I’m 53 and counting and recently I was thinking about my wonderful mother in law, Mildred and wondering about all the changes she must have seen over her lifetime.
Then I realized I’ve seen quite a few changes myself.
I lived in the country of Norway as a kid for a time and besides about a year in Opelousas Louisiana I grew up mostly in the small town of Ninnekah Oklahoma. My mom raised 3 boys, mostly by herself. I began working like a man at a young age, helping mom out and she did a good job of raising me. I think I turned out okay.
It was the world that messed me up.
I remember coming home from school and watching things like The Brady Bunch and Leave it to Beaver. Our TV was a huge black and white, it must’ve weighed a ton and we probably got 4 channels and all programming stopped around midnight. I knew to shut the TV off when the star bangled banner began to play. That’s back when Saturday Night Live was funny with Actors like Dan Akroyd, Jim Belushi and Bill Murray. Just half a century ago if you were eager to distract yourself during a bout of insomnia at 2:00 a.m., you were out of luck. Today, there are hundreds, even thousands of channels at our fingertips 24/7, and we can even take our favorite shows on the go with us, thanks to our phones, tablets, and laptops.
I don’t know what we did back then with all of our free time. The cell phone did not exist. Everyone actually spoke to each other. If you were interested in dating a girl you had to go flirt with her in person and get a home phone number. Nowadays you just swipe right on a dating app on your smart phone and virtually no one owns a home phone.
Five decades ago, the idea of having a tiny computer in your pocket that can not only get you in touch with everyone you’ve ever met, but can also be used to track your run, order your groceries, and play your music, would seem like the stuff of an outrageous sci-fi movie. However, today 77 percent of all Americans own a smartphone, and that number only continues to climb.
I bought my first desktop computer in my 20’s. It was huge. I really didn’t learn how to use one until I started a career in law enforcement. We mostly used typewriters in the beginning to write our reports. Later on Word processing had made the typewriter a relic.
When I retired every patrol car had a computer mounted next to you and the dispatcher would “send” me every emergency call for service, along with the name, address of the reporting party and I could see where every available officer was located by looking at their icon on the computer screen. I could run a tag, drivers license or a persons criminal history all on that computer. If I wrote a citation I printed it out in the car.
Having a tattoo used to mean that you were some kind of rebel just half a century ago. Today, you’re as likely to see a sleeve on a kindergarten teacher as you are on a biker.
Microwave ovens were invented in my time too. We use to cook a TV dinner in the oven for 30-45 minutes. Now it’s ready in a few minutes.
While parenting books certainly existed 50 years ago, new moms and dads weren’t nearly as inundated with information as they are today. Now, between books, websites, apps, Facebook groups, and in-person meetups, new parents are flooded with information on everything from how to name your baby to how to parent them like the French. I did not lack discipline as a child, Mom gave me plenty.
In summary, in my time I’ve seen black and white TV’s go color, the additions of cable and satellite networks, cell phones, laptop computers and numerous other technological advances, microwave ovens and tattoos everywhere. Oh and I forgot we had to learn new words, like transgender, jihad, blog, google and bromance, to name a few.
Women had bigger hair back in the 80’s and the music was much better too.
That’s my take on it. I would be interested in hearing the changes you’ve seen.
Tammie and I are laying in bed, each on our cell phones, watching satellite tv so good night friends and God bless.