200 Words (or so) A Bygone Era

What a difference a few decades make in how we socialize with one another. When we were stationed in the Netherlands in the mid-sixties, my folks used to dress to the sixes (they reserved the nines for formal occasions) when they invited Air Force friends over for dinner. My younger sisters and I wore regular clothes and ate in the living room. Marianne, six years older than my five or six, had to dress up (which she loved), and sat at the dinner table.

After dinner, the grownups would take coffee in the living room, chatting about work, families back home, and places to visit in Holland. There would be stories and laughing, a lot of laughing. We had a black and white television, and received one or two American stations via the military network. But the television never came on during those dinner parties. I don’t remember television consuming our lives the way it has since then. Probably because of the dearth of channels, and because television stations signed off at eleven or twelve p.m.

Today, however, television is the forum of choice for conversation, or background noise, as we sit around in our blue jeans and t-shirts, and talk above the actors on the “boob tube”. I don’t think many people my age sit down with guests for dinner at home anymore, or move to the living room for coffee and conversation. I’m not sure if anything has been lost in the way we socialize now. Unless it’s my perspective from a kid’s view and memories of the “good old days”.

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