X is for…Xigua (and what did we do before the Internet?)

A few months ago, two other mothers and I took our daughters to the bowling alley. The girls have been friends since preschool, the Moms enjoy spending time together, and we often go out as a group on weekends.

Although all three are in fourth grade, they now attend different schools. One girl brought her homework assignment along, thinking it would be fun to complete together. “I have to write down a healthy food for each letter of the alphabet,” she explained. The other two quickly jumped in. Apples! Bananas! Cereal! (That one is debatable.) Just as the Blogging from A to Z Challenge has sparked our creativity beyond the average ABCs, this list became the highlight of their day…over the crash of bowling pins and greasy pizza.

I can’t remember their choices for every letter, but I do recall being astonished at how varied their vocab was, and their favoring the exotic over the everyday (tilapia over tater tots). And did I even know what kale was at ten years old? Had kale even been discovered yet?

Then we got to Q. The girls made a real effort. (No, Kumquat starts with K. But has a Q in it. Nice try!) So we moms gave them some gentle hints (Quince won out over Quinoa, as it was easier to pronounce and spell) and we rested back on our laurels.

Until… X. Between the three of us moms, we had 6 college degrees combined and a collective 130 years’ life experience. But could any of us think of a freakin’ food that began with X?

I think one of us may have come up with xanthan gum. Not exactly a food.

The girls were determined. They needed to complete this quest. Bowling was abandoned. The pizza grew cold on its plate. X! We need an X!

Being the only female present in possession of a smartphone, I pushed a few buttons and announced to the group, “Xigua. It’s a Chinese type of watermelon.” Relief, elation! Everyone could sleep that night.

Funny that this post comes on the heels of my singing the praises of a digital sabbatical. But seriously, what did we do before the Internet? I received my Masters in Library Science right before the 90s ‘Net boom, so I know how to research old-school with the best of them. It would have taken me a bit longer than three seconds, and I sure as hell wouldn’t have been able to do it in the middle of a bowling alley!

I tried to impress upon the girls how much more difficult and time-consuming research was before we had the internet at our fingertips, but they were, in the end, unimpressed.

I’m pretty sure this is the equivalent of our parents telling us they had to walk barefoot to school, ten miles in the snow, uphill both ways…


14 thoughts on “X is for…Xigua (and what did we do before the Internet?)

  1. What a funny experience! Thanks for sharing. X is indeed tough. For writing tips, one of our guest posters came up with Xylophones. Bit of a stretch, but he worked it well. Check it out on our site: http://masqueradecrew.blogspot.com

  2. Nice post! When I was on the debate team in high school, I had to do a TON of research. There was much photocopying and looking at microfiche. Lots of library time. Now, kids have it pretty darn easy and they don’t have the same appreciation for libraries, I take my kids to our local library once a week to get books, and yes I’ll admit it, movies and music.
    As a young girl in Fargo, I can honestly say that I walked almost a mile to school in snow. Okay, so I wasn’t barefoot and it wasn’t uphill, but it was still freakin’ cold!

  3. After googling the letter x with no really helpful hits, I gave up and went and got a real dictionary, Success and it wasn’t even plugged in!

  4. I think that X had us all on the internet. xxx

  5. Mer says:

    I love this and it reminds me of something that happened to me this week. I take my 4 yr old to the library weekly too (for books, music and movies), and this week he discovered the encyclopedias in the back of the children’s room. I pulled one of the books off the shelf for him (“T”) flipping through the pages of the encyclopedia in hopes of finding “train” for him. I flipped open to “transportation” (which had a lot of different examples with small pictures and a lot of explanation) and he looked at me and said “Mommy, there’s just too many words.”

  6. Too funny. I remember having to do research papers and going to three different libraries, getting paper cuts when flipping through the card catalog, and then sitting for hours with a stack of dusty old books. Ah, good times. 🙂

  7. John Holton says:

    I found something on Facebook that said “Respect your elders; they made it through school without the Internet or Wikipedia.” Then my brother reminded me that some of us made it through school without calculators, and that I’m the only person he knows that used a slide rule. I probably still could, too, but it’s so much easier with the electronics…

  8. AimeeKay says:

    I was soooo struggling for a good x. I think I found a decent one, but yours blows mine out of the water!

    As for your post itself, what a wonderful sounding memory, thanks for sharing!

  9. jocelynrish says:

    I have to admit I’ve never heard of Xigua. And I had to cheat a bit for my X, but only because my Friday theme is so specific.

    I love the comparison that non-internet research is now the hardship story we tell the kids today instead of the uphill-both-ways story 🙂

  10. Stephanie says:

    The world is changing so fast! I had to laugh at this post. Seriously, the inventor of the alphabet should have just left X out. It would have made life easier on those of us in generations to come trying to make alphabet lists.

  11. LWSpotts says:

    What a cool story, and it fits right in with this challenge. I know it’s nearly impossible for my own child to imagine a life without all of these digital conveniences. I doubt he could comprehend that I was alive before computers (gasp).

  12. jesstopper says:

    Thanks for all the great X replies, and memories of old school research!

  13. thepinkrachael says:

    Perfect timing reading this one today, as I sit here stuck for an ‘x’! Made me smile – I was thinking the other day about life before we all had mobiles – how did anyone manage to meet up with anyone else at the correct time and place, ever?!

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