There Was A Time…

I read an article recently about the changes that have occurred in our lives over the past couple of decades. The obvious ones are a result of technology and how we communicate and gather information in our daily lives. But technology has also eliminated other, less obvious items, things that seemed to fade away over a period of time. Things we no longer do.

Like….

Memorize a phone number.

I still have phones numbers memorized but that’s because I’m ancient. It used to be something I always did. Now it’s not necessary. Everything is on your phone or in the cloud.

Use a phone book to book up a business or name

I’m sure there is a generation of young people who don’t know what the “yellow pages” are and have never seen something called a phone book. But for many years, this was the way we looked up  phone numbers and even addresses of people we wanted to contact. This is how we found contractors to do work around the house or businesses for everyday needs. There was no Angie’s List or reviews on different sites to help determine who you wanted to hire. It was the phone book or word of mouth.

Selling your car with a cardboard sign stuck in the windshield.

I’ll still see this one occasionally, parked in some random location with a phone number and price included. But not often. On line sites, including Craigslist took care of that some years back.

Figure out math in your head

Paying cash for something is becoming more unusual these days but it’s always fun to pay in cash and give the person behind the register some change to eliminate pennies or some bills. They stare at their hands in confusion and look back up at you like committed some crime. Alexa does homework for kids sop that simple math is done with a voice request or on a calculator sitting on your phone.

Calling and asking someone “where are you?”

In this age of technology, all you have to do is download a phone tracker app and everyone you need to find can be located. No more wondering how long before they’ll home for dinner. Well, they could be in traffic, but there’s an app for that also.

Telling time by the hands on a clock

There is an entire generation of young people that either can’t do this or have difficulty with it. When I did some substitute teaching, analog clocks were still in some classrooms and I would always have fun asking kids for the time. I could probably write a blog on those responses.

Photo Albums

Sure some of them are still out there and being made but probably not by younger generations. Can you see them printing an image at some local photo shop store, taking 50 or hundred 4×6 or 5×7 photos back home and placing them in a photo album they purchased at Walmart? Digital photography and photo sharing services have all but eliminated that process.

Have a CD or record collection

There are still collectors and purists out there that collect but like photography, music is digital. Napster, (ancient now), paved the way for lots of music being condensed into tiny formats you can easily carry around with you.

Make mixtapes

I still have drawers filled with these and no where to play them. Actually, I think I still have an old boom box somewhere. I used to love finding just the right song to add onto a specific tape. I’d copy them from radios or records. Anywhere I could.

Calling a theatre for movie times

I remember having to call a movie theatre and listen to a recording listing the movies and times they were being shown. Sometimes you’d pick up the recording mid loop and have to wait for it to begin all over again to hear about the movie you wanted to see. Alexa has that covered now.

Blockbuster 

One store left in the world and theres a whole generation of young people who probably never heard the word.

Record your favorite movie or show on tape. 

I can’t tell you how many VHS tapes I still have with movies and shows I can watch anytime I want on any streaming service. I can even pull up a specific scene. I just can’t convince myself to get rid of those old tapes. And I don’t know why.

Watch shows when they’re broadcast live.

I’ve probably done this at some point in the last few months but I don’t remember when and for what reason. DVR and no commercials. A wonderful invention.

Run to the store for a last minute gift

Amazon has taken care of that problem. If you’re near an Amazon hub you can get something the same day.

Cut things out of the newspaper

I used to do that all the time if I found an article I liked and wanted to keep. Copy and text eliminated that.

Send a handwritten letter

Sigh. This is something I wish would never go away. There is something so personal about receiving a handwritten note. I could, and have written at length about this but since some schools don’t even teach handwriting anymore after a certain grade, it’ll be something that is gone soon. And that’s unfortunate.

Looking up the spelling of words in a dictionary

Spellcheck and autocorrect has taken care of that for us, even placing words never intended into spots that create some uncomfortable moments for us.

Using a phone booth to make a telephone call

I don’t remember the last time I saw one, even one that was busted up. I kind of miss them but not the millions of particles of germs that probably came along with the experience.

Carrying cash

Years ago, I gave each of daughters a twenty dollar bill and told them to stick in their wallets and use it only in the event of an emergency. Occasionally I used to ask to see it. Now everyone has a credit or debit card. I think I might have to ask for those 20’s back and go out for a nice little dinner with the wife. But my guess is they’re long gone.

Using a travel agent

Travel agents still serve a purpose if you’re panning an elaborate trip but for basic flights and hotels it’s a do it yourself kind of thing. There are lots of sites that can provide reviews and book flights and hotels.

Getting old checks back from the bank every month. 

Some people still write checks. I even write one or two every month but this too will soon be eliminated. Security does make me nervous but I’ve gotten over it. Most of the time.

So what about you? Anything minor items that you can think of that technology has replaced?

59 thoughts on “There Was A Time…

  1. Lynn

    Oh boy, it says something about my age when I recognise each & every one of these! Sadly, I fear that technology may replace the art of conversation. It seems our chatting has been replaced by texting. Although I appreciate the convenience of texting, I still love to hear the voice of a friend or loved one.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. George Post author

      Now that would be something I’d never want to see but you never know. Who would have figured we’d ever be where we are today..:)

      Like

      Reply
  2. Dale

    Oh man… what does it say about me that I remember each and every one of these things? I refuse to not have some cash on me – it’s pathetic to not be able to pay for a friggen coffee with cash; I have tapes of stuff I taped… with nothing to play them on. We still get a local yellow pages once per year and I actually use it to find local companies for things I need!
    But yeah, the only phone numbers I know off by heart are a handful. To think me noggin was full of them once upon a time.
    I still like photo albums and want to do what a friend of mine does – she makes an album per year with all the things they did and places they went. Great way to share and remember.
    We have one phone booth outside the local convenience store. Rarely used, I assure you!
    And I love to torment cashiers with just that – they have no mental capabilities and the terror in their faces is priceless (yet very saddening…)
    I actually used a travel agent when I brought my boys to Cuba a few years ago because I didn’t know where I wanted to go and I let her do all the work for me. It is an option I usually avoid yet, really… why?
    Excellent post, George!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. George Post author

      There’s still a phone booth near you? That’s great! I’d love to see one just take a photo..:)
      I’m in the same boat as you. I have all those tapes, still pay with cash for some things and still wonder why I find a phone book in my mailbox once a year. A very thin phone book but still…:)

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. The Coastal Crone

    Oh, yes, I remember all of these! Using paper maps could be added to your list. I don’t want to leave home without at least a little cash or change. Who knows…I might need to make a phone call. And I do still write that occasional letter or note. Great list – thanks for the reminders. Soon there will be no one who remembers these things. But I do like many of the changes.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. George Post author

      I’m glad you mentioned maps. I still like to take them on long road trips and keep a local one in the car. I’m so happy you still write letters. I do the same with my grandchildren.

      Like

      Reply
  4. Andrew Reynolds

    So many changes. I still remember my childhood home’s phone number, my mother’s license plate number from her ’63 Chevy station wagon, but for the life of me, I can’t remember my own cell phone number …

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. George Post author

      Lol… that’s funny. Like you, I can still remember my childhood phone number and one or two others. Just don’t ask me what I had for dinner yesterday…:$

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  5. Kate Crimmins

    I make almost all of my appointments on the internet. I remember going to the library for IRS forms when doing taxes. Don’t do that anymore! Food delivery! A lot has changed. My mother would have to learn a lot of stuff starting with a microwave.

    Like

    Reply
    1. George Post author

      Yes, cook books are obsolete but I still like to look at a map and get an overview of a location. I still come across things I cut out of newspapers years ago.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  6. Jodi

    I sure do remember all of these…. our grandchildren will likely not. Wonder what they will be able to say to their grandchildren they remember? Awww – the joys and wonderment of growing older. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  7. edgar62

    I still have my CD collection and I still play Sinatra in my car CD player. I could use an Ipod I suppose, but my car does not have a USB port and besides I prefer the fun of selecting a CD, opening the case and sliding it into the CD player then starting the journey. My dog, who generally rides with me, is also a Sinatra fan. I think back to some of the fun we had growing up with a house phone. Can’t make random calls any more, all mobile (Cell) numbers are visible. The Post Office still deliver a telephone book every year. One day you open the door and there it is, lying on the doorstep. Sadly I use Google Earth for maps, and I drive these days with an active GPS, which I find enjoyable not to follow at times and go my own way. In this world of technology, get your fun where you can…

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. George Post author

      Like you, I still have an extensive CD collection. I’m not sure why except I don’t know what to do with them and refuse to throw them out.
      I used to love playing practical jokes with the house phone but now everyone is watching and tracking your every move so they’ve taken the fun away🙂

      Like

      Reply
  8. Book Club Mom

    Oh this list is a snapshot of when I grew up! I wish we could get back to some of these simpler methods. Do you remember when the first two parts of a phone number were letters, based on a word? My home town used FRontier 7 for all local calls! Kids have bypassed many of these brain-stimulating activities – it will be interesting to see what happens in the next 20 years.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. George Post author

      That’s right, phone numbers that began with letters. Mine was Prescott for 77. I don’t even want to think about the next 20 years. I’m sure some things will be great and some not so great..:)

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  9. Almost Iowa

    Remember the milkman?

    This is the guy who parked in the alley, walked in the side door, picked up the empty bottles and left fresh milk. I think he was related to the ice-man who my parents knew in their day.

    Also remember as a kid being sent to the store for a half gallon of milk to tide the family over? In the city, “the store” was no more than a block or two away. In the country, it was no more than a bike ride (or horse if you had one).

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  10. Ann Coleman

    I not only remember all these things, I actually still use and do some of them. I still pay my bills by check, much to my bank’s disgust, still print my photos and put them in photo albums (because all those digital storage methods eventually become obsolete and then what?) and most of all, I still carry cash and actually use it to buy things! If I like the young person who is checking me out, I always give them exact change so they don’t have to worry about calculating it. But if the person is obnoxious, then I give them the biggest bill I have and just stand there, looking bored until they eventually figure out my change.
    I know I am hopelessly old-fashioned (and I’m only 61) but I do worry what is happening to the human brain now that we don’t have to use it anymore. We don’t need to remember things, we don’t need to read maps, we don’t need to research anything, we don’t need to do math, etc….. I can’t help but think that technology dependence is going to dumb down the human race, and the result of that isn’t going to be a good thing!

    Like

    Reply
    1. George Post author

      I still have some of these things, like CD’s and old photo albums and a ton of photos and like you I still carry cash for some things or just to have it in my pocket.
      I don’t know if we’re old fashioned or just realize what you said, that some things are being so dumbed down the residual affect is going to be disturbing. Maybe we won’t be around to find out or too out of it to realize it🙂

      Like

      Reply
  11. Joanne Sisco

    I enjoyed reading this post and all the comments. All of it so true.

    I have to smile at a conversation that occurred with my sons not long ago (they are both in their 30s). They were reminiscing about when they were young and had to use dial-up to access the internet 😆

    It seems every generation is faced with the challenge of change and the ‘olden days’ when they were kids.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  12. Sorryless

    This is laugh out loud (because it’s all true) stuff, George.

    I was just talking with someone today about the old rotary phones and how they lasted FOREVER. Whereas now we go through smart phones every couple years, tops, those rotary phones just wouldn’t die. And our “technology” as per the rotary phone we had in the kitchen came when mom bought an extra long cord so we could take our conversation into the den. That was exciting stuff.

    I’m sad there’s no more Blockbuster. It was kind of fun to go out and find a movie to watch, grab some candy and popcorn. Damn, it seems quaint now!

    I remember calling home from a pay phone when I was a kid to check in and hanging up when the operator came on to ask for more money, LOL. I miss that.

    Great look back.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. George Post author

      The rotary phones, complete with multi party lines. Having you wait for someone to get off before you can get in. That was crazy. Try to explain that to young people today..:)
      I agree about blockbuster. It was like, party of you evening. Walking around and picking up the cases.
      So many practical jokes when phones didn’t track down who you are and where you’re located. I miss being able to do that..:)

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  13. Miriam

    You’ve jogged my memory with each and every one of these things George. And I guess that’s another thing that’s been affected these days, our short span memories. I would surmise that with social media a lot of people simply aren’t using their memory skills like we used to. I have to admit I still write the occasional thank you note and there’s nothing like picking up the phone to have a real chat with someone. But sadly, mostly I think you’re right, technology has really changed the way we live, not all bad but we’ve lost a lot of simplicity. Great thought provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
      1. Miriam

        Yes, there’s no denying that. But, on the other hand, I’m communicating with you, who I’ve never even met, on the other side of the world! That’s pretty cool!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. thechickengrandma

    I am getting older…I totally get every one of those things and yes still have many of them. I would like to see some of the young kids work a rotary phone. We keep one on hand in case our electric goes out. Yes, we still have a landline and it doesn’t work without electricity…hence the old rotary comes out about once a winter.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. George Post author

      That’s funny! I see the rotaries antique stores and remember when we used them and the first two numbers were actually letters..;)

      Like

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s