This past weekend my daughter came for a visit bringing her trusted steam cleaner. Still, in the Spring cleaning mood, I was grateful for the opportunity to have my area rugs cleaned. The carpet cleaners in my city don’t do this service in your home, they want you to roll up your carpets and bring them into their plants to be cleaned on their premises. This is not always convenient…either the carpets are sitting under heavy furniture or objects that are not easily moved, or they are in places where they are a necessity every day, like at the front and back entrances, etc. After several hours and many litres of dirty water, the rugs look like new…
On Friday night my daughter, husband and I went out for dinner. After delightful appetizers and a few glasses of wine she posed the question to us, “What era in time do you most identify with?”
My husband was the first to volunteer his response, “The time of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday”. The period is the mid-late 1800s, Doc Holiday being his favourite. We had quite a chuckle over this, as my daughter and I couldn’t possibly envision him in a cowboy hat and boots with a gun and holster slung around his hips. He’s definitely more of a ‘suit and tie’ kind of guy! We also reminded him of his one-time horseback ride when we were on a family holiday at a mountain resort when the kids were young. He took them on a trail ride while I stayed behind and tidied up the cabin. The trail was on a well-trod, wide path circling one of the foothills close by. I think he was the only adult taking the ride that morning, but I could hear him over all the others yelling, “WHOA, WHOA, WHOA, WHOA” fearing his horse was going to step over the cliff!
Next, my daughter offered that her period would be the 1950s and said she would have happily been a 50s housewife. She liked the idea of children growing up in a safe, middle-class neighbourhood, playing with their friends on the block and going to the school down the way. Evenings would be spent around the kitchen table with everyone sharing their day and an evening out would be going to the dances at the community centre…a much simpler time!!
The following evening my son joined us for dinner, an opportunity that rarely happens. As much as I love my son-in-law and my three grandsons and all the chaos and excitement that brings, I really cherish the times when it’s just the ‘original four’. We filled him on our conversation from the night before and asked him what he would pick as his time.
Without hesitation, he said the present was his time. In spite of the uncertain political and economic times, he is happy where he is in life. Always one to keep on top of current and cultural events, he gets his news online. His job keeps him fairly current with technology, and his son is a ‘youtuber’ in the making…keeping him in the loop.
That Friday night when it was my turn to fess up, I was confident that like Owen Wilson in, “Midnight in Paris”, the 1920s in Paris would be my time. I would have loved to be part of the intellectuals who frequented the bistros engaging in spirited conversation about politics, history and the arts.
Over the past week, as I reflected on the weekend, I concluded that I may have answered too quickly.
In reality, the 1960s is really my time. I was a teenager in the 60s and feel fortunate to have experienced the freedom and rebellion that decade brought. The new sounds in rock and roll music, the fashion (the mini), the makeup (heavily kohled eyes, pale, pouty mouths), the marches on campuses protesting government policy and the Vietnam war, the women’s liberation movement and the civil rights movement. The voices of youth had power then, changing the rules and bringing about significant social change.
I’ve always enjoyed the company of young people, teenagers, in particular…that gap between childhood and adulthood. Finding the balance between naivety and idealism, independence, unpredictable hormones, experiencing a first love (and inevitable heartbreak) can only be navigated by those who believe they are entitled to live life to the max. Within the next six months all three of my grandsons will be teenagers…the youngest will be in Junior High, the middle will be entering High School, and the oldest will be graduating. I will treasure the times we spend together and hopefully get a glimpse into their adolescence while reminiscing about my own…
Who would have guessed this conversation all began with Spring cleaning...
What’s your decade?