#9 — Uphill, Both Ways
Oftentimes, I am fascinated rather easily. I have been thinking lately about how a scent, a sound, or a memory leads to another, and another, and another. Synapses. Neurons. Something like that.
For some reason — I truly can’t remember (imagine that) — an old quote popped into my mind. You know how it goes or at least some version of it: “Why, when I was a kid, I had to walk ten miles in the snow, uphill both ways, to get to school.” Some versions make it twenty miles, some make it your age instead of being a kid; no matter, the implied message is that times were harder then than now. And maybe they were. Or, perhaps, if we are willing, could it be that times are as equally difficult now yet in this generation’s own unique way?
This led me to consider what a modern-day version of this quote might be. I ran across this:
I can speak to this. Here I am, getting ready to move into a new house. I am a music junkie. I have an old soul in a young body. As a child, and I thank my parents endlessly for this, I was raised on, what I consider, some of the best music ever made. I was listening to Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Drifters, Coasters, Platters, Buddy Holly, etc. My classmates didn’t have a clue. This led me to my own exploration and discovery of all the bands and artists (special nod to Queen and Aerosmith, my first two loves) from the 60s, 70s, and 80s influenced by these pioneers. All of it led to a broader appreciation of country, blues, folk, and modern singer-songwriter/guitarist aficionados like John Mayer. I accrued a lot of CDs. And for what? Now, I can pull up Amazon Music, YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, and many more I’m sure I am totally unaware of, and stream every bit of it. I’ve taken some pride in that collection, and now, it’s become a “well, when I was a kid” moment. We are going through the same thing with DVDs. My parents are moving in with us. I’m so excited I feel like a kid again. They will have their own space in the finished basement, and I know one of the bookcases will be consumed with a combination of our combined efforts of years of collecting movies. Simultaneously, my wife and I just purchased five, count them five, Amazon Firesticks to, well, stick in TVs throughout the house to stream Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, ESPN+, Disney+, and probably other things to which I don’t even realize we have access. See the conundrum here?
Here’s where, maybe, I am going with this: I don’t know exactly what this generation’s “back when I was a kid” moment is/will be. And we shouldn’t, simply because we can’t, try as we might, pinpoint the next generation’s particular set of circumstances upon which to compare and contrast with the former. I do know this: For me, all the books, CDs, and DVDs I own, combined with the ones my parents are bringing, could easily be accessed in a format which would take up far less physical space, yet we have lived our lives, and continue to do so, creating memories with those objects. It’s the synapses.
One day, my daughter will grab Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix off the shelf, ask me what it’s all about, and I’ll think about the time I purchased and read it in my parents’ basement in two days (all 870 pages). To the point that I skipped a few meals . . . and trust me, I don’t make a habit of that. Dad had to call down the steps and check on me. At some point, I’ll run across the CD with Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” and recall dancing with my mom at my wedding. I’ll knock the dust off a Rambo DVD and think about watching it with my dad as we both sat wondering why people didn’t just leave him the hell alone.
So that’s where my meandering thoughts take me today. Consider physical items in your house or somewhere in storage. Maybe they are collecting dust, but there is a good chance, at some point, they have also collected a memory. Cherish those memories. Cling to them. You never know when the people you’ve created them with will be gone.