Column, Looking Back

Wishes of yesteryear

By Mary Ellen Shaw

A friend sent me an email recently that takes a look at what we wished for when we were younger and how those wishes are perceived today.

Let me share some of them with you. If you are too young to relate to them you will see what you have to look forward to!

Some high school students can’t wait to get out of school. As adults many of us have jobs that constantly require schooling. Updates in your particular field are part of most jobs, but when you choose what you are learning it doesn’t seem like you are “going to school.” In addition to job related classes there are many colleges that offer free audit courses for seniors and they are very popular. Some of the people taking part in these classes may very well have been among those who couldn’t wait to get out of school back in the day!

While growing up you may have received an allowance for doing certain chores such as: washing the dishes, mowing the lawn, shoveling etc. As a “senior” you get an “allowance” once a month and you don’t have to do any chores to get it. You have already done your “chores” (for over 40 years in most cases) and now you are the recipient of a Social Security check that is deposited automatically in your checking account. You even get raises based on the cost of living. However, here’s some advice to young people – start saving now because you won’t be living “high off the hog” on that monthly allowance!

As adults we can live on our own with no curfew to abide by. Those of you who grew up in Rutland can relate to our own version of a “curfew” – the nightly 10-of-9 whistle. Every kid on our street was told that when it blew we were to head home immediately. It’s quite comforting to still hear the whistle every night and be reminded of those days back in the 1950s when outdoor play ended and we scattered and went back to our individual homes.

I will digress for just a moment about that whistle. A few years ago my husband and I were at the Paramount for a John Tesh concert. John was interacting with the audience when the whistle went off. He stopped talking and said, “What the hell was that?” People in the front row said, “It’s the 10-of-9 whistle.” He wondered what that was all about and then after listening to some explanations from the audience, he decided it was best not to know!

The chaotic world we live in was confirmed when I read in the email that if you change the sound of your car horn to the sound of gunshots people will get out of your way faster. It’s sad but true to realize that we could be subject to gunfire in any public place these days.

The email I received also contained a play on the words “gym”, “Jim” and “John”. A suggestion was made to stop calling the bathroom “John” and instead call it “Jim”. That way you can mention going to the “Jim” and it sounds so much more attractive!

Speaking of the gym…an older person in an exercise class may feel that if God wanted you to touch your toes, He would have put them on your knees. Makes sense to me!

Remember when you hated being told by your mother that it was time for a nap? It seemed like a punishment as a child but as a “senior” it can feel like a mini vacation! Various health resources suggest a “power nap” to get refreshed and become ambitious once again. Just keep it to 20 minutes or your body will think it’s the real thing!

Did you ever need to write down where you had to be “back in the day”? The “younger us” just seemed to be able to keep it all in our heads … class schedules, social events, meetings etc. Today yellow sticky notes had better be taped where you can see them. Otherwise you will be lying to yourself if you say, “I don’t have to write it down, I’ll remember!”

Customer service actually was “customer service” back in yesteryear. When you called a place of business the person answering the phone actually sounded like he or she wanted to help you. Now they often act bored with their job and you can feel your level of confidence plummet as they deal with you.

Here’s one last piece of evidence that age brings wisdom. As a youngster you may have noticed that older people talked to themselves. Now you know why. They needed excellent advice!

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