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(http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/the-boy-who-never-made-it-back-to-the-future/family-2/)How would a kid turn out if he was plunged backward through the time-space continuum and left to grow up there, cocooned in another era?
Darren Manley is as close as it gets to being a real Marty McFly (Michael J Fox), beamed straight out of 1985’s blockbuster hit, Back to the Future
The fact that he was born a year before flux capacitors powered Doc Brown’s DeLorean (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/DeLorean_time_machine) onto America’s silver screen—and Fox to stardom as everyone’s favorite time-travelling teen—might seem a little more than co-incidence.
But did anyone ever consider what life would have been like for Marty McFly if he never made it to the Clock Tower in time for lightning to blast him back to his own time?
What if he’d been stuck growing up with his own parents in the 1950s—an era where cell phones, and skate boards did not exist?
This is a conundrum close to my heart in an age where over-40 motherhood is an emergent global phenomenon. After all, we are the pioneers boldly going where no mom has gone before, raising children when we are old enough to be their grandmothers.
Or are we?
What if we could find a living and breathing adult test case—the grown-up child of a granny-mom—and discover the long term implications for our kids?
Well, Darren Manley is our man. Author of the new blog and upcoming book Growing Up Old (http://www NULL.growingupold NULL.com/), Manley was born in 1984, when his mother was two months shy of forty-five and dad was a tender fifty-seven. (In case you’re short of eye-rolling stimuli–my dad could have been his dad’s kid brother.)
“Since my grandparents had all passed away before I was born” he says, “there was a time when I thought my parents were my grandparents.”
That’s why Darren Manley is not like your average kid, born of a typical eighties mom renowned for her mattress-sized shoulder pads, bouffant (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Bouffant) Dynasty (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Dynasty_%28TV_series%29)-do hair, and relentless exposure to Michael Jackson’s behemoth Thriller (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.com/gp/product/B000WS4QJG?ie=UTF8&tag=flopowmom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B000WS4QJG%22%3eMichael%20Jackson%2025th%20Anniversary%20of%20Thriller%20%28CD+DVD%29%3c/a%3e%3cimg%20src=) album, a cultural watershed which altered the face of pop music for all time.
In fact, Darren sounds like he just popped out of a wormhole from the 1950’s, suckled on Great Depression and World War II stories, and weaned on the lullabies of the great blue-eyed crooner, Frank Sinatra.
And I thought I was chronologically challenged.
As an older mom, I’m all too likely to obsess on the cold actuarial facts: Lizzie is going to be five when I hit fifty. When Alex frames his first university degree, I’ll probably be be framed by a Zimmer (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Walker_%28mobility%29).
But how often do I consider how their lives will be shaped and affected by my advanced age?
Now twenty-five, Manley says there were more than just teething pains to be faced, especially at school age.
“I thought I was on the cutting edge until I went to school and heard different music and saw different films. It was a painful experience which wore on me as I progressed through grade school.”
However, keeping the real plot tightly under wraps for the publication of his book, Manley goes on to hint tantalizingly about a happy ending.
“I realized my parents’ age was actually a beautiful, unique thing—embracing the differences it inspired was the only way to go!”
When all was said and done, there is one salient note that struck me about the whole conversation with young Mr. Manley.
His manners. They rung as clearly and indelibly as the famous Christmas tree bell in It’s A Wonderful Life (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.com/gp/product/B001UHOWXI?ie=UTF8&tag=flopowmom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B001UHOWXI%22%3eIt%27s%20a%20Wonderful%20Life%20%5bBlu-ray%5d%3c/a%3e%3cimg%20src=%22http://www NULL.assoc-amazon NULL.com/e/ir?t=flopowmom-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B001UHOWXI). They were inherent in each and every word, every time.
Little did he know how quickly I was warming to him. There is one arena of discipline where I will not budge with my children and that is their good manners. In my book, training in good manners is their passport to the drawing rooms of rest of the world, be they humble or grand.
Good manners are, quite simply, timeless and without price.
When I thanked Darren Manley for trusting me with his story, his reply was brief, yet strangely anachronistic, considering its source: “My pleasure!”
And then it clicked. He reminded me of an old, English country gentleman of a particular sort that I have met occasionally during my travels over the years—the kind they just don’t make anymore.
No, Mr. Manley. I believe the pleasure was, indeed, all mine.
This is one angel who truly deserves his wings.
Notes for this blog:
Note to readers: For further information on Darren Manley’s blog and book, visit: http://www.growingupold.com (http://www NULL.growingupold NULL.com/).
Ref: Marty McFly (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Marty_McFly) (Michael J Fox (http://www NULL.michaeljfox NULL.org/)), beamed straight out of 1985’s blockbuster hit, Back to the Future (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.com/gp/product/B00006AL1D?ie=UTF8&tag=flopowmom-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B00006AL1D)
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