Without saying your age, what's something from your childhood that a younger person wouldn't understand?

College registration, too. But those boxes were four to ten blocks away in each separate department. Well, the UW-Madison’s campus isn’t consolidated, it’s scattered around a downtown and an isthmus, so often the classrooms you have to walk between are over a mile away from each other.

My friends got smart, asked me to be the designated driver because I could drive like hell and double-park while they dashed in to find out if they had indeed registered for the class, or if it was full.

“Two dollars!”

Signing out library books by writing down the title and author of each book on a library form, along with your name and the date.

Using a card catalog.

Arguments about when, whether, or where something occured, in which nobody had a way to look up the correct answer.

If your local library had no book on the subject, you were out of luck. College-level and higher people doing serious research had to travel to wherever in the world the library/ies might be that specialized in their subject.

Seat belts? What’s a seat belt?

The high beam switch? That’s on the floor, near your left foot.

That’s clear running water in that stream; go ahead and drink it.

Hey, pass me that water jug, would you? – individual cups or glasses? why on earth would anybody bring individual glasses out in the field?

(I should probably stop doing this. I’m old.)

Dixie cups?

Dixie cups existed. They were used at parties. [ETA: children’s parties, or maybe outdoor picnics; not grownup indoor parties!] Nobody hauled them around when working, or playing, outdoors.

I had a friend whose phone number was really slow to dial, then suddenly became really fast…


Half a hint:

His number was 585-8808.

diamond stylus
slide rules
logarithm/trigonomic tables
Carbon paper
Measuring stuff in rods, perchs and chains.

Ditto masters.

A double feature of sci-fi movies, plus cartoons and a newsreel, all for 25¢.

Cars with fins.

25¢/gallon gas.

Getting dressed up to go downtown to department stores. No department stores in the suburbs. Malls hadn’t been invented yet.

Milk chutes for home milk delivery.

“DA” haircuts.

Poodle skirts.

When you get to the front of the communion line, stand there with your mouth open and stick out your tongue. Do NOT touch the host with your hand! And just forget about the wine, that’s for the priest only.

If you want to see a movie, you either see it in the cinema, or wait 2-3 years for it to pop up on television - with commercials that you must sit through. You gotta pee? Wait for a commercial break or miss part of the show - those are your only options.

You had to turn the TV to channel 3 to play video games.

Any TV channel higher than 13 required setting the top dial to “U”, then rotating the bottom dial to the approximate channel you want.

Pay toilets for women.

Bart chimes in:

Pay toilets, period
Pay phones
Jukeboxes that have physical records inside and are not connected to the internet.

You need cash? Go to the bank during business hours with your passbook.

Lawdy, those registration days at Madison in the '80s were brutal. Nothing more frustrating than sprinting across campus, only to find that the class you needed was already closed.

Dolby Noise Reduction

A huge change:

It was not only possible but ordinary to be out of contact. Many people had hours every day when nobody expected to be able to reach them.

I travelled across the country, in my 20’s, on my own. I found a phone about once a week and called my parents to let them know I was still alive. There were days, sometimes multiple days, when nobody who knew me knew, or expected to know, within a thousand miles where I was.

It was terrifying and exhilarating and very good for me. And nobody in modern society can have such an experience now; at least, not without making a point of leaving modern society.

“Run into the store and buy Dad a pack of cigarettes.”

nah. Slow then fast would be 909-0111 on a rotary!