Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Things Our Parents Wouldn’t Get

Vanity Plate

Life has changed a good deal since many of us grew up in Youngstown. I know that before he passed my dad would just shake his head at some of the changes he saw around him. Here are some of the things I suspect would have been baffling to our parents, back when we were growing up:

  1. Cell phones. You mean you want people to always be able to phone, text, tweet or message you?
  2. Vanity license plates. What, pay money to say cute things and draw attention to your self?
  3. Limos for senior proms. The only time you ride in a limo is when someone close to you died.
  4. Gym memberships. If you have to pay money to stay in shape, you must not be working hard enough.
  5. Designer anything. You want me to pay extra money just so I can have a swoosh on my shoes?
  6. Bottled water. I guess a sucker must be born every minute if you can get people to pay good money for the stuff that comes out of the tap.
  7. Social media. What a crazy idea, sharing your business with the world. Mind your own business and I’ll mind mine.
  8. Cable TV. We already have three TV stations–you want me to pay money to watch more TV?
  9. Fast food. Maybe on special occasions, but who would ever think of making a steady diet of that stuff instead of good home cooking?
  10. Wanting to move away from Youngstown. Family, job, home and a piece of paradise in the Mahoning Valley–who wants to leave that?

Times have changed and even our parents, if they are living, may have changed with them. But when we were growing up in Youngstown, I suspect much of what we take for granted today would have been considered wasteful or just plain nonsense.

What are some things your parents just wouldn’t get?

5 thoughts on “Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Things Our Parents Wouldn’t Get

  1. Bob
    My folks probably like yours were Depression Era babies. Frugality was important. They were also very generous at Cristmas and Birthdays. We didn’t know we were a frugal family until we were adults 🙂
    Thanks for sharing you list.
    Michelle

  2. The complete disrespect for elders. I was raised to never sit when an older person was standing. Nor ever to interrupt. and the F word! My Dad who worked in the the steel mill never used that word at home.

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