It is some time in the early or mid-seventies and we are running around the neighborhood and schoolyards talking about or singing School House Rock Songs.
We hear our parents talking about the Vietnam War, Watergate and how the Kennedy’s were shot and killed.
Sometimes they tell us about Dr. King’s Assasination and talk about how we should treat others.
I hear stories about who used to be a hippy and who still is as well as who never was.
It never occurs to me that decades later I’ll think about my own magical childhood and wonder how my children will look back upon theirs.
James Bond Comes To Life
Some friends ask how often I talk to my kids and when they are moving out.
I tell them my daughter Facetimes and Snapchats me daily and that my son and I communicate via text or phone.
“It is funny to think about how we used to dream about this stuff. We wanted to get the same cool things as James Bond or Dick Tracy and wondered how long it would take.”
My buddy laughs and asks me if my daughter preps and primps before she Facetimes.
I tell him I am not sure and then mention there have been times I didn’t Skype or Facetime with some people because I was wearing boxers and a t-shirt and didn’t want to put more clothes on.
“Truth is I probably don’t care if most of those people saw me that way, but I don’t want them to be uncomfortable and you never know who else is on the other side.”
He laughs and tells me to prepare for when my daughter really gets interested in boys.
“My girl is a little older than yours and let me tell you, at 17 she will not allow any boy to Facetime with her unless she has fixed herself up.”
We go back and forth a little bit and I tell him sometimes I wish our kids didn’t have access to tech the way they do now.
“I look around and I see a lot of kids who are a little chunky. I don’t see them running around the neighborhood like we did. I don’t see them singing I am Just a Bill while they ride their bikes.”
He tells me I am a cranky old man and I say he is right, but I am not wrong either.
“Maybe we ought to build our own wall away from Trump and create our own safe enclave to raise our kids in.”
We both laugh and then I sigh deeply and tell him I have to go, “it is almost midnight and I am beat.”
I lay down in bed and grab my Kindle to do some reading before I drift off to sleep.
I do like tech but it took me a while to break down and buy a Kindle because I prefer the feel of a book in my hands.
But there is something nice about bringing a library with me wherever I go and so I compromised. I have the Kindle and I still have real books that I read too.
Under the covers I read the words on the screen and think about safe enclaves.
I am not sure they truly exist and when I think about my childhood it is easy for me to wonder about some things.
It truly was magical and I loved it but if you look at it from a different perspective it can seem like a very scary time in some ways.
I was born in ’69 and there is no doubt the sixties were a pretty turbulent time.
If all we could talk about was the assassination of a president and then a few years later his younger brother, a senator, we would have lot.
But we have the civil rights moment and the murder of Dr. King in there too, not to mention Vietnam.
Some of that turbulence from the sixties rolled into the seventies as we dealt with Nixon and Watergate, the end of the war and a host of other issues.
The point is that as a father I sometimes I have to remind myself how easy it is to forget how some of the best times for us may have felt uncertain and imbalanced for others.
Life never stops moving and we are stuck on the giant wheel that means that we get to repeat certain events.
They may not be identical, but they are close enough and while I could let that depress and disappoint me, I choose not to.
We’ll manage the current crisis and challenges too and hopefully with a minimal amount of chaos.
But what I really hope is that when my kids look back they think of their childhood as having been magical too.