The good old days?

The other day, I was playing a tape that I had made of an old vinyl WAR album (Why Can’t We Be Friends?), and it had a little bit of scratches and pops on it. My son (12) came in and, referring to the scratches, asked, “What’s that?” I was taken aback. This kid has never known anything but CDs and cassettes, and had no knowledge of what record scratches were! In the space of less than a generation, something that I had taken for granted as a fact of audio life was gone forever! (And I don’t miss it a bit.)

To the Dopemobile! What everyday fact of your lives is becoming unknown to YOUR kids? Rotary phones? Long distance after 11 pm? TV antennas? TV signing off at night?

No kids here, but I think something the next gen is going to miss out on is the concept of missing a TV show. Between time-shifting and the almost immediate rollover to syndication of popular TV shows, kids today :rolleyes: are going to have no idea how tragic a thing is was to miss, say, the last episode of Barney Miller.

There are teenagers to whom the Soviet Union belongs to the same category as the Third Reich and the Holy Roman Empire. I realize geopolitics doesn’t have the same immediacy as home electronics, but I’m reminded of the scene from Austin Powers where he’s told the Cold War ended and initially assumes the Communists won. Like him, I grew up in an era when the United States and the western world had a clear enemy and nobody knew who was going to be the ultimate winner or whether the contest between the two sides must lead to a global nuclear war. People who have grown up in the last ten years have always lived under the assumption that the United States is the world’s sole superpower. I wonder how this will effect their political beliefs and actions as they become more active in the electorate.

-A household without a PC. Granted, I’m no dinosaur but just 15 years ago a PC in a home was a big deal. Now it’s common to have at least one.

-A household without at least 60 television channels.

-Having to actually get up and manually change the channel/station or adjust the volume on a television or radio.

I Know what you mean. I grew up in Charleston, South Carolina during the Cuban Missile Crisis.(We had both a Naval and Air Force base.) I was seven years old, too young to know exactly what was going on, but I vividly remember planes flying all over the place and being thoroughly convinced that the nukes were going to get us any minute.

Nope, I don’t miss the Cold War.

Curiously, I was talking to some of my students the other day, and they constantly referred to Russia as “the Soviet Union.” I don’t know what their social studies teachers are teaching them.

Some addtional submissions: Delay in long distance calls, typewriters, the old phone ring.

Basic household arithmetic. Sure it’s still taught (at least it was when my kids were in elementary school) but who still balances their checkbook by hand? Mrs. Kunilou takes a calculator with her when she shops to figure out unit and per ounce prices, and no one dares trust doing math in their heads when the salesperson points out the cost is only $28 per month for 36 months.

My mother used to sit down once a month with the bank statement and reconcile the checkbook – and for good measure she did it again to double-check the math. In a month with a lot of checks, that could take an entire afternoon. Using Quicken or MS Money, all Mrs. Kunilou does is make sure the numbers have been entered correctly.

Synchronicity - I just got access to > 5 channels last night. Can’t say that there was much on the other god-knows-how-many, but I guess that’s the norm. Woo-hoo, another remote control.

Come over to the UK. We’ll show you how it feels to have only four or five network TV channels!

MattK - don’t know if you were talking to me, but I’m in the UK; just got signed up for OnDigital. If you weren’t, please ignore my meanderings…

Sorry Xerxes – I was kind of replying both to you – I’ll check me facts next time.

  1. Corded phones. “Huh? You used to have to sit in one place to talk on the phone?”

  2. Actually getting out of the car and going inside to eat at McDonald’s, Burger Thing, Kentucky Fried Chicken (not KFC, mind you). “There was no drive-through?”

  3. Hi Opal!

You mentioned telephones, Atomic Dog, and I agree with your statement about rotary-dial phones and long distance late at night.

But then I realized there is so much more about them that today’s young people won’t know:

– Only renting, not owning, a phone. If you wanted another telephone in your home, the phone company sent someone to install it. You couldn’t buy a telephone at the mall and take it home and plug it in like you can today.

– Differing rates for long distance. You mentioned “after 11 p.m.”, but we’re so inundated today with ads for “ten/eight/six/whatever cents a minute, anytime, anywhere” we forget that at one time, rates differed the farther away the call went as well as differing according to time of day.

– Needing to make a phone call and not being able to find a telephone. No cellphones in those days; you had to find a pay phone if you were away from home or work.

– Needing a coin at a pay phone. They only took coins. If you had no coins, you could call collect or use your phone company credit card through the operator, even for local calls, but that was quite expensive. (In my location, you could at least get an operator without inserting a coin, though I understand it wasn’t that way everywhere.)

– Heck, needing to talk to an operator. Nowadays, I can direct-dial everything myself, and even directory assistance is automated.

– For that matter, free directory assistance.

I remember when I was a kid and the DDT sprayer-truck went down the street-it smelled delightful!

And people wonder why we have such high cancer rates.

The mosquito truck made its rounds through our neighborhood just the other night…

Kids today just won’t know what it’s like to get so many shots (I have a vaccination mark - - for smallpox, wasn’t it? - - my kids don’t). I never lived in fear of polio, but my mom sure did. Bacteria are still scary, but not as scary thanks to antibiotics. In fact, most kids today take for granted that the Doctor will be able to cure just about whatever ails you.

As for cancer rates, they seem high now because we’re not being killed by bacteria, dehydration from chronic diarrhrea, measels, tuberculosis, childbirth, etc., etc. If I recall correctly, cancer is increasing in terms of the actual number of cases, but as a percentage of the population affected by cancer the number is actually declining (in the U.S., at least.)

Related things kids today won’t experience: smoking or non-smoking sections in restaurants and on domestic air flights. Lead paint. Leaded gasoline.

From my era:
45 records with the little adapter thingie in the middle.
(Hi Opal!)
8-track tapes.
Cartridge ink pens.
Percolator coffee pots.
Typewriters, with their assorted accoutrements - carbon paper and that white eraser tape stuff.
Mimeographed copies. Stinky purple!
Telex machines.

Remote controls for the TV was mentioned—never mind the kids—when the battery goes out on my remote, I don’t have a clue where the controls even ARE on my television set. God help me if I don’t have spare batteries in the frig.


Are you aware that eventhough an 18 year old has never even SEEN a DIAL telephone; they will refer to “dialing a phone”? I heard and saw it on last seasons MTV “REAL WORLD”.
The youngest one was hesitating about calling a certain girl and said something to the effect–“I’m sitting here stalling about dialing the phone–blah,blah”; and then, of course, proceeded to punch in the numbers. Same type of deal with my 18 yr. old grandnephew. Standing there with his finger poised over HIS cell phone saying “I forgot what to dial”. Makes ME giggle.

But then, when I refered to a CD as an ALBUM; THEY cracked up.

I have to wonder where some of you live :wink:

I still have different phone rates for different times of day, and less than 60 TV channels (even when I’m at work, and I work at a freakin’ TV station. On the other hand, I can look at more than 60 TVs without getting up from my desk. )

Eight-track cassettes and, going WAY back, civil defense drills. We used to practice getting into interior halls, bending over with our heads between our knees, and REALLY hoping it was a drill. S


Okay, I’m not THAT old, I keep telling myself, but my five-year-old daughter found my vinyl collection and wanted to know where I got all the “funny-looking books.”:eek:

So, here’s my list, for your consideration,

  1. Having to wipe the dust off the record, so it’d sound better.
  2. Riding your bike without a helmet (Not a bad thing, of course - but when we were kids they didn’t even MAKE bike helmets. Spooky, huh?)
  3. Hi Opal.
  4. Always having to carry cash, no bank cards or ATMs.
  5. Candy/chocolate cigarettes (Again, this is a GOOD thing.)