And Fred Flinstone Was My Neighbor | Overstuffed

Monday, November 08, 2010

And Fred Flinstone Was My Neighbor

A few weeks ago, Chloe asked me if I had i-clickers in my classroom when I was a little girl.  My response of, "What the heck is an i-clicker?" should have clued her in, but she was absolutely flabbergasted to find out that no, I did not in fact have such things in my classroom as a child.  Imagine her shock when she learned I didn't even have computers at my school until maybe my junior or senior year in high school, and even then, I still had to take a keyboarding class and type on an actual typewriter.

And then I had to explain what a typewriter was.

My kids have no idea how easy they have it.  Perish the thought of actually having to find somebody to drive you to the library where you would use the Dewey Decimal System and a bunch of drawers with little cards in them to find the information we now have at the click of a mouse without even getting up from the couch.  And heaven forbid that there be only 3 channels available for watching on TV!

Bria asked me the other day when I got my first phone.  I assumed she was talking about a cell phone, since the question wouldn't really make sense if she meant when did I get my first phone with a ten foot long, very curly cord (I highly doubt she's ever even seen such a device in her short life), so I answered truthfully.

"When I was 30 years old."

"No, Mom.  I mean how old were you when you got your first phone," she repeated, as if I had somehow misunderstood the question.  And like her sister before her, she was absolutely stunned at the news that I had only had a cell phone in my possession for about 6 years.  And she was sure I was making it up when I told her that I had never even heard of cell phones until I was in college.

I mean, when I was a kid, if you were stranded somewhere and you had to make a phone call, you used this thing called a pay phone.  That's why we all wore penny loafers, after all--so we had somewhere to stick our dimes (and later our quarters) for making those phone calls.  And if you were truly stuck, you just called your mom collect and let her pick up the bill.  Unless you were my brother Dave, who would make a collect call and in the space where you were supposed to say your name to see if the call recipient would accept the charges, he would yell, "Come pick up Dave at the baseball field now!" and then nobody had to pay at all.

Smart kid, my brother.

My children can't fathom that when I was a child there were no i-pods or even CD players.  I listened to records and cassette tapes.  Forget about e-mail, Facebook and texting, if I wanted to communicate with a friend from college that had gone home for the summer I wrote actual letters on actual paper and put them in an envelope with a stamp on it and dropped it in the mailbox.  Or, if I really wanted to talk to that friend, I spent a lot of money on long distance telephone charges (unless, of course, I called collect).  When I took pictures, I didn't get to instantly see them on the back of my camera.  I had to actually wait until I had the time and the money to take my roll of a mere 24-36 pictures down to the drugstore to have it developed.  And then I had to wait a few days for it to come back!  I guess I could have used the One Hour developing, but who had enough money for that as a college student?  We didn't have Netflix or DVDs or Blu-Ray.  We had VCRs, and we taped things off of the TV so we could watch them again and again, since there was no such thing as a DVR.  I even had a black and white television as a kid!

What a hard life!

And I thought my parents were the ones that lived in the Stone Ages. Imagine my surprise when my children informed me that I did, too.

26 comments :

  1. You have inspired me to tell a funny story about my own son... it's a good one. I'll blog it later this week. My kids are the same way. They think it's hilarious when I talk about the giant car phone that was in my glove box for emergencies. I had to actually plug it in to the car. And it only had thirty minutes a month. And it was a HUGE deal to have one...

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  2. I just had to laugh at this! And this is why I'm buying a Fisher Price record player for myself for Christmas. I remember I was the last class of kids that learned to type of the typewriter in my high school, that was 1991 -- I got my first cell phone in 1997 at BYU, it was a big clunky thing and no one knew what it was.

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  3. How DID we survive without cell phones? I still have no idea what an iclicker is.

    Oh, maybe I should click onto your hyperlink.

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  4. That was fun for me to read. I'm only 26, so some of your stories sounded ancient even to me. But I didn't have a cell until my senior year of High School. I used to tell my friends that it was a "teenage tracking device" so my parents could call me, but I wasn't allowed to use it much other than that. It's amazing how some inventions hit the public and just explode in popularity.

    That comic was hilarious, by the way.

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  5. I think about this all the time. What did we do before all this technology?

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  6. ha ha ha... this is SO funny! I LOVED the comic!
    We were trying to tell our children what cassette tapes are just the other day... they were lost!
    I also told my kids how my niece and I got a flat tire one night in high school and were stranded until 4am.... all 3 of them were like, "duh, MOM, why didn't you call someone on your cell phone?" and I said, "We didn't have cell phones back then" The look on their faces was priceless.

    LOVED this post! Thanks :)

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  7. Oh man! I completely understand! My mother had a record player and I thought life was awesome when I got my first portable tape player that hooked onto my belt!! The best moment, for me, was calming my children down because they found out they had to rewind the tape in the VCR. They couldn't just push "play" and have it start over. Ahh Sometimes I wish I hadn't exposed them to so much already. Oh well.

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  8. I think about this all the time and I wonder what gadgets our grandchildren are going to have when they are kids and teenagers.

    Love your post over at MMB today. I liked it so much I linked it up and your blog on my music blog today!

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  9. I find it hard to let technology and kids coincide. Like kids having cell phones. It is funny how life as we know it (as children) is so concrete and normal, but growing up and seeing change is amazing. To them it is all so normal! How funny.

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  10. Now you can just wave your hand in the air and you can move the picture! Goodness, what is this coming too????

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  11. It is amazing, isn't it? I love to tell my kids stories about when microwaves first came out and other things that make their jaws drop.

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  12. But seriously-what is an i-clicker? And I still tape tv shows off VHS. I'm not cool enough to have DVR or TiVo or whichever one it is.

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  13. I remember my friend telling me that her kids always thought the term "you sound like a broken record" referred to a record in a race or something. They had no clue what a record like an album was. Weird.

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  14. Isn't it amazing how hard it is for them to believe that ANYONE can go without a cell phone or an Ipod. I have to laugh. Half the time, I still forget to charge mine! Love your article and I always took 35mm pics. I finally broke down and got my first "real" digital camera. A Nikon 200D. Now I just have to figure out what all the buttons and dials are for!! Move over Fred!!!

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  15. Here here! And you should see the Smartboards we have in our classrooms!

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  16. That question floors me, "how old were you when you got your first phone" -- I was around 30, also. Yipes, how times are changing!!

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  17. Great post! I had a similar conversation with my kids last year. I know all about feeling ancient! Love the humor you put into this post!

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  18. My daughter had the same shock over cell phones. "But how would you call your mom when she was at the store?" And then I thought maybe I should get rid of my cell phone :)

    I love all the technology my kids have in school. Those smart boards are AWESOME!

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  19. It is amazing how far technology has come since we were kids. Which, since I am sure I am older than you, is a lot farther away.

    We used to do that same thing with collect calls!

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  20. We totally did that with collect calls. :)

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  21. I still have rolls of film I've never developed. And I remember multiple collect call attempts the time I locked my keys in my running car at the gas station. Finally, I had the operator "break through" on their line and tell them to hang up because I was trying to call. They were sure it was a major emergency. This is a great post. You and I are the exact same generation, I can tell.

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  22. My son can't understand (thanks to the DVR) why all TV can't be fast forwarded. Ah, technology.

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  23. I know...too funny! We didn't know how bad we had it! I ponder all the time, "What did my mom DO all day while we were at school?!"

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  24. So true! You make us sound seriously ancient! Weird. Up hill both ways in the snow, that's how we had it, didn't we?

    That Dave is a genius. I wish it was still 1985 so I could use that one.

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  25. Your brother's "Come pick up Dave now!!" method of collect calling made me laugh out loud. Why didn't I ever think of that?

    The Tailor teaches 15-year-olds, and they're all convinced he's a dinosaur, not just because of all the "stone-age" things you wrote about, but because he's a throw-back to our grandparents' time. But how little those kids know that our technology/culture/etc. have sped up dramatically in the last few years—it won't be long until those kids will get called dinosaurs themselves!

    "Man, do you remember when our parents used to TEXT??"

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