I love my computer as much as the next person. I absolutely adore instant acquisition of knowledge. Still, there are so many things our children and grandchildren will never know or remember.
Here are some things that come to mind:
Encyclopedias. The nerd part of me and love of books comes to mind first. I loved encyclopedias as a child. We had one “adult” set and then a “children’s” set. I loved both. I used to sit for hours flipping through those big, heavy books, marveling at the information. I used to imagine the brilliant people who compiled the information — did they actually travel to all of those countries in order to write those articles? I especially loved the encyclopedias at the library since they were always “up to date,” unlike our home set.
When Paul and I were first married, an encyclopedia salesperson came to our door. We listened to his spiel and of course I wanted to buy the set, which also came with a children’s set.
We certainly could not afford these books, but no worries, since they conveniently had a payment plan. Paul, who had not grown up with encyclopedias, and also did not have a borderline obsession with books, was hesitant about the purchase. I have always had the gift of persuasion, and before we knew it, we were the proud owners of a set of encyclopedias for adults and children.
I loved those books — probably more than anybody else in our family. How sad nobody cares about encyclopedias anymore.
Remember telephone booths? I love my cell phone as much as the next person, but there is something nostalgic about the telephone booth.
Remember when you were a child and you saw a telephone booth and immediately thought of Clark Kent changing into Superman? I haven’t seen any of the latest Superman movies, but I am sure his transformation doesn’t involve the ancient phone booth. That wouldn’t be cool.
What about rotary telephones? I really don’t remember our family having a rotary telephone, after all, my father worked for “the” telephone company and we always had the most modern version of the telephone. But both of my grandmothers had rotary telephones and I marveled at them. Speaking of telephones, our children will never know what a busy signal is, or what call waiting is.
I remember when call waiting came out; we thought that was the greatest thing ever. My mother and father had a terrible time getting used to that. If you were speaking to them on the phone, and the beep went off signaling another call was coming to them, they would cut you off in a second to get that other call. It didn’t matter if you were in the middle of telling them something super important; they were not going to miss that incoming call. Usually they ended up hanging up on you since they couldn’t figure out how to get you back. So funny.
How we get our music has certainly changed. Remember eight tracks? I mainly remember old ones we had around the house — cassettes were already a thing when I was a child — of course as a young child we listened to albums, or as the kids call them, vinyls. I am glad to see young people buying vinyls. Both of our daughters have modern, “old fashioned” record players.
I remember when Walkmans came out — that was a big deal for sure. All of a sudden, you could listen to your music wherever you went — no need to lug your bulky “boom box” around. I got a CD player when they first came out. That was also a big deal. Who knew that one day we would get all of our music instantly and it would be on our cell phones?
Speaking of cell phones, I remember getting my first one when we were first married. It was a “bag phone.” Heavy and expensive, Paul wanted me to have it for emergencies. I really don’t remember ever using it. How funny that now we all can’t go 15 minutes without looking at our cell phones and yet back in the day, we never needed them. Our children will never know what it’s like to not check their phones — and parents are giving their children cell phones earlier and earlier.
Don’t get me wrong, I love technology and the fact that when I can’t remember the name of a movie, actor, or anything else, within seconds
I can pull up the answer on my device.
Still, the simplicity of yesteryear and lack of so much technology sometimes makes me sad.
South Forsyth resident Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.