Tag Archives: 70s

Outsmarted by Mom? Pfft. Always.

My childhood played out in the 70s and my adolescence was fine-tuned in the 80s so despite a legitimate fear of the ocean thanks to fictional cinema, I grew up a genius.

Okay maybe not an actual genius but definitely brilliant – especially compared to my kids at that age.  Diplomas aside, I’m sorry, what in the world happened to street smarts?

I grew up knowing things.  Cool things.  Important things. I could Name That Tune in three notes.  I could get anywhere with directions taped to my dashboard (because my friend’s neighbor’s cousin had just traveled there so I knew which Sunoco station to pass then make the next left).  I knew precisely how fast I’d have to run home to make curfew for every minute I’d chosen to overstay my good time.  I’d mastered public transportation by age thirteen (that was just sink or swim – seriously, whose parents were driving them anywhere?)  The things I didn’t know I just sort of figured out, usually by spying on the older kids making out under the street lights.

My kids most definitely could never have swung a covert six-hour road trip to a Genesis concert at the Syracuse dome without GPS OR alerting any parents. They wouldn’t know how to stash two friends in the nearby bushes while hitching to a movie (ooh, big disclaimer here:  kids, do NOT try this today.  There wasn’t any crime back then and no internet to scare us about it if there was, so this reckless act would definitely not be considered brilliant today).  Our refrains of the Reagan era remain to this day: How are we even alive or better, Did we even have parents?

When one of my sons (birth order has been redacted to protect the humiliated) graduated high school he texted me at work to ask if I had a template he could use for his Thank You cards. Wait, wut?

A friend told me her son sent cash to the DMV to pay his $400 speeding ticket.  The worst part?  They actually accepted it so now he thinks his mom’s a nagging lunatic that needs to chill out.

Another’s kid peeled out and sped away from the police after being pulled over – then he forgot to turn off his headlights after he’d successfully ducked into a random driveway down a side street.

Good lord. Am I the only one with concerns?

My kids fully acknowledge my stealth upbringing ruined them.  Getting past me with red eyes or minty breath?  Not a chance. Skipping school?  Fuhgeddaboudit. They were doomed from the start.

They can keep their TikTok; I will forget more in my lifetime than my kids will ever learn.

Good thing they’ve got itty bitty computers in their pockets.  If only those were ever charged.


*Disclosure: I submitted this piece to a bi-annual Erma Bombeck contest which is sponsored by the sweet local library in her sweet little hometown in Ohio. It was my first time and I gave it a shot. It wasn’t selected but after reading the sweet winning entries I can guess if I ever try again I’ll leave out the hitchhiking, evading police and lying to parents parts (laughing emoji). Lesson learned! Next time, next time!

Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and recently was featured in Huff PostShe appeared in the Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements. (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore). A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook  &  @Eyerollingmom on Instagram.  Her collection of essays, A Momoir, can be found  here (agent interest ALWAYS WELCOME!)


A Broken Family Tree Finds Leaves



“Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were.”

When a contentious family fight erupted during my adolescence, my large extended family imploded and became estranged.  Poof.  Seemingly in an instant, my holidays bustling with cousins and aunts and uncles vanished.  Naturally — for a teenager especially — it was difficult, but the adage of children being resilient became evident, and my siblings and I muddled through.  Since that confusing and erratic time I found, like countess adults before me, that wounds heal, scars fade, and unfortunate experiences shape who we ultimately become.  Likely as a result of our past, my sister and I have remained steadfast in our determination not to have history repeat itself.  Throughout our years of heated arguments (because hello, sisters:  they were numerous) we’ve worked hard to get through them.  Over time we’ve been bonded by a shared simple goal:  that our own children will never, ever know such heartache.

But time is a fickle friend — who clearly pals around with his buddy, the internet.  While my mother lie unresponsive in hospice care, I wiled away hours with my laptop.  I Googled everything.  And everybody.  And eventually stumbled across a cousin.

When my mom passed I sent my cousin a message, in the event she might want to relay the news to her mother, my mom’s sister.  I don’t know why I did it.   She was a toddler when our family fractured and I had no idea what she knew or what she remembered or what she’d been told.   It really didn’t matter to me.   I just couldn’t imagine going through life not knowing if or when my own sister had died.  It was unimaginable to me.

I never heard back from her.  Five years passed without any acknowledgement that the news was received and I eventually forgot all about it.

This week, out of the blue, I got a response.  I stared down at my phone in disbelief and felt my gut tighten.  It took several minutes before I read it through.  Unbeknownst to us both, my message went into a holding file deep within the bowels of Facebook.  A safeguard to keep weirdos at bay, it’s a measure that detects non-friends and keeps their correspondence buried until one chooses to view it.  My cousin, obviously now a grown woman, was aghast at the length of time she had unknowingly ignored me.

We exchanged a few polite pleasantries and I sent over my last memories of her, expertly captured with my favorite Christmas gift of 1980 – a Polaroid camera — the last time we were together.  She immediately friend-requested me and we are now connected.  I can see though her photos the story of the life she has lived without me and I’m sure she’s done the same of me.

We are complete and total strangers through no fault of our own and while I’m certain we both know that nothing in the past had anything to do with us, it is still on shaky ground we stand.  I have countless memories of her.  With a decade between our ages, she (likely) has none of me.

My teenage recollections of summers spent at her house are vivid.   I remember all the records I listened to continuously on her parents’ stereo.  I knew her paternal relatives and her neighbors (gaaaaawd, I even went on a date with the boy next door to – holy 80s — a laser show at the planetarium).   I can recall every inch of her house and I know I taught myself how to swim in her t-shaped pool.  I remember my fascination with the endless packets of McDonalds strawberry jam in her fridge (perks of her grandfather, an executive for the company when they started serving breakfast).  I remember the sad circumstances of his death:  found motionless when the family returned from my grandmother’s wake.  He was babysitting her and her brother because they were too small to attend.


It’s crazy, really.

And yet it’s comforting, too, no question.  But this newfound connection is melancholy also, as the many years of hurt and offense have flooded me of late.  I know why my own mother chose to stay away from her family but fervid curiosity consumes me about the other side of the story.  You know, their version, which — I am old enough to realize — may not be entirely accurate (as may not be mine).  There’s a part of me that wants to beg for clarity and information.  There’s a bigger part of me that asks, does it even matter anymore?  I spent so much of my life thinking my aunt, her mother, was such a terrible, dreadful person that it’s difficult to feel boundless joy in finding my cousin after all these years.  I think about the betrayal my mother might feel if she knew and that saddens me a little.


So many emotions, so few answers, but now we’ve got nothing but time.


I guess for now, living thousands of miles apart, we’ll see where the internet takes us.



Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was featured in the 2014 Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements.  (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore).   A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook. and@Eyerollingmom on Instagram.