Yeah, I know. Another old guy yammering about the old days. Well, it’s my site and I can yammer all I want. You ain’t the boss of me. I wrote about the pros and cons of technology in my critically acclaimed work “The Pros and Cons of Technology”, and a lot of what you’re about to read relates to that.
Sooo, without further ado, let the yammering commence.
1. The freedom that came with your parents not really knowing where you were. We just rode our bikes, all without being tethered to a cell phone. It was amazing, really.
2. Buying actual paper concert tickets. Man, when those babies came in the mail you were golden. I still have a few hundred stubs pinned to a cork board in my music room.
3. Phoneless concerts. Back in the day everyone just enjoyed the vibe. No recording, no filming. Why can’t we do this again? Prohibit devices at live venues, I tell ya! Note: I believe Jack White actually does this. Bless you Jack White.
4. Reading or sending letters. Handwritten even! What a time to be alive.
5. The communal experience of watching television. Growing up in the ’60s and ’70s we didn’t have cable. We had three, then four TV stations. Everyone was pretty much watching the same thing in the evenings and folks would discuss the shows at school or work the next day. None of that binge watching for us, man. Incidentally, I tried to explain all this to a class once and the students stared at me like I had a Blobfish on my head.
6. Analog controls in cars and appliances. Touch screens and digital displays are far less functional and not nearly as satisfying to use than knobs and buttons and whatnot. Manual windows too!
7. Albums and the perusing of record stores. The posters, album artwork and, of course, the incense that was burning to cover up the odor of marijuana coming from the back office.
8. Road maps. Rather than some disembodied voice, the person in the passenger seat would tell the driver where to go. And there was almost always a stop at a gas station for directions on long trips through unfamiliar areas. Traveling was always an adventure because you could actually get lost.
9. Slamming the phone receiver down as hard as you can when you’re mad and hanging up on someone. Man was that satisfying. Much better than tapping a damn cell phone.
10. The anticipation of waking up, seeing snow on the ground, turning on the radio and waiting for the announcer to say if your school will be closed or not. He’d have a list and be reading it and you’d wait for him to get to your school… almost there… here it comes… waiting… and then YESS!!!!!!! Chaos would ensue.
11. Prank Calls. Every kid went through a prank calling phase back in the day. Damn you Caller ID!
12. Phone booths. In my day if you were away from home and needed to call somebody you began looking for these sort of upright coffin looking things. You’d pull over, slide open the door and a little light would come on above you. There’d be a big fat phone book there, you’d look up the number you needed to call, put in a quarter (once it was a dime!) and you’d make the connection. If you talked too long the operator would get on there and yell at you, asking for more money. And sometimes it smelled bad in there but it was always safe, dry and kind of comfortable. I miss phone booths.
13. Drive-In movies. Ah, the drive-In. They were everywhere when I was a teen. Kids today have no idea what they’re missing. Everybody from all the local schools went to the drive-in on both Friday and Saturday night, it didn’t matter that the same movie was playing. And there was an unwritten rule at The Fiesta Drive-In that if you were parked in the back row nobody bothered you. And who can forget those dusk-to-dawn showings? And if you wanted to watch a movie indoors you could catch one at The Majestic or Adena Theaters, both old, beautiful places where the architecture was gorgeous. And they had wrap-around balconies! Nowadays kids go, again usually in a group, to a local movie theater, which look the same no matter what town you’re in. You feel as if you’re watching a movie in Hitler’s concrete bunker. Bleh.
14. Landlines. When I was a youngster our whole street had one phone line. You’d actually pick up the phone and hear old Mrs. Meeker down the street talking to her friend about her latest underarm abscess. Pure entertainment, man. And if you kept checking back to see if the line was free you got a good talkin’ to. My sisters used to scream at each other to get off the phone so they could use it. Ah, the memories.
15. Huge stereos. They weighed a lot back in the day for sure. But they sounded fantastic. People today think earbuds are high-fidelity sound. I bought a like-new Boom Box last year and it is glorious.
16. Hitchhiking. Hardly anybody hitchhikes anymore. Everybody worries that the hitchhiker might be a serial killer or the hitchhiker is afraid a serial killer might pick him up. In 1973, hitchhikers were everywhere. I had a buddy who used to hitchhike back from college in Tennessee a couple times a month. On a related note, I picked up a soldier a couple years ago and got to hear him deliver this line: “Hell, I’m more scared of that dog of yours than anything I ever saw in Afghanistan.” Guess Sparky thought he was a hobo.
So there you go. Yammering over. I’m sure I’ll remember more later and update. Have a nice evening kids.
Dave Shoemaker is a retired teacher, athletic director and basketball coach with most of his professional years spent at Paint Valley. He also served as the national basketball coach for the island country of Montserrat in the British West Indies. He lives in Southern Ohio with his best friends and companions, his dogs Sweet Lilly and Hank. He can be reached at https://shoeuntied.wordpress.com/.