Friday, November 16, 2012

Dear "Remember When"


Dear "Remember When,"

You are a term of nostalgia, a walk down memory lane, and even possibly a sigh of relief.  With all the advancements with technology in the last several decades, I find myself quoting you quite often these days.

We're not even that old yet.  I'll hit the big 4-0 next year.  When I first learned about the "birds and the bees" way back in my little naive mind, I used to think that people stopped having sex at age 40 because they were too old.  Either 40 is no longer old, or I grew up to be a very happy old woman.  But not only inexperienced projections of age have changed; everything around us has changed.  I realized that my own kiddos do not and would not recognize many of the technological advances we had growing up.  Here is my Top Ten list of Things My Kiddos Will Likely Never Experience:

10.  Rotary dial phone.  Remember when phones had rotary dial plates?  How it took forever and a day to make a phone call?  Remember how not so long ago we used to hear the automated message: "For rotary phones, press 0."  Even that's gone.  Nowadays, we have push-button phones, cordless phones, and all our handy-dandy touchscreen smartphones.  What on earth is a "finger stop" anyway?  If you showed a rotary dial phone to my kiddos, they would probably think it came from "ancient times," if they even knew what it was at all.  #FisherPriceChatterTelephoneToyRocks

9.  Typewriter.  Remember the days before word processors?  Remember how we used to fill out our college applications?  Insert sheet of paper.  Release lever.  Line up paper.  Lock lever.  Turn knob.  Begin typing.  Make a mistake.  LIQUID PAPER.  Blow/sigh/wait.  Finish form an hour later, nearly passing out from whiteout fume.  Curse the typewriter.  Rinse and repeat for next application.  We've come a long way from the early days of mechanical typewriting.  At least I used electronic ones and didn't have to deal with the kind where the typebars became tangled from malfunctioning.  I think my kiddos would only ever see a real type writer in a museum.  #SmithCoronaRocks

8.  TV dial.  Remember when you had to get up to change the TV channel?  When you had to use your hand to manually turn the dial?  Dear Husband loves to tell the story of he and his brother fighting for the TV dial.  You see, theirs could be pulled off the TV.  So whoever had possession of the dial had Channel Power.  Kind of like having a remote, if you will.  Those TVs weighed about 50 tons, had the most unreliable antennas, and always had a maximum of four channels if you were lucky.  But those things stayed alive for years.  Dinosaurs, but well-made, well-built, and lasted until you wanted to throw it away BUT IT STILL WORKS.  Ironically, my kiddos are too high-functioning with the TV remote to know what to do with something as simple as a TV dial.  #ZenithRocks

7.  Snail mail.  Remember when we wrote letters?  Remember writing your friends or pen pals?  Not so much?  When I first came to the US, I would write my friend in Taiwan a letter, send it via air mail to arrive a week later, wait for her to write back, and another week for it to get appear in my mailbox.  Whatever news we had to tell each other was always old news.  But the anticipation of waiting for a personal letter was exciting, and receiving an actual letter was phenomenal.  All this has been replaced by not only email, but now, texting and messaging.  Everything can be real time, up to the minute news.  The art of letter writing will soon be a lost craft.  I can already see my kiddos ask, "why write a letter?  Send an email or JUST TEXT HER."  #AerogramStickersRock

6.  Mixed tapes.  Remember when those were the ultimate declaration of love?  When someone would sit by the radio and record just the right songs by pressing the record and play button simultaneously just when Dick Clark finishes announcing the title of the next song that you already know by the first few notes of the introduction?  How one has to wait forever a good minute to rewind a side if one wanted to hear it again instead of the other side?  How it was such a symbol of status to walk around with a Sony Walkman and its ginormous headphones in high school?  Foreign.  A cassette tape and a cassette tape player would be foreign objects to my children, who operate their own MP3 players and playlists as efficiently as eating their favorite desserts.  #90MinuteTapesRock

5.  VCR.  Remember the steps to setting a timer on a VCR?  How you took great care to press all those tiny buttons on the godforsaken machine and it didn't record because it was AM instead of PM?  How the show somehow recorded OVER your favorite show because THE TIMER IS POSSESSED?  Remember when you'd rather not watch a movie because it wasn't already rewound to the beginning?  The digital age has completely wiped out such dinosaurs.  My kiddos are bewildered when there is no DVR in hotel rooms when we travel.  Why won't the TV fast forward, Daddy?  Little do they know the patience we had to have growing up.  #VHSRewindersRock

4.  Blockbuster.  Remember when every Friday your local Blockbuster would be jam packed?  When you'd go as soon as you can after work and all the newest movies are ALL GONE?  Remember when you'd drive out just before midnight to return a movie to avoid a penalty charge?  Now, nary a Blockbuster anywhere.  In ten years, probably nary a Netflix red envelope anywhere.  My kiddos will probably never have to go anywhere to get a movie to watch in the comfort of home, or heck, in the car, even.  #BlockbusterMembershipsRock

3.  Reheating leftovers.  Remember when we had to reheat leftovers on the stovetop before microwave ovens came about?  Can you imagine not being able to eat a meal from the freezer in less than five minutes?  Me, neither.  I realized how much we depended on our microwave when I broke our last one and it took a week to repair.  Everything had to be heated via another method that took ten times longer than it would take my handy-dandy microwave.  Note: never press "cook" when you mean to press "kitchen timer."  #MicrowaveTurntablesRock

2.  Video games.  Remember when the world shook when video games first came out?  Those clunky game cartridges and ginormous consoles and joysticks of Atari and Commodor 64?  I can't say much about video games since I was not into them much, but what the kiddos have these days are a world of difference.  From DS to Wii to phone apps.  Gaming technology now is incredible.  As for me, I evolved from my Speak 'N Spell to Wordfeud and Scramble on my phone.  Cuz that's how the geek in me rolls.  #TexasInstrumentsRock

1.  Film camera.  Remember when we'd take "blind" photos?  How we'd take out the film and drop it off at a developing store and oh-my-gosh-WAIT-for-five-whole-days?  How then we'd curse at how half the roll was wasted because the pictures turned out poorly?  The digital era has certainly erased all that.  We can go from click to print in a matter of seconds.  My kiddos have never even seen a roll of film, much less know what it's like to have to wait to see the pictures they took.  Their time of anticipation is the mere second the digital camera takes to process the still photo for viewing.  So. Not. Fair.  #AutoFilmWinderFunctionRocks

All of these technological advances just means one thing: people's desire for instant gratification is boundless.  But what may seem like great inventions now will still become a forgotten past some time down the line.  I wonder where they will take us in another generation or two.  I really can't criticize, since I am right on top of the bandwagon taking full advantage of all this technology myself.  It is just quite humbling to take a look at the past to see how far we've come. 

So, Dear Remember When, I hope that one day my kiddos can look back and walk down memory lane with you, and think about all the lame outdated things they had to endure experience, such as their cumbersome DVRs and oversized telephones.  At the least, we have stayed with real books and have not gone digital for the kids.  They still enjoy the feel of a book, the turning of the pages, and the pleasure of closing the end cover of a finished book.  I hope they they will one day look back on that experience with fond memories. 

Sincerely,
Me


24 comments:

  1. Your kids will probably know the joys of microwaves.
    I passed through my old neighborhood recently, and was very sad to see both video arcades had shut down.

    Now I feel old.

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    1. Hi, ElGuapo! Whoops on the microwave. I meant that the kiddos never had to wait long for reheating leftovers because of the microwave. Stovetop was our only option growing up, especially back in Asia.

      All of these things make me feel old! But it was kind of fun walking down memory lane--especially with the precision and art of recording with cassette tapes :) Now I cringe at the audio quality of them. Thanks so much for dropping by, and have a great weekend!

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  2. I love your list--All things that I remember growing up with.

    I used to love making mix tapes--we even figured out how to turn our parents' lame tapes into mix tapes by covering the little holes at the top with scotch tape! We thought we were geniuses (the same thing worked on VCR tapes too!)

    I just found a couple rolls of unused film, I'm excited to take blind photos soon! I will just need to figure out where to send them now that film processors are scarce.

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    1. Wow, I haven't seen a roll of film in years! I think they still take them at places like CVS and Walgreens, right? I wanted to take a few pics of these dinosaurs, but the only one we had was that VCR up there. We gave our last working film camera to my FIL; cassette tapes are somewhere deep in the crevices of the basement, etc.

      I remember that trick with the scotch tape/removing tab. Conversely, that was my way of keeping my best-est mix tapes unharmed and recorded over! Thank you for sharing your memories with me, Rachel!

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  3. I love all these. They were some fond memories (I remember our first VHS recorder where my dad had to carry the VHS on a strap like a giant purse and the camera was a separate piece that had a cord that plugged in - ahhh the good old days!), but the wee ones will never know about them.

    And "PRESS 0 for a rotary phone" - well, that made me giggle ;)

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    1. Oh, yes, I forgot about those! We never had the first generation VHS recorders, but even the later ones are enormous compared to our tiny handheld ones today. Oh, remember the first cell phones? They were the size of a half-gallon milk carton (a la the movie, Wall Street)! Times have certainly changed when rotary phones are obsolete; I can't even remember when that "automated message" went away... Thanks, Michelle!

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  4. Haha! I remember holding the microphone of my tape recorder to the radio to capture my favorite songs. :)

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    1. Haha, I've done that, too, before I got the radio/cassette player combo! We had to be creative, right? And the sound quality of that? Goodness. But they were still our treasures back then! Thanks, Asianmommy!

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  5. Hey, we're the same age. I'll be the big 4-0 (ugh) next year as well. (The first person to assault me with 'over the hill' decorations and black balloons dies :)

    I am with you on all of these things. My, how times have changed. I was just talking to my older son about technology. I told him I didn't have a cell phone in high school because they weren't around...we had to use a pay phone (what's that? he asked.)

    I had a Japanese pen pal for several years in junior high. It was so much fun writing back and forth and I looked forward to checking the mail just to see if she wrote back. (I still remember her name: Yoshiko)

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane. I feel so much older now!

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    1. Oh, good one! That's another one I missed! Exactly. What is a pay phone, and are they still around ANYWHERE? Letter writing is a lot of fun, but I know that kids these days just don't have the patience for snail mail anymore, if they can help it. I guess that experience will always stay in our warm memories.

      I totally didn't mean to make readers feel old--I guess I wasn't feeling old writing this. Just amazed at how far we've come, and that we are catching on the technology wave. I'm not one to embrace new things, so that says how big a role technology plays in our lives. :) Thanks for sharing your memories with me, too, Janna!

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  6. Really enjoyed today's posting.

    Blake

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this post, Blake! Thank you so much for reading and leaving me a nice note.

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  7. I remember rewinding cassette tapes with a pencil!!! My kids look at us funny when hubby and I tell stories. :)

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    1. Haha, our kids have no idea, Susi! But one day, they'll be telling their kids stories, too. Then we're REALLY old. :) Thank you!

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  8. This is an awesome list! The only one I don't remember is reheating leftovers on the stove top :). The rotary phone -- oh yea, what about those ppl with phone numbers all great than 5, that was us, haha, and it was also a time when you memorized numbers instead of having them saved in "contacts". TV dial -- LOL that your husband had to grab possession of the dial! We had one of those TVs and it only got 6 channels. It was pretty awesome though. My sister and I would always try to find hidden channels ;). OH MY GOSH and Blockbuster -- you are soo right that it'd be packed on weekends and holidays!!! Great post. I love "remembering when". This past weekend, we had a playdate with parents of a 2-yr old and said "remember when you used to move to a house, and then just go to the school that you lived near?" "Not anymore. These days, parents research and research...times aren't as easy anymore". I wonder what our kids will "remember" about this time. You are certainly right that our need for instant gratification is getting stronger and stronger.

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    1. Hi, Lisa! Maybe cuz I'm getting old... I feel like I start my sentences with "remember when" more often than before! Before the digital age, I truly was very good at remembering phone numbers--a skill I seem to have completely lost. I'm totally helpless now without my "contacts." Our need for instant gratification is almost making us so reliant on help, it seems! Well, it's so amazing how far we've come. I still "remember when" I first saw a video of Steve Jobs demonstrating the pinch-zoom function on a touch screen. It wasn't even that long ago--I was floored--and now I just take it for granted. :)

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  9. I can relate to so many things from your list - only not the rotary phones.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Ruby! I'm glad you can relate, and hopefully took a trip down memory lane. :)

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  10. Wow...this post takes me back! It's crazy that most of all of those things were used only 10-20 years ago, which is a blink of an eye compared to how long we've come since electricity was invented! It really makes me wonder where we will be in another 10-20 years! Great post! Well thought out, as always :)

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    1. I know! It's quite scary how far we might go in the next decade or so. The way they come out with the new editions of tablets and phones, there will be a new meaning to the word, "obsolete"! I wonder how long I can stay on top of all these tech advancements, as it took me long enough to even get here! :) Thanks for always being so kind, Cassie; I'm glad you liked this post.

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  11. OMG - love this. A few weeks ago I was tag saling with my 8 y/o daughter and there was a stereo with a tape deck and a turn table. I called her over and asked if she knew what it was - she had no idea. I explained to her what each thing was - she loved the radio tuning knobs and the reset button for the tape recorder. The records cracked her up. It was funny because the lady who was running the tag sale was as excited to tell K stories as I was.

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    1. Cindy! Sorry this response is SO LATE! My blog brain has turned into a big blur since the end of #NaBloPoMo.

      I bet your K thought these things were all antiques! And I wouldn't blame her! Now can you believe the sound quality of the turntable and cassette music? I used to not understand why DH *needed* to watch HD TV shows. Um, now, look who's balking at the unclear TV shows on cable (). :) Thanks for stopping by, and I promise not to be so late on my replies!

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  12. Yay! Add vinyl records (don't tell me you did not catch that era; floppy disc; walkman. :-)

    I love the conveniences we have now, but sometimes I wonder about what we might be missing by advancing too fast, by having everything in our hands instantly.

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    1. Oh, the floppy disks! I missed that one! That's like three generations ago. We don't even have any of those around anymore. But we do still have a box of the 3 1/2" hard discs. Why? I dunno. I only used vinyls for a short time when I was little, so my best music memories are in high school with the Sony Walkman.

      I think there are pros and cons to all this technology. It's a sign of the times. You can't slow down--you just need to catch up. Sometimes I take my time, though! :) Thanks, Imelda!

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