At a recent luncheon, I shared a table with a group of interesting and energetic ladies who, like me, are well past the age of AARP.
As so often happens in gatherings like this, the conversation quickly turned to our grandkids. Together, our group of grandmas proudly counted 15 grandsons and granddaughters of various ages.
Naturally, we drifted into a comparison of the world we knew growing up and the reality our grandkids live with today.
Nancy told us her grandson, Jake, asked her about her favorite fast food place during her teens.
He was amazed to learn there were no fast food restaurants in those days. As Nancy told him, "All food was slow, and it was made in a place called home. In fact, we sat down together for our meals and all ate the same thing at the same time. If you didn't like what your mother served, you sat there until you ate it anyway."
From mealtimes, the discussion moved to the transportation picture of the past.
Martha said her granddaughter, Eileen, was stunned to learn grandma's bike had only one speed, a chain guard and balloon tires.
As to family vehicles, we took an informal poll and learned our group had grown up with everything from Chevies and Fords to Packards and Dodges. In Loretta's case, the family car was her dad's pride and joy, his beloved Hudson.
As we compared notes about these long-ago cars, Martha reminded us the headlight dimmer switch was on the floor and the ignition switch was on the dashboard, facts we had all forgotten over the years.
Through a laugh-filled afternoon, the group of "golden age" ladies reminisced and compared experiences with many of the basic elements of those growing-up years. Though we had come from different parts of the country, we had much in common through our early years. It was easy for all of us to relate to one another.
Among the items we recalled during our laugh-filled nostalgia session were wax Coke bottles with colored sugar water, candy cigarettes, Bazooka Bubble Gum, telephone numbers that began with a word - mine was Pershing 1066 - 45 RPM records, S&H Green Stamps, carbon paper for copies, roller skate keys, drive-in theaters, blue flash bulbs, pea shooters, Howdy Doody, Hi-fis, poodle skirts and saddle shoes.
Another topic we covered was the important teen concept of staying in touch with pals. Naturally for us, too, it was as vital in those long ago days as it is today. But, unlike our electronically-addicted grandchildren, our contacts were either face-to-face or phone-to-phone.
Today, kids depend on everything from Facebook and Twitter to their ever-present cell phones.
Back in our growing-up years, we knew no one who had a tattoo, no one with a pierced cheek or tongue and no one who would be caught wearing blue jeans with multiple holes. Such denims would have been considered rags by our watchful mothers.
The recollection-filled session was a celebration of our status as grandmothers. And the chance to compare our yesterdays with our grandkids current lifestyles made for an enjoyable time of sharing.
But, before we parted, we all agreed we're glad we're not expected to keep up with today's younger generation. Just trying to stay in touch with those fast-moving grandkids is challenge enough for the AARP set.