When I Was a Teenager

Just a few observations about teenagers and misconceptions about life. I became a teenager in 1966, got married in 1970 and dropped out of high school. Just the facts there.

 

 

When I was a teenager:

We weren’t allowed to wear jeans to school. Only “coordinating pant suits”.

We weren’t allowed to wear PANTS to school until I reached high school.

 

We didn’t have air conditioning in classrooms until high school, and then only the “new” wing had a/c.

At our house we had “swamp coolers” which don’t work well in high humidity. Finally got a window a/c unit to cool the living room and kitchen. Not the bedrooms.

 

I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16. Curious how I ended up married at 17, huh?

On dates, I wasn’t allowed to go to the movies, or to dances. Still curious how I ended up married at 17?

 

I learned to drive in a portable building full of simulators. Kinda like a gigantic video game.

Video games had not been invented yet, so driver’s ed in the simulator, was just … driver’s ed.

 

The only phones we had were wired into the wall in a very open place of the house. Conversations were never private.

The word “cell” was rarely heard outside of science class or the county jail. The word “Text” was the first half of “textbook”….

 

Dragging Main Street was great entertainment on the weekends if you were lucky enough to have a car.

Gasoline was about 22 cents a gallon then.

 

LBJ was not a freeway in Dallas. Richard Nixon was elected President of the United States.

Yes, he really was a crook after all.

 

On Saturdays we washed our hair, rolled it on brush rollers, sat under a hood dryer until our ears burned bright red.

For really special occasions, we would  go to the beauty shop for a fancy “up-do”. I have pictures to prove this. 🙂

 

Just normal everyday people, had gun racks in their truck’s rear window, with real guns hanging on them.

No special gun license was needed. Most people had common sense. Most. I am from Texas, after all.

 

I thought people over 30 were ancient and didn’t know anything about my life.

I was wrong. Everyone has been a teenager.

 

 

 

These are just a few things that come to mind, some of the differences between then and now. I work with a lot of teenagers and I hear a lot of the same complaints I made way back then in the prehistoric age. Please share your thoughts with me!

My fabulous, elegant beauty shop up-do for a wedding! I was 15 years old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Letters to my Mother

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, we drove up to visit my parents like we usually do. We enjoyed a nice, quiet lunch at Cotton Patch…..okay, just kidding, that place is so noisy, you have to yell to carry on a conversation. Afterward, we visited more at the house, and my nephew, his wife and their adorable 3 year daughter came by to visit.

I had asked mom for some letters that she had kept from the time my kids were small, so yesterday, she handed me a large envelope full of letters and some photos. YAY…..more treasures! Oh, but wait….maybe not. The first letter I opened was from El Paso in 1986, after I had moved there with my boyfriend. It was quite sobering, even though I was sober to begin with. How my life has changed since then. For the better, of course.

The rest of the letters were far more entertaining, written in the early 1980s when we had moved to the country and were living in a ramshackle farm-house that we were renovating. Renovating is really an exaggeration. Trying to keep it from falling in on our heads, is more accurate. Most of the time that we lived in Forney, Texas, we didn’t have a home phone, so I wrote letters to keep my parents informed of our general progress on the house and the kid’s activities. Just an aside…..the postage stamps ranged from 20 to 22 cents on these letters.

The farmhouse….we paid $2,500 cash for the house and had it moved around the corner to our 2 acres.

The house did look better about a year later, and was still standing in spite of the wood-burning stove in the living room. Luckily the house did not burn down the winter that everything froze up for more than a week. We endured cold winters, and very hot summers in that house….and lots of dust, dirt and construction. Whew.

 

The best thing in the envelope was a hand written poem, that was once set to music, that I wrote for my mom for Mother’s Day 1979. I actually don’t remember writing this down and decorating it like this, but I did.

And she kept it.

All these years.

And people say *I* am a hoarder!!!

This is quite fragile as it’s written on construction paper, and I even made an envelope from the paper also. Who knew I was so thoughtful and resourceful?

 

So, the most funny thing was a handwritten list, I must have been as young as 13-14…..titled “My Real Life Problems”….

I particularly love #15 and #18……my little brother was quite a brat back then. You can see I had a very low self-esteem, and I outgrew that for the most part. It does sneak in every once in a while to try to bring me down. I’m not sure about #14 as I never had trouble with my complexion, I was blessed with good genes in that department! Still, pretty funny to read now and see how insecure I was then. (this proves that I have always been a really good speller!)

 

When I began writing this today, I had intended to scan some of the actual hand written letters and include them; however, after re-reading them, they seem intensely personal to me, so I changed my mind. Some things are better left un-shared, I think. But, these letters reinforce my belief that my life has gone through a great many changes in the last 30-40 years, and I have come out on the other side a better person. The once painfully shy first grader who wouldn’t speak a word for six weeks, somehow morphed into a musician who loved to entertain on stage, and then became a force to be reckoned with in the retail world.

So, thanks mom, for keeping these for me. I am sorry for the many times I’ve let you down, and I’m thankful that you always forgave me, and you never gave up on me.

 

 

Back When We Were Beautiful

I first heard this song when my grandmother was still living, and it reminded me of her, because she would say things like “I wasn’t always old” and “don’t get old, it’s no fun”…. I’m afraid I didn’t understand how she felt. Now that I am 58 years old, and a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother myself, I get it.

I totally get it.

We still have five generations in our family like we did when my grandmother was living, we’ve just all shifted places, and now I’m the second from the oldest and my daughter is the middle of the five generations of family.

I am feeling limitations in my physical capabilities, and it frustrates me to no longer be able to do all the things I once took for granted…..back when I was beautiful.

Back When We Were Beautiful

written by Matraca Berg

Piano and vocals by Debi Snider

I guess you had to be there, she said, you had to be
She handed me a yellowed photograph and then said, see
This was my greatest love, my one and only love and this is me
Back when we were beautiful, see
I don’t feel very different, she said, I know it’s strange
I guess I’ve gotten used to these little aches and pains
But I still love to dance, you know we used to dance the night away
Back when we were beautiful, beautiful, yeah
I hate it when they say I’m aging gracefully
I fight it everyday, I guess they never see
I don’t like this at all, what’s happening to me
To me
But I really love my grandkids, she said, they’re sweet to hold
They would have loved their grandpa, those awful jokes he told
You know, sometimes for a laugh the two of us would act like we were old
Back when we were beautiful, beautiful, yeah
But I guess you had to be there

My beautiful parents on their wedding day 1952

p.s. My beautiful parents celebrated SIXTY years in June 🙂