Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lost in Technology

You’ve heard the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” right? Well, I’m beginning to think it’s true. Young people today, from the time they can walk and talk, are masters of computers, cell phones, and so many inventions that I don’t even know what seventy-five percent of them are. As for me, this mema is lost in a world of technology.

Take the phone, for instance. Going back to my childhood, and that’s quite a ways back mind you, our first phone was this black thing that sometimes when you picked up the receiver, another person would be talking and you had to wait your turn, if you were polite. Or if you were in a hurry, you might ask them to hang up. Hahahaha. Good luck with that. I’m not positive, but I believe we had three families on our “party” line. Of course, if you were sneaky, you might listen in to their conversation and learn some juicy gossip. I’m still undecided about cell phones. Mine’s always signing me up for something I don’t even know what it is simply because I touch the wrong thing on the screen and before I know it I have all the apps I’ll never use. A call to the company fixed that I hope. Now I’m blocked from signing up to anything. Is that good?

Then there was the wringer washing machine. Mom’s had two tubs, the best I remember. One was for the soapy wash water, the other the rinse water. The dryer was the clothesline. Now I prefer the modern day version of washer and dryer and have even managed to learn how to use them. But oh the towels and sheets hanging on the line were soft and fluffy, when there was a breeze, and smelled so fresh. Of course it wasn’t fun when the dog pulled the clothes off the line and it had rained the day before. Muddy mess. Yep.

When I was in high school, I learned to type on a manual typewriter. The best thing about the typewriter was it made your fingers strong because sometimes the keys were hard to press and you had to really push. When I got my first electric typewriter, I thought it couldn’t be any better. So easy to use. Then along came the computer. No more carbon paper turning my fingers purple. No more Wite Out to correct misspelled words. Most of the time I love mine. Sometimes it gets contrary and does its own thing; then we have a few words. I’d hate to have to go back to typewriters, however.

Once upon a time, washing dishes was an afternoon affair. After the meal, the women would gather in the kitchen. One would wash the dishes with soapy water in the sink. One would dry with a cup towel. Another would put the dishes in the cabinet. We talked. We giggled. We caught up on the latest gossip. The men in the meantime sat in the living room and talked about whatever men talked about. The kids were shooed outside to throw China berries at each other, play baseball, and do the things that kids do. Give me my good old dishwasher, even with the broken tray that wobbles when I slide it back and forth, over dishpan hands any day.

Transportation has greatly improved. I don’t go as far back as the horse and buggy, but I do remember the 1950 something Studebaker my family had. It was green. Today, cars are smaller, and my Santa Fe is just right.

Life is easier for us today, if not simpler. Once, we had an ice box and the ice man would bring us a huge chunk of ice to keep our food cool. After I married we had a milk man that delivered milk. We stopped by the corner grocery store on the way home from school for a soda and candy bar. If we didn’t have money, the grocer would give us credit and we’d pay the next time we stopped by. Every Saturday afternoon we’d go to the picture show (what we called it then) and spend the afternoon watching Roy Rogers or Gene Autry. What? You never heard of them? So sorry. We had no TV so the Saturday movies were quite a treat. Popcorn for a dime.

I may be lost in technology, but I’m not complaining. I’ll take my central heat and air over the gas heater and fan any day. Perhaps you can teach an old dog new tricks. Thanks for traveling back in time with me. I hope you enjoyed the journey.



  1. I don't remember all of that, but I do feel the same way sometimes. Technology is moving so quickly and leaving old-timers in the dust. I sit and watch, with fascination, when my son plays on-line games. His fingers fly over those controls. Most of the time I can't even see what he is shooting at! Even my disabled son has left me in the dust on some of these things. LOL

    I grew up with party lines, one B&W telly, one car, the local candy store, forts in the woods, saddle shoes, wearing dresses to school and church, swamp coolers, and five kids in a three bedroom house. LOL

  2. I remember some of the things you mention. The saddest loss is not our advancements in technology - after all- the items above were at one time HI TECH and mocked by the ludites of the day! But the personal service you get from mom and pop operations is great. They still exist. Most important thing is to not let the dehuminization that our culture can often push does not take root.

  3. Kids today are amazing, JennaKay. When we first started using computers in school, my students had to help each other because I hadn't a clue how they worked.

    I remember the swamp bucket and how cool I thought it was. I'd stand in front of it for hours. In high school blue jeans for girls were beginnning to get popular. They were boys jeans, didn't make them for girls at first and we weren't allowed to wear them to school. Dresses only. And the black and white TV was like magic. :)

  4. You're right, Michael. It should be interesting to see what the future brings and people will then look at today and say "How quaint." :)

    What I really miss about personal service is the "filling station" attendant putting gasoline in your car, washing the windshield, sweeping the floor, checking the oil, airing the tires: full service.

  5. I do remember how wringer washer and put rubber diapers through that wringer diapers and explodes, and garments sometimes get stuck going around and around and around those wringers. I remember having to disassemble the whole wringer head to get something untangled. and I ruined a couple of shirts
    Did you ever get anything caught in a wringer?or ruined a couple of shirts? Thanks for the rEXAMPLE VIDEO'

  6. LOL! I don't remember catching the clothes in the wringers but my mom may have. I know they were sure wrinkled. Everything had to be ironed too, not like the wrinkle free material today. Yep, I prefer modern day washing machines and dryers.