I think of my parents generation – that is, those now in their 60s or 70s – as the last generation ever to do (or not do) certain things. Some of the things they do are quite important, and it's sad to see them go; others are just plain annoying (ie turning on their mobile to send one text, then immediately turning it off again; turning on the computer to send one email or check the weather, then immediately turning if off again).
Anyway, some of these include:
• Religiously sending Christmas and birthday cards.
• Knowing their neighbours.
• Being to spell, punctuate and use grammar correctly without the use of a spell checker.
• Having a good general knowledge, perhaps even some Latin, maybe able to quote some Shakespeare and/or Keats.
• Being able to navigate with just a physical map.
• Needing to read manuals.
• Popping round to friends houses unannounced for a cup of tea (I have a friend who I have to text to check when I can phone him; I've been round to his house once in five years; it took over a year to arrange).
• Having manners, being polite, having civic pride.
• Using old sayings like 'tough as old boots', 'tough as old Harry', 'bent as a nine-bob note' (that means homosexual) and 'Glory B'.
• Being mildy xenophobic/racist/homophobic.
• Being able to buy a house.
• Being keen on gardening.
• Being able to walk into almost any job in the 1960s (if that's the case – I've always wondered – why did some people walk into accountancy or insurance when they could have walked into advertising or movies?).
• Watch too much crap old-fashioned TV, yes, but more crucially, actually sit and watch the TV when programmes are scheduled. And enjoying the fact of sitting down at a certain time every day or week.
• Cluttered homes and good taste. Young people's homes are devoid of anything of interest, with their homes looking like an IKEA showroom. I mostly believe than no one under the age of forty has good taste or an interesting home. They are possibly more materialistic than the older generation, but it reflects in crappy stuff like fashion or technology, rather than things of aesthetic beauty.
• Being interesting.
• Remembering the wars, i.e. probably the second one (though probably only just being born at the end of it). Having to struggle, skimp and save. And still going on about it.
• Cooking proper meals from scratch and using real food, such as vegetables. And all the family sitting round the kitchen table for mealtimes.
• Being able to do DIY and make things (despite having less leisure time). Fixing something rather than throwing it out and buying a new one.
• Having decent handwriting, and able to write.
• Good with measurements; weights, distances, etc.
• Believing in things, having values.
Previously on Barnflakes:
Last of the legends