Monday, September 19, 2011

How Did I Ever Survive My Deprived Youth?

I know the title of this post seems like a lead-in to a dramatic tale, but it's not. Well, maybe, depending on your perspective.

I'm talking about how things were when I was growing up, when none of the following were around.

1. Television. It had been invented, of course, but sets were few and far between. My family got its first TV when I was 8. It was black-and-white, probably a 19-inch model. I soon became fast friends with Sheriff John and his Lunch Brigade, as well as the Saturday Matinee on Channel 5, which featured a day-long movie fest. I didn't have a color TV until the '70s, but I have two now.

2. Cell phone. Sad but true - I was not born knowing how to text. Our first phone was mounted on the wall and our calls were routed through an operator on a party line. Having a private line was a great luxury.

3. MP3 player. We did have radios and record players, though. Later came the hi-fi and then the stereo with giant speakers. Not exactly pocket material.

4. Microwave. We cooked our food on the stove and reheated it wrapped in foil in the oven. Hard to believe, I know. I guess I could live without my microwave, but I'd rather not.

5. Computer. My grandkids are so computer-literate, it's unbelievable. I, however, met my first computer in the 1980s as part of an assignment for the newspaper I was editing. The computer was a TRS-80, one of several in a class on computer usage. I was intimidated at first, but when I turned it on and the screen said, "Welcome, Marianne," I was hooked!

6. Movies on demand. We didn't have Netflix or pay-per-view TV (or cable, for that matter). There was no BluRay, no DVD, no VHS tape, no DVR. We had to watch what was on when it was on, or paint another drawing on the wall of our cave instead.

7. Automatic Coffeemaker. No one in my house drank coffee, but if they had they would have used a percolator on the stove. Espresso, cappuccino, latte? Never heard of 'em, much less a coffee shop on every corner.

8. Facebook, Twitter. OMG! I don't know how I ever communicated with my friends or knew what they were doing every minute of every day. I must have been so worried! Come to think of it, we didn't emoticons either.

9. Athletic shoes. I believe I owned a pair of black Keds at one point, but the professional-athlete-sponsored super shoe had not been invented, and Nike had to settle for being the Winged Goddess of Victory in Greek mythology.

10. Pizza. This exotic dish was unheard of when I was growing up. There were no pizza parlors, frozen pizzas, mini pizzas, or pizza deliveries. Yet, somehow, life went on.

It's hard to believe how many of the things I take for granted today (including pizza delivery) were not even invented when I was young. But I made it through in spite of it all!

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