The Way We Were

The Way We Were
July 12, 2023

The Way We Were
“How did he SURVIVE?” Nod, upon being told that colour television hadn’t always been around, and in fact the HM and DHM grew up without it.

Actually, that was a slight fiction. Although I believe the television at his great-grandmother’s house was B&W, he had colour T.V. at home. The HM’s Grandmother, who raised him, had more money and liked modernity better than my parents did.

*I* grew up without those basic amenities. My parents got colour T.V., Cable, video games (read: pacman and pong), and remote controls after I left for college and no-I’m-not-bitter, very.

We didn’t even have television until I was five or six and somebody felt sorry for us and gave us an old B&W set. My mother says she figures now that was not really that much of a blessing. She did talk about getting a colour television once. My brother and I overheard her and told her we already had one, and we knew this because Woody Woodpecker’s head was red on our television. She decided not to bother, wise woman. I was chagrined later when I realized it wasn’t, I’d only imagined that it was.

The HM had all of those things pretty much as soon as they were available on the open market.

His family had a boat, too. Mine had a tent and for a while there was an inflatable raft (after I was in high school, I think). They also owned their own home, whereas we lived in parsonages until I was 13.

He never wore hand-me-downs, we often did. His family bought new cars. Ours were 20 years old.

His family never had the power turned off because the utilities bills weren’t paid.

Yet both my parents had college degrees, even Master’s, and my mother’s parents also both had college degree. My grandmother majored in Botany and graduated shortly after the Great Depression, at a time when few women went to college, and fewer still took degrees in the fields of science.

Whereas, none of the HM’s immediate family finished high school- not his parents, not his grandparents, not his aunts. His grandmother quit school after 8th grade. Most of those in my husband’s generation of extended cousins did get a high school diploma, but I am fairly certain he’s the only one with a college degree amongst a large clan of extended family.