July 17, 2018

What Don't You Miss From Your Youth?

There was a tremendous response to What Do You Miss From Your Youth?  It seems everyone had a lot of fun bringing back memories of all sorts from more carefree times. I enjoyed  the comments because they stimulated all sorts of memories for me, too. If you haven't taken the time to read all the comments, do yourself a favor and click the link above. What fun.

Several readers suggested the flipside of that post: What Don't You Miss From Your Youth? What happened when you were younger that you are glad is over and done with? What was in your past and should stay there? 

Again, like the previous post, let's keep things more fun or silly than serious. I will start with some of mine:

1. Junior High dances. Boys on one side, girls on the other. Awkward and terrifying. 

2. Piano Lessons. I did play the clarinet for 10 years and enjoyed that instrument. But, the piano lessons with a woman who was unhappy most of the time....not so much.

3. The day each fall that Daylight Savings Time ended. That was the saddest day of the year for me. Cold, snow, darkness at 4:30 in the afternoon, no playing outside. I hated what that day signified.

4. The parental rule about only one Coke per week. Oddly, today I rarely have a soft drink. But, then, it was a hated restriction. 

5. Having to wait for my parents to take me to the library. 

6. Summers were too long...I liked school and looked forward to the new year right after Labor Day. 

7. Living in houses with no air conditioning and sharing one bathroom with 5 people. Ugh! 

8. Tent Camping. I enjoyed everything about Boy Scouts, except camping. It was always cold or wet, the ground was hard and bumpy, and of course, I always had to go to the bathroom multiple times overnight which meant, leaving the wam sleeping bag, getting dressed and walking into the woods!

9. My afternoon paper route when it was snowing. We lived up a hill and about a mile from where my first customer lived. Pulling a wagon through snow, fully loaded with newspapers, was not my thing.

10. Dating (very much like point #1). I was scared of talking to girls, didn't have much social confidence, was in the geek group at school. Dating was painful and therefore very infrequent.

OK, your turn. What are you glad is a fading memory?


  1. I definitely DON'T miss:
    1. The PE teacher requiring that we take a shower after PE in junior high. I was too shy to get naked in front of all the other boys.
    2. No commercial-free entertainment on the TV. Well, there was PBS, but most of that wasn't what we wanted to see.
    3. Getting asked if I was a girl by men in the men's room. I was a 60s-70s boy with long hair, like all my friends. They knew damn well I was a boy. They were just making a statement.
    4. Yes, shyness, dances, dating and wondering if I would ever find a girl. (Eventually I did!)
    5. How expensive long distance telephone calls were. Having your parents hovering while you spoke to the grandparents to make sure you didn't stay on too long. Having to ask permission to call a friend out-of-state.
    6. The end of Summer, Winter and Spring breaks. Having to go back to school! Ugh!
    7. Records that skipped. Library records that looked like they had been shredded by cat claws. Trying to return a record to the store because of a skip and the store putting it on their turntable and it DID'NT skip on theirs! Probably their stylus was intentionally heavy just for this purpose! But with a little pushing, they did finally accept the return and give me a refund.
    8. Similar to number 7, having to walk gingerly around the room so as not to cause the record that was playing to skip on my parent's good turntable.
    9. Related to number 4, getting my heart broken for the first time. They weren't joking when they wrote "The First Cut is the Deepest"!
    10. How we young people thought we were so smart. Haha! We know better now. Now it is the new generation's turn to be somewhat strident.

    Thanks! This was fun!

    1. I also remember the concern over staying on the phone too long when we spoke with my grandparents. We lived in the Philadelphia area and they were 300 miles away in Pittsburgh...an expensive distance in the 50s.

      I should have mentioned records and turntables. The older homes we lived in always had wooden floors that squeaked and moved a bit. If the LP was even slightly warped, just walking within 4 or 5 feet of the Hi-Fi console might cause a skip.

  2. 1. My parents arguing (probably about money)
    2. Going to school
    3. Homework
    4. My job when I retire (the people I will miss)
    5. Asking permission to do something
    6. VHS tapes

    1. I'll go you one better: Beta tapes. Even though they had superior quality to VHS, Beta lost the marketing battle. We stuck with Beta well past anyone else I know.

      Then, there was the hassle of wanting to play a movie but finding someone hadn't rewound the VHS tape!

  3. 1. Not having central AC & heating. It was so cold in winter when we woke up and I would hover near a big gas stove in the living room trying to warm up.
    2.Walking to school in the snow in red rubber boots that chafed my legs.
    3. Sharing one bathroom with the whole family.
    4. Hanging laundry on the outside clothesline in cold weather.
    5. Wearing ugly dresses that my grandmother made for me.
    6. Home perms that often left my hair frizzy.
    7 Having to eat liver and onions.
    8. Teachers who were allowed to slap your hand with a ruler when you misbehaved.
    9. Two students being allowed to take turns choosing who would be on their teams in gym class. I was always afraid of being the last one chosen.
    10. Clipping grass along the foundation of our house with lawn clippers that rubbed blisters on my hands. I was so thankful when the weedeater was invented!

    1. In my young adulthood years my mother-in-law made me a grey Nehru jacket and pants as a Christmas present. It was so ugly but I had to wear it on special occasions when she was around.

      Oh yes, lawn clippers. Invented by the devil. So, slow and so hard on the hands.

  4. I wish I had a list of fun things that I leave in the past. Here are the things that formed me. Feel free to delete.
    1 +++Being told that there were four professions I could go into teacher, nurse, mother or nun.
    1. Being around fathers who were drunk and screamed at us. (Self medicated WWII PTSD).
    2. Being harassed for dating "Mexicans".
    2b. Being told, by my friend, I could not hang out with my her because she was being shunned by her Black (her word) peer group. It was getting dangerous for both of us (my first year teaching in an overseas school).
    3. Witnessing Navajos being kicked or beaten in public in Flagstaff. Not being able to sit in the theater with my Navajo friend (she had to sit upstairs- even in 1978).
    4. Seeing my brother's friend in a casket from the Vietnam War. Seeing another one being harassed as a baby killer because he was a soldier on leave. Seeing a third being harassed because his hair was long.
    5. Having a friend choosing to hang himself instead of being outed by a group of mean people.
    6. Seeing domestic abuse cases. My dad used to help hide women and their kids
    6 b. Watch my dad's heart break when the abuser would get the kids because the courts always seemed to side with the man. (Knowing lots of women like Bob's #2 because of these circumstances).
    6c. Being harassed for dating a boy who had been released from the "boy's prison" for being a runaway from one of "those homes".
    7. Drunk Driving being socially acceptable (see #1).
    8. Cigarette smoke EVERYWHERE.
    9. Sibling rivalry being accepted as part of being in a big family- even when it got very violent.
    10. Having to go inside and go to bed when the sun was still up, even when we were playing a great day of kick the can with all 40 of the immediate neighbors.
    These things drove me to choose to be teacher to "the worst kids". I was my dad's sidekick and he always tried to fix social things. I lived a privileged childhood, but I cannot say it was tremendously magical.

    1. Well, not a fun list, but it does fit the topic title and was part of life for other kids, not just you, so I am certainly not deleting it. You experienced what many of us did not even though it was going on all around us.

      I hope things are better for today's children, though we are well aware that the hate and discrimination has not been eliminated.

    2. I deleted from my list several serious dark items because the post asked us to keep it light. But, inspired by Janette's comment, I'll briefly mention them here. (Also, just to get them off my chest!)
      - the terror of seeing the Vietnam War on the TV news when I was a little boy
      - the threat of the draft looming over my head
      - bullying and fighting at school and after school

      To name a few... :-)

    3. My draft number was 67. I was on my way to Vietnam the moment I graduated from college. My eternal thanks goes to whoever found me a slot in the Army Reserves. 6 years of summer training and monthly meetings was as small price to pay.

  5. Cigarette smoke is a big one for me, too. Also the social strata in junior high and senior high.


    1. Yes, I certainly don't miss the smoke-filled restaurants or movie theaters of my youth. I remember ads in magazines where doctors endorsed Camel cigarettes for their health benefits.

      Peer pressure was certainly there in my schools, but it seems things are worse today. Maybe it is social media, maybe it is constant cell phone interactions...I don't know. We had cool groups and then everyone else, but I was never bullied for being quiet and very thin with glasses.

  6. Your thoughts on dances and dating struck a chord with me too, Bob.

    I was kind of the opposite with regards to school though. While I always loved to learn, spending hours poring over my World Book Encyclopedias, and despite growing up in a family of teachers, I was never a big fan of school. The Jerry Lewis Labour Day Telethon always sparked a sense of dread in me. I don't miss that feeling.

    Finally, I don't miss my childhood trips to the dentist. I had a fair amount of unpleasant work done as a kid and grew to seriously fear the dentist. It got to the point where my mom couldn't even tell me I had an appointment coming up. I would be called to the office at school, and she would be there to pick me up. Ugh. Now I have no fear of the dentist at all as my teeth are in much better shape as an adult (knock wood!).

    1. The Jerry Lewis Telethon...Yes! That was always the mark of the end of summer for me. Now, my grandkids start school at the end of July. That seems weird.

  7. Smoking definely belongs on my list. Although at the time I thought it was incredibly cool and in fact started smoking very early. My mother smoked and I began to filch cigs from her purse. She didn't say a word, but stopped smoking. That slowed me down for a bit, and by my 20s I had stopped.

    Spanking is another big one for me, both at school and at home. Even back then I thought it was reprehsible.

    General awkwardness, particularly in gym class!!

    Stockings and garter belts! The worst! Panty hose is a terrific invention

    1. My parents were not spankers. I was on the receiving end no more than 3 or 4 times. I'm glad that form of discipline has largely disappeared. It is hard to teach a child to not hit someone when he or she is being hit by a parent.

      Both my parents smoked, but only socially. They both simply quit when I was probably 10 or 11. Good for them.

  8. 1. The total lack of diversity in my hometown: racial, socio-economic, political. The real world has been far more interesting and insightful.
    2. Being told I couldn't do certain things because I was a girl. The only acceptable jobs for me were teacher, nurse, secretary or possibly social worker. Child care and housecleaner/maid were women's work too, but only for women of a certain socio-economic status or race.
    3. The "women's employment" section in the paper, separate from men.
    4. Smoking everywhere.
    5. Having to always wear a dress or skirt to school - no pants allowed for girls/women.
    6. Junior high and high school cliques. I am amazed by how different my children's experience has been - they didn't even know what a clique was.
    7. Being expected to be good at math because my mom was a math teacher. I wasn't bad at math, but it was my least favorite subject and I had to work hard to get through it.
    8. My father's insistence on perfect table manners at dinner, and getting yelled at or otherwise punished for the slightest infraction (getting sent from the table for sipping your milk before the meal was served). I appreciate good manners, but it was sometimes to the point where I couldn't relax or enjoy my meal.
    9. Smog. It was beyond awful in the 60s-70s in Los Angeles.

    1. Excellent, Laura. Sex roles and restrictions obviously still exist but nothing like what you remember. It is good t remind ourselves of what has changed for the better, with much farther to go.

      My grandfather insisted we all stay at the dinner table and talk for one hour. Also, he was a firm believer that children should be heard, not just seen, so we were expected to contribute. This taught us the art of conversation and interacting with adults.

      I used to go to L.A. for business starting in the late 70's. I don't know how anyone breathed that air and is still alive.

  9. 1. Having no input in decisions that should have been mine. (My Sr. year in high school was when everyone else coasted) Did I really want to take Calculus, Analytical Geometry, and Trig all in the same year?
    2. Latin 4
    3. Growing faster than everyone else. 5'4" at 10 and have not grown an inch since.
    4. Not being allowed to have white go-go boots. (My pouting was the topic of family folklore for years and yes I know but it was a fad, but I wanted them so bad I could taste them. They would not even let me buy them with my own money. However when I was about 40 my dad found a pair at Goodwill and wrapped them for me as a joke Christmas gift)
    5. Hot as Hell summers with no a/c
    6. 1 bathroom but worse was 1 telephone, centrally located where everyone in the den could hear your side of the conversation.
    7. Dad's stereo (it was a great piece of equipment) was off limits to our music (unless they were out of the house, then all stereo rules were broken, especially the volume. Dancing to James Brown on volume 10 was great)
    8. The food. Mom was a notoriously bad cook.
    9. Hanging clothes out on the clothesline and worse getting them in right as it started to rain.
    10. Cleaning the clothespins. I pinched the crap out of myself a million time cleaning those things and Mom made us do it twice a week.

    1. Betty owned white go-go boots! We still have a picture somewhere.

      I stopped at Latin 2, one year too many.

      I have never heard of cleaning clothespins. Cleaning them of what?

      Thanks, Anne. Oh, since your name is Anne in the Kitchen, I assume point #8 is not an issue for you!

    2. I live in the South, home of hot humid weather. We had to clean the clothespins twice a week with a mild bleach water and cotton (had to be cotton or Hell would freeze over I suppose) cloth. You had to open the clothespins and wipe out the inside so no mold would grow. Either I was a weakling or the springs were much tighter then than they are now, because I pinched myself all the time.

  10. I do not miss a world without Google (internet searches). I loved reference books as a kid but there were always more things I wanted to 'look up' that weren't in the ones I had at hand.

    1. Absolutely. Even with all the bad actors on the Internet, the ability to find virtually any information on any subject is priceless. I loved my set of encyclopedias and thought they were the ultimate source of whatever I needed to know. What they contained pales with what Google can unearth in less than a second of search time.

  11. I don't miss unairconditioned cars in the summer heat and humidity in the South. I don't miss getting carsick in those hot cars! I don't miss the heavy floral perfume my aunts wore that gave me headaches, although I miss those wonderful aunts very much. I don't miss the short bangs that my mom made me wear. I don't miss ticks. And I definitely don't miss my childhood nickname, which I HATED! Ha! Good riddance to all of that. Loved your list and the lists in the comments.

    1. I guess I will have to ask you about that nickname when Betty and I see you next month!

      I imagine growing up in the South before AC was standard must have been hard. There were a few weeks in the Northeast each summer that tested our patience, too. My parents were big believers in giant box fans and attic fans, but no such help in cars. We used the poor man's AC...roll down the windows and drive fast.

      Frankly, I don't understand how people in the desert Southwest survived summer.

  12. I don’t miss telephone party lines where you had to share a telephone line with someone else. You could tell someone was listening in and sometimes would be rude about how long you were on the phone. I don’t miss my parents smoking in the car with the windows up in the winter and smoking in the bathroom before I used it. I don’t miss my Mom patching the knees of my pants when the wore out.

    1. My mother-in-law smoked with the car windows up. It was horrible. Being newly married to her daughter I didn't dare say anything.

  13. Great posts. Experienced almost everything mentioned. Remember in college social studies class a poll about # of bathrooms in students parents' homes-many had 2/3 our neighborhood houses had one.

    1. Today, houses come with as many bathrooms as bedrooms. But, three of the first four houses I lived in while growing up had just one bathroom

  14. I do not miss:
    My father smoking in car and house. I now have copd.
    smoking everywhere with no relief in public
    smoking in college classrooms where I could not take notes because of smoke in my face.
    No ac in house or car
    Southern humidity and heat
    fireants. still here but I don't sit or play in the grass
    washing dishes by hand without dishwasher in a hot, humid kitchen every other night.
    fighting between my parents
    old, embarrassing cars we owned
    one bathroom for seven people.
    having icebox
    no tv for first 14 years!
    inordinate fear of nuclear attack
    sexual harassment from age six by classmates
    fear of panthers on telephone poles when I walked to bus stop

  15. Fear of panthers on telephone poles...that sounds like a story waiting to be told.

    I remember the" hiding under the desk in case of nuclear attack" drills in school. I'm pretty sure the kids had no idea what all of that meant, but later we realized how pathetically inadequate it all was.

    Fighting between parents: thanks for mentioning that. I'm sure many were made uncomfortable by those displays. Parental discord can cause problems later in life for kids who grow up in that type of environment. I'm not sure many parents understand how powerful words and attitudes are, even if not directed at the child.

  16. Gym class is my number one item that I do not miss. I was tall for my age but gangly, being December born meant I was usually the youngest person in class, uncoordinated and not athletic at all. A good combination for ridicule. We all know how kids can be but you'd think adults would know better.

    On one occasion my grade 7 gym teacher asked me stand up in front of the whole class to show them how I bounced a basketball. I was so proud, it was the first time I had ever been asked to demonstrate my skill at anything. The teacher said to the class "I want everyone to watch David bounce this basketball very carefully."

    He paused for maximum effect. "Because that is NOT how you do it".

    There's a lot of emphasis, especially for boys, to be athletic and show prowess in a competitive sport but for some it just doesn't go that way and it can be a confidence destroyer. It probably took me until my mid 20's to recover my confidence (I didn't go to university until age 26) and find out I actually was good at a number of things.

    So yes, gym class I do not miss.

  17. Sharing a bedroom with a sister and fighting about neatness and decor. At one point, our father offered to repaint our room; all we had to do was agree on a color. I wanted a color scheme in yellows, oranges and browns; she wanted pink and blue and lavender. The room finally got painted the year we both got married and my younger brother moved into that room and painted it red!

  18. I was brought up in a loving household and had a wonderful childhood. But I do not miss the rampant sexism and racism of the ‘60s and ‘70s. As a girl, I constantly received the message that males were superior to females, and that my role was to support and cheer on boys/men rather than to participate (e.g. in sports) or to excel myself. I am grateful that I had parents who encouraged me and were proud of my successes. But in that time, as others have mentioned, appropriate careers for girls were limited to teacher, nurse, secretary, or stewardess. Girls were expected to get married and become mothers. Even chores were gendered — girls did indoor chores like washing the dishes and ironing, whereas boys did outdoor chores like taking the garbage out and sweeping the driveway. As a teen, I was constantly exposed to sexual harassment and objectification of women’s bodies, such as pin-up pictures of naked women in people’s rec rooms or in some businesses in our small town, crude jokes about women, and men who stared, whistled, commented about my body, or grabbed at me. Racism toward and segregation of First Nations people was the norm. Children were punished physically, and at school you could get the strap (if you were a boy). There was a strong pressure toward conformity, and children who were different (disabled, mentally ill, not heterosexual, living in poverty) were often tormented, and adults were slow to intervene. Those are some of the main things that I do not miss.


    1. Excellent comment, Jude. You mentioned some of the "hidden" stuff of the 60s and 70s that tends to be glossed over when we remember our youth. Of course, much of what you mention remains today, but I think society is much more aware and quicker to point out the issues rather than sweep them under the rug. The #MeToo movement and others are encouraging signs.

      It is a much better world my granddaughters are growing into, especially in what women can accomplish.

  19. I don’t miss always feeling like a dork. Of course, at some point I realized I am a dork and the bad feeling evaporated. After all, it’s not so bad when you figure out that dorks are much more interesting people than the rest of the world.