In Days Before

I was talking to an African woman while in line at the Indian supermarket the other day (true story). I’m not sure what started it, but we began wondering how stymied people would be these days if their smart phones were suddenly unavailable or unusable.

I am writing this post on the day before my 41st birthday. Not so old. Not so young. Born in 1973 I have been witness to life with TV (only 5 channels that you had to actually get up and turn the nob to change) and life with Netflix. I remember a time before cellphones and I was at least 30 before I had my very own. I even remember life before push button phones. od rotaryDial a number, wait (chug chug chug as it came back around) dial another number… There was no speed dial – no Yelping a restaurant or Googling a hairdresser and then just touching the number on the screen to have it dial for you. You took your finger, put it in the hole and pulled that dial around and around and around.  Seven times for local.

I was born after humans landed on the moon, during the Vietnam War and before Germany was once again, just – Germany. Not so old and not so young. I’ve seen a lot come and I’ve seen some things go. I stood there in line with an armful of Indian snacks listening to this older woman recount the wonder of the first time she saw an airplane in the late 1960s and the first time, as a young woman, she was allowed to speak on a telephone. She shouted because she thought they would hear her better.

I nodded my head like I knew what that was like. I didn’t.

Airplanes were flying over my house long before I was born and I cannot recall a time without a telephone, rotary or not, because to me, they always just were.

od pizzaod bagelI’ve often heard my father say, “Have I ever told you about the first time I ate pizza? They called it ‘Tomato Pie’ and…” It was at a rolling concession stand at a county fair in the early fifties. My Aunt Carol still remembers her first experience eating a real bagel. I’m reminded, for some, there was a time before pizza and bagels.

I have a vivid memory of the exact place I ever tasted (or even heard of) Ranch dip. Yes, Ranch. There actually was a time before Ranch seasoning – and I remember it.

I’m not old, but I feel just old enough to nod my head and murmur in agreement when someone a little older reminisces about the days before. I remember those days, maybe not the exact old days, but I do remember what it was like in days before.


What astounds you that you remember about days before?


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9 thoughts on “In Days Before

  1. Great post! I love remembering the days before, too. I’m older (63) so I do remember all you mentioned as being the normal way of doing things, and when new inventions came about. I remember seeing JFK on black and white tv debates, and was in jr. high school 7th grade when he was assassinated. I watched as the astronauts walked on the moon. So many firsts back then. The year after I was in business college, was when they first got computers, and in high school, girls were not allowed to wear jeans to school. And, yes I remember there was a time before Ranch dressing! How did we ever live with out that? 😉 …Thanks for the memories! 🙂


  2. This is a fun post idea! Well, I’m old enough to remember having a black and white t.v. in our house, playing an Atari for the first time and thinking it had the coolest graphics ever, and spending 4 hours typing pages of program code into a Commodore computer just to make a tiny red balloon float across the screen… wow, have things changed!


  3. Lee and I were just yesterday reminiscing and trying to explain to the kids about rotary phones. I remember watching the colored bars on the tv in the early am (6?) *before* the station started airing on a Saturday morning.
    I remember learning to type on an actual typewriter in the 7th grade. And typing reports on one at home. Liquid white-out.


  4. I remember the time before microwave ovens, VCRs, mobile phones, compact discs and digital media, and before computers became a household item. And, of course, before the internet. Weird to think what life was like before those things.


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