"The minds of different generations are ... impenetrable one by the other."
- Andre Maurois
If you have grandchildren and/or qualify for membership in AARP, you have reached the age when Andre Maurois' quote (see above) makes perfect sense. I speak from experience.
Following years of near perfection in my granddaughter's eyes, my budding teenager now declares, "When I grow up I'm not going to be anything like you!"
It started with the music, which shouldn't have come as any surprise. Classically trained from the time my grandparents hosted opera singing sessions in their home when I was maybe five or six years old until I learned to accompany the singers myself, I guess my taste in music would clash with my youngster's CD-in-every-pocket, beat-generation, one-note - make that one loud note - blaring from nine out of 10 stations on my car radio - even though I don't see why my pre-set NPR and Christian music stations don't give her the same thrill they give me.
Then it was the clothes.
"No, Grandma, you don't need to buy me any clothes for my birthday. I'll let my Mom" - translation: someone a little more removed from the Stone Age - "do that for me."
"OK, Honey, but you get no video games or CD's from me," I replied, muttering under my breath that the bushel she already has should last the rest of her life. We settled on dinner, a stuffed animal - funny, what constitutes "growing up" - and tickets to "Music Man," which - Surprise! Surprise! - she loved. (Come to think of it, I don't think it was the music as much as the "cute boys" in the cast who were about her age.)
Nor did she thank me too profusely for the collection of earlier year photos I thought she would enjoy, if nothing more than to see how far she's come. Maybe if I hadn't had that straggly-haired pose I thought was so cute enlarged and framed. Our opposite reactions to my good intention reminded me of the elderly gentleman who once addressed our church youth group about teen-aged behavior, specifically dating:
"In my day," he said, "things were like a grandfather clock. We listened to the pendulum swing back and forth and heard, 'Take your time; take your time.' But today ... remember, I was a teenager then! ... you young people all wear watches that say, 'Get together; get together!'"
No matter the pain, the worry about the speed and other dangers of growing up, there's nothing sweeter than watching children mature and, we pray, listen to at least a thimbleful of the advice we know they'll thank us for someday. No matter the circumstances, our parents and grandparents spent just as much time worrying about us.
But behavior isn't the only thing that's "matured" (or, if you will, "devolved") since our generation stumbled through the growing process 50 or more years ago. A big "thank-you" to faithful News-Times reader Bill Scholly for sending along these additional reminders.
• If things keep going the way they are, it's going to be impossible to buy a week's groceries for under $20.
• Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging a dime just to mail a letter?
• Kids today are impossible. With those duck tail hair cuts they'll never stay well-groomed. Next thing you know boys will be wearing their hair as long as the girls.
• Did you see where some baseball player just signed a contract for $75,000 a year just to play ball? It wouldn't surprise me if someday they'll be making more money than the president.
• It's too bad things are so tough nowadays. I see where a few married women have to work to make ends meet.
• I'm afraid the Volkswagen car is going to open the door to a whole lot of foreign business.
• No one can afford to be sick any more; $35 a day in the hospital is too rich for my blood.
• If they think I'll pay 50 cents for a hair cut, forget it!
(Barbara Seaborn is a local freelance writer. E-mail comments to email@example.com.)
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