I’ve been wondering lately if I might be a wimp. I’m not asking for your opinion, so don’t write and share it with me. I’ve just been considering the possibility ever since my sister and I compiled the stories our mother used to tell of growing up on the prairies of South Dakota. My mom was born in 1916, which was before online shopping, social media and frozen pizza came along. I think it’s a testament to her lack of wimpiness that she survived.
By the way, I know what you’re doing right now. You’re trying to calculate my age based on when my mother was born. If you guessed 29, you’re correct.
Anyway, after finishing our project, I went directly to my laundry room and hugged my washing machine. Then I went to my kitchen and kissed my microwave, my refrigerator and my dishwasher. I would have kissed my cellphone too, but I couldn’t find it. Then I got really upset and wondered how I could possibly live without it for an entire hour until my husband came home and I could have him call me so I could find it. That’s when I started to wonder if I might be a wimp.
They didn’t have smartphones when my mom was growing up. Or even landlines. Or even party lines. My phone is not only my chief means of communication, it’s my camera, watch, alarm clock, appointment book, dictionary, encyclopedia, calculator and library full of time-squandering games. How did they ever squander their time without one?
One does what one has to do to survive and I suppose I would have managed somehow had I been around back then. But I know for sure that I would have griped a lot, especially about cooking. I gripe about that now and I don’t even have to grow, pick, catch, hunt and in other resourceful ways acquire my food before I can even put it on the stove. That’s what my mom’s family had to do, and it seems like a lot of trouble to go through for dinner. It makes my weekly trip to the grocery store seem like a cake walk — and sometimes it is.
And then there were the dishes. Today’s kids argue about who has to load the dishwasher. When I was growing up, I argued with my siblings about whose turn it was to do the dishes. If I’d grown up back then, I’d have fought with them over whose turn it was to haul water from the well to wash them with. That puts loading a dishwasher into perspective. I still don’t want to do it though.
I’d have had issues with the cars back then too, the main one being there weren’t any, at least not in my grandparents’ garage. Actually, they didn’t have a garage. Maybe that’s why. And as far as I know, there were no heated seats in the buggy and no DVD in the back to keep the kids occupied. Probably no GPS device either. I’d never have found my way to town.
And they couldn’t check the weather, look up useless facts and settle senseless arguments over what band was singing on the radio because Siri wasn’t born yet. Also, because they didn’t have a radio.
If I’d grown up back then, I’m sure I would have complained that we had no central heating and air conditioning, no laptop computer and no television to watch the Hallmark mystery channel on. And my family would have said, “no what?” I’ve always been a wimp ahead of my time.
Dorothy Rosby is the author of several humor books, including I Used to Think I Was Not That Bad and Then I Got to Know Me Better. Contact [email protected]