Children don’t have historical perspective. Parents and grandparents provide that for them, and I truly believe it is an obligation to provide it, whether the kids like it or not. We need to know where we’ve been, to have any idea where we are right now. I didn’t believe it when my parents said it to me when I was a kid, but they were right. Someday, the kids will thank you for it. Of course, when that perspective comes from the grandparents, children will swallow it like good ol’ Mary Poppins said, “a spoon full of sugar.”

Do you remember listening to your grandparents telling stories about their younger years, the historic events that you  solidly categorized as Olden Days? Or even your parents, listening to their tales of youth rebellion, and trying to imagine that they could ever have been those people, yet not understood your own teenaged angst? History in school always seemed to take on a different life, if my grandparents could augment my lessons with their own real experiences. They had survived The Great Depression, which in my young mind was the Mother of All Historical Eras. Grapes of Wrath As they recounted their various exploits from the 30’s, 40’s, and later, my imagination created magnificent cinematic dramas. Sepia or black and white affairs, their childhoods were all Grapes of Wrath, as far as I was concerned. Dust, starvation, and endless roving the country looking for work. I was a gifted child and, possibly, my parents allowed me a little too much time with the classic movies on the weekends. But I could never hear too much of Grandma’s and Grandpa’s storytelling. Are you kidding? The Great Depression, World War II, The Cold War, these people were heroes! I wanted pictures!

Fast forward forty years. My children are now grown and have their own children. The Babies ReloVertigo think The Husband and I are heroes for having lived during a time Before The Internet! Before Cable, When There Were Only Three Channels! Before Microwaves! And…most shocking to them of all, Before Cell Phones! Gasp!

Image by Lisa Runnels via Pixabay

Image by Lisa Runnels via Pixabay

When they are a little older, though, I hope to share with them stories of events I witnessed that really mattered. Yes, it is important to be able to explain to them the difference a cell phone has made in our lives. When was the last time anyone was tethered to a wall for an hour-long talk with a loved one? This blogger dumped the land line almost ten years ago. I look forward to the time my oldest granddaughter begins talking on the phone to boys. I can tell her how I had to talk on the phone in the kitchen, tied to the wall, in front of my DAD, and try to talk to a boy. What fun. Sure, I can laugh, now. But what I really want to share with them are the historic events that they will learn about in school, like my grandparents did.

We currently have President Obama, and the fact that he is the first African-American to hold that office is nearly ancient news. To the kids, it isn’t even exciting anymore, because he is just the President. Isn’t that the best? That the kids can see the President on TV, and say, “La de da. Can we watch cartoons?” Not that I don’t want the kids to care about our government, or our President. I certainly do. However, President Obama has become “normal.” No longer a novelty, they have mentally pushed him back with the rest of the boring grown-ups. Wonderful! Because I remember when even I couldn’t do that.

Image by WikiImages via Pixabay

Image by WikiImages via Pixabay

The night Barack Obama received the 2008 Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States of America, I made  Junior ReloVertigo (in high school at the time) come downstairs and listen to Senator Obama’s acceptance speech. Junior was so irritated. I had tears in my eyes. It was very difficult for me to speak. I told him that history was being made that night, and that I wanted him to see what was happening, first-hand. Because, even though it may not happen during my lifetime, someday there will be a US President that looks more like me, a Latina. And when that nomination occurred, I wanted him to be able to tell his children that he saw where it started. He sat down and watched with me.

The night of the 2008 Presidential Election, I didn’t make Junior stay up and watch the victory speech. For one thing, he had school the next day. For another thing, it was very late when the race was finally called. Our state wasn’t actually officially called that night, at all. So, when the networks and news channels all had called the election and it was official that we would have a President Barack Obama, I was all alone in my living room. But, thank You, God, for the technology of the cell phone! I was able to text back and forth with my family in other states to share the excitement. My father had been a Mexican-American, US Marine in the South during the Civil Rights struggles. He’d experienced discrimination on a level I had only heard about. And he’d seen even worse. This election was not only an emotional and historical victory for the African-American community. In this country, that community leads the way and opens doors for the rest of us – minority communities. So, this election was a victory for all of us. Black, brown, and I would hope all other shades of the human spectrum.

That’s a heavy-duty emotional load to lay on a kid. It will be a while before any of my Babies are old enough to really grasp what I have to relay to them, in terms of what that historical event meant to me, to my father, and what I hope it will mean to their future. I do hope that I can at least share my love of politics, my affection for history, and my eagerness to be in the middle of the Now. Hopefully, I’ll live long enough to impart the rest.

Writing Challenge: Living History

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