Our 18-year-old granddaughter is living with us again as she goes to school, and I love having her. It reminds me of the time she was a baby living with us, and she was the love of my life — besides Molly, of course — and I took her everywhere. I packed her on my back as I covered meetings, we visited Disneyland every week, I decked her out in Disney clothes, we rode every mall merry-go-round in Southern California, we watched some of the most God-awful movies together — the adventures of Lava Boy being the worst — we enjoyed our evening walks where we studied the man in the moon and picked flowers to take home to her grandmother.
That all came to an end when her mother packed up and moved her away. I was heartbroken.
Having her with us now brings back those special thoughts. Even more thoughts and memories get stirred up seeing her date a young man, who by all actions appears to be a very nice boy, thus far very polite, respectful and seemingly be genuinely afraid of the stare that a good father or grandfather gives when explaining the rules for dating the love of his life — contrary to the boys my granddaughter’s mother or aunt would often bring home.
The other day I asked this particular young man what his intentions were, and he still hasn’t answered me, so I guess some things don’t ever change.
It’s encouraging to me seeing how my granddaughter handles herself, making me think that maybe we are coming back to a simpler time that most of us as baby boomers enjoyed ourselves.
When we were this age, and you were a guy, if first you could build your nerve to ask a girl out, and then to have her agree to hold your hand on the first date that was a major undertaking. To get a genuine kiss by your third date was a miracle.
Girls definitely held all the cards in the game of life in those days.
If your date‘s dad said to have his daughter home at 11 p.m., you said yes sir, and had her home by 10:55 p.m.
When we were in college, reaching second base or further on dates was a little easier but still a challenge for many of us.
We then jumped from this idealistic life to the struggle of being married and having children, and then having a job that required you to be involved in community activities in order to advance. That took up a great deal of your family time, really causing life in general to become a real struggle.
I think many of us were so caught up in the pursuit of success that we didn’t spend the same time, or even enjoyed as much the time that we spent with our own children, that we now lavish on our grandchildren.
That’s a regret that many of us, I’m sure, carry to this day.
Yes, sometimes we weren’t great parents, sometimes we weren’t great husbands or wives, but when we got the chance we did have fun, and boy did we let our hair down.
There would be dances most of the time if you lived in the South, and the music was classic beach music. You danced your heart out either listening to the Tams, the Embers or Bill Deal and the Roundels and the night always ended with a Showman song, although I don’t think I ever met a woman who was 39-21-46 but it was grand vision to have.
Yes we had a few drinks but in most cases, by the end of the night, you sweated the booze out and you always went with your friends to eat breakfast at the only place opened in town, which was usually the local greasy spoon — no wonder many of us have stomach problems today.
Yes, once and in a while someone was given a drunk driving ticket. But they didn’t go to jail and they didn’t lose their jobs or have their whole life ruined. They were penalized and they became the brunt of jokes, and for most it never happened again.
People were more trusting in those good old days. One night after a big party at the beach, I was to stay with friends as I wandered across the street from the night club I realized that every beach house looked the same. One actually looked more familiar than the others so I went in lay down on the couch and slept till I was awakened by someone I didn’t know, who wanted to know why in the hell was I in their house. Instead of shooting me, or having me arrested, I was invited to breakfast and made new friends — yes those were simpler days.
My granddaughter is a good, moral and kind young lady with a big heart. It gives me great joy to have her around and I am thankful that she gives me hope that although our generation for sure was the best, I feel positive that this new generation will someday have their own fine memories of a simpler life, just like I do and I hope you do to.
Now if anybody has ever seen someone with measurements of 39-21-46, please drop me a picture and I will share with all.
T. Pat Cavanaugh is the publisher of The News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.