One thing I enjoy doing with my children is exposing them to the world I grew up in.
No, I don’t mean baseball bats over the head and being spanked with a bare hand. I’m more thinking of the oddities that have gone the way of the dinosaur in the last 20-40 years since the invention of the silicon chip.
So, here are a few of the strange things that I grew up with, that my children will never remember. Given that a lot of this is technology, I’ve decided to break this up into “Technology” and “Lifestyle”.
Pay Phones – I can remember many a time that our car broke down (yeah, Dad had a Chevette) and we had to hunt down a payphone. Fortunately, they were on every street corner.
Corded Phones – It was fun to walk across the kitchen, just to be jerked back by the cord tethered to the wall.
Rotary Telephones – I miss the days of having a phone where your fingers can get pinched.
Pong – Hey man, nothing beats a square ball going back and forth while each of you has a wheel that you move your little slider up and down! Beat that World of Warcraft!
Vinyl Records – Not only did they work on the record player, you could attach a pin to a paper funnel and listen to it that way too! (I have NO idea how your records got scratched Dad)
Cassette Tapes – It’s music and best of all, you can rewind it with a pencil!
Tube TVs – Yeah, this applies to two things: those heavy televisions and if you go farther back, vacuum tubes (which is before my time, sort of)
Using a typewriter – Ink on your hands, whiteout… What fun!
Filmstrip Projectors – Strangely, I actually miss hearing the recorded story with the filmstrip frames. I remember sitting in the library watching on little personal systems that they had for children.
Floppy Discs – Granted only the old ones were actually floppy, but the harder 3.5″ discs were popular for white a while. They held a whopping 1.5MB (That’s about the size of my average email these days.)
VHS Tapes – “Be kind, please rewind” – Strangely, the loss of video tapes seems to also have resulted in a loss of video stores as well. Sad.
Chalkboards and Chalk – Ahhh being given eraser cleaning duty was a privledge! Go outside the school bang those big erasers on the wall. You could create awesome chalk faces on the brick wall… And that chalk dust? Good for the soul!
Shoveling Drives for $5.00 – It was a fortune!
Mowing Lawns for $5.00 – The fortune grows!
Going to the library for research – Sadly, it may be a limited amount of time before going to the library at all – is a thing of the past (though I hope that never happens)
Using an Encyclopedia – More out of date, the better I always said!
Writing a letter – I was going to joke about this, but honestly I think it’s really sad that people don’t write letters anymore. See my post here: The Lost Art of Letter Writing
Saturday Morning Cartoons – This is another item that I find sad. I used to really enjoy Saturday morning cartoons. Now, although I do have this listed under ‘things our children won’t remember’, mine actually will remember that. I have a tradition of getting out the Loony Tunes DVDs and watching them on Saturday mornings with the boys.
Having to Watch Commercials – With the advent of DVRs and YouTube, there just is not as much exposure to commercials as there used to be (on TV). No more planning bathroom breaks around commercial breaks, now you just pause the show.
The Window Being the Only In Car Entertainment – My father drove us all the way to Florida, California and Virginia with nothing in the car but ourselves, some good jokes, good games and a lot of scenery. Now, the kids can play iPad, watch a movie or do the old tradition of beating each other up in the back seat.
What Have We Lost?
I will admit, we have gained a lot of things over the last 20-40 years, but sadly, we have lost a lot as well. I hope that we will all work together in preventing the loss of such things as:
- The personal connection (in person, unplugged)
- The little encounters that count (such as Saturday morning cartoons as a family)
- The ability to fend for yourself without technology.
What do you remember that your children never will? Let us know below.