The most interesting conversation I have with friends today is usually about the ways and habits of the young people.
It’s enough to make me wonder how my grandmothers, who watched and responded to the youthful actions and habits of my generation, would react to today’s youth.
The technology, the music, the clothing, the tattoos would send them off into orbit.
What are they thinking about was what my mother said about her grandchildren and their ragged jeans. She would have put patches on the knees if her girls wore pants like that. And that was after my grandmother’s time. Her mother would have been put to shame with a child who wore ragged clothes on Sunday and couldn’t function without a cell phone in her hand. It wasn’t like there was a lot of money for clothes, you just kept your best for Sunday church and visits and your worn-out ones for outdoor work.
I remember the wall telephone at the homes of my grandparents, but I can’t remember them being used. Both of the old farm houses had wide hallways and that’s where the phones were hanging in the corner. They may have been disconnected as I can’t recall anyone standing there talking.
May be they were only used for emergencies, important calls or whenever I wasn’t around. It was quite a few years later before telephones came back to the North Brook area. It was an exciting time with the eight-party exchange. You had to get up early if you wanted to use the phone in the morning. Anytime you picked it up someone was talking. No secrets were discussed on the party line but sometimes the neighbors were.
Many of today’s smart phones are kept busy morning, noon and night whenever or wherever its owner happens to be. I often wonder who the callers know or what they know that keeps them talking so much. I see them talking and pushing buggies with one hand all over the stores, selecting items for purchase while keeping the chat going.
I was at a dental office recently waiting for my chance in the chair. The other patient waiting must have had something important going on because she was talking and kept it up after being called. She walked down the hall still talking. I guess she disconnected long enough for her checkup.
Those talking while at the wheel of the car headed my way are the ones who make me nervous. I don’t believe we have mastered the art of doing two things at once. Someone playing with their phone while sitting at the green light in front of me gets a good horn blast and I get an evil look in return.
I remember when you could understand music, at least the words in a song. Now the sounds all blend together slurring words that I cannot name. I see fans screaming and waving at concerts so I guess they know what the noise is about.
I also see what looks like barbed wire tattoos around the upper arms quite often and one day I asked a young woman what it meant. She gave me a stern look and said “stupid.” I assumed she wasn’t too happy with her branding.
But youth and age has seldom agreed about what life is all about. The changes happen whether we like them or not. My generation didn’t want to live like the one before it and the next one made changes that brought us to a better way of living. And today’s youth will make changes before accepting today’s lifestyle.
Old folks may talk about the good old days, but I doubt many would return. We may not agree with smart phones, torn jeans and tattoos, but we’ll keep the modern discoveries that make life better for all of us.
Kathryn Yarbro is former managing editor of the Lincoln Times-News.