My history-loving child has a new fascination – old TV shows.
“The Andy Griffith Show” and “Bonanza” in particular.
The only one I know much about that he has taken a recent interest in is “Mork & Mindy.”
He was surprised to discover my love for Robin Williams began when I was a little girl.
His recent fascination with old TV shows has generated several questions.
“Mama, was your life growing up like it was in Mayberry?”
“Well, sort of,” I answered.
The little town I grew up in was full of small-town charm and quaint little shops.
“Did you have to tell Sara to connect you to who you wanted to talk to?”
I was confused for a moment before I realized Sara was the switchboard operator on “The Andy Griffith Show.”
“No, but we had party lines when I was a few years younger than you.”
Granny had a love-hate relationship with the party line.
She could accidentally pick up some juicy nugget of information by happenstance that would make her hum for days.
On the other hand, she was careful about her own phone conversations because she didn’t want someone else to overhear.
“What makes you so interested in these old shows?” I wanted to know.
“I dunno,” he said. “There’s something so simple about those times. Like the way Opie walks around the town with his friends. I couldn’t do that now. Did you do that?”
Yes, I did.
I can’t remember how many times I would be at a friends’ house and we’d decide we wanted an ice cream cone or a pack of M&M’s and we’d cut through the neighbors’ yards to make our way to the store near the hospital.
It was one of those things we just did – everyone did it – and it was one of the few things if Mama caught me doing, she wouldn’t get too terribly mad over.
Once, we even walked all the way to the pool room to get hot dogs and Cokes and play a round of pool. We quickly realized neither of us knew how to play pool, so we took our food and left.
“Did you grow up during that the same time as ‘The Andy Griffith Show?'”
“No, but Daddy grew up during that time frame.”
“What’s the closest show to the time you grew up? “Mork & Mindy?” Is “The Goldbergs” historically accurate?”
I am not sure how historically accurate either of those shows may be for my little history lover.
“Well, “The Goldbergs” is pretty accurate – maybe not by history’s recount. The hair was much, much higher than on the show.”
Cole, who never notices hair, replied, “Why is the hair not as high as it really was?”
“Probably because the products we used then have been banned by the EPA.”
I am not sure what I used, but I only fixed my hair once a week – the ‘do stayed that way for days.
“Was the ‘80’s the best decade?” Cole asked, his face scrunched in deep thought.
“For me it was,” I said.
Of course, I may be partial because those were the years of big hair, shoulder pads and good music.
Maybe the only questionable thing during that decade was acid washed jeans. And mullets. Let’s don’t forget mullets.
“It really was just a great decade,” I said wistfully.
“I am more partial to the ‘50s -people seemed so much happier then,” Cole said. “It just seemed like life was simpler and people didn’t worry about the things they do now. Did you worry about things when you were a kid?”
No, and I guess there was plenty to worry about then – but when you are a kid, you aren’t supposed to worry about those things. That’s the grown ups’ job.
“You aren’t supposed to worry,” I told him.
“I know,” he said. “I don’t.”
I didn’t believe him. That notion came from somewhere.
“I just wonder if the time I am growing up in is not going to have the good things that yours and Daddy’s did,” he said. “You know what I mean?”
I kind of understood what he meant.
Those past generations all had their good things.
Some of those good things may have been romanticized by some to a degree, like the shoulder pads and Gloria Vanderbilt jeans. I don’t know necessarily if it was the time period, the friends, or even where I lived that made it so special or if it was just childhood in general was a special time.
Childhood is supposed to be magical. When we grow up, we are supposed to reflect back on our memories with wonder and joy. We call them the good old days, because well, they were. We seemed to be more carefree and able to enjoy the moment because right then, that moment was all we had.
A character on “The Office” said it best in the series finale – if only we knew we were living in the good old days, when we were actually in the good old days.
Maybe that’s what makes them the good old days. We are having the best time and making memories and enjoying life so fully, we don’t have time to realize it is good times.
We don’t question it’s not the best of times either; it’s just the simple things that make us happy.
“Mama, do you think I’m living in the good old days now?” Cole asked.
“I have no doubt.”