Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Growing Up in the Stone Age

I was born in 1964, but as far as my kids are concerned, it might as well have been the Stone Age. I love to shock them with the "hardships" I had to endure:

I managed to get all the way through college without having a computer. I would type up my term papers on an IBM Selectric typewriter, and my friends would pay me to type theirs.

We had a black-and-white TV, and only three channels—ABC, NBC, and CBS. Sometimes, we managed to get PBS if we got the antenna just right. And we actually had to get off the couch to change the channel using the knob on the TV set.

We had no air conditioning in our homes or cars. We opened the windows at night and ran through the sprinkler during the day!

My friends and I could make crank calls to our hearts’ content thanks to the absence of Caller ID.

Nobody carried cell phones. Yes, we survived without cell phones, or even cordless phones. We had to dial the number on a wheel—no buttons to push.

We had no answering machines. If nobody answered the phone, we called back later. If someone was on the phone, we got a busy tone. There was no call waiting or additional phone lines. Sometimes you could even hear someone else’s conversation on the "party line"!

To listen to music away from our home stereos, we had to use our battery-powered transistor radios or listen to the radio in the car. Our music was stored on plastic disks called record albums or on cassette tapes. There was no such thing as an iPod or an MP3.

We actually had to take film to the store to be developed. There were no digital or video cameras.

We had to entertain ourselves with board games. No video games.

The only way to see a movie was to go to the theater unless it happened to be on the aforementioned three channels. We didn’t have cable TV, pay-per-view, or DVDs.

There was no such thing as a thirty-second meal without microwave ovens.

We had no digital clocks—all of our wall clocks and watches had "hands."

Cashiers had to key in the price of every item at the store. There were no scanners.

We had to do multiplication and division by hand. We might have had access to an adding machine, but no calculators.

When we needed to get directions, we had to consult a paper map—no GPS or MapQuest.

We wrote letters on paper to our friends overseas. We didn’t have e-mail or instant messaging.

When we wanted to send a document to someone, we had to photocopy it and mail it. We couldn’t scan it and e-mail it.

We had to tie our tennis shoes. There was no such thing as Velcro.

If we needed information to write a book report, we had to go to the library (and manually consult the card catalog) or check out the set of encyclopedias that our parents bought. We didn’t have Google, Wikipedia or the Internet.

Well, I’m sure I missed a few of the "hardships" we endured growing up in the sixties and seventies, but hopefully I made my point. Our kids are certainly growing up in a very different world from the one we experienced! In many ways, I don’t think they’re necessarily luckier. Life might be a little bit easier for them, but somehow we managed to have just as much fun! Sometimes more, I think…

1 comment:

  1. Love this, Susan! It brought back a lot of memories for me. And I agree that today's kids aren't necessarily luckier than we were. Yes, we had to walk all the way to school and back; but we were healthier -- and slimmer -- than a lot of today's kids who are too attached to all the gadgets and TV stations.

    And, of course, with yesterday's news about the "Baby Einstein" and "Brainy Baby" DVDs causing little ones to know fewer words than those who don't watch...well, let's just say our mothers had it right all along when they played "This Little Piggy" and talked to us!

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