Yesterday as I was taking my daily rare mid-afternoon Facebook break, a Wall post caught me eye. A friend had commented on a page entitled “You Know You are From Broomall when….”
Curious, I linked over and there went the rest of my afternoon. You could hear the giant sucking sound miles away.
The page was filled with hundreds of memories all posted by my contemporaries remarking on the town where we grew up in the 1970s. There were comments about the stores, the schools, the teachers, the parades, the neighborhoods, the carnivals and the families. It was if the computer pulled me in – away from my grown-up life – and back to a shared and cherished time. And there we had conversations about how it used to be. But I don’t think many of us knew how much we cherished that time until now.
So I dove in, posting some of my own memories from my elementary school (that was demolished last year.) I commented on the town orthodontist who fancied himself a cowboy (is he still alive?)… a department store called Two Guys that had a mini bowling arcade and the best soft pretzels (now a Giant Food Store)…. a home economics teacher we all called Torpedo Tits (and rightfully so).
I never thought I would say this because it sounds so “old” but I really did grow up in a simpler time, although arguably it didn’t seem so back then. If you had told me as a child that years from now there would be no such thing as “penny candy” or my kids wouldn’t be remotely interested in decorating their bikes with red, white, and blue streamers to ride in the town parade, I wouldn’t have believed you. In the 1970’s we children roamed free, our parents didn’t know where we were (and didn’t need to). And from that simplicity– all the adventures and memories sprung.
Today I know exactly where my kids are at all times and can track them electronically. We don’t let them wander too far or eat too much candy. And there are no more scary teachers to star in childhood folklore. Has modern age and “progress” sapped all the memory making material from our lives? What will be our kids memories? And their legacies?
Late yesterday, I saw another FB post from a friend in California who had commented on a page “You Know You Grew up in La Mirada when….” So stay alert MoB readers — this meme about YOUR hometown might be coming soon to a FB page near you. If so, I urge you to link over. Or better yet – start a page. As the posts are going up every 10 seconds, I am watching my own history unfold before me and its amazing.
Technology is both a blessing and a curse. No where else could we have ever submersed ourselves in times gone by so broadly and efficiently. It never would have happened in the physical world. So I am feeling very smitten with Facebook right now for allowing me and all my friends from Broomall, PA to delight in each others very good memories for a few days.
And in the same breath of gratitude, I am also sending a prayer that decades from now when my kids reminisce about their childhoods, they can come up with equally worthy memories – and not just ones about all the time they spent on Facebook.