first day of spring, my grandtwins celebrated their eighth birthday.
gift from their parents was a ski pass for the Lake Tahoe slopes,
where he bonds with his dad. Maya had requested the two latest books
in the teenage vampire series by Stephenie Meyer.
them both money in cards. I always said I wouldn't do that, though
I'm not sure why; it's practical, saves on cross-country postage and
was certainly welcome when relatives chose that option for me.
last eight years, I've been sending toys and books from my and my
son's childhoods. My parents kept my dolls in the attic and when
their house was sold, I brought them here. Gave Betsy Wetsy to Maya
when she was 2, Tiny Tears when she was 5. Don't know if she ever
played with them; I think she toddled directly into Barbie.
sent her some of the 8-inch doll collection, precursors to Barbie,
with different occupations and nationalities; but when she played
with them the rubber bands that hold the head, arms and legs to the
torso broke, so she then had a collection of heads, arms, legs,
torsos and clothes in a box.
dolls are more durable, but she hasn't shown much interest and I'm
not sure I'm ready to give them up yet.
read the first Meyer book myself — and was slightly horrified — I
did send Maya my Frances Hodgson Burnett novel, hoping to return her
to the same age 8 that I once was; I may even soon give up my worn
copy of "Anne of Green Gables." Surely little girls still love Anne,
who was created by Lucy Maud Montgomery in 1908, yet was popular in
my age group.
easier to share old toys with; I think boys haven't changed much in
the last century. Both he and Lance were thrilled that I'd saved the
folding carrying case with the Matchbox car collection.
reads well, too, but prefers the "Captain Underpants" series. I
hadn't noticed that superheroes do seem to wear their underwear on
the outside, but take another look at Superman next time you are at
Newbury Comics on Route 114, which is where I went to get comics for
Aidan when I was planning to send his sister Burnett's "A Little
years ago, I bought them a record player so they could take some of
my LP collection; they liked the rock 'n' roll albums from the 1950s
and '60s, just as my son does. My generation's music, which my
parents also enjoyed, is still popular with young people, who
collect some oldies on their iPods. Maybe that's because the beat
goes back to our primitive roots; it's part of our human heritage,
unlike so many other things that seemed permanent, until this year.
years our money may be worthless and our freedom may be history, but
somewhere Elvis will be singing, "A little less conversation, a
little more action please."
I wish I
could ask my parents: When I was 8, could you imagine what the world
would be like when I arrived at adulthood? I don't think it changed
much from 1951 to 1964.
family got a three-channel television set when I was 12. My high
school science class took a field trip to see a microwave oven, and
my college science class saw an early computer at Penn State.
wasn't much different than my parents' 20s, at least in small-town
Pennsylvania. The cultural changes came later in the '60s, replacing
some traditional values with a freedom that I admit I myself
preferred during the first wave.
can't imagine life without my TV, microwave, computer or for that
matter, iTunes. But I wonder where ethics, taste and restraint went.
And I can't imagine what my grandchildren's adult world will be
like, the toys their children will play with (except for Matchbox
fully expect my son (and the good books we all read) will pass on
virtues like honesty and personal responsibility. Maybe economic
changes will take everyone back to a simpler time, to rag dolls,
vegetable gardening and "playing outside."
the ability to imagine the future, we can fantasize about a return
to the good parts of the past.
we grandparents might fear that the American dream will be destroyed
by Big Government/Big Business and debt, my parents feared that it
would be destroyed by Nazi Germany, the Russians or a nuclear war.
Remember when the Berlin Wall fell, and some readers wondered if
anything could replace the Cold War spy novels?
Recently, I was afraid that my granddaughter might have to wear a
burka, or speak Spanish as her primary language; now I wonder if my
grandson will be drafted to fight in Afghanistan, or have to learn
Chinese. It's always something, isn't it?
didn't want last year's world of political correctness, consumerism
and irresponsibility for my grandchildren. Now we have "change." For
all children's sake, we need to change again.