Thursday, October 9, 2008

The time machine....again

You know you are a middle aged Trini when:
You remember when you could get doubles for 50 cents and a soft drink for ten.
Ping Pong, Cheers and Chocos were your idea of chocolate treats.
Flavourite and Cannings were the best ice cream you could have other than the home churned that you made on weekends.
Solo soft drinks came in a fat glass bottle with a picture of an astronaut on it.
Apples, grapes and pears came in wooden boxes only at Christmas time and you had to go to “town” to buy them
And then you couldn’t have a whole apple; your mother would cut into shares for you and your siblings.
KFC was considered a special occasion treat but Royal Castle made the best chicken!
Going to the movies meant a double feature at Palladium, Globe, Presidente or Strand and popcorn came in greasy brown paper bags.
You knew what butter tasted like! And your mother probably put “red butter” in pelau or oil down to give it that “real Creole flavour”
You have played the original Donkey Kong in an arcade and then got into trouble in school the next day because you were in uniform.
Anybody remember Warp Crew and those guys, they used to break dance outside Voyager Mall.
You would have KILLED to go to a concert, any concert of a “foreign” star, even the not so good ones.
You remember the Police Public Service Announcements with Natty and co because they were really mini soap operas.
Ralph Maraj in Bim before he was a Government Minister.
Maurice Brash when he was skinny and wearing, gasp, BRIEFS alone on TTT, with Joanne Kilgour now Dr. Dowdy eminent scholar in local soap. I’ll give a prize to anyone who remembers the name.
The precursors to Westwood Park; Calabash Alley, Turn of the Tide and every Play of the Month ever made!
You could get a bag of pholourie for a dollar and that was lunch.

Why am I mentioning all of this? Because I get tired of people whining about how bad things are now, when really, all it would take is for us to understand that we’re not entitled to have things. That we have choices in life, you don’t have to buy twelve pairs of shoes, Haagen Daz ice cream, foreign fruit and yogurt or huge boxes of food at lunch and dinner to make you happy.
At the risk of sounding like my Grandparents with their “ I walked barefoot twenty miles to school every day, uphill both ways”, you know the speech, we all get it, I would like to point out the following. I didn’t have a whole apple until I was in my teens, nor a bottle of soda or a packet of biscuits or corn curls. I had to share; these were treats or luxuries as were trips to KFC, saved for “special” occasions. I could not beg my parents for the latest video game, not because they didn’t exist, rather because they were not considered vital to my development. You had books, you read them, we played outside, in the dirt, we rode our bikes, and we knew our neighbours. Yes, you have heard me go on about this before, but you know what, suck it up.

Because it’s like this, we don’t need to have stuff, we want stuff. We want our lives to be convenient and easy, with everything at our fingertips all the time. But I am reminded that my great-grandparents got up at 4:00 am; in the dark because there was no electricity, water had to be fetched from the river for morning ablutions. They walked, in the dark, to the estate to begin their day’s work at 5:00 am, endlessly tending sugar cane. When that was done they tended their kitchen garden, did the washing, cleaned house, my great grandmother sewed clothes and tended her children. All on the princely sum of 25 shillings a month or some such thing.

My Granddad was apprenticed to a tailor by the time he was twelve, that did not mean he wasn’t expected to work in the garden. At sixteen he went to work for Shell, sixteen hour shifts re-fuelling aircraft; he studied on his off time, doing tailoring to make extra money. At twenty he took a wife, my granny, herself a hard working lady.They had eight kids, my mother; the eldest was encouraged to go to school, very progressive for the time considering she was a GIRL. She became an accounts clerk having studied book keeping. She worked in an office, but still had to help out around the house with my granny. She too learnt to sew and she made all the baked treats.

So there we are, paragons of virtue, NOT. We’re all too human with warts, faults and all but it sure seems to me that I have life a lot easier than my folks did. Even though the electricity gets turned off a lot, I still have it, and the fridge, microwave and other stuff that makes life easy. Sure the water gets turned off several times a week but at least I don’t have to lug it from the river every day. Yes there are major traffic jams and it’s exasperating but I can still jump into my car, and go pretty much anywhere without thinking too hard. These are the things we take for granted and so we should, they represent life as it is now. But I’ll tell you this, as much as we complain, I still think we have it damn good!

8 comments:

GirlBlue said...

We do have it damn good as you said. The things we have now are all wants as opposed to needs, the dvds, cars, shoes, clothes, all the appliances that make life easier. Whatever happen to the old rusty tin opener that once was?

By the way, in light of the fact that I could relate to alot of that you know that you're middle age stuff, you not actually suggesting that I may be...*sharp intake of breath*

Coffeewallah said...

The truth will out!

Wuzdescene said...

LOL girlblue ... I know ... I too could relate tuh bout 90% ... so I'm wondering ... am I middle age?! ...

I think the times I grew up in ... was ah hundred times better than now ... even tho technology has made life lil easier ... back in dey day ... tings was much simpler and more enjoyable ....

lyricsman said...

I want my prize: Who the Cap Fit

lyricsman said...

an what about sugar cane arrows? or the wallah in shorts interviewing trinidad culturalists? eh?

Coffeewallah said...

My Gawd, I have been outed, again!

The prize is a doubles, red soft drink and some Charles chocolates.

Gabriela García Calderón said...

People think they HAVE to give their children what they didn't have while growing up. It's just as if children won't take a NO for an answer.
Sneakers, clothes, technology... I guess everything was so simple in the good old 80's.

Coffeewallah said...

You mean when parents just said, "NO!" and it stuck.