My son got some interesting literacy homework last week. He was given a small list of settings, and then tasked with writing story openings that would put the reader in them, without naming them.
He had to start stories set in a school, a park and a……VIDEO shop.
“What’s a video shop, Dad?” he asked.
Apart from the teacher clearly needing to update this piece of homework, it was a prompt to ponder things that my child will not experience or have knowledge of from the past.
The olden days, as he puts it.
When I was his age, or very near it, one of my best friends at school owned, and lived above, a video rental shop. I thought he’d got the coolest home.
While I had to trot round the corner – and put a deep voice on – to rent out a copy of Conan the Barbarian, he just had to go downstairs and pick from a vast library of films on tape.
I’m not so sure it was the paradise I envied, but still, pretty sweet, while it lasted.
I can recall the introduction of the CD and the DVD, and the crushing impact they eventually had on the cassette and video.
I’m sure my mate - Robert from the video shop - remembers it more vividly than me.
But is today really that different to those ‘olden’ ones I remember?
My own childhood was littered with moments of quizzing my parents: What was it like in the olden days?
Now I understand why they took a little umbrage with my assumption that their past could be considered from a yesteryear era.
Guess I’m part of the olden days. At least the ones that my son thinks of as that.
And, put it done to experience, I think we did a pretty good job of getting his homework done.