1. Using a card catalog at the library
It’s hard to tell how many hours I wasted as an elementary school student flipping through the library’s card catalog pretending I understood the Dewey Decimal System… Not so nowadays: a quick stop at the computer and you’re on your way to 978.781 FAR.
2. Turning an outside T.V. antenna
The first job I ever had was going to the end of our house each evening and turning the giant pole on which our T.V. antenna was affixed until my dad yelled out, “That’s good.” My only regret about being a father in 2017 is that I’ll never know this great power my father enjoyed on a nightly basis!
3. Waiting to use a phone because your family is on a party line
Teenagers nowadays would absolutely lose their minds if they picked up their phone to call someone and realized that Mabel, the old lady down the street, was having prayer with her sister across town. And if that wasn’t enough, they’d really lose it when they’d find out anyone could listen to them when it was their turn to use the party line.
4. Stretching a phone cord so you could talk in your bedroom
I remember one of my mother’s greatest Christmas presents — a fifty-foot long phone cord. That woman thought she was the stuff being able to fold clothes in her bedroom while talking on the phone!
5. Gas shortages, waiting in long lines and buying gas only on odd or even days
Ahh, those were the days… Who could forget the time OPEC flexed its muscles in opposition to the United States’ support for Israel during the Yom Kippur War. You’ve never lived until you’ve faced around-the-block lines at the gas station on your day to fill up. Weren’t those odd–even rationing days of gas based upon one’s license plates a hoot?
6. Rabbit Ears
On September 11, 2001, (hard to believe that was +15 years ago), I remember the boys in my high school taking turns standing beside the T.V. at the front of the class with their hand on the rabbit ears — when those aluminum antennas weren’t being touched we had no signal, but with a single touch, it was high-definition viewing.
7. Hanging clothes on a line to dry
I’ve spent many an afternoon running through bed sheets in my grandmother’s front yard — not to mention jumping into baskets of fresh clothes she had placed upon the front porch. Wow, weren’t those happy and simple days?
8. Reading out of an encyclopedia
A generation ago, people were paying hundreds of dollars for volumes of encyclopedias, now you can’t give them away. The World Wide Web sure has changed things…
9. Rolling up a car window
Some may still know this great feeling, but for the most part, our’s is a society that has forgotten the feeling of stretching one’s body across the passenger seat to crank down a window while driving full speed on a hot summer’s day… Not all change is bad!
10. Picking a switch out of the front yard
If a few more people knew this feeling, the world just might be a better place… but that’s just one person’s opinion! I still don’t know what the logic behind making a child choose his tool of execution was, but whatever reasoning there was, it sure worked for me!
11. Recording radio songs on a cassette tape
With YouTube, iTunes and everything else, today’s teens will never know the feeling of sitting beside the radio for hours – cassette tape in and ready to go – waiting to mash down the play and record button at the first beat of the latest song. We were music pirates before that was even a thing!
12. Popping popcorn on the stove
Making popcorn used to be a lot of work! Getting the popcorn maker out, pouring some oil, butter, and seeds in it, and then spending the next several minutes cranking the little spinning thing that keeps the kernels from burning. But if you ask me, it was a whole lot more rewarding this way… and you probably burnt enough calories in the cooking process for it to balance out!
13. Being inaccessible
Leaving the house and being inaccessible until you got back… What?!? We had no idea we were such daring individuals back in the day!
14. Shaking Polaroid pictures
Turns out, shaking those instant photographs didn’t do a darn thing to speed up the process… but it sure helped pass the time as you waited for the picture to develop. My children probably get photographed more in a single day than I did from birth to age twenty!
15. The Sears & Roebuck Catalog
The Sears & Roebuck Catalog was as much a part of my Christmas memories as hanging the tree or singing holiday jingles! Who else remembers getting out their ink pen and circling every item on their wishlist?
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