Tuesday evening D1 came upstairs excitedly telling me about a television program she had just watched. “It was a TV show," she began, “with Will Smith.” Then she further clarified, “Back in the olden days before he made movies, he made a TV show.” And in mistaking my shock-induced silence for ignorance, she continued, “It was called The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
So as I sit here pondering this, I’m uneasy. How could my otherwise bright 12-year-old not know about the olden days? The real olden days. The days when children would dip candles and churn butter for chores. Girls always wore dresses and boys all wore suspenders. You attended the one-room school house for learnin’, and attended to 'business' in the one-seat outhouse. Pa drove the horse and wagon while ma, with her hair in a constant bun, held the baby. Those, without question, were the olden days.
Will Smith’s legendary television show was still gracing the airways in 1995. I’ll admit back then Martha Stewart was an icon, not an ex-con. However, I can not sit quietly while anyone calls the year Sheryl Crow won a Grammy for Best New Artist the olden days. In the year of the remarkable Super Bowl win performance of the Steve Young led 49ers, 32 cents stamps dotted first class mail and dot com companies dotted Silicon Valley. It was also the year 150 million of us watched O. J. Simpson’s not guilty verdict being read. Bill Clinton was playing President while Newt Gingrich was remaking America. Seal was singing Kiss from a Rose, and Tom Hanks held us in suspense on his ill-fated space mission.
We all remember it like yesterday, because it practically was yesterday! In less than two years Will Smith went from a Philly teen in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to Agent J in Men in Black. But apparently those were a ground breaking two years, as we managed to shake from the shackles of the olden days to finally emerge into modern day. And luckily for D1 and her iPod, instant messaging, and cell phone, we pulled it off. Perhaps it was even more miraculous than Tom Hanks safely returning from his Apollo 13 mission.