May 29, 2013: Before I was born…

by emilyfrankenberry

I was born in 1993, causing me to constantly identify with the frequently used term, “90’s kid.”  Today, even, while perusing through my Facebook news feed, (an activity which similarly defines my generation) I stumbled upon a link to a post titled, “50 Things That Look Just Like Your Childhood.”

If you have the chance, check it out:

The post details a series of images that a true 90’s kid would recognize. It had me smiling, reminiscing, and cheering with delight that most of these things have become obsolete – things like Tamagachis, blow up furniture, and HitClips to name a few.  It took me on a brief, but fully appreciated, trip down memory lane and had me giggling at the generation I was born into. The 90’s are now more than a decade in the past, after all, a fair enough distance away to deem them laughable.

Despite my soft spot for the 90’s, I think everyone has fantasized about living in a different time period than the one they were born into.  I’d love to visit Paris during the 1920’s, when Hemingway and Fitzgerald could be spotted chatting at a local café, or Greenwich Village during the 50’s when the Beat generation was born.  I wonder if I would be brave enough to house a running slave in a tucked away room, or to fight for my rights openly and proudly as a woman. I’ve never been a history buff, as dates and facts really aren’t my forte. But stories- the stories of the past- now those are romantically captivating, and constantly have me wishing that Marty McFly and Doc Brown could include me in their time travel adventures.

Part of this fascination with the past can be derived from my parents, who repeatedly share stories of their childhood and youth, only to finish with the clichéd conclusion, “But that was a different time.”  From full days spent at the local pool to biking across town to a friend’s house, it has been made clear that with less to worry about, freedom and adventure were fully lived terms.  My Dad, in particular, has a list of quotable stories, things that seem impossible or exaggerated – like the time he threw up on an officer outside of a grocery store at the ripe old age of 13, or how he lost his license 5 short days after receiving it because he was caught speeding by the very same officer.  My Mom, too, never ceases to amaze, as she proudly describes her perfected method of skipping school, (which included walking to the bus, then dashing behind the house and perching on top of the garage roof until her parents left for the day,) or the time she hitch hiked a ride with a creepy old truck driver only to be frightened out of the travel method for the rest of her life.  As us kids listen to these distanced memories of our parents youth with wide eyes, it seems that they must be lying.  How could the same woman who sets an 11 pm curfew even know how to hitch hike?  Or the man that’s biggest pet peeve is leaving a kitchen cabinet open be so carefree that a determined police officer could not even rain on his parade?  Seeing the confusion in our eyes, parents then use the “But those were different times” line to assure that these people are far, far away. People bred by a different generation, where these things were acceptable.  

          Still, as my own youth seems vacant of these unbelievable stories, I wonder what I will be telling my own children years down the line.  Will I be romanticizing a time where people actually played outside, or used a pen and paper to write, or read from this thing called “book”?  I sure hope this is not the case, though time will only tell. I guess in the meantime, I should simply live. Because I think that’s really all that my parents did.  Live now and worry later.  And above all else, do it for the story.