Monday, November 9, 2009

Sesame Street's 40! (And, so am I ... almost)


Sesame Street celebrates the start of its 40th season this week and now, I finally know what it's like to be almost as old as the show. Yep, in two years it's the big 4-0 for me (we'll discuss that another day).
For many of us Sesame Street was our first foray into television. At 34 North Street, it was part of an early morning ritual that went something like this:
Wake up before the sun; Mom makes coffee (for herself, she's not an idiot, who'd give coffee to a three and four year old?); Mom gets us something to eat and then puts the baby (one of my five younger brothers) into the playpen until he did his business.
I'm pretty sure my Mom didn't watch Sesame Street, but she was usually in her bathrobe (some shade of green with the requisite baby puke on it) and us in our pajamas until after the diaper business was done and the day started, in earnest.
When Sesame Street started, it was definitely the old days. Just ask my kids.
  • We had only one car, and it was at work with my father (this may be an eye-opener for my younger brothers as well as my own children).
  • My Mom didn't work - wait, I mean, she worked her rear end off, just not in any way for which she was paid in money (unless you count the Monopoly money she fished out of the registers).
  • We played outside in the backyard (even if it was really cold), or in the neighborhood until dark (without my parents there).
  • We walked to school or took the bus (remember: the car was with my dad).
  • We had to ask before we could watch television -- and, we had only one television (insert gasp here).
  • And we only had one or two toys that were Sesame Street ... and I think they were hand-me-downs.

In the past 40 years, times have changed -- which may be obvious, okay it is.

Sesame Street has changed substantially over the years -- people can see Mr. Snuffleupagus (yes, he used to be a figment of Big Bird's imagination); Elmo wasn't even a glint in Jim Henson's eye; there was nothing weird about Bert and Ernie living together; and Mr. Hooper was alive. (It was a long time ago.)

Now, Sesame Street characters talk about divorce, day care and other subjects that weren't even broached in our homes, let alone on a television show that my Mom let us watch.

We learned our letters and numbers and figured it out. It was a part of our life and it seemed much more simple then. (Okay, NOW I seem really old!)

But it was more simple: There was no Internet (Al Gore didn't invent it yet); parents didn't have to worry about who would stay home with their sick kid; kids got chicken pox and survived; and we ate our dinner the one that Mom made (even creamed tuna on toast with peas, yuck).

So, now, I'm finally old enough to get it -- the old days were better.

Happy 40th Sesame Street, here's to another generation with its own morning rituals ...

1 comment:

Beth D said...

I don't know how we survived without car seats!