Monday, July 1, 2013

"When I Was a Kid..............": what the younger generation doesn't know


When I was a kid, black and white television as still the “new” thing. 
 
I’m only 55 years old, but that little fact is very hard to believe because today there are so many technological advances. 
 
As a historian I think about people from my grandmother’s generation (most are all gone now) that saw their lives change from the horse and buggy era all the way through the invention of air travel and computers.  I can’t imagine what life was like before air conditioning, electricity, and indoor plumbing.  So when my grandson expressed curiosity about a piece of technology from my generation, I considered that he must be just as much in awe of how we “old folks” got by in such a primitive world. 
What was it that had him stumped?  A rotary dial phone!      

“I wonder how that thing worked,” he said aloud as we watched a television program in which a character used one to make a phone call.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that, Ummmm, I'm very familiar with how one of those contraptions works. 

We sure have come a long way with phones, haven’t we?  I don’t have to expound on that topic, but suffice it to say that I remember when, living in Corfu (New York) we had a party line and could hear the phone conversations of our neighbors and that my grandmother’s home sat on a township boundary line so that if we wanted to call the neighbor catty corner from our own house, it was a long distance call! 

Yep, I’m now of the generation of wonders: how did we get by without WiFi access wherever we go, phones that don’t just make calls but allow us to stream live TV, and Facetime? 
I wish I were going to be around to hear my grandson’s grandson say, “Hey, what was it like living on planet Earth?”

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