Sunday, April 26, 2015

Back In The Day

A version of this phrase was uttered by my 4 year old recently, although her version of it was ‘Back in those days.’ It reminded me of the times we would hear about grandfathers talking about back in their day when they walked to school barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways. With my parents it was things such as cars without seat belts, smoking anywhere and everywhere (including hospitals!) black and white TV and having your telephone line shared with at least 3 other families. It got me wondering what are some of the things I will say to my kids about what I had back in my day.
Bar soap: My home was built in the '50s and both the bathroom sink and bath tub have a little rectangular spot to place your bar of soap. Something that there is little chance my children will ever use since the wonderful invention of liquid hand soap and body wash. Never will they have the experience of the slimy bar of soap with hairs from someone else’s body stuck all over it.
Projector Screens: Today, you just connect your lap top to the flat screen TV and go through your Power Point presentation. At least, I’m guessing that’s the way it is. I've been out of college for almost 10 years and I'm guessing a lot has changed in that time. Maybe now each child just gets e-mailed the presentation and they look at it together on their individual iPads. I’m sure the current set-up has plenty of technical difficulties but they don't include burnt out light bulbs or someone using a permanent marker directly on the glass with a foul word or picture.
Phones with Cords: Most of us don’t even have land lines these days but, if you do, they are almost all cordless phones. I have still seen phones with cords in some places of business (including at my own job) and places like schools. It’s hard to imagine cords with phones will remain even in those locations for much longer.
Dial-up Internet: My husband and I now get upset if the internet is even running slowly or if we have to go restart it. We now have a complete expectation to not only have internet access everywhere we go, but to have it fast. Even though we were raised in a generation that you had to wait for the connection every time you wanted to chat online and you could only connect if your mom wasn’t talking on the phone (which could last hours!). I think in the end this is a valuable lesson in patience. Maybe it’s a good thing, after all, that our service does need to be restarted periodically just to remind us we are in a much better time.
Watching shows when they air: There was once a time that we needed to know what day and time a show was going to air so we could make plans to be home to watch it. Eventually, we were able to at least plan to ask our parents to put a tape in and record it if we were running late. But we all know the success rate of VHS recorded shows is comparable to that of recording songs of the radio.
Newspapers and mail: Right now, newspapers do still come in print and mail is delivered 6 days a week. But at the rate we’re going, I’m not sure how much longer this is going to last. Kids are reading textbooks on their iPads and a postage stamp is 48 cents with the constant threat that the prices will rise and weekend delivery will cease. My kids are still quite young so I’m betting both of these will be a thing of the past by the time they are writing their own story of things from their childhood.
Walking family to the gate at the airport: This one is pretty sad for me. There’s something really special about being able to walk with your loved one to the gate and then waving to them as they board and then watching the plane take-off. It’s just not as special when you say your goodbyes right before you remove your shoes. I hope maybe this one will change someday.
This all leaves me wondering what things will my children be telling their children? Will they tell them there used to be cars that ran on only gasoline, that people used to smoke cigarettes and maybe, even, that there used to be world issues like people being homeless and hungry. Whatever it is, I’m sure the newest generation is going to invent, prevent and eradicate some pretty great things.