate rabbits. What about you?

I did eat a chocolate Santa Claus. I didn’t consider men worthy of my mercy, apparently. What does that tell you? ~

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30 Answers

Seek's avatar

I had a very active imagination. It lasted me all the way up until my son was born. Then I was too focussed on reality to play anymore. I’m trying to get it back, but my imagination is most active when I’m alone with myself and my thoughts. As a wife and mother that just doesn’t happen very often.

Khajuria9's avatar

In every single way….......It was all so real, so true, so spontaneous!
I really miss that time. I wish I could re-bring it.
:(

elbanditoroso's avatar

Live french fries that need friends? And I thought that I was strange.

I was more innocent and far less cynical when I was younger. I believe that what people said – particularly parents and teachers – was inherently true.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Things seemed a lot bigger when I was little. Back when I was in my 30s, while stuck for a day in Chicago, I thought I would visit my old elementary school that I left after first grade. I was so astonished at how tiny the little playground was at the place when compared to my memory of it, that I neglected to finish the tour. I never even entered the building.

majorrich's avatar

My life was far more simple and unburdened with the cares and worries that come with age. The sense of wonder and discovery, of curiosity. No preconceived notions about anything or anyone. Aware of turmoil somewhere but unaffected by it. (I lived at Kadena AFB Okinawa in the ‘60’s most of my childhood) . The landing on the moon, and the magic of flight.

Symbeline's avatar

The living room became a pharaoh’s tomb and my dad was a mummy walking around, so I had to zip around so he wouldn’t see me. It was awesome.
Today, everything pretty much just sucks bawls. No mummies, no tombs, pfft, some world.

yankeetooter's avatar

I read avidly, and my favorite genre was fantasy novels (Lord of the Rings and the like). That has stuck with me through today, And buying books was as much fun as reading them. I remember taking my birthday money, and going to the bookstore and spending it on as many books as I could. (And back then, standard paperbacks were only about $3.00, if you can believe that.) My dad and I would go to the library on Friday nights (back when it was open Friday nights), and he would do research for a few hours (he’s a genealogist), while I happily wandered through the stacks of books, picking out a huge pile to check out.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Vivid imagination and a highly impressionable mind. I lived in my own little world which I pretty much thought had to revovle around me. I was constantly in my dream world.

Kardamom's avatar

When I was really little we had one telephone. It was a rotary dial. There was no answering machine and no one would dare to not answer it, because if you missed it, they might not call back and you would never know who it was or if they were having an emergency. Also, long distance calls cost a bundle so we would rarely make long distance calls, and when we did, we kept them short.

We rarely went to a fast food restaurant, and if we did, it was kind of a special event, like when we were coming home from the beach, it was never used out of convenience, because we ate at home, around the dinner table, every single night. We rarely went out to eat at nicer restaurants either, because it was just too expensive, but when we did, it was quite the treat. My brother and I never begged to go to the fast food places. Our parents would have never put up with whining children. The only time we ever went out for pizza was on my birthday and we always went to Shakey’s Pizza Parlor. To this day, I’ve never had pizza delivered.

Unless it was raining, we didn’t play inside the house very often, although we did play barbies and play with coloring books inside, but most of the time we were sent outside to play. Right before it got dark, when it was time for dinner, the Dads were sent outside to whistle for their kids to come home and eat dinner. Each Dad had a distinctive whistle. We rode bikes, played cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, hide and go seek, four square, jump rope, driveway basketball, house, played on swings, made mud pies, drew with chalk on the sidewalk, roamed around the canyon and made forts. If we started to whine that we were bored, we would be told to go outside and play. We didn’t play on Computers. There was no such thing as video games, although we did enjoy the occasional trip to the penny arcade where you could play such games as Ski Ball or Pinball

The only time we watched cartoons was on Saturday mornings. There weren’t any cartoons on the air at any other time, except on Sunday mornings, my brother and I did watch the claymation Christian children’s show called Davey and Goliath and another Christian themed show called Jot

I never set foot inside a “walk-in” theater until I was about 5 years old, before and after that age we mostly went to the drive-in theater, or picture show as we called it, with our parents and our dog. We would get into our PJ’s when it was still broad daylight, around 5 PM on a summer night, then we’d pile into the station wagon and head to Thrifties Drug Store to pick out some candy before heading to one of the many drive-in theaters in town.

I liked Dots, my brother liked Tootsie Rolls, Mom liked Sugar Babies and Dad liked Hershey Bars. My Mom always had one of those little Fold Up Cups in which she would dole out the grape or black cherry flavored Shasta

If you caused problems at school you would be immediately reprimanded by the teacher, sent to the principal if it was something serious, and your parents would be notified, then you would be suitably punished by your parents too. Teachers didn’t put up with disruptions in classrooms and parents didn’t act like their children were God’s gift to humanity. There were certain, clear expectations of behavior, unlike today where anything goes, and half the kids are medicated.

If you caused problems at someone else’s home, your parents expected to be told what you’d done wrong and the host parents could punish you on the spot, you’d most likely be sent home, and then your parents would give you a suitable punishment when you got home. Nobody thought they’re kid was God’s gift to humanity.

We had school clothes and play clothes. No kid would have dared to wear a pair of shorts and a tank top or flip flops, which we called thongs, to school. They would have been sent home to change.

It was rare to see an obese person, and even rarer to see an obese child.

Children’s birthday parties included inviting 8 or 10 neighborhood kids over to your house where you would enjoy cake, ice cream and punch. We would play pin the tail on the donkey, and drop clothes pins into a milk bottle, and the game where you would be blindfolded and you’d be given a large spoon in which you had to scoop up cotton balls off the carpet and put them into a bowl. Then everyone would sing happy birthday and the birthday child would open presents. This took about 2 hours and then everyone was sent home with a small mesh party favor bag filled with peanuts and M&M’s or Jordan almonds and a formal goodbye from the birthday child. There were no theme trips, limousine rides, hundreds of guests, photo booths, bounce houses, or private behind the scenes tours of anything. If Grandma was lucky, she might get a polaroid photo of the event. There was no posting of thousands of pictures of the little tyke on Facebook.

It was very rare to be allowed to drink soda. We drank milk at breakfast, lunch and dinner, although we were allowed to drink High C and at birthday parties we had either Kool Aid or Hawaiian Punch. Regarding the milk, we were occasionally allowed to add Nestle’s Quick or Ovaltine

People didn’t go to Starbucks, because they didn’t have coffee specialty shops like that (except maybe in Seattle). You got coffee (and food) at coffee shops, and you drank Sanka and Postum or Instant Coffee or coffee made in a Percolator. There were no Kuerig machines.

In the summertime, kids weren’t sent to specialty camps, such as pitching camp, computer camp, or cheer camp. Some kids went to summer camp, but most of my friends simply played around the neighborhood and sometimes partook of the free arts and crafts days, or movie days that they had at the local elementary school.

The closest anyone ever got to sushi, which was unheard of, was the fish sticks served for lunch at school, or fish and chips at H Salt Fish and Chips. The only Japanese food I was acquainted with was Sukiyaki

There were no rollerblades, we had Roller Skates with metal wheels that caught in the cracks of the sidewalk.

We would have been mortified, as teenagers, to have worn an outfit that showed our Bra Straps and this is the only kind of Thongs we wore, and we didn’t call them flip flops.

We thought that if you studied hard, worked hard, and were a good and honest person, that the American Dream was possible. I don’t believe that any more.

talljasperman's avatar

(NSFW) It’s much easier to find free porn. Instead of watching the French channel at night hoping for soft core.

Blackberry's avatar

I was just talking with a friend about when 3 way calling began. It was so fun using that for the first time.

ibstubro's avatar

Seems such a wistful question to me, @longgone.

Written the year of my birth, incidentally.

Coloma's avatar

No computers, cell phones, kids went outside and played. Less fear of creepers lurking around, less violence, less worry, less fear. The 60’s were a great time to be a kid. There was still an innocence and kids stayed kids longer. The rest @Kardamom shares perfectly.

ibstubro's avatar

In truth, I’ve not given up a lot of my childish ways.

I still like watching the sky better than TV. The difference between then and now? Then I would just flop down in a field of tall weeds and enjoy. Now I have to worry about Lyme Disease and I know where all those mysterious rashes and bug bites came from. Good Gourd, I could have been bitten by a spider and ended up in ER.

I’m still a sucker for flowing water. The difference between then and now? Then I just waded into a creek and turned over rocks, looking for critters. Now I have to worry about West Nile Disease and falling down and breaking something that doesn’t want to heal.

I feel a question comin on!

hearkat's avatar

My story is a reversal of what most people have written.

When I was a child, my world was a cold and lonely place. I did not feel loved by anyone. I was verbally, physically and sexually abused. My imagination was my only solace and I dreamed of a world where someone came and took me away from the “home” and “family” I was subjected to. The night before my 12th birthday, I prayed to not wake up the next day – I’d had enough of that hell. When I woke up the next day, I no longer believed in God.

I was healthy and smart and average-looking; but I was socially awkward and felt like a worthless piece of flesh. I was a bitter, cynical pessimist.

A lot has happened in the 45+ years since then. I went through a lot of hard times, but something in my kept fighting to escape the victim mindset that held me down. I kept seeking answers to change my perspective. Through lots of conscious effort over the course of several years, I found most of them. I found myself at 42, self-confident, accountable to and for myself, at peace with my past and with eyes wide open facing the future. I was happy! I never dreamed that I would be able to say that. Once I found happiness within, I was open and available to give and receive unconditional love – and that has found me, too – another unfathomable feeling.

Now I’m no longer healthy, my mind isn’t what it used to be, either, and I’m not attractive – but I am loved and I am happy. I don’t consider myself an optimist, but rather, a “hopeful realist”.

My view of the world is more childlike now than it was then.

Mimishu1995's avatar

When I was young every foreign language looked like snakes to me.

When I was young there was more outdoor entertainment.

When I was young I was a defined kid. Now I’m not sure who I am since I keep my childhood pleasure with me while adapting more “adult” interests.

When I was young the internet seemed like a totally different world to me.

When I was young everything was black and white. Now I know not everything is as it seems.

talljasperman's avatar

I would play in an appliance cardboard box, and turn it into a space ship… I should do that again.

longgone's avatar

Thank you for the great responses!

@Seek Good luck. Take the time. It’s worth it. I’ve found Crime Dinners to be an excellent reactivator of imagination…

@Khajuria9 In part, you can. Just try it.

@elbanditoroso Tell me about it. Even today, I’m too empathetic for my own good. I don’t kill insects, for example. Inconvenient. At least I don’t feel for french fries anymore.

@stanleybmanly They say you can never truly go back….

@majorrich “Aware of turmoil somewhere but unaffected by it.” I miss that sometimes.

@yankeetooter I feel like there were more books I loved when I was a child. I was easier to please, I suppose.

@ZEPHYRA Sounds relaxing.

@Symbeline I hear you. I miss the caves and animal sanctuaries ;)

@Kardamom Wow, that must have taken ages. Thank you, it was fun to read!

@talljasperman Cardboard boxes. So much fun!

@Blackberry When was that, do you remember?

@Coloma Looks like @Kardamom did your job perfectly ;)

@ibstubro Interesting angle. That’s how I meant the question to be answered, though I enjoyed the descriptions of more universal changes, too.

@hearkat Wow. Thanks for telling that story, so glad there is a happy ending!

@Mimishu1995 Entirely agree with your last sentence!

ibstubro's avatar

Thanks @longgone. There’s more.

Kardamom's avatar

Here’s a few things that we have now, that we also had way back when, but those things look a bit different now.

Telephone Then and Now

Automobile Then and Now

Hipsters Then and Now

Televisions Then and Now

Frozen Dinners Then and Now

Deluxe Modern Kitchen Then and Now

Hippy Chicks Then and Now

Coca Cola Then and Now

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Then and Now

Disneyland Mouse Ears Then and Now

Music Players Then and Now

McDonalds Then and Now

Asian Cuisine Then and Now

British Cuisine Then and Now

American Cuisine Then and Now

Kids Playing Then and Now

High Fashion Then and Now

majorrich's avatar

On another level things are better now than when I was a youth. Moving to ohio when I was nine, my command of English was pretty good, but it had a pronounced Japanese accent. I got bullied by kids and teachers alike. It seemed to be condoned, but I don’t remember why. I was the only Asian in my class and got beaten up a few times. That doesn’t happen any more. Societal changes are slowly easing up so Japanese kids don’t have to wear glasses and have bad teeth and slanty eyes. If someone were to treat me like they did when I was a kid, I wouldn’t just take it like I did.

Symbeline's avatar

@Kardamom Ha nice. I love how modern Kraft Dinner has to tell you that it still has the original flavors. Lol. Also I could go for a Salisbury Steak Dinner right about now.

Also, wow…that old TV. :O

Kardamom's avatar

@Symbeline I used to love eating Salisbury steak. My Mom used to make it every now and then when I was a little kid. She also made Welsh rarebit. I practically lived on Kraft macaroni and cheese.

jca's avatar

I grew up in the late 60’s and early 70’s, when it was a nicer time, a simpler time (to me, maybe not with world events, i.e inflation, etc.). I lived in a nice, affluent village where my mom and I would walk to town to shop at the book store, toy store, stationery store. I would walk to the library and my friend’s house, which, nowadays, a little kid would never walk alone or with another little kid anywhere.

Sometimes my mother or my grandmother would sew my clothes and Halloween costumes. My mother was a single mother but she had a good job and she was thrifty, at the same time she was cool and she was smart, so that was all helpful.

I used to read a lot, anything I could get my hands on. There were no video games, computer games or anything like that, and children’s TV was only on Saturday mornings. There was no answering machine or VCR.

My grandparents babysat for me a lot, and they had a nice old Victorian house with banisters to slide down, little hiding spots and beautiful stained glass windows and incredible wood molding.

My mom would take my friends and I swimming, and I remember riding in her VW Beetle and listening to the Rolling Stones, Sly and the Family Stone, Linda Ronstadt, and all these great groups that remind me of my childhood when I hear them today. I went to day camp in the summer.

Like @Kardamom, a birthday party was about 8 to 10 kids in someone’s house with some hot dogs, a cake that was made by my mom (in my case), and games and prizes that we planned for weeks.

I had a great childhood.

DAVEJAY100's avatar

I was the youngest of 14 kids growing up in the fifties in Wales. I look back at a fantastic childhood in a rural village. I still have memories of my father, a hard working coal miner who died when I was 4 years old. We had very little money in those days, and much of our food came off the land by means of fishing and shooting and a huge vegetable garden. I absolutely loved those days in the open fields in bright sunshine or just walking free in the shady woods in those safe and secure days that seemed to go on forever. The smell of the newly cut hay-fields takes me instantly back to those days atop a huge cartload of hay being pulled back to the farm on a warm summer evening by Charlie the big shire horse who knew his way perfectly well on his own. I smell the heady scent of the mayflower on the hawthorn trees in spring and am immediately transported in time to the trout brook in the wooded valley where I taught myself to fish, and I can almost smell the crushed garlic underfoot on the banks of the stream as I write this. The only regret I have is the knowledge that not everyone had such a great childhood, and my heart goes out to one or two of those who have written above. I gave my lads everything I could when they were growing up but could never of course bring those days back for them.

Kardamom's avatar

@DAVEJAY100 You should write a novel. Your descriptions are wonderful. I can see and smell everything! Are you a writer by profession? If not, you should be. Thanks for the great answer!

DAVEJAY100's avatar

@Kardamom thank you for your compliment, appreciated , No, not a professional writer, just a love for words and nostalgia, it was just that excellent question asked by Longone above that prompted me. Regards.

jonsblond's avatar

Most of my friends, including myself, had a parent at home all day. I don’t think I had one friend who went to daycare.

majorrich's avatar

I think eating out was more of a treat and everything seemed larger then (possible exception being Drinks). I remember the Whopper being a monumental giant of a burger and had to split it with my brother in order for us to finish one.

ibstubro's avatar

Two words, @DAVEJAY100.

“Angela’s Ashes”

Give it a shot.

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