Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Coming of Age

When my nephew (the same nephew who was just here) was in high school, he had some project or other and asked my mother to write down the innovations she'd seen in her lifetime.  Mother was born in 1904.  There wasn't an extra room in their house for a bathroom, so the big kitchen was partitioned off when that facility moved indoors.  The family had to take turns with the earphone when they got a crystal radio; no such thing as speakers.  Automobiles were just coming into vogue.  The rotary telephone hadn't been invented.  Her first airplane ride was with a barnstormer who'd landed in a biplane outside of town.  She saw the advent of television and space travel.  She saw the advantages, but never trusted microwaves. 

I'm sitting back here in the hills with the world literally at my fingertips.  My sister got the first television in the family; a nine-inch, round screen, and there was no remote.  I think there were three channels, and any important event was reported by the same guy who MCd the wrestling show; there wasn't a regular news program.  I brought back fifteen rolls of film from my trip to Europe; what I wouldn't have given for a digital camera then.  The photos my nephew shared were on an I-Pad; hundreds of pictures at the flick of a finger.  I have a land-line telephone because of our power outages, but now it's so limiting to be tethered by a cord, so I mainly answer the wireless phones in the house.  I was late coming to a cell phone, but now can text with the best of 'em.  I have no need for the I-Phones or I-Pods or whatever else is going these days, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the technology.  From the huge console with the tiny screen, my television is more narrow than the base it sits on and the satellite sends me hundreds of channels twenty-four hours a day.  (Does anybody remember that all the stations went off the air after midnight and all we got was the Indian test pattern?)  Just the thought that I can sit here and type and be read all over the world is mind boggling.  I wonder what my mother would have thought.

I'm laughing.  Because I moved the computer to a different room, I had to go out in the dark this morning to move the bench on the deck so Bessie Anne, Frank, and Pearl could let me know when they're ready to come back in.  Just a bit ago, Pearl poked her head above the sill and mouthed, "Let me in!," and Frank just jumped up, wanting to get out of the rain.  I'm so easily trained.  Technology advances...human nature, not s' much.


Kathryn said...

Fascinating and Fun as always - thanks for always being here to brighten my morning!

Anonymous said...

When I lived in Japan in the late 80s, we had a rotary phone and Armed Forces television went off the air at midnight after playing the national anthems of America and Japan.

Due to post-WWII conditions, my mom sort of grew up like a generation or two older than her in 1st world countries. They didn't have an indoor facilities as a child, tv came in the 60s, and other items were behind the times (frontier style coal powered iron, wood powered stove, etc). Apparently my grandfather never did learn how to use a Western style toilet. (He was born in the 1890s!)