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Home truths.

Byline: By Anna Morrell

There's nothing my young children like better at the end of the day than climbing up on my lap and listening to me talk about life in the old days.

"Please, Mum," they beg. "Tell us what life was like before there were mobile phones!"

They listen, wide eyed in amazement as I describe my deprived childhood when we never left home without tuppence in our pockets for emergency calls at the phone box to summon Dad to pick us up from town. My eyes glaze over dreamily as I reminisce about the days when phone numbers were short enough to memorise but took ages to dial.

They chuckle fondly as I describe life without videos, computers and remote controls, about how my sister and I used to quarrel about whose turn it was to get up and "turn the telly over" when we wanted to switch to one of the mere three stations on offer. They are suitably horrified as I describe how no-one wore seatbelts in cars or had DVD players in the back seats.

It's hard coming to terms with the fact that you're a museum piece when you're not yet 40. Children have an unnerving habit of regarding everything that happened before they were born as ancient history.

It may only be seven years since my daughter arrived on the scene, but that's a lifetime to her.

"Do you remember when I was very small and couldn't write my name properly?" she giggles endearingly as she delves back into the deepest recesses of her memory. It seems like six months ago to me. It was probably all of two years.

But perhaps it's time to admit I'm not as young as I feel. I am, after all, at least as old as the teachers I thought were way over the hill when I was in school.

Comments from seven-year-olds along the lines of: "My teacher's really old ( I think she's about 20," don't help either, particularly when you're finding it increasingly tricky to sort out the staff from the Sixth formers. As for policemen ( best not even go there.

The final blow came when we met a friend we hadn't seen for months.

"My, you've grown!" she told my daughter, who had just pulled through the Easter holidays on an almost exclusive diet of chocolate eggs.

"Mum, I think she's shrunk!" whispered my daughter when we were almost out of ear shot.

So there you have it ( as one generation grows up, another shrinks away.

But we all know who to blame for giving us those grey hairs and wrinkles.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 6, 2005
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