Sometimes if the mood is just right and all the stars align there’s a good chance some excellent story telling will go down around the dinner table or when someone drops over for a cuppa Joe. That happened one day last week when our oldest son, Eric, stopped by to leave a couple of computers someone had donated to us for “parts.”
Eric and his business partner, Mike, have written and are passing around, a screenplay. In it are two young boys, brothers, who start a bakery business that saves the ecomony of a small town. It’s a contemporary setting with an old fashioned feel. I’ve read the book it’s based on, The Walton Street Tycoons by Jim Lesczynski, and loved it. We talked about how difficult it is to get things like books and screenplays into the right hands. Then the conversation turned to a possible pre-quel and the research Eric’s done about how things were growing up a hundred or so years ago. When you start snooping around like that it’s astounding some of the things you find.
For instance, we think kids are incapable of taking care of themselves until they’re oh – say – twenty six. We think they shouldn’t see an artist’s rendering of Santa Claus smoking a pipe even though few have ever claimed to have begun a smoking habit from doing so. We think kids don’t know how to fend off a bully. We keep them from all things big, scary or what we perceive to be unhealthy. But have you ever read about these two? When Eric told me about them I didn’t believe him. How could two kids, ages 9 and 5, do such a thing? But it turns out they did. Extraordinary and Bravo! for them.
My husband and his dad’s second wife (deceased) tell about the times when, as children, they would be sent by their dads to the corner pub for a pail of beer. The two of them did it without question and neither drank the beer on the way home or thought it was wrong to be sent for it. Kids were trusted with tasks like these back then. I’m not condoning or condemning it. I simply marvel at the way things have changed and our current views on child rearing. What a difference. I’ll wager many more people in their 70’s and 80’s have similar stories.
Maybe because we live longer these days, there’s a general feeling that adolescence should be prolonged. I confess there are days when I wish I’d been able to linger in the cocoon at home rather than be thrust into the big wide world at the (now) tender age of eighteen. As the oldest of nine children, perhaps the boot at the edge of the nest was a little bigger for me. But by the time I was twenty five I had a husband, three kids, a dog, a car, and a house. It’s just not done that way anymore. But I survived it. One upside is that I probably won't have to wait until I'm in my 90's to see great grandchildren.
I’m very glad my adult sons will still spend some time with Mom, sharing their life experiences, reminiscing (two of them are over 40) and letting me do the same back. Even though the pail-of- beer days are long gone, it’s fun and enlightening to walk backwards once in a while to see how those who have gone before us lived. Nothing can be lost by doing so and there’s a whole other world to be gained.
Image: Free Digital Photos