This week, I went to the hospital to welcome the newest member of my cousin Kelly’s family. Her daughter, Blakely Paige Cieslak, was born June 7th. She’s tiny and squirmy and perfect. On the way home, I happened to pass an old-school Volkswagen Beetle on the freeway (trust me, this segue works). I realized how long it had been since I had seen one that old. It seems like they were all over the place when I was growing up, but now they haven’t been manufactured in the U.S. for over 30 years. I thought about how Blakely and her three-year-old sister, Payton, would only know the new model Beetles as they grew up. This made me start to think of all the other random things they will not know growing up in 2011.
- The country will have always had a black president. Can you even imagine that being the beginning of your history?
- Alternatively, they will always know a world that has Lady Gaga. Yep, meat-dress-wearing entertainers and African-American presidents, equally present in their reality.
- They will never hear the words, “Yesterday, on Oprah…”
- The phrase “You have died of dysentery” will hold no special meaning for them whatsoever.
- Bob Barker will have never hosted the Price is Right. I mean, what will they even do on the days they are home sick from school?
- Speaking of school, they will be able to research their homework with a computer or an iPad. Good bye, Dewey Decimal System. I can’t exactly feel bad for them about this. Dewey wasn’t the most user-friendly kind of guy.
- They won’t give a crap where in the world Carmen Sandiego is.
- Communism-schmommunism. Islamic terrorism is where it’s at, the -ism of choice for today’s kids.
- They will learn about 9/11 in their history books. Towers will fall and people will panic and mourn on the page. They won’t watch it play out on TV and live with the consequences. Lucky kids.
- They won’t ever get to meet my grandmother. Or eat anything she has baked. Unlucky kids.
- On a Saturday night, they won’t know the special excitement that exists when your dad takes you to the gas station or the pharmacy (or later, Blockbuster) to rent a video.
Payton and Blakely don’t have it so bad, really. They have two devoted, wonderful parents who are doing their best to raise smart, considerate and kind little people, and a slew of family who will spoil them within an inch of their lives, despite the protests of their mother. But their childhood looks like a different world compared to mine. How things can change in 30 years.