23 ways Jersey was different when we were kids
Keyport was recently told to stop playing Westminster Chimes over their public address system for all the town to hear every evening at 6pm. They've been doing it since 2005 but it's technically in violation of a state Noise Control Act of 1971. They're fighting it, but for now there is silence. Why were they doing it in the first place?
Borough Administrator Stephen Gallo explains, "The sounding of the 6 p.m. chimes harkens back to an earlier time when local kids would know that it was time to go home for dinner when the signal was issued."
The problem with that is kids aren't playing outside much unsupervised anymore. So this is all about nostalgia? If you want nostalgia, we have plenty. Here's a list of 23 ways NJ is different from 30 years ago.
1) Kids made up their own games. There were no such things as video games at home unless you went to an arcade.
2) Children found their own friends, roamed the neighborhood, knocked on doors to see who was around. Today it's all pre-arranged "playdates."
3) Your parents couldn't check in on you via cell phone. They didn't exist.
4) In fact, the only phone in your house was the one attached to the wall, often in the kitchen, with a 6 foot cord. Everyone could hear every word you said.
5) For real fun, kids went to Action Park. Most came home. Some didn't.
6) Jungle Habitat was a thing. A drive-thru safari where dangerous animals could come right up to your car window? What could go wrong!?
7) Speaking of things going wrong, no one cared. That's why playgrounds didn't have soft stuff to land on. They had rocks.
8) Speaking of things going more wrong, who knows what hopping on our bicycles and riding through the plume of insecticide did to us whenever we'd see the bug man come down our street?
9) Still more wrong? No such thing as child seats with 5 point harnesses in cars. When you were born, your parents got you home from the hospital by mom holding you on her lap in the front seat.
10) Your dad shopped at Two Guys and Korvettes. He took you with him. He often left you wait in the car and no one even thought about calling the police.
11) You didn't have Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Nickelodeon or PBS Kids. In fact, there are now more 24/7 children's channels than there were entire channels back then. Then you had to wait for Saturday mornings to catch your shows.
12) And if you didn't catch them, you missed them. That was that. There were no DVRs and no saving your favorite episodes.
13) When you were in school and some jerk punched you, you were allowed to punch him back and defend yourself without getting in a bit of trouble. Only the jerk would.
14) Speaking of jerks, you were allowed to be one. When it was Valentine's Day or your Birthday and you wanted to give only certain kids in class a card or an invite to your party you were completely allowed to do that.
15) When you had that party, it was at your house. It was small. The cake was homemade. It was not all 22 classmates in a giant bounce house with party hosts and costing $600.
16) When you rode in Dad's car he might let you play with the Parkway tokens but never with the built-in cigarette lighter. Today he might let you play with your own smart phone but never with his EZ-Pass.
17) There were these things called comic strips in newspapers. Also, there were these things called newspapers.
18) When you picked Grandma up at the airport you waited for her right at the gate. If anyone asked you to take off your shoes you would have reported them to police.
19) You ate at Gino's Hamburgers and you shopped at Bamberger's.
20) When you wanted to change the channel on the TV you got up to do it.
21) When that TV broke, you had a repairman come to your house. Today, you throw it out.
22) When you threw things out, you just threw them out. You didn't recycle anything.
23) When you thought about the future, you thought only of how great everything was going to be and nothing of how much you'd miss the past.
Jeff Deminski can be heard with Bill Doyle on New Jersey 101.5, every weekday, from 2 to 7 p.m. Listen live online here at NJ1015.com or on the NJ1015 app. Follow Jeff on Twitter. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed here are solely those of Jeff Deminski.
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