I hate to admit it, but my parents are 100 per cent cooler than me and they always have been.
I have a beautifully retro photograph of a 24-year-old version of my mother wearing high-heel clogs posing against a motorcycle somewhere off the 101 freeway in California. Every time I look at it I wonder, who is that hot young thing and why the hell did she throw away those gorgeous shoes? All of the old Polaroids of my long-haired, short-short-wearing father evoke the same sort of reaction.
Are these people really my parents?
As children it’s hard to imagine, but the older we get the more we come to realize that, yes, mom and dad did have a life before we came along, and it was pretty awesome.
As I rummage through the photo albums of my parents’ past I can’t help but feel nostalgic for them and also a little bit guilty. Am I responsible for turning these freewheeling, cowboy-boot wearing flower children into responsible adults with a mortgage and a minivan?
Crowd-sourced photo blog myparentswereawesome.tumblr.com celebrates the lives of moms and dads before the house in the suburbs and the sensible footwear. Creator Eliot Glazer asks contributors to submit photographs of “parents when they were super-awesome.” The result is a beautifully curated collection of weathered images that feature feathered hair, outrageous fashions and plenty of oversized glasses.
Growing up in the ’60s and ’70s, our parents couldn’t help being hip. Theirs was a passionate generation that embraced recreational drug use, free love and real political activism. They had better music, better clothes, better facial hair (outstanding Movember ’staches aside) and probably a lot more fun.
What do we have? Sky-high rent, digital friendships and bedbugs.
To this day, I know my parents still are a little bit cooler than I’ll ever be (even though they still own that minivan). I’m pretty sure that had we been the same age in their youth they wouldn’t have even hung out with me. Back then they were rebellious hippies that travelled the world. Today, they’re just greying versions of those same adventurous people.
I did eventually get myself a pair of clogs. I thought they were pretty great. When I showed them to my mother she just rolled her eyes and laughed. “Those are nice darling, but I had the originals.”
– Read more of Jessica Napier’s columns at www.metronews.ca/shesays