WERE THOSE THE GOOD ‘OL DAYS…OR NOT?

NOTE: Retirement can be a lot of things. For me, at this moment in my life, it’s largely enjoyable and even downright fun. There’s nothing negative except the wear and tear that all things old(er) normally brings. Nothing else. And this blog is an attempt to comment on that nothing and that something that exists in retirement. And, of course, also the fun. I sincerely hope you enjoy reading it.


So here’s the thing, I have used computers since the mid-1980’s. I have taught how to use computers and how to use various computer software. I am very comfortably proficient on computers, even today.

So when someone (in her late 20’s) recently asked me if I “knew computers” I was reasonably offended. Yes, I politely told her I did and the conversation about my computer skills went no farther than that, but inside I was offended.

Yes…yes…yes…those of us who are over 65 and retired can indeed use computers. Desktop and laptop computers have been around for 30 years.

But imagine the kinds of things that 20-something woman who “knows computers” could never imagine, that all of us over 65 knew very well.

Such as…

We rode in cars that did not have seatbelts. When I was growing up, my dad’s arm coming across my chest was my “seatbelt” to prevent my moving forward in quick stops. Also at that time there were no child safety seats. None. Children sat on the seats just like adults. Yes, we who are over 65 remember this.

We talked on telephones that were black, had rotary dials, were connected directly to the wall, and had a receiver cord that extended only a few feet. That was it. No cell phones. In fact, when someone invented a videophone it was so unpopular in the 60’s that it was never marketed. Yes, we who are over 65 remember this.

We had televisions without a remote control…and the picture was only in black and white. Yep, if you wanted to change the channel, you had to get up and turn a dial on the television. Of course, most people only got four channels, so it wasn’t a major inconvenience. Yes, we who are over 65 remember this.

Soda like Coke and Pepsi did not come in cans. It did not come in plastic bottles. It was glass or nothing. Yes, we who are over 65 remember this.

We had cars that had radios (and only radios), ash trays, cigarette lighters, and windows that had to be cranked up and down. There were no tape decks. Only expensive cars had bucket seats. Very, very, very few cars had air conditioning. Most cars had rear wheel drive. Yes, we who are over 65 remember this.

We used typewriters, carbon paper, slide rules, calculators, and when we were bored, we talked to others, took walks, read books, played board games, or just did nothing. Yes, we who are over 65 remember this.

And yes, those “young-uns” in their early 30’s today cannot imagine a life like that. They would find it absolutely amazing, and maybe even appalling. Or maybe, like me, they would think those were probably simpler times and better times than the present.

So, here’s an assignment for those of you reading this. Take a few minutes…find a 20-something person…and tell them the things I talked about in this post. Don’t do it in a “poor me” or “lucky you” kind of way.

Just do it in a way that allows them to appreciate your history.

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