cell phones

Grandparents are cooler than you think!

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Alternate title: Grandchildren are cooler than you think!

I believe grandparents and their grandchildren have quite a bit in common.  Just because many years have passed since a grandparent or great-grandparent was born doesn’t mean that there aren’t any similarities between then and now.  Here’s an example of what I mean, a quote that appeared in the Atlantic Journal:

The world is too big for us.  Too much is going on.  Too many crimes.  Too much violence and excitement.  Try as you will, you get behind in the race in spite of yourself.  It’s a constant strain to keep peace – and still, you lose ground.

Science empties its discoveries on you so fast that you stagger beneath them in hopeless bewilderment.  The political world now changes so rapidly, you’re out of breath trying to keep pace with who’s in and who’s out.  Everything is high pressure.  Human nature can’t endure much more.

An amazing sentiment that appears to reflect what’s going on right this very minute in the world in which we live.  It was published on June 16, 1833, almost 181 years ago.  The pervading feelings of the time are almost indistinguishable from what is in the minds of people today.  Isn’t that amazing?

Let’s look at a few common items that have changed over the years.  These items were used at one time but have vanished in the past several decades – or have they?

Image by Lawrence Manning/Corbis
Image by Lawrence Manning/Corbis

Telephone answering machines – earlier answering machines used cassette tapes, with later versions performing the same function, albeit digitally.  Answering machines still exist in the form of modern voice mail retrieved from home phones and/or cell phones.

Telephone directories/books – very few households rely on a 500-page phone book because they can now look up names and businesses on their computer or Smartphone.  But phone books still exist – they’re just “housed” differently.

Encyclopedia BritannicaPrinted encyclopedias – the final print edition for the Encyclopedia Britannica – a 32-volume set of books – was released in 2010.  How did I find out that information?  In one of today’s on-line encyclopedias of course: Wikipedia.

Five Inch floppy diskFloppy discs & drives – many children under the age of fifteen have never seen this storage device.  You’d be hard-pressed to find any newly-released desktop or laptop computers with this type of storage capability.  But storage devices still exist in the form of a thumb/flash drive or the “Cloud.”

Rolodex – some of us remember, or still have, a box or carousel version of a Rolodex.  But we still own something that holds all our Contacts: our address books contained in our e-mail program and in our cell phone contact list.

35mm-filmPhotographic film – I saved a roll of unused Kodak film.  Since this product is no longer made, it may be worth something some day!  Photos are still being taken, but instead of being developed and placed in a multi-paged album, most of the time these photos remain in our camera or phones, or they end up on social media sharing websites – the new type of photo album.

What I’m attempting to point out is that in many respects, grandparents and their grandchildren are performing the same functions as their younger & older age group, but the manner in which they do so is very different.

Grandparents and grandchildren are different – but the same.  Establishing a common ground – and minimizing the differences between the two groups – can open the door to increased understanding and communication amongst the generations.

Baby Boomer Nostalgia – vanishing fixtures in our lives.

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The June AARP Bulletin had a brief piece on the fixtures of our every day life that either have already gone by the wayside or will do so in our lifetimes.

How many of you still have the following items as functioning items in your household or in your day-to-day living?

Answering Machine: a machine that records phone messages either on tape or digitally that is NOT a voice mail service with your home phone.

Home phones: many younger than Baby Boomer age are dispensing with their home phones and relying 100% on their cell phones.  In most households that equates to at least two telephone numbers per household.  I know it works for all of our adult children, but we’re still holding onto our land line – along with our cell phones of course.

Phone books: the internet and  Smart Phones, have taken the place of this yellow book for the most part.  I was in my car dealership getting my oil changed the other day and a customer walked up to the receptionist and asked her, “Do you have a phone book?”  The look on her face summarized it all for me; it seemed to say: “Is this guy for real?!!!”

Printed encyclopedias.  Research now-a-days can be done on-line (computer, tablet, phone) and, quite frankly, is far more accurate and up-to-date than volumes of books whose content is so very limited.

Rolodex.  Every e-mail program has a Contacts function with ease of updating being a real bonus.  I remember holding onto my Rolodex at work, even though I had also put info into my computer’s Contacts file, just in case I needed it.  I dumped the Rolodex a couple months later.

English: 3" floppy disks, as used by Amst...
3″ floppy disks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Floppy discs & drives.  Most people under 21 don’t know what this storage device is.  Confession: when cleaning out my home office the other day I got rid of an unused box of those antiquated and limited storage items.

Film!!!!!  Again, cleaning out my home office I found a roll of unopened Kodak 35mm film.   I didn’t throw it away, however, because THAT is a collector’s item!

Analog clocks.  All of my decorative clocks in my house contain numbers that go around a square or round face – you remember those don’t you?  Many children now-a-days are only accustomed to the digital clock and can’t tell time without it.

Stationary & note cards.  For me this is the most grievous vanishing fixture in my life.  I will NOT stop sending letters and cards by snail mail – unless of course the postal service vanishes before I’m six feet under.

A white toilet paper roll
A white toilet paper roll (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Toilet paper – WHAT!!!!!  AARP reports that eventually, toilet paper will be replaced by toilet-seat bidets that will wash and dry at the touch of a button.  Please say it isn’t so!!!!!  Maybe they figure the wash & dry could add an additional benefit that would make us smile?  I still don’t like the idea.

How many of you are now using items that you swore you’d never allow into your household just a decade ago?  And what are you holding on to?