Summer time, and the livin’s easy. It was back then and it is now. But a lot has changed since we were kids, just twiddling our thumbs, drumming up things to do. In fact, here are some great When-I-Was-a-Kid stories you can tell to really make their eyes roll.
13 Ways Your Summer Was Way Different from Your Kids’
1.Screen time wasn’t a thing back.
Back in our day, “screen time” meant talking to your boyfriend from behind your window screen when he snuck over to see you because neither of you had a magical rectangle you could chat on. It could also mean popping out your window screen past curfew to go T.P.ing the neighbor’s house.
Screen time as we know it didn’t exist because our televisions were big and boxy, and about as alluring as granny panties. The 12 channels we did have were mostly news and PBS and even if your parents splurged on cable, they were drill sergeants about monitoring MTV.
2. Your Discman made you a major boss.
Before the days of wireless headphones and smart devices with thousands of songs at your disposal there was a ground-shattering device called the Discman. If you had one, you were a boss and you wore that badge proudly as you bopped your head around town all summer long. The Discman separated you from your fossilized parents and their bulky boom boxes. You’d save up weeks of babysitting and lawn-mowing money so that you could go to Sam Goody and buy a new CD and then listen to Ace of Base, Weezer, TuPac, and Mariah Carey on repeat.
3. Shenanigans were easier to get away with.
When we were kids, it was way easier to get away with stuff . We weren’t monitored by GPS gadgets 24/7 like today’s kids. Back then we roamed freely and checked in when we felt like it. Either our parents were more laid back or they lived in a blissful ignorance. And hey, look how we turned out.
4. We slept on trampolines without a care.
I remember warm summer nights when my siblings and I would grab our sleeping bags and pillows and head for the trampoline. Mom would pop us some popcorn and say “See ya in the morning!” Some of our best scary stories were told on that trampoline and once we were even sent screaming inside the house as a skunk wandered from the empty lot next door, his sweet pungent odor waking us up.
5. We swam in canals and ditches.
Back before the big whoop about pesticides, country kids swam in canals and ditches all summer long. We didn’t have access to fancy water parks or state-of-the-art splash pads so we cooled off and entertained ourselves making tree swings in the same water farmers used for irrigation.
6. Worshipped the sun. Now we SPF.
Some things change for the better, one being the SPF awakening. If as a teen you slathered your entire body with baby oil until you could see the sun’s reflection, you wouldn’t be alone. Thousands of us sun-worshippers are smacking ourselves right now on our wrinkles and sunspots. Now we cover our kids in so much sunscreen they look like ghosts at the pool.
7. You could go all summer without seeing the kids in your class.
When we were kids, you said goodbye to your friends on the last day of school, and didn’t see anyone again until August. If you happened to see your bestie at the park or your crush at the pool, it was a BIG deal. Can you imagine growing up in today’s world of effervescent social media where you’d know exact details of everyone in your class’s life all summer long? What’s the fun in that?
8. You’d have to wait weeks to see photos of your summer vacation.
Ah, the good old days of disposable cameras and film that you’d actually have to drop off at the drug store and wait sometimes over a week to get back. That amazing trip you took to West Yellowstone started to fade until you got your photos back, and even then, a roll of film only had room for 24 pics. That meant each photo was worth its weight in loose change.
9. It took days to rally the troops.
If you wanted to get ice cream with your friends or hang out at the mall, you’d have to call Sarah’s landline, which almost always busy because her older sister was always talking to her boyfriend, then Sarah would have to call Jenny who’s brother answered and never remembered to relay the message to her. Basically, it took days to coordinate what kids now can accomplish in one text chain.
10. Our parents weren’t worried about HMOs, gluten, or processed food.
If summer was our marathon, then Twinkies, Ding-Dongs, Funyuns fueled us. There were no helicopter parents preaching processed foods and HMOs to us. If there was junk to be had, then by golly, we had it.
11. We lived distraction-free.
And it was amazing. We might not have had the world wide web at our fingertips, but the real world was. Because we weren’t distracted by social media, we explored our back yards, hijacked neighborhood baseball games, and fed our imaginations.
12.Video games were simple back then.
You can never beat the classics like Tetris and Super Mario Bros. They may not have been fancy, and usually the gaming box overheated, but if you blew on it just right, you were back in business. Kids today just don’t get it.
13. Drive-in movies rocked!
The summers of our childhood were rewarded with a special event: a night at the drive-in movies. You’d pile as many kids as could fit in the back of your dad’s truck, blankets, pillows, and movie snacks galore, and then settle in for a double feature. I saw Jurassic Park this way. There’s nothing more You can still find them today, but drive-in movies are more of a novelty—a Cracker Jacks box among bags of organic, non-GMO popcorn.
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