A couple of years ago, I was having dinner at the home of one of my college roommates. Her kids were teenagers at the time, and could barely tolerate their parents. My roomie asked if I wanted her to “zap” my steak in the microwave to heat it up, and her son rolled his eyes and asked me, “Did she say ridiculous things like ‘zap your steak’ in college?” I had to tell him, “Joey, we didn’t HAVE microwaves in college.” He was stunned.
So, I have a birthday coming up, and since I am older than I’ve ever been, it seems like a good time to give all you young whippersnapper moms some perspective. I am the lone dinosaur of this group at the moment, and I demand your respect for having lived through this:
1. Lining up to register for college classes. First ones in the door got the teacher to sign their CARD, and that meant you were enrolled in the class. Latecomers were out of luck. The only computers at the time at my college (where ENIAC was created many years earlier) used mag cards – those rectangles with little holes punched in them.
2. No PCs, no laptops, no tablets. We didn’t even have electronic calculators until my junior year of college, and they cost hundreds of dollars. People used slide rules instead.
This was the only “notebook” I had back then!
3. I lugged around hundreds of record albums when I moved to college and back home and then back to college. They were really heavy. Later on, I owned thousands of cassette tapes, and then eventually started duplicating my entire music collection on CDs. In 2007, my family bought me an iPod, something I thought I didn’t need, but found that I LOVED. I now carry 12,500 songs with me every day stuffed into this little guy.
4. When I was a young lawyer, and then not such a young lawyer, I had many hairy adventures speeding through Connecticut from my office to Hartford with piles of documents on the last day to file an appeal, hoping I wouldn’t run into traffic and miss the deadline. I had to be very inventive at times, finding alternate routes WITHOUT a GPS, using an old-fashioned map instead. Now, I can file enormous documents from the privacy of my home or office with the click of a mouse. Electronic filing is SO FREAKING AMAZING that every time I do it successfully (I can immediately see what I filed on the court website), I do a victory dance. It also means I don’t have to worry about 5 pm, when the court clerk’s office closes. Now I can file as late as 11:59 pm and still get a date stamp that means my appeal is timely. I filed some motions tonight, while I was eating dinner. How amazing is that?
5. How did anyone live without a cell phone? Back in the day, we used pay phones, which were located conveniently on almost every street corner. There was no call waiting and no voicemail, so if you got a busy signal, you had to keep trying over and over to get through. It was a big deal when we got TWO PHONE LINES in my house when I was 16. I was tying up the phone with my friends and no one else could use it, so I got my own line! But back then, my parents could not reach me every second of the day, yet I managed to remain alive. I could not express every single thought I had the minute I had it, as my kids do now with texting. If I was running late, people just had to wonder, as I could not call and say, “I’m on my way.” If the car broke down by the side of the road, you were truly stuck – the choices were to hike miles to a gas station or wait for some kind soul to come along, and hope that the kind soul wasn’t a kidnapper. I couldn’t check the weather whenever I felt like it as I can now with the cell phone. We had to call a number with a recording that would tell us the forecast! We could also call a number to find out the exact time of day. When was the last time anyone didn’t know THAT?
Before there were cell phones…
6. Milk came in bottles, and was delivered to the house by the milk man, who put the bottles into the milk rack built into the wrought iron railings by the door. We also had a soda delivery man, a potato chip & pretzels man, and of course we had several ice cream men: Jack & Jill, Good Humor and Mr. Softee. Hanging out around the ice cream truck was a great way to socialize withneighbors.
7. We had to pay our bills using the U.S. Mail, and had to go to the bank to find out what our bank balance was. We had bankbooks! Banks and restaurants did not have drive-thrus, and there WERE no coffee shops at all, much less a drive-through one.
I am happy to be living in modern times with amazing technology and many aspects of life made easier as a result. I hope you all appreciate it too!