For instance, I remember cartoon Saturdays. I loved Scooby Doo, but Scrappy Doo spoiled it for me. Now cartoons are on 24 hours a day.
I remember heating up leftover Kraft Dinner in a frying pan because there were no microwaves.
I remember seeing a movie in a theatre that I loved – and then never getting to see that movie again unless it happened to be an ABC “Movie of the Week.” And if it was, you know that they cut tons out so that it fit neatly into two hours, with commercials.
I remember wearing jumpsuits that fell to the bathroom floor when you had to go because some adults thought jumpsuits looked hip.
I remember never having anything to do on Sunday afternoons because my friends were busy with families, and there was nothing on TV.
I remember TV with circle dials that you had to turn to find one of the four stations. And there were only four. I remember the joy I felt when we had our first converter, a big brown box that could help us get 10 stations. And I remember planning my week with the TV Guide.
I remember having to dial a telephone, too. No automatic dial or touch pads for us.
I even remember party lines, when you couldn’t make a call if your neighbour was on the phone. And I remember busy signals. As a teenager, all my friends’ phones were always busy (I think they were avoiding me). And I couldn’t just pop up in their MSN or Facebook chat box, or call them on Skype to get their attention, either.
I remember my first camera. Every time we printed out the pictures it cost about $15.00 for 24. We were lucky if we printed out three rolls of pictures a year. Today each teenager has about 10 new pictures of themselves up on Facebook everyday.
I remember meeting friends from other cities at camp, and then crying buckets when we said good-bye because I’d likely never see them again. I might write one or two letters, but then the relationship ended — until I found them on Facebook three decades later. Today my kids add people on Facebook the second they meet them. They have more friends than I do.
I remember feeling as if I couldn’t breathe whenever we went out in public since everyone was smoking. Especially in the bowling alleys. I remember sitting in the front row of the “no smoking” section on a plane, right behind the smoking section, and wondering if the adults who labelled the sections had exceptionally low IQs.
I do not remember people with their faces in technology all the time. I do not remember fast food or frozen meals like we have today. I do not remember being so rushed.
And I don’t remember walking uphill both ways, or trudging through snowbanks for two miles to get to school, or working really hard. We may laugh about growing up in the seventies or early eighties, but it really wasn’t that bad. And though the circumstances of our children’s daily lives are different, some constants remain. We still want friends. We still want family. We still want to belong. In some ways Facebook and cell phones make that easier, and in some ways they make it worse. Each generation has their own things to deal with, and in 30 years, our own kids will be telling their children, “I remember…” After all, times change, but people don’t.
You can find Sheila at http://www.facebook.com/sheila.gregoire.books.