For quite awhile now, I’ve been thinking of creating a list of “everyday items” that I use without a second thought that my great-grandparents would never even have imagined. It makes me wonder how much life will be changed for my grandchildren. And I imagine about reading the diary for my grandparents telling about some wonderful new device they’ve just invested in to make their life easier. As high tech and wonderful as we think our gadgets are, I’m sure my grandchildren will be laughing at how I had to “rough it”!
Anytime I think about starting a list, I soon get overwhelmed with the possible size of the list. So I as sit in my bedroom, I thought I’d take a look around to see the things that my grandparents could never even have imagined.
1) I’m writing this on a fairly new laptop computer with wireless connection to the internet. It’s quite common for my husband and I to tell our kids how there was no internet when we were in college! I was thrilled to get an electric typewriter for high school graduation. I can just imagine if we had given one of our kids a typewriter for graduation instead of a laptop! Somewhere, I have a photo of my dad working in the computer industry in the early 60′s. He is surrounded by giant wheels of tape and the computer was pretty much the entire room! It would be interesting to compare the computing power of this laptop with the computing power used to send the first astronauts to the moon 40 years ago!
2) I’m currently watch a color tv – no only color, but HD tv! And directly below it is an HD DVR. No matter how hard I tried, I don’t believe I’d be able to find a blank video tape in a store to record a television program on now. And I can remember when the hot thing in college was to rent a video disc and player from a gal in my dorm so that my boyfriend (and current husband) and I could have a cool date night in the room. My mother remembers getting her very first television. It was black and white and contained in a huge cabinet. I’m sure my grandparents would have been excited by the new radio they had just purchased.
3) Speaking of radios, we have a nice clock/radio on the night stand. It can be programmed with 2 different alarm times and can be turned on and off by remote control. We also have a 2nd radio that displays the time on the ceiling and plays a variety of sounds (waterfall, crickets, etc) to help drown out the noisy world outside when we are trying to sleep. (OK, it’s really to drown out the snoring on the other side of the bed – but birds are noisy too!) I have never listened to a weekly adventure story or political speech on our radio, but I’d imagine that was something to be looked forward to in my grandparents house. In fact, my mom talks about how her oldest brother used to turn the volume down pretty low and then sit with his ear against the radio just to irritate his siblings who wanted to hear the story too!
4) I am sitting in an air conditioned house with a ceiling fan overhead. We had an incredibly hot spell here in the early summer and I’m sure that was pretty common for my grandparents on the farm. My mom talks about sleeping outside when it got so hot in their house. What would my great-grandparents think about air conditioning? A health hazard? The best thing since sliced bread? (Hmmm…would my great-grandparents have had sliced bread?)
Well, that’s just the beginning of a list that I hope to add to over time. I’d like to think of a format that I can save for my descendants to read someday. I think it would be neat to start a type of scrapbook that could be a collection of advertisements from various time periods along with my recollections and my mom about those items. Could be a fun winter project when I’m spending so much time on the road doing research!
Time to start my day! I’ll be using my indoor plumbing to brush my teeth with my sonic wave toothbrush and then downstairs to make my morning tea in the microwave. I will probably be watching a little bit of 24 hour newscoverage on a fiber optic television system before running a few errands in 1 of our 2 cars which will probably need a little bit of $2.29/gal gas! (This could go on forever!)