Saturday, April 6, 2013

Teenage Torture

Back in the day, when I was in my teenage days, my parents routinely put me through a regular weekly session of torture.  It happened EVERY Sunday afternoon.

Our routine in those difficult days was to attend Sunday church services as a family.  We never missed a Sunday, for any reason at all.  Even those Sundays when I insisted that I was dying from a debilitating headache, or killer cramps, or even hours of honorable homework that needed to be done, I was made to get up, get dressed, and get in the car.  There was no mercy.

After church, we drove the few blocks from the church to my grandparents home, where she always had a wonderful, home cooked Sunday dinner prepared for us.  Although there were a few of her recipes I didn't care for, especially her cabbage rolls, I do remember her desserts.  Every one of them was amazing, particularly her raisin filled cookies.

Following the meal, while they caught up with the news from the past week, my mother and my grandmother washed, dried and put away every single dish.

There was visiting, conversation, card games, ball games on the tv, and clothing fittings.  (My grandmother had been a professional tailor in earlier days, and she often made clothing for me.)

It all sounds so happy and good, doesn't it?  Unfortunately, in those years I felt I was being tortured.  I wanted to be home or somewhere else, wherever my friends were.  Doing whatever they were doing.

To often make matters worse, on the drive home, my dad would say to my mom, "it's such a nice day, let's go for a drive."  Aarrrgh!  Just shoot me in the head, and put me out of my misery.

This road was endless.
So, I did what any other idiotic and self-centered teenager would do.  I complained.  I whined.  I sulked.  And, I became expert at that eye-rolling thing that is a universal teenage skill.

In those moments, I hated my captors.  When we did finally arrive home, it was nearly dinner time, and I was sure I had missed out on all the amazing and fun times all my other friends had had that day.  I wondered if they had missed me.

Fast forward now about forty years.  Unbelievably, today the husband/lover/chauffeur and I did one of those "it's-such-a-nice-day-let's-go-for-a-ride" things.  And it was quite relaxing and enjoyable, I must say.  We saw several deer grazing out in the fields.  We laughed at a twitterpated male turkey on another hillside that was trying to impress a girl by flaring out all his tail feathers.  Numerous hawks in the trees along our route caught our attention.  We wondered at many of the businesses that had closed since the last time we traveled this route.

Our scenic adventure lasted almost three whole hours and included a leisurely stop at a Sheetz for a bathroom break and a cup of coffee.

While waiting there at the Sheetz, I sat and watched with great fascination four young teenagers doing (I guess) what some teens do nowadays on a beautiful sunny day.  There was a lot of checking of cell phones.  There were plenty of loud girly giggles and lots of gossiping among the three girls.  The one guy in this small group spent most of his time spitting on the sidewalk and playing with a straw.

Perhaps had they been tortured forced along on a leisurely scenic drive with their parents, they too would have been bemoaning what they were missing.

Today, after seeing them, I'm thinking I really wasn't missing much on those awful Sundays.

My how things can change with a few years.


  1. Yep, every tme those church doors were open we were there. But it was my mom, a single mom, who made sure we were there. I didnt really whine... I buried her last April 10th at age 90. The inscription on her headstone says "Well Done Good and Faithful Servant" It's just my sister and I now. Our Brother died in 2004. He was a Pastor for nearly 40 years, and my sister and I still are in church and S.S. practically every time the doors are open. Thank you so much for sharing this part of your life with us. I wonder how different our world would be today if more parents were going with their kids to church, and having family time afterwards......just sayin...........

  2. We also went to Church every Sunday morning (and I still do) and I was really lucky - my grandparents lived right next door. So dinner was usually at our house and I could go to my room and read or visit with friends on the phone until it was time to eat. My sister and I always had to do dishes afterwards. Thanks for the memories.

  3. Great post. Since my dad was the pastor, we were always in church. I have some very happy memories of Sunday afternoon potlucks and lots of kids running around having a ball. As a teenager my mother was sick and they finally had to give up the church but I still went every Sunday and Wednesday. Didn't hurt me a bit and I look back on those times with longing. Like you, I wonder what would happen if families spent the time together that we did as kids (and without the iPods and cell phones!!).

  4. An absolutely wonderful post. Oh the memories it brought back. I don't know if I'd be bored today with such a simple life but I think it would be good for our teenagers to experience a little of it. They seem to think if life isn't jumping and rumbling in their ears life must be over. Today we miss so much from being too busy. A liesurely ride sounds awfully good right now. For my part you can skip the church part.