What do you mean by “adults”? Like 40 year old parents of your friends or the group of 23 year old recent college grads sharing a condo downtown?
I didn’t really know any adults like the “cool older kind”. I also didn’t really smoke pot that much or even drink all that much until college. But from what limited experience I had, it was usually done someplace where adults weren’t or when the adults were usually out of town.Pretty much all the adults I knew growing up were typical suburban middle and upper-middle class parent types. Like some you could tell used to be “cool”, but not “do drugs with their kids” cool.
I do recall one guy who was an assistant coach at the high school or something. He was in his mid 20s, but during the summers when I was home from college, he always had these outdoor parties where a lot of high school kids showed up.
In retrospect, I also recall a fair number of high school kids showing up college. But I don’t consider us “adults” at that point.
Almost every interaction I had with adults as a kid would be WTF or worse today. Letting an 8 year old drive a tractor unattended? Teach one to forge his own knife? Hit a kid for backtalking or acting out when you aren’t related even? But it all seemed pretty much normal back then. The only one who stands out was a teacher who used to help us acquire and sneak booze around when I was in High School. I don’t remember anything creepy about it (that I reserve for a couple “much much older” (40s) teachers who had reasonably open affairs with students) but this guy was maybe getting a gallon or so a week total for maybe 25 different kids. How it went on as long as it did (maybe 10 years or more) and never resulted in anything I cannot fathom today.
Oh, I encountered the creepy new young teachers some. But as I recall all us teen girls were in love with each new addition. Til we found out he was enjoying it too much.
But, yeah my family is full of WTF adults. It amazes me any of us kids ever got to adulthood.
I can’t think of a single WTF moment I ever had with an adult growing up.
The closest thing would be some middle aged guy trying to be funny or “hip” to us group of teenagers, and us rolling our eyes or staring blankly.
I wasn’t aware of any fraternization between students and teachers at my schools. If there had been any, the student would have no doubt been mercilessly ridiculed. Teachers were seen as “the other”, definitely an antagonistic dynamic. Or, maybe I was just too detached to notice.
There was this beautiful woman, the wife of my Dad’s partner at his law firm. Obviously her marriage wasn’t going too well. I was at her house (I forget why) and she walks in on me completely naked. I freaked out, of course. But I was a horny kid, so eventually I met her at a hotel, and we started a sordid affair that lasted most of a summer. The weird thing is, after I broke up with mom (we really had nothing in common, obviously) I started dating her daughter - and really fell for her. There were some crazy scenes when it all came out.
Same here. I started driving tractors and stuff when I was about 10. Had my first .22 rifle around the same time.
Our family owned a 240 lot mobile home park. When I was 11 I was driving a pickup truck around on the roads in the park by myself doing odds and ends working on the weekends. The liability involved with that is pretty stunning I should think. I was quite an experienced driver but the time I actually got my license.
It’s difficult to look back many decades through the lens of today’s society. I use the phrase, “It was a different time.” Stuff that was around and happened while I was a kid appeared normal, because there wasn’t anyone framing it differently. If the same stuff went on today, yeah, people would probably be arrested. But, to us back then, it was just life. At the end of the '60’s and into the '70’s the predominant media culture was sending the message that the world was changing and we were moving away from stuffy establishment ways.
Young teachers got together with students, and “all the kids” knew about it. So, when a movie like “Manhattan” came out, most of us didn’t get too squicked out about the age difference because we knew girls in similar situations. Instead we admired the film for it’s wit, cinematography, and score.
Some parents, mine included, hosted high-school parties with drinking and pot. The drinking age was 18 at the time so it wasn’t as outrageous to think of 16 and 17 year old kids drinking. Pot wasn’t as widespread, but we had it growing in the house.
I can only imagine what we are all doing today that is considered normal but in 20 years will get people pilloried.
I don’t know. I knew a lot of weird adults when I was little, but now I’m an adult and I realize that a lot of adults are just weird.
Not to hijack, but what’s really disturbing to me is thinking back to some of the other kids I knew when I was little and in hindsight, some of them were really fucked up, probably being abused, and likely were never helped. For example, there was that one girl in my 1st grade class who engaged in a lot of what’s known today as “inappropriate touching.” As an adult I now recognize that as a near certain sign that she was being abused, but I was like 6 at the time, what I did I know?
During my senior year, my 11th grade English teacher once called me up at home out of the blue, late at night, just to chat. I believe she was drunk, but I was too naive to know that at the time.
I was flattered. She was one of the “cool” teachers and I was one of the least cool kids in the entire school. Hardly anyone ever called me up just to chat. So in that moment, I felt special. But in retrospect, it was weird and inappropriate. Nothing she said was real TMI, but it wasn’t the kind of conversation my parents would have felt comfortable with me having.
Was this the little girl who wore the same filthy dress every day, and usually wet herself at some point during the school day? OK, a child that young wouldn’t recognize those as signs of abuse and neglect, but nowadays, a TEACHER certainly would, or at least should.
When the school band went to Hawaii, there were a lot of chaperones who bought booze for the band kids, including their own. Were that to happen nowadays, the parents would probably be arrested and the kids sent home COD. (For reasons I won’t go into now, I decided at the last minute not to go. My mother went in my place so we wouldn’t lose all the money, and even so, it is a decision I have never regretted. My only regret was signing up in the first place.)
In my HS drinking was tolerated to an astonishing extent. This was when the drinking age was 18 and pre-MADD, so maybe somewhat understandable in context, but I don’t really think the students were well served by it–or I wasn’t.
One example was the chemistry teacher, a 23-year-old former student at our school. He invited a few of us to help clean up and organize the chem lab on a Saturday, in exchange for which he would provide a case of beer. We proceeded to get shitfaced while drinking beer out of beakers, no doubt ingesting loads of toxic chemicals in the process. This misbegotten event also featured one of my friends making the “classic” mistake of trying to kill some ants by pouring bleach on them, and then pouring ammonia on top of that…
So yeah. And while I don’t want to dive too deep into the past, this was far from the worst shit that happened under adult supervision.
“Those are some shiny, well polished shoes you’re kicking me with”
Once when I was in junior high I was driving in a car with an adult and a classmate, and one of the unpopular kids from school waved at us. My classmate and I laughed, but so did the adult (the reason the kid was unpopular was because of how they looked, they were very fat). That exchange bothers me to this day.
By day my mom and dad were the epitome of straight laced, prim and proper parents. Nice folks. Everybody liked them. Rather conservative, but open minded. Tough but loving parents. They were June and Ward Cleaver.
But, by night (when they hosted parties at our house a few times per year), they and their friends turned into wild-ass teenagers. The booze ran freely, raunchy songs were sung, dirty dancing ensued, lots of hoots and hollering (neighbors called the police to the house one time). They hired a topless belly dancer to entertain another time. They got into all kinds of hi-jinx.
Dad wasn’t a drinker … except at parties, then he turned into Foster Brooks. One time, I found him alone on the back porch, wearing a wig, dancing with a mop to Sinatra music. Later he took me with him to the store to buy more ice. It was snowing and the roads were slippery. We get to the store and dad starts skidding around the parking lot in our station wagon going, “weeee!” Scared the hell out me.
This time period was the late 60’s to mid 70’s. I was a teenager and my parents were in their mid to late 50’s.
My friends loved to crash mom and dad’s parties. “When are they throwing another party? Your parents are so cool.” Apparently my parties were too dull for them. Cheese Doodles and Monopoly, anyone?
But, the time that blew my mind was when things got unusually quiet after the party moved outside and I looked out the window. About 8 of them were seated in a circle passing a joint around. Seeing my June and Ward parents blowing a blunt is a site I’ll never forget. And don’t think I didn’t use that as ammo when they lectured me about such things.
I’ve been to plenty of high-octane parties in my youth, but my parent’s parties would put Animal House to shame. Parent’s these days just don’t know how to let their hair down.
My WTF moments concerning my father was after I had kids and they became the same age as I was when my father would go completely berserk. When my kids started getting to be five, six, seven, eight and now the oldest is 10, I can make specific comparisons. Oh, Beta-chan is now the same age as when my father threw me down the stairs, spraining a wrist because I hadn’t said “Good morning” right. Wow, my son is the same age as when my father beat the shit out of me for giving him the wrong sized spoon for breakfast.
The other WTF was my mother. I talked to her once a few years ago about being afraid as a child that my father was actually going to kill me, because he would lose control that badly. She was as well. She was afraid that he would unintentionally kill one of us kids in rage someday.
How can a parent have that kind of fear, and yet not leave or seek more help? I understand it was a different era, but at some point her parental instincts to protect the child were overwhelmed by the abuse she was getting.
Another couple concerning one of my uncles. He had been the “cool uncle” when I was small.
On one of my visits home a dozen years ago, he happened to stop by and talk to my mother. I had not really interacted with him since I was 12 or so because they moved out of town, and then I grew up and moved to Asia, so it had been more than 30 years.
He was weird! He related some sort of conversation he had had with his daughter and it was cringeworthy, yet he was proudly retelling the event.
After I left, I asked my mom if he had always been that strange. She said yes, that she got a strange vib from him from the very first. (And this is from a woman who married my abusive father!)
On another visit, my mother had out some photos of a Thanksgiving dinner with relatives when I would have been 10 or 11.
The same uncle was sitting there at the kid’s table, very engaged with my sister. She would have been about 11 or 12 at the time of the photo. The way he is looking at my sister in the photo was downright creepy.
After it all came out, it turns out that among other things, this uncle molested a number of teenage girls, including one of the cousins from another family; was caught with kiddie porn on his computer; and had been fired from a job as a counselor because he had taken one of his clients, an underage girl, to a hotel.