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April 14th, 2005

Misconceptions of Youth

When you’re growing up, sometimes you think things are a certain way for a reason. And later you find out that reason was horribly, terribly wrong. It’s time for me to fess up on my biggest one.

When I was little I’d watch sitcoms like I Love Lucy. I knew they were in black-and-white and new programs were in color. But when I was young, I thought – and I’m not kidding here – that color itself wasn’t invented until the 1960s.

I truly believed that the entire world was black-and-white until around 1963. Of course once I learned that this wasn’t the case, I felt a whole lot better. (I couldn’t explain color photographs, either.)

That’s mine; what’s yours?

Posted in Childhood Memories

FROM: Monica
DATE: Thursday April 14, 2005 -- 10:03:34 am
Having seen the WKRP show, so knowing that Ohio existed and then finding out the state was near Maryland (where I lived)... I figured it took so long to get to Ocean City MD because we were going through Ohio. I thought the Chesapeake Bay was in Ohio.

FROM: Alex C.
DATE: Thursday April 14, 2005 -- 11:27:39 am
As a young German kid, most of my exposure to US culture was from the soldiers around us and from movies. I watched a lot, I mean a LOT, of Westerns, and somehow it got stuck in my head that while Americans (obviously since the soldiers did) COULD drive cars and dress like 20th century people, most of them in their natural habitats dressed & acted like they were in the Old West.

When my mom married an American soldier when I was about 7, and we moved over to the States ~age 10, I remember asking if the "Fort" we were going to was the kind made out of wood, with hostile natives on the warpath.

We were moving to Georgia. Hahaha.

My parents just kinda gave me "oookay" kinda look. Man, I still remember that I was kinda disappointed the first time we went on base, and seeing that it looked just like the bases over in Germany...

Ah well, at least it taught me early on not to believe everything you see on TV. ;)

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Thursday April 14, 2005 -- 12:17:42 pm
As a kid and a young adult, having grown up in Cleveland, Ohio, I never knew that Ohio was near Maryland.

FROM: dave
DATE: Thursday April 14, 2005 -- 12:37:27 pm
I thought angora sweaters were made out of cat fur. My wife had to set me straight on that one.

FROM: aharris
DATE: Thursday April 14, 2005 -- 4:04:33 pm
Oh! I have a good one.

Does anyone from the DC area (I *think* it was a local show) remember a show called "In Our Lives"? It was a bizarre cross between an After School Special and Teen Summit? And it centered mostly around black kids.

Once they had a "vegetarian" episode and one guy goes on a rampage about veal. He's like: "Dammit Johnny, don't you know that veal is baby cat!!"

Well as you probably know...veal is not baby cat. I know, I know, sad but true. I obviously misheard and he really said, "baby calf. Sure, baby calf is redundant but...who's splitting hairs?

So for a good...year or so (go figure, veal wasn't the topic of discussion amongst 8-year never came up! :) I thought veal was baby cat.

Man I was a dumb kid...

FROM: heather
DATE: Thursday April 14, 2005 -- 4:33:00 pm
hehehe - I remember telling my younger cousin that she was eating poisonberry jam but it wouldn't kill her, and how cool was that!?! I was later informed by my giggling mother that it was Boysenberry jam.

FROM: Kate
DATE: Thursday April 14, 2005 -- 7:16:31 pm
When I was at a restaurant when I was little, I decided that I wanted the popcorn shrimp. It wasn't until we were halfway home that I pointed out "I didn't get any popcorn!!"

DATE: Thursday April 14, 2005 -- 7:22:36 pm
I thought the same thing about color! I also thought the great wall of china looked like the hoover dam, i saw a picture of the dam and just guessed since it looked like a giant wall, it was the great wall of china.

FROM: jk
DATE: Thursday April 14, 2005 -- 11:30:14 pm
Ok, don't throw things at me for this: as a young child of a German father (besondere Gruesse an Alex!!), I heard many horrible stories about both the Russians who invaded my dad's village AND the Nazis who forced my grandparents into retirement, which in the short run was better than being killed by them. I had a really hard time differentiating between them, and until I was 9 or 10, I believe I thought they were the same horrible people.

I also grew up thinking that one woman whom my dad told us to call Aunt Jutta was really an aunt.....when I learned that she was my dad's step-mother, I asked my mom, quite seriously, if she knew that "Dad's parents had been divorced?" She pretended to not know!

Aunt Jutta's one uncle was Fritz Dietlof von der Schulenburg. Google him! This is NOT a misconception from my youth, but something you should all check out when you have time. My family did not learn of his death until after the end of the War. So sad that they failed....

FROM: Alex C.
DATE: Friday April 15, 2005 -- 7:53:32 am
(Vielen Dank fuer die Gruesse!)

I have another one, this one actually lasted into my early teen years.

Growing up during the Cold War, I would hear a lot about "the Black Market" in the Communist countries, and how people could only get bananas and the like on the Black Market.

Well, I thought it was an actual place, not a general term for illegal trading activities. Y'know, go down to the Black Market to pick up some groceries, or a gun, or whatever.

I couldn't understand how the governments could be so inept that they couldn't crack down on the market even though they must've known where it is!

If I ever own a store, the Black Market would be a fun name I suppose....

FROM: jk
DATE: Friday April 15, 2005 -- 9:50:52 am
Alex, there is actually a store called Black Market! It is owned by the same company that is called the White House. The White House was opened by a guy near Baltimore and sold only, you guessed it, white clolthes.....ok, some of them are off-white, but it's a definite niche-customer. A few years later, he opened Black Market, and in some locations, the stores are combined. It's very boutique-y and I can only afford their jewelry. They are coast to coast now, for those of us female Pingers who like to shop....

FROM: Andy
DATE: Friday April 15, 2005 -- 12:20:49 pm
Well, not really a kid thing, but I once convinced a girl that the mini-drumsticks (really wing portions) served at the local happy hour were legs removed from young chickens, which were then kept legless in cages to produce large breast portions to satisfy the incredible demand for white meat.

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Friday April 15, 2005 -- 3:07:55 pm
Kate's story reminds me of my friend Kate. Kate was 22 or 23 and was eating sesame tofu at a Japanese restaurant, which is a really awesome dish that she's had probably hundreds of times. Anyway, the tofu is cut into perfect cubes and fried before the sauce is put on it. She particularly enjoyed the dish this time and she asked me, "how do they cut the chicken into such perfect cubes?"

This person now has a law degree.

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Friday April 15, 2005 -- 5:01:42 pm
The only thing I can remember really being off on was that it wasn't "Ancient Mama," but "Aunt Jemima."

FROM: jk
DATE: Friday April 15, 2005 -- 9:46:47 pm
OOH! I thought that fringe benefits were French benefits.

Freedom benefits. (rimshot please)

FROM: Laura-Kathleen [E-Mail]
DATE: Saturday April 16, 2005 -- 4:11:51 pm
If it makes you feel better, I STILL can't envision "The Great Depression" in color. I knew it existed, but when I generate images in my mind of things I've been told -- even if I see places in full-color that I've seen before in black-and-white -- they are always b&w. TGD cannot be in color in my mind. It's grayscale.

Also, up until January of this year -- and I'm 18 -- I thought the Washingoton Redskins were from the state of Washington. Oh no...

FROM: Heidi
DATE: Saturday April 16, 2005 -- 4:58:00 pm
Before our family was stationed in Germany, some friends told us kids that the Germans didn't have blue jeans and they wanted them so badly that they would just take them off you as you walked down the street. So, when we first got there we walked around with our thumbs through the beltloops so nobody could pull off our jeans!

FROM: Laura-Kathleen
DATE: Saturday April 16, 2005 -- 7:56:49 pm
I was told the same thing about blue jeans, Heidi.

I was also told they'd pay almost a hundred USD for a Zippo lighter.

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Monday April 18, 2005 -- 9:20:06 am

Not to worry: I would assume that if a poll were ever taken, it would show that about 50% of people think that dental plans, health plans and insurance benefits are "French" benefits. Furthermore, in order to make sense of the term, they've unawaredly assumed that such benefits have something to do with France and socialism. There are people who have lived long lives, received their pensions and died blessing or cursing their French benefits.

In fact, so many people find their benefits inadequate, and possibly blame the French, that maybe this little misunderstanding really has more to do with a somewhat Francophobic atmosphere in the U.S. of late.

My benefit plan sucks! And France is to blame! I hate the French!

I'm only partly kidding, but I bet a poll could be surprisingly illuminating.

DATE: Monday April 18, 2005 -- 3:22:10 pm
German's do love jeans, they are like 100 dollars over there, people who came for student exchage bought like 30 pairs to resell in deutschland.

FROM: jk
DATE: Monday April 18, 2005 -- 9:38:41 pm
My benefits stink too! Despite my French lineage! I had an x-ray last Monday and I cringe at the thought of what it will cost me....

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Tuesday April 19, 2005 -- 9:08:54 am
Jeans retail for $100 over here. Did the price come down when I wasn't looking? Are jeans cheaper in Reading?

I buy my jeans at Marshall's--can't afford them at the store.

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday April 19, 2005 -- 9:33:32 am
When it comes to shopping for jeans, I have one word for you: Sears.

Jeans: $20. No sales tax in Delaware. God bless America.

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Thursday April 28, 2005 -- 6:53:42 pm

More proof that you may be in the majority: the FedEx Ground commercial has one employee correct another (the guy who's always wrong and thinks that FedEx ground is too expensive).
He berates the guy by pointing out his past mistakes, including "Steely Dan is not one guy; we get fringe benefits, not French benefits." The "always wrong guy" isn't phased by any of the gaffs but for the French/fringe benefits. The commercial ends with him uttering incredulously, "We don't get French benefits?" He's flanked by two other employees who emphatically shade their heads no.

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Thursday May 5, 2005 -- 5:01:42 pm

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