Thursday, September 20, 2012

Homework and Noni

One of P's homework assignments this week was to ask a parent or grandparent about their childhood and see if it was similar or different to hers.  Since my mom, Noni, was just here last week I thought a conversation with her would be more entertaining. We called Noni this evening to find out about her childhood. The conversation went like this:

P: Noni what was your childhood like?
N: Well, it was hard. We had a revolution when I was your age.

P stares blankly into space and I can tell her attention has left after one question. 

Me: P ask Noni if she had a TV (thinking she'd say a small one)
P: Did you have a TV?
N: No.
P: Did you have a phone?
N: Just one for the whole house.
P: What?! What about the cell phone?
N: No. Just one phone for the whole house. No cell phones. They didn't exist. 
P: Did you have a car?
N: No. 
P: What?! So were you poor?
Silence from my mom who is not getting why she'd ask that.  
Me: P, Noni didn't have those things because they didn't exist or because they just came out. Kind of like ipads did not exist when you were born. It's not so much a sign of having money or not. It's that they simply didn't exist.

P: OH! So, did you have a toilet?
N: (she doesn't quite understand what P is asking so there's a silence but she finally answers) Yes!
P: Phew! That was close! I thought you were going to say no!
N: But we just had one.
P: For the entire house?! Wow! We have two. 
P: Did you have a bed?
N: Yes, we all had beds. 
P: Phew!  That's good. That would be tough to not have a bed. 

P: Did you have shoes?
N: Yes but only two or three pairs. 
P: That's it? Why so little?
N: We didn't need more. 
Me: You have more shoes for yourself than Noni's entire house had for all of them. 

N: You know when I was a child we had milk delivered to our door every day. 
P: Did you have Whole Foods?
N: No. We had farmers markets.
P: I've been to one of those!
N: Yes, and we got our bread, meat, beans in different places. There was a store for each of those things, called a bakery and butcher and mill store. 
P: That's a lot of shopping. 

P: Did you have toys?
N: Yes! We had dolls. That was it though. Just dolls. 
P: Why didn't you play with the boy toys then?
N: Because they just had cars. 
P: I like cars. Why didn't you play with cars?
N: Because back in my day girls were not allowed to play with boy's toys.
P: That's terrible! I'd play with the boys toys. 
N: We also had marbles. 
P: Did you have a marble run?
N: What's that?
Me: A track for marbles you build yourself. 
N: No. Just marbles and only a couple. Only the very wealthy kids had more than one or two. 
P: Wow!  

It was such an interesting conversation. I can't believe how much things have changed in the time between my mom and my daughter. I know TV was invented relatively not that long ago but I forgot that my mom, just one generation back, lived during a time before TV.  How different the attitudes of what girls can and can't do from my mom to P. It was such a great homework assignment and something I never would have thought to have P ask my mom! I'm glad I was there to hear it and now am documenting it on this blog...something that wasn't around when I was a kid!


  1. This is so wonderful for me to see! I am thrilled that the homework became such a meaningful link between you mother and daughter. You truly made the most of this experience. Thank you so much for sharing and I would love you to share your blog link with our class!

    1. Yes, go ahead and share it with the class. lol!