The Olden Days



My daughter and I were eating lunch together the other day when she looked at me and asked, "Wouldn't you like to know what a typewriter sounds like, Mom?  I would."

I'll let that sink in for a minute.

Yes, the current generation has never heard the sound of typewriter keys.  Maybe that shouldn't surprise me, but it does.

I told her I knew exactly what a typewriter sounds like, I used to use one.  And that is when she told me that it wasn't possible for me to know that because typewriters are from the olden days.  I told her that the obvious conclusion is that I am from the olden days as well.  She didn't disagree.

I started thinking though.  What things were a part of my childhood but are things my children will never be familiar with?


  • Obviously, the typewriter.  They live in a world of computers but I remember using a typewriter.  Remember when if you made a mistake you had to white it out and then try to line everything up again?  I do love the sound a typewriter makes.  That is probably because I associate it with my dad and remember lying in bed and hearing him clacking away on the typewriter in his office.
  • How about house phones?  Phones that are connected to a wall by a cord and that you have to answer to find out who is calling.  No caller id, no call waiting, just staying home and keeping everyone off the phone if an important call was coming in.  And then when the call comes in you stretch the cord up the stairs, down the hall, into your room, and then shut the door and sit on the floor so you can talk in private while everyone ducks and dodges around the cord stretched through half the house. 
  • Do you remember the library cards with the little metal strip that had numbers on it?  And the sound that was made as a due date was stamped on a card?
  • Riding a bike without a helmet.  I understand all the safety concerns but the freedom of flying down a hill with the wind in your hair is childhood in a nutshell.
  • Cursive practice.  When did the world decide handwriting was no longer necessary?
  • Records, tapes, cds.  Having to wait by the radio with your finger on the record button so you wouldn't miss your favorite song when you were making a mix tape.
  • The playgrounds that I am sure by modern standards, were deathtraps. Remember sliding down the metal slide and burning the backs of your legs because it was so hot?  Now they are all plastic and safe, which I know is a good thing but I still think fondly of the hugely tall metal slide at my school.  You reached the top of the ladder and felt like you owned the world, until the kid behind you pushed you down the slide.
  • Having to go to the library to do research.  Now if you have a question Google can give you 5 million answers in seconds.  We live in a world of immediate gratification, even for knowledge. 
  • Metal lunch boxes, my first one was Charlie Brown.  And the thermos was glass on the inside.  I broke my thermoses regularly.  
  • Twin popsicles.  Why are they all single now?
  • The joy of a new Sears catalogue.  We would spend hours debating the merits of a battery operated pottery wheel or deciding which swing set had the best combination of swings and slides.  
  • Film cameras. Only being able to take a certain number of pictures and having to wait to see how they turned out.  
So there you have it.  All the things that, according to my daughter, make me old.  I am sure I have missed a few.  What do you remember?  

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