One of P’s homework assignments this week was to ask a parent or grandparent about their childhood and see if it was similar or different to hers. Since my mom, Noni, was just here last week I thought a conversation with her would be more entertaining. We called Noni this evening to find out about her childhood. The conversation went like this:
P: Noni what was your childhood like?
N: Well, it was hard. We had a revolution when I was your age.
P stares blankly into space and I can tell her attention has left after one question.
Me: P ask Noni if she had a TV (thinking she’d say a small one)
P: Did you have a TV?
P: Did you have a phone?
N: Just one for the whole house.
P: What?! What about the cell phone?
N: No. Just one phone for the whole house. No cell phones. They didn’t exist.
P: Did you have a car?
P: What?! So were you poor?
Silence from my mom who is not getting why she’d ask that.
Me: P, Noni didn’t have those things because they didn’t exist or because they just came out. Kind of like ipads did not exist when you were born. It’s not so much a sign of having money or not. It’s that they simply didn’t exist.
P: OH! So, did you have a toilet?
N: (she doesn’t quite understand what P is asking so there’s a silence but she finally answers) Yes!
P: Phew! That was close! I thought you were going to say no!
N: But we just had one.
P: For the entire house?! Wow! We have two.
P: Did you have a bed?
N: Yes, we all had beds.
P: Phew! That’s good. That would be tough to not have a bed.
P: Did you have shoes?
N: Yes but only two or three pairs.
P: That’s it? Why so little?
N: We didn’t need more.
Me: You have more shoes for yourself than Noni’s entire house had for all of them.
N: You know when I was a child we had milk delivered to our door every day.
P: Did you have Whole Foods?
N: No. We had farmers markets.
P: I’ve been to one of those!
N: Yes, and we got our bread, meat, beans in different places. There was a store for each of those things, called a bakery and butcher and mill store.
P: That’s a lot of shopping.
P: Did you have toys?
N: Yes! We had dolls. That was it though. Just dolls.
P: Why didn’t you play with the boy toys then?
N: Because they just had cars.
P: I like cars. Why didn’t you play with cars?
N: Because back in my day girls were not allowed to play with boy’s toys.
P: That’s terrible! I’d play with the boys toys.
N: We also had marbles.
P: Did you have a marble run?
N: What’s that?
Me: A track for marbles you build yourself.
N: No. Just marbles and only a couple. Only the very wealthy kids had more than one or two.
It was such an interesting conversation. I can’t believe how much things have changed in the time between my mom and my daughter. I know TV was invented relatively not that long ago but I forgot that my mom, just one generation back, lived during a time before TV. How different the attitudes of what girls can and can’t do from my mom to P. It was such a great homework assignment and something I never would have thought to have P ask my mom! I’m glad I was there to hear it and now am documenting it on this blog…something that wasn’t around when I was a kid!