In the black and white world
I am an old sports freak. More than anything else, my DVR contains rebroadcasts of baseball and football games from the 50s through the 80s, starting with Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series. I currently have baseball games recorded from 1960, 1965, 1969, and 1971. I also have Super Bowls III, XIII, and XIV. And because the Packers are back in the Super Bowl, I’d love to see Super Bowls I and II.
Things were different then, in ways that astound me when I think of them. A neighbor just down the road from us had a party line. I’d call my friend there and if his grandparents wanted to use the phone, we had to get off. Now, if your phone doesn’t also play music and get Internet access, what good is it.
We used to get three channels and PBS. Now, we get that many channels just in the ESPN family of networks (not including the one in the premium package). Heating leftovers was a 20-minute ordeal, not a two-minute stint in the microwave (longest two minutes of my life, I tell ya!).
We used to go to the gate when my aunt flew in for Christmas. We’d watch all the people come down the stairs from the plane and walk across the tarmac to the gate. Even if the weather was bad.
When I moved to northern Virginia in 1988, I had to budget my long-distance phone calls. My typical phone bill was about $70 a month, including weekly calls home and a periodic call to friends up in upstate New York.
And everything was black and white? Can you imagine a world without color? I can. I’ve seen it. Every recorded image from back then is black and white. Television (after the tubes warmed up, of course, and assuming the vertical hold worked), newspaper, everything. How did people accessorize back then?
In seriousness, my kids don’t understand a world without computers, microwaves, and the ability to communicate with practically anyone in the world instantly, without having to pay a fortune to do it. The can’t imagine a world where you dialed a phone and had to carry cash with you unless you had a place to cash a check.
So maybe, it’s up to people like us to tell them. Maybe for Christmas this year, you could treat your kids and grandkids to at least the beginning of a memoir.