NOW I wouldn’t class myself as over the hill at 37 - I tweet, have a Facebook page and don’t (yet) wear cardigans - but one thing really opened my eyes to the difference 20 years makes the other day.
My 16-year-old son’s school ’prom’ at Haigh Hall.
The day I left school I remember riding up to the park on my shiny red Grifter in some chinos, baseball boots, a scraggy black polo neck with a Lacoste crocodile sewn on by by mum which I’d bought off my mate for 30p - and that everyone knew was a fake - and an horrendous brown leather jacket two sizes too big for me with paisley pattern lining! The fashion at the time? Sweet Admiral Nelson - no!
I know what I was wearing so well because some kind soul posted a picture on my Facebook wall recently of a bunch of us guzzling my mate Baz’s home brew cider on the park.
And before you jump on my back for under-age drinking - it was so weak it was just like eating an apple!
Fast forward 20 years and the scene at Haigh Hall at the first leaving do of the season - St Joseph’s RC High School - was like a cross between the Fast and The Furious film set and a dress rehearsal for Glee.
My son, Josh, rolled up in a rosso red Ferrari 348 with his hair profesionally cut and styled and a suit that looked fit for the Royal Wedding.
Proud? I nearly blubbed.
Another thing that struck me was the amount of cameras, video cameras and mobile phone cameras pointing at the hapless teens as they clambered out rather nervously from their mighty machines.
They were like A-list celebrities arriving at a film premier in Leicester Square.
My mum gave me £2.50 for my big celebration on the park - £2 going to Baz for his home ‘water’ - the remaining 50p on chips and gravy!
These days you are talking fifty times that amount and if you have daughters, even more.
I was there for half an hour and saw at least six stretch limousines, one enormous Hummer, Josh’s Ferrari, a Lamborghini, two Porsche Carreras, a gorgeous Ford Mustang, two Bentleys and loads more fancy motors. At least this year, though, no one parachuted in - the last time someone did that they broke both legs!
Still it is a monumentous occasion - a coming of age as it were - and every parent there, me included, as we beamed collectively with pride, would tell you “they’re worth it.”
Thanks to Graham at Calypso Wedding Cars of Ashton for making Josh’s day with his awesome Ferrari, which is only normally hired out for weddings, but picked my boy up as a special favour (and the obligatory plug in the paper of course!)