I’ve enjoyed hearing of “back in our day” stories from parents and grandparents most of my life. My father’s family was actually on the poorer end of the scale and though he was born in 1950, he spent some of his childhood in a dirt floor cabin with no running water. I still remember visiting my grandmother’s house when I was young and picking up the phone to listen to the neighbor’s conversation–can you imagine this generation waiting on a party line?
And it dawned on me, I’m now old enough to tell a few of my own “back in the day” stories to my children. To be sure, they aren’t nearly as grueling as those of the last generation (did they really walk barefooted to school?), and I can’t compare with outdoor facilities or bed pots (Nooooo!) but it’s fun all the same.
So, here are a few tales of woe for the younger generation from one who grew up “in the late 1900′s.”
- When we talked on the phone, we had to stand in one place because the cord was actually connected to the wall. You were really making strides (pun intended) if you got an extra long phone cord.
- We didn’t watch movies at home. Most people didn’t own VCR’s or DVD players. I know, right?
- No one had a cell phone. The first mobile phone was a car phone or “bag phone.” It was a monstrous contraption–a phone in a bag, powered through the cigarette lighter. I remember my Dad getting one when I was a teenager. We couldn’t really figure out why you would need a phone in the car. If you needed to call home when you were out, you pulled over and used a pay phone.
- We got up and walked to the television every time we wanted to change the channel.
- Speaking of channels…us country folk only had about 3, including PBS, which was very fuzzy, especially on rainy days. If you wanted to switch channels, you also had to open the window, lean outside, and turn the giant antenna BY HAND to face the right direction. (My dad had to go outside, up a hill, about 500 yards to do the same.)
- If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the library and look in a book. What’s more, to find the book you wanted, you had to search through a card catalog.
- If you wanted someone’s phone number, you looked it up in a phone book.
- We didn’t wear seat belts. Never crossed our minds. Mom’s arm DID cross our chest if she had to brake fast.
- We rode in the back of the pick up truck, sometimes for very long distances.
- We didn’t have hand sanitizer.
- We had to stand in line behind people writing out checks for their merchandise. This still happens occasionally to me (mostly by elderly people who either don’t realize the register can print the check for them or they don’t trust it) and I can’t help but feel annoyed.
- Computers? What’s that? Once we got one, Internet was not found in the common household. So you used it for typing (no more White Out, woo hoo!) or for playing games with floppy discs. The first time I had Internet, I had graduated college and my brother got a computer from work, and showed us “this awesome, cool, amazing thing–a chat room!” We were, like, TALKING to other people in other places! And, Internet was dial-up; you couldn’t use it and the phone at the same time.
- When we took pictures, we had no idea if they turned out, or how they were going to look. We had to take them to a store and wait for weeks to get the film developed. Unless you had a fancy Polaroid camera.
- Music was fairly expensive so when we wanted a variety of songs, we recorded them off the radio onto cassette tapes.
- I had an Amy Grant album. A record. These were round, flat discs with a hole in the middle, played on a record-player, spinning around under a needle. Oh, it’s complicated.
Wow, now I’m wishing I hadn’t written all that down. I feel much older now. You?