Saturday, January 08, 2005

It’s been a crazy 24 hours. Domestic disagreements at the end of a long night and I woke up a little the worse for wear. I ambled out into a gentle beautiful blue Adelaide day to pick up milk and paper from the deli (that fast fading Adelaide institution), and felt the vitamin D recharging my system.

Thoughts of the Asian Tsunami still provided a moody backdrop as I walked, and the evening news was filled with recently found amateur footage (some of which can be found HERE.

I fought the urge to just lay on the couch and be tired in front of the TV and forced myself to go out and see an old friend, Meng Meng. Meng Meng was an English student of mine when he first came to Australia in the 1990’s, and is now happily entrenched in Adelaide society. He had discovered the Seven Stars Hotel in the city and suggested we meet there. We sat outside in the cool night air drinking cokes (yes cokes), relived old times, and then broached areas of conversation too personal to add here. While we were outside on the pavement I noticed Mark Keough of Archer College fame come into the inside bar. Before we left Meng Meng introduced me to the manager as a musician, and lo and behold the pub are looking for musicians who might be able to attract an over 30’s crowd and I reckon I could fit that bill. I also dobbed Mark in to help out and he accepted the challenge! So stay tuned to this space for more news on an exciting new kind of musical soiree at the Seven Stars coming soon.

So once again the effort to drag myself out into the night was energy well spent. And Meng Meng was the link man. He is one of those few migrants who come to a new and very different culture (Meng Meng is from Beijing), embrace the local elements and find ways to link locals.

So Adelaide, education and life came together in the last 24 hours. Maybe it was the inspiration provided by the latest in excellent Walk on By series . Last night’s show was on the 60s and highlighted the confluence of remarkable musical trends that occurred in that decade – the Beatles, the songwriting teams like Bacharach and David, and Holland/Dozier/Holland, the Motown sound, Dylan, folk, and protest lyrics. Corny, but it made me feel proud to have been part of it as a small boy in Port Lincoln making my own Top 60 chart as a I listened religiously to 5DN – which is about to close after 80 years on air) - after school every day and sang along with all those songs. My parents were frustrated that I didn’t go outside and play, but I did do plenty of that. I was one of the children described in this excellent piece that just arrived from Bill in Israel. I has been wanting to see (or even write) a piece like this for ages. Thanks Bill. What a different world it was.

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To those born in the 40's, 50's and 60's:


First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing and didn't get tested for
diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored
lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, bread and butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were
back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.



We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no internet or internet chat
rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no
lawsuits from these accidents.

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out any eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little league, football and baseball had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

We did what we were told, most of the time, and were soundly corrected when we didn't -- we were held accountable. Imagine that.

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT!

And YOU are one of them! CONGRATULATIONS!

Please pass this on to others who have had the luck to grow up as kids,
before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.

2 comments:

RitaZ said...

Right, dear Michael...! Even in my case, having been brought up in Argentina, where life goes along different tracks if compared to more developed countries as the one I am visiting right now (USA....)...Even in my case, every single situation you mention rings a melancholic bell to me, as well...

Yet, we can appreciate and even enjoy some of the marvels this new life offers us, can't we , Michael? In fact, I feel a strong gratitude to being able to enjoy this stage in the history of mankind, which has enabled me to get to know invaluable people scattered all over the world..., people I'd have never got the chance to meet had it not been for the computer!!!

Thanks, dear friend, for being one of them, so far away from my home!

Michael said...

My pleasure Rita. And I can identify with your thoughts on 'invaluable friends' that this new world has created.

I was intrigued to read that that this piece rang 'melancholic bells' for you too, although you grew up in Argentina. It seems that even at this micro level - what children are doing in their neighbourhood - our behaviours are becoming more similar than different. And perhaps in ways we don't like much. I know If I had kids right now I'd be wanting them to be outside playing and being physical, and they may want to be inside....on the pc like their father! I'm glad this time has passed for me!