Slightly Morbid (to me) Question

OK, this might actually be an interesting question.

My mom passed away in 1977, when I was young. I always get melancholy around Mother’s Day, and think about how she would react if she could see me today…which gets to my question.

What would really amaze my mom if she was around today? I always thought people buying bottled water would blow her away - I don’t think this existed in 1977. Then again, they did have water coolers, so perhaps this wouldn’t be as amazing as I thought.

Personal PCs? I know she had an electric typewriter in 1977, but I believe there were rudimentary word processors available 30 years ago.

Please help me out - what is one thing that just didn’t exist in 1977 that we take for granted today?

The internet and the SDMB.

CD’s, digital cameras, and most really cool electronic equipment. The new cell phones would probably be a really interesting thing as well.

Interesting question. My mom also died in '77. Maybe for her, the most amazing thing would be that there are now medicines that may have been able to control her psychological problems better than those available then.

Other than that, I think she’d get a kick out of cell phones. Especially those that can take pictures.

And microwaves. I’m pretty sure she died just before they started coming on the market.

And paint programs. She was always artistic. I think she would have had a lot of fun experimenting with paint programs.

What about DVD recorders and TIVO? I don’t think VCRs were even around in 1977.

My dad died in 1978 and he was a certified accountant.

I think that just Microsoft Excel would have him all atwitter.

…that, and the grand-kids that GrizzWife and I produced.

Every person and their brother walking around with cell phones.

Computers in just about every house.

As was said, the internet. Any and all information, good and bad, all the time. My father refers to this as more and more of less and less.

My family didn’t even have color tv in 1977. Cable television might have existed by then, but nobody I know had it until at least 1980, if not later.

If I had gone into a coma in 1977 and come out of it in 2006, I think the coolest thing to me would be home theater. We dreamed about that in the old days, but most people didn’t expect ever to be able to afford such a thing.

Digital cameras are also pretty neat, especially being able to send pictures over the internet.

For that matter, video cameras were the awesomest thing ever (to me) when they came out. Now they’re almost obsolete. I wanted one for ten years before I finally splurged and bought one, which I haven’t used very much.

Oh yeah, and they used punch cards to program computers at that time.

Thought of something else. I’m sometimes pleasantly surprised at little ways that technology has improved something really mundane. Like that blue tape you use for painting now, that sticks real well but comes right off. I hear they also have peelable wallpaper. I’ve noticed over the last twenty years that furniture that you have to assemble yourself is made a lot better and easier to put together than it used to be. They make glow-in-the-dark chalk and thread. I bet there are some really neat candies out there that weren’t around in '77. If memory serves, there were no red M&Ms around that time period because the red dye caused cancer, but they came up with a different red dye in the 80s and now we have red M&Ms again. You’d have to explain them to your mom, or she wouldn’t eat them!

I graduated high school in '77 and for me mp3 players would rate really high on that list. All those years riding my horse dragging around a cassette player… before Walkman days. :rolleyes:


Airport security


People with no land line at all, just cell phones

Recycling bins at every house

No typewriters or cabon paper

A cool topic, a different way to think about my mom who has so long been gone. My mom also died around the same time. 1976 actually…wow, a long time ago!!! I feel the same way around Mother’s Day, too, (::sniff:: ) I’ve actually been thinking alot about her lately, that’s probably why.

I was only 11 when she died, so I’m not quite sure what things she would find the most amazing. However, she was one to talk on the phone quite a bit so I’m sure she’d be right in there with the cell phone mob.

I don’t recall her being all that technically savvy, so I would think that this whole “inter-web thingy” would probly have her thrown for a loop. But on the other hand she was a smart cookie, so maybe she’d be here on the SDMB along with me!!

I think she would be blown away by things like the Food Network and all the chef celebrities. She was always interested in new recipes and loved to cook. So all the gadgets and cooking shows and magazines, etc I think she would really be into.

Not so much technology, but my grandmother, who died in the early 1980s, would be amazed (and delighted, I may add) that we are seriously discussing legalizing gay marriage.

[nitpick]The Internet had been around for eight years, although she wouldn’t have been likely to know it unless she was in one of a few certain professions. The Web, of course, was still some 16 years away.[/nitpick]

Nobody has walked on the moon, or any other planet, since the 70s. That might be an interesting realignment of expectations.

Definitely the internet. Email is probably the single most astounding thing, for a complete outsider, not least because of its simplicity. And mobile phones as a second choice.
Other things: Hundreds of TV channels. Remote locks on cars. Concorde being consigned to history while the 747 reigns supreme. Fuel prices (and that they’re still being absorbed by the economy). etc.

Someone who died in 1977 would probably be surprised to see a world with one Germany and no Soviet Union.

Well, I’m in a piss-poor mood right now. So I think she’d be amazed by:

AIDS. Don’t forget, 1977 was at the peak of the “sexual revolution.” The worst thing that could happen to you was pregnancy, or a trip to the VD clinic.

9/11. She’d be amazed that such a thing could happen.

The rise of fundamentalism.

GWB as President, and the level of global anti-Americanism.

The American obesity epidemic.

The price of gas.

The price of a new car or a new house.

The Internet is the first thing I thought of for this topic.

However, we didn’t get cable television until right around 1977, and since my father was “rich” and on top of current technology at the time, there is the possibility that your mother would not have been aware of more than 3-4 channels when she died.

My own mother, who was born in 1937 and who is still alive, has taken a long time to appreciate cell phone technology. She has a cell phone, but she considers it a “car phone,” so she rarely takes it out of her car. She still doesn’t understand that she can use it wherever she wants to, for no additional charge.

She does appreciate DVDs. Video cassettes and VCRs did not exist at all in 1977–neither did video rental options. My mother bought a VCR soon after we did, and glorified in Blockbuster.

She does not really understand the “Internet.” She does use e-mail, but prefers phone calls if she wants to talk to someone she knows. She spends a lot of time shopping and buying online, and I suspect that she is spammed out the wazoo as a result. She hasn’t learned how to filter e-mail at all, or how to use a search engine.

She really likes having a phone contract with a flat fee for long distance calls (this did NOT exist in the 70’s, when she hated the fact that her mother in another state got an answering machine). She also likes her minivan, which is more easily handled than the full-size van we had in the 70’s.

Good call.

Why is it so amazing that it could happen?

May I suggest Gmail? It’s incredibly user-friendly, it has a great spam filter which automatically deletes the spam (and you can manually mark emails as “spam” and “not spam”) and it stores 2GB of emails and sorts them by “thread”, plus you can search your entire inbox for a word in the title or body of an email; you pretty much never have to delete anything, ever, or make any effort to organize or clean up your inbox in any other way. It’s invite-only, but I’ve got a couple hundred of 'em, so shoot me an email and I’ll send an invite your way so you can get her signed up.