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Kids These Days - Part 3

Updated on April 4, 2013

Things we had no idea that someday we'd wish our kids could experience. Yeah, they have the Wii, the Internet and yogurt in a plastic tube. But we had these:

"Half-Pint, you sit in front of Mary, and Caroline can you hold Carrie?  Where'd Bandit go?"
"Half-Pint, you sit in front of Mary, and Caroline can you hold Carrie? Where'd Bandit go?"

110 cameras and developing the photos

These cameras and the development of the film go hand in hand.

The 110 took crappy pictures. The pictures were grainy, the colors were somewhat less than vibrant and people looked like zombies because the eyes always reflected from the flash.

But the camera was fun. Looking through that little viewfinder at whatever you were taking a picture of was a thrill and brought on a rush of adrenaline. Taking pictures was such a grown up thing to do! Dad was always the one taking the pictures but now it was your turn! You couldn’t smoke, drive a car, drink beer, eat cookies before dinner, stay up to watch Carson, nothing cool that all adults could do. But by God you can take pictures!

The best part was the wheeeeeeeeee of turning on the flash. That sound was a countdown to magic. You waited for the tiny amber light to oh-so-slowly light up, letting you know that the flash was ready. You always knew it was time to replace the battery when it either took f-o-r-e-v-e-r for that small bulb to light or when the wheeeeeeeeeeee would go on and on and on and on and nothing.

"You guys hiring?"
"You guys hiring?"

And after you were done taking all 24 pictures and the film was full, it was now time for the next best part. You went with Mom to a Fotomat or to the booth in the grocery store, filled out a self-stick envelope, dropped in the film roll, sealed it up, put the envelope into the square hole of the booth and……you waited.

What? Wait for pictures?! Yes, back in the day, we waited for pictures to come back to the grocery store or to the Fotomat from wherever it is film goes to get developed. The anticipation of the pictures coming back was almost unbearable. You eagerly ran to the customer service desk when the store called and told you your pictures had arrived. I can still hear the sound of tearing open the sealed envelope I had filled out a week before to look at the art I created with my 110.

But please, touch only the edges. Fingerprints!

"I actually hide the vodka in here."
"I actually hide the vodka in here."

Waterful Ring Toss

I suppose this one should not count. Technically, kids still can get this toy.

But it’s not the same. The ones from days of yore are the true water toys.

It’s like the plug-n-play Atari games that are out now. Sure you can play the same game but is it the same experience? Absolutely Uh-uh.

My grandmother had one of these. I loved going to visit her, mostly because I got to play with this toy. I hoped every time we went that she would say its ok for me to take it home because I loved it so much. That never happened but that’s alright. I got over it.

While there were a variety of these water games to choose from, she had the one with the two hooks that you tried to get the rings on. Whoever thought pushing a little plastic button to create a couple of air bubbles would be so much fun? Or so frustrating? I don’t think I ever got all the rings on the hooks. Could not do it. Then my little sister would come along, take over, and get them all on just fine. Aargh!

But the joy I felt when I landed one or the anguishing pain when one came soooo close (or, Heaven forbid, hit the hook but not actually hook onto it) are some great memories.

You can see water games similar to these out there. A Taco Bell near here has one that automatically pumps out air bubbles. You drop a coin in and try to land it on one of the little plastic plateaus.

Similar but not the same. Nothing beats being in control of the air and trying to land the rings yourself.

Plus Taco Bell uses blue water in their mechanized toy.

Blue water. Really?

Can you see the slide projector in this picture?  Me neither.
Can you see the slide projector in this picture? Me neither.

Slides

Does this go along with the 110 camera rant? Perhaps.

But who remembers groaning when Dad dragged out the 74 boxes of slides of your parents wedding? Or of some trip they took before you born? Or of when they were kids? And you have to sit through looking at pictures of people you don’t know (and don’t care to know) or of the sun setting into the ocean or of Disneyland or a BBQ at some great uncle’s house or of etc etc etc.

You get the idea.

How many sunsets can one look at? Or how many shots of the Disneyland castle?

“Ooo that’s nice.”

“Oh good one.”

“Ooo that’s nice.”

“Oh good one.”

Someone tell me when the fun begins.

"Oh honey this was when I pushed your mother into Niagara Falls, remember?  How we laughed!
"Oh honey this was when I pushed your mother into Niagara Falls, remember? How we laughed!

You knew you were in trouble when you heard the metallic banging from the TV room closet of Dad dragging out the collapsible movie screen. You heard the slamming of the legs into place and of Dad cursing when the screen would spin on its bolt. The vvvvvvvviiit of Pops opening the screen was the last clue that Slide Time was about to begin. You could run but you could not hide.

You never knew in a million years that you’d miss those days. But slides on Saturday nights are gone.

Plus I missed out on boring my kids with slides of their mom and me on the Ferris wheel at Six Flags. What a gyp.

To be continued?

Oh my yes. Stay tuned.

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