My, how things can change

Over the years I have often wondered what my grandfathers would say if they could see how the world has changed. My maternal grandfather died in 1965 and my paternal grandfather passed away in 1969.

Both had seen the advent of the automobile and air travel. Both saw the beginnings of broadcast radio and television. They saw incredible advances in medicine, agricultural mechanization and communications.

I wonder what would they think of the world in 2020.

Though I still think about how my grandfathers’ worlds had changed, I am now more often thinking about how my world has changed in my lifetime.

Since 1970 ? in just 50 years – here are some of the changes that have taken place in our society ?

Check writing. Of course, checks are still being used to transfer money but not nearly as many as five decades ago. It is unusual to see someone writing a check in a supermarket check-out line and some of those who do are really slow checkwriters. Thanks to plastic and technology, checkout lines move faster these days.

Encyclopedias. Not so many years ago many homes had multi-volume sets of encyclopedias, all of which were out-of-date the day they were printed. We acquired our set of Funk & Wagnall encyclopedias one volume at a time from a supermarket. After our children left home I gave the encyclopedias to a co-worker with young children. These days I can Google anything I need to know.

Landlines. Some folks still have landline telephones, the kind wired to a jack on the wall. We do… sort of. Our “landline” phones communicate through the Internet via VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol. VoIP is much less expensive than the traditional copper-wire phone service and, if your Internet connection is reliable, it’s just as reliable. Many folks these days, however, depend solely on their cell phones. What a change in far less than 50 years.

China dinnerware. When Cindy and I married in 1969 she registered for a specific pattern of china at a local store and friends and family selected pieces from that collection to gift us at our wedding. That beautiful china service spent most of its time in our china cabinet, used only for special events. Many sources now claim that millennials are not interested in china dinnerware ? new stuff or Grandma’s collection. Last month bestreviews.com listed the five best dinnerware sets. Three of the five ? including the top two recommendations ? are NOT traditional china.

Phone books. Though some are still published, fewer consumers depend on phone books these days. I haven’t used a phone book in years. I can find the numbers I need on the Internet much faster.

The Mall. One of the great pastimes of the mid and late 20th century was “going to the Mall.” Southern Hills Mall opened in Sioux City in 1980 and for the remainder of our years in that community we made frequent trips to the mall which was only a five-minute drive from our house. Many weeks we enjoyed our Sunday dinners at the mall’s food court where we could each select our favorite meal or sandwich. Back in August Coresight Research estimated that 25 percent of America’s roughly 1,000 malls will close over the next three to five years.

Fuzzy toilet seat covers. Though you can still buy those detestable germ and bacteria collectors they have, thankfully, fallen out of popularity. My beef with fuzzy toilet seat covers: most of them prevent the toilet seat from remaining in an upright position. Frustrating!

Shag carpet. Remember that deep, thick flooring ? often brightly colored ? called shag carpet? It was popular in the ’60s and ’70s. When we bought a house in 1988 the living room floor was covered in a yellow and brown shag carpet. As soon as we could afford it we replaced it. Shag carpet has come back to life as frieze carpet which is generally constructed of thinner fiber strands than traditional shag carpet. A nice improvement.

Things can change quickly and we’re living in a rapidly changing world. My grandfathers and I are amazed.


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