When I visited the Royal British Columbia Museum last October, they had an exhibit showing “artifacts” from the 1980s and 1990s. Think posters advertising Nirvana concerts, Doc Martens boots, Nintendo video game consoles and the like. Part of me died a little bit inside to see not only my childhood on display, but my early adulthood, as well. However, a recent conversation with my seven-year-old daughter Hannah drove a point home for me. She was listening to the soundtrack from Annie. The song “Maybe” contains the line: bet they collect things like ashtrays and art. On hearing it, my daughter asked me what an ashtray was.
The fact is there are many things that I took for granted when I was growing up that my children will probably never be familiar with. Today, I’m thinking of what some of those things are.
Me and my sister, back in the olden days
Things my Kids Will Never Know About
- Rotary dial telephones
- Answering machines
- The frustration of having to wait until you could get to the library to find an answer to your question
- Vinyl car seats that burn your legs when you’re wearing shorts
- Walkmans and discmans
- A television universe with less than 57 channels, where children’s programming is not available 24/7
- Video tapes and VCRs
- A world without spellcheck
- Cassette tapes
- Disposable flashbulbs, mounted on the top of the camera
- Waiting for your film to be developed, or counting how many photos you have left on a roll
- How the wind feels in your hair when you’re riding a bicycle without a helmet
It’s not a bad thing that some of these parts of my own youth are no more. There are upsides and downsides to everything, and the march of technology is no different. And yet, I’m sometimes caught unaware when I realize that my children and I have different cultural experiences. It’s the generation gap at work, forming under my very nose.
I’m sure there are lots more things that I just can’t think of at the moment. I wonder if you have any. What everyday things from your past have disappeared? Please share!