Being Beautiful: The young edge of old or the old edge of young?

I truly feel like a member of my own club lately, especially when surrounded by Millennials and whatever labels we apply to those even younger. A poignant moment from Roseanne speaks to me when one sister tells the other sister who is in her early 40s that she isn’t young anymore. She is on the young edge of old or the old edge of young. Yep, I’m right there with her.

The young have no idea how the simplest of things can be amazing. As a child, I often grew bored with my daddy telling stories of his past. I suppose it is a rite of passage from generation to generation. I could not imagine using an outside toilet, chasing after an ice truck, or going to the picture-show downtown for the price of a quarter. How I long to hear one of his stories now.

The expressions on the faces of my nieces are hilarious when I talk about the telephone attached to the wall with a spiraling cord that stretched all the way down the hall and into my bedroom when talking to friends. Never mind the party line shared with Aunt Mattie and Aunt Tinsie who were well known to eavesdrop from time to time. Before we were prosperous enough for the slimline wall mounted phone in the kitchen, we had a heavy black rotary phone. It always frustrated me how long it took to dial a simple seven-digit number. I am pretty sure that I aged several years just putting my finger in the round hole, spinning the dial all the way around and waiting for it to come back again to dial the next number. Even as that life seems ancient today, I am filled with nostalgia for it all.

Other things have faded into the past such as trading in empty used glass soda pop bottles for enough loose change to buy a handful of candy at the local hardware store downtown. I also remember my whole family gathered around the big console television in the living room, wondering who would sit closest to the screen to adjust the controls. No, there were no remote controls way back then. Can you imagine a teenager today getting up to change the channels? I also recall receiving only three television stations: ABC, NBC and Mississippi ETV, the latter station fuzzy unless the little black box that controlled the antenna was wound up a few times by Mama.

The good ole days might or might not have always been good, but certainly they are gone—root beer floats in frosted mugs, oil lanterns pulled out when the power went off, Polaroid cameras with clip-on flash cubes, 45 vinyl records, and floating in the creek in black inner tubes. All of these things which would be as foreign to my nieces as a ride on the Starship Enterprise would be to me hold a special place in my memory, and even though I feel honored to be in that club, I don’t mind a few modern conveniences now and then.

I like my big bathtub with the jets and my iPhone. I’ll text you while I try to recreate one of those root beer floats.

Contact David at [email protected].