Wednesday, July 10, 2024

How Things Have Changed.


RHYS BOWEN: I’m gearing up for the release of a new historical novel THE ROSE ARBOR on August 6. That's four weeks from today! And I’m smiling wryly because the novel takes place in 1968.  How can it be Historical? It takes place in my lifetime , and many of yours, I suspect. But the publishing industry counts it as historical if it took place 50 years ago.


 In that year I was newly married. In the years preceding I was a young woman in swinging London. I worked in BBC drama. I had my hair cut by Vidal Sassoon. I wore Mary Quant, including hot pants. I dated a guy in a band. I sang in a folk club. 

 It was all exciting, a great time to be alive…. Which suddenly changed with the Vietnam War. Suddenly it was all student protests and hippies holding love ins and young people taking over deserted buildings to squat in them.(Yes, that's me in my modeling days! I loved those white boots)

 So everything in this book is first hand memory for me. My daughter Jane read it and said “This is your best book yet because everything feels so real.” It’s hard to believe that other people will read this as history. It makes me realize how change in a constant in our lives.  Maybe in past centuries someone born in a village could be assured that nothing would change in their lives there. People would be born, marry, die and their descendants would live exactly as they had.

 All that changed with the industrial revolution. Those same people moved to cities to get work. Trains took people to far away places, seeing things they never dreamed they would see. My great aunt was born in 1874. She was old when I knew her and told wonderful stories about her life. When she was young there were no automobiles, only gas lamps, no stores that sold read made clothing. She lived through the coming of electricity, cars, planes, radio, television, space travel… oh, and two world wars. What a life span!

 Now things are changing so quickly it’s hard to keep up. My nineteen sixties self would not understand any computer or social media terminology. “Sorry, got to go. Have to do my blog, check emails.  And then post to Insta. I hope there haven’t been any trolls on Facebook today.”

 Yesterday I was reminded of how swiftly change can take place. I went to our local mall to a pop up vintage sale in an empty store. One of many empty stores. The mall is due to close soon. When we first moved here in 1971 there was an outdoor shopping center with green spaces and a fountain. And elegant stores like City of Paris. It was a delightful place even if my budget in those days did not stretch to most of the clothing.

 Then they enclosed it, building anchor stores: Macy’s, Sears, Mervyns. And the chains came in: Gap, the Limited, Forever 21. It became a hang-out of the young. Meet you at the mall! A lively place with Santa at Christmas and the Easter bunny in the spring. And an outdoor skating rink. Then the demographics of the county changed. The young stayed home and texted each other or played video games. Sears and Mervyns vanished. Macy’s now has women, juniors, children and toys all on one floor and no sales assistant in sight. Then Covid killed it. Everyone got used to shopping online.

 So now it’s due to be pulled down and in its place a multi use area—apartment blocks with retail and restaurants on the ground floor. Green spaces and walking trails between buildings. A transit hub.  All good, I suppose. All part of the change we have come to expect. But sometimes I envy those people in the village, knowing what to expect from their lives.

 And I? I can look back on the good old days when I re-read my book.

 What are some of the most significant changes you have seen in your life?

62 comments:

  1. Technology has certainly created some significant changes . . . we watched NASA build a space program and land men on the moon; we've gone from party line telephones in our homes to cell phones in our pockets; these days, books can be downloaded onto electronic readers . . . . I'm certain everyone can add some technological achievement to that list. But, as you've noted, the malls are closing and shopping has changed from visiting stores to ordering things online. Change, for better or worse, is all around us . . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't like the way life has become more isolated. Kids text but don't talk. We order online because the items just aren't in the stores.

      Delete
    2. I totally agree . . . kids spend far too much time staring at screens . . . not all change is good, I guess . . . .

      Delete
  2. The late 1960s is historical, gasp?! (That was my first reaction to reading your post since I was born then).

    So many changes in my lifetime are related to technology.
    I remember learning to type on a baby blue manual typewriter at the age of 10.
    All my university term papers and essays in the late 1980s were done using a larger one.
    But hooray...I was able to type and save my thesis on a terminal connected to a mainframe computer at the University of Waterloo in 1990. Drafts were printed on huge industrial-sized dot-matrix printers.
    I then marvelled at having my own desktop IBM computer while working at Environment Canada in Toronto. It had Microsoft DOS for Windows and Microsoft Word! So many technical report drafts were written on that PC. But I still needed to use computer punch cards & FORTRAN to submit my requests for historical climate data from the building's giant mainframe computer.
    E-mail (Microsoft Outlook) and accessing the World Wide Web/Internet was in its early days.

    So many of these computer tasks can now be done on my HP laptop and/or Samsung Galaxy smartphone!

    Oh yeah, and the workplace demographics has changed in the Canadian federal government. When I started in 1986, I was one of 3 professional women working in a climatology division of 35 climatologists, meteorologists and computer programmers. In my last job position in 2016, there were a dozen female water resource engineers in the division of 30 staff. And the director-general (head honcho) was a woman!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grace, I was also thinking about learning to type on a manual typewriter. I was so excited when I got to use an electric typewriter with correction tape so I could avoid using white out. Carbon paper is a foreign concept to folks in today's world, never mind correcting multiple typed pages with copies and trying to get them realigned afterwards!

      In the early 1970s, my spouse at the time was into computers and introduced me to the different punch cards that had to be inserted to use the machine. And we thought that was top of the line research hardware. The first word processing program I used was in Word Star which I'm not even sure exists today. Now, it seems software changes so quickly that if you drop out for a year or so, the world has passed you by. -- Victoria

      Delete
    2. Agree about women in professions, Grace. When I was a kid, there was exactly one female doctor, and she was kind of a battleaxe - probably had to be to get to where she was. Now more than half of docs are women. Astronauts, police officers, electricians, CEOs. We're not at parity yet in some fields, but getting closer.

      Delete
    3. Yes, we are making progress slowly in some professions.
      What about pay equity!?
      I was lucky to be a member of a strong union and in a job classification (physical scientist) where I was paid exactly the same salary as my mostly male colleagues.

      Delete
    4. Lisa in Long BeachJuly 10, 2024 at 11:48 AM

      Same here, GRACE. I think not being in a hole paywise and having to fight that battle really frees you up to excel at your work.

      Delete
  3. When you asked for a significant change i my life, this was the first thing that came to mind -- perhaps not the most obvious, but one that continues to affect me in ways that are hard to explain. When I was a kid, I could go out at night, look up, and see a gazillion stars. Now, not so much.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think the biggest change is computers and miniaturization. When I was young, we looked things up in actual reference books and had only three channels of television that didn't have programming on 24/7. Telephones were for talking. Now we have the internet and everyone has a fast connected computer in their pocket at all times.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed. I tried to say the same thing in my long-winded reply above!

      Delete
  5. Do any of you remember punching cards with data and then feeding them all through a machine to read the results out? I can't even remember what it was called--so many big computer and tech changes!

    Rhys I agree with daughter Jane, this is a wonderful book that feels very real!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES! I mentioned doing this in my post above. I remember feeding in a set of computer punch cards into a machine to send in my request to access mainframe climate archive data. The data set was printed out by a huge dot-matrix printer down the hall.

      Delete
    2. Yes, for a required statistics course in grad school in about 1980. It was the only course I almost didn't pass! Just couldn't get my brain around those numbery concepts.

      Delete
    3. Computer programming with those cards and big machines is the only course that I failed.
      It was completely out of reach for me. I thought I could never use a computer but things changed rapidly and it became easier with personal computer.
      Danielle

      Delete
    4. I had to learn how to program in FORTRAN, COBOL and Basic while working at Environment Canada since the\databases and mainframe computers did not use the same system.

      Delete
    5. Susan Nelson-HolmdahlJuly 10, 2024 at 12:36 PM

      I was a software engineer in thr late eighties and early nineties. I know about card input, my Mom implemented several new computer systems in the school district where she was their Business Manager. These were the first computer systems installed.
      I went to law school when I was a software engineer. Now I am an Intellectual Property Attorney. Technology changes hourly for my clients.

      Delete
  6. I have mentioned staying at several SONDER hotels during the past year (Vancouver, Montreal).
    I have another 2 night reservation at SONDER Nashville in September.

    Numeric keypad building entry to main building, staffless lobby, same coded keypad for your suite. Never see any staff in person. Only communicate to them via phone txt or the Sonder app's chat function.

    Don't know if this type of hybrid Airbnb/hotel trend will become more popular in the future.
    Staying at these SONDER suites was a bit eerie & weird but very efficient. And much cheaper than a regular hotel.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Last one...I am going for a walk before the remnants of Hurricane Beryl arrives in Ottawa.

    After yesterday's comment about the memorable visit to East Berlin, I pulled out that photo album from the 2-month solo Europe trip.
    So many photos from my camera are low-resolution and blurry!

    Remember how we sent in rolls of film to be developed...and half the photos turned out crappy?
    Now we can take so much better quality photos using our smart phones. I have tens of thousands of photos saved on the cloud server & on my phone!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Cars: power steering, automatic windows, power brakes, power roofs on convertibles, power door locks, automatic gear shifts, stuff you don't think about all happened since 1950's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And heated seats and steering wheels for those of us living in cold country (Danielle)

      Delete
    2. Yes, seatbelts! I remember when they were an option, and only rich people could afford them! In the pre-seatbelt era, one of my sisters was in an accident in which she suffered a concussion and many broken bones, from being thrown all around the car. It was a long recovery. If that accident happened now, she would probably just suffer bruises.
      DebRo

      Delete
    3. And windshield washers! I remember driving a car without them. What a struggle it was having to pull over and clean the windshield in sloppy winter weather.

      Delete
  9. And planes. My first flight at age 3-1/2 was on a DC -7. No commercial jets in the 50's.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Cathy Akers-JordanJuly 10, 2024 at 7:49 AM

    You look so chic and groovy, Rhys!

    I was born in 1963 and feel like the biggest changes I’ve seen are technology and social media. I’m amazed when I think about the changes my grandparents saw in their lifetimes. They were born in the 1890s to poor Southern farmers. No electricity or indoor plumbing! They saw the creation of flight, the Great Depression, two World Wars, and the moon landing. Just amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  11. So many things just move forward on a continuum, but clothing styles seem to change in a circular fashion. Those boots will be back in style, Rhys.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My daughters were furious that I didn't keep all those clothes and boots.

      Delete
  12. Having spent a fair amount of time in hospitals over the years, I have literally watched procedures, equipment, and philosophies change in the medical field. As a young child I had pneumonia and ended up in the hospital in an oxygen tent where today you generally find oxygen either delivered via a mask or nasal cannula. Anesthesia has changed from ether (yuk) to something as quickly metabolized as Propofol. When first had a kidney stone broken up with lithotripsy, I was literally suspended in a tank of water and the loudest medical machine I've ever heard would periodically turn on as it focused shock waves through the water to points in the kidney to break up the stones. The last time I had this done, it was in a procedure room with a tiny and quiet machine. So many other changes, many for the good, but so many generate disposable items, vs cleaning and reusing a permanent item. It may be more sanitary, but it leaves us with so much more waste for the landfills. Perhaps the next generation will find a better solution to this disposable system. -- Victoria

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Medicine is amazing now. When I was a child we all had chicken pox, mumps, etc. Called them childhood diseases as if they were normal.

      Delete
    2. I was hospitalized for a week in 2022. I was amazed by the amount of laundry and garbage that was generated on a regular basis. Just the number of rubber gloves is mind boggling.

      Delete
  13. Fifty years is the standard for our federal historic preservation laws, Rhys. By that standard, even my baby brother (born 1962) is now historic--wait 'til I tell him! I knew my great-grandparents and great-great-Uncle Lafe--born in 1864, during the Civil War, his brother born 1877 and my great-grandmother born 1884. Some of the not-so-obvious changes I remember--lining up in school to get vaccinated for polio and other diseases as the miracle vaccines became available. Doctors with the training and the equipment to save two preemie babies (my brother and myself), and things like insulated windows (remember those single pane windows with frost patterns in the winter?), energy-efficient appliances, color TV.

    And yep, I remember the days pre-internet, pre-laptops and desk computers. At Ohio State, we had an entire building that housed the mainframe computer. You took your boxes of punched cards to the desk, then came back later and searched the bins for your results. And I remember when phone calls to the next town over were toll calls, so you had to be careful not to call too often or talk too long if you were a student on a budget!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You made me think that there were still multiple lines phone in the country when I was young. At my oncle’s home you could only answer if it was the right number of rings. And when you phoned , you could be almost sure that someone from an other home was spying your conversation. (Danielle)

      Delete
    2. Yes, Danielle! Party lines--if you wanted to make a call, you might pick up the receiver and hear your neighbor having a conversation.

      Delete
  14. Congratulations on the upcoming release of The Rose Arbor, Rhys!
    I was in grade school in 1968, and remember delivering films and film strips to different class rooms (a perk, like safety patrol, for well-behaved students). It was an exciting day when a class got to watch a movie. The technology was so different, and took so much longer (threading the film into the projector?) I think 1968 was the first year girls were allowed to wear pants to school, and my mom was finally able to wear pantsuits to her job as a children's librarian (the tunic had to be long enough that it covered the rear).
    1968 was a tumultuous year here in the US with the assassinations of MLK and RFK. Mike (my son's dad) was a senior at Sunset High in Beaverton. They worked for a long time on a "mock Democratic convention" (maybe Republican too, I don't remember). Oregon's primary was in May and RFK came on a visit and stopped at Sunset High. Mike got to shake his hand. RFK went on to campaign in California where he was killed a few days later.

    I remember those years as exciting and disturbing, with a sense that the world was going haywire... kind of like 2024, a runaway train on the way to an unknown and possibly dystopian future.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Rhys, that Mary Quant/Carnaby Street look was made for you! Clothing is one huge change; we used to dress up, stockings included, to leave the house, even for the grocery store, and we wore coordinating outfits and nice shoes to work. Nowadays people barely get dressed at all, wearing pajama pants and flipflops on planes, even. Also, we had far fewer clothing items then. A week's worth of underwear, a couple pair of shoes (church, school/work, play), a couple "good" dresses, and some play clothes or housework attire. Nothing like the immense closets full of clothing and shoes and handbags we have today.

    Medicine has evolved so much, as Victoria mentions. Covid reminded me of seeing photos of polio patients in iron lungs, a prison some would never escape. Penicillin shots (that HURT) in the butt when we were sick, delivered by the doctor himself making a house call, even in the middle of the night. In 1965 my mother had a terrible accident that crushed the lower half of her face. The early, rudimentary plastic surgery used then was a success, but took months longer to heal than it would today. Those with bad hips and bad knees just suffered; knee and hip replacements today are a miracle. My daughter was in Switzerland over the long weekend, and she sent me photos of a deep blue flower that sparked another memory. It was Blue Gentian, and when I was a kid my mom would give us tincture of Violet Blue Gentian to settle stomach flu. Does anyone else remember this, or taking paregoric? I took it for false labor when I was pregnant the last two times. Turns out it's made from opium!

    Yesterday I spent a couple of hours rounding up old photos, some from the 1950's, to finally scan electronically so I can share them with my kids. As Grace said, blurry and faded, and some curled from age. Thousands of them, some with double images because the film got exposed twice. Big changes from today's electronic photos, most of which can be taken--and improved--by your phone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John would not be alive now without advances in medicine. And I just had arthroscopic surgery on my knee, and walked out of there!

      Delete
  16. So many changes! I too grew up in the 1950's. We had one family car (no seatbelts), one landline phone. I loved that phone numbers were short for longer words like HE5-1123 or Hemstead.

    TV has been the biggest change. We had a large console with rabbit ears to get better reception. We only got three stations and our favorite was watching Disney every Sunday night.

    I had the first produced Barbie doll and we made all her stuff like her house, car and clothes from scratch. Later came Chatty Cathy who spoke when you pulled the string in the back of her neck.
    Later music became ever changing - starting with Buddy Holly and Elvis, then the Stones and Beatles, and on to Jimi Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison, etc. But the group that probably changed our community the most were the Beach Boys. Kids from the mid-west drove out to Hollywood, Santa Monica, and San Diego to experience the surfing life. Surfing was a big deal in our community and we lived a few blocks from the beach.

    But I think the most important & revolutionary changes were for vaccines, penicillin, and of course the discovery of the DNA molecule.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Lovely post. I suspect we are of an age, Rhys. Two months ago I celebrated my 50th college reunion. Seems like yesterday and I want my Landlubber, big bell, hip huggers, back (and the body that wore them, thank you).

    Changes, so many. Emails superseding handwritten correspondence. No more long distance operators and scheduling calls. TSA screenings instead of racing to the departure gate (where you went through the door, outside, and up a flight of portable stairs to the plane) carrying your carry on and not worrying that you hadn't eaten because meals would be served. Smoking in elevators (not a good thing, but it was a thing) to not smoking in any public place. Dressing to go to town. Gloves with dresses and gowns. Gowns. Who wears those anymore. Wedding china and sterling and knowing how to use all those forks and knives, dishes, and glassware. Yep. A lot has changed, but new is exciting, and just think, in fifty years time, todays young folks will be talking about the good old days. I wonder what their futures will bring!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I miss letters. My mother used to write to her mother once a week. My boyfriend used to write to me, even though we saw each other every weekend. Phone calls were too expensive.

      Delete
  18. In 1968 I was 10 years old, growing up in California. We had fire and earthquake drills at school. Now they have drills in case there is a person with a gun in the school.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel so sorry for kids, living with that fear all the time

      Delete
  19. when my grandmother died in the 1970s, I remember thinking how extraordinary the pace of change had been during her lifetime. She was born in the horse and buggy age and she lived to see a man walking on the moon. It seemed to me then that everything had changed during her lifetime. Now, I realize that I have lived through almost the same degree of spectacular change. There are vehicles in space traveling to the edge of our planetary markers and the cutting edge computer that took an entire floor of a building in the university I attended as a freshman is now on my wrist! if I sat down to quantify all the changes, I'm sure I would get dizzy. But when it's in your own lifetime, the changes sneak up on you and it's only looking back that you understand how profoundly human advancement and planetary change has affected your life and the well-being of the planet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember being shown the computer at the university of Kiel. They were so proud of it. We had to wear protective clothing and it took up a huge room.

      Delete
  20. I moved to my current hometown forty years ago. In that time I’ve seen farmland get sold off, buildings constructed on the former farmland, and the new buildings sold later on and new buildings get constructed on the land of the former “new” buildings.

    I’m always hearing about kids who can only tell time on digital clocks. A few years ago, my nephew and his wife were trying to reach their oldest child how to tell time the “old-fashioned” way. Mom had dinner in the oven, and asked the child to go into the kitchen and find out what time it was. Child poked her head into the kitchen, and yelled “Alexa, what time is it?”

    DebRo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In the pre-Uber days, a friend called for a taxi to the airport. She asked them to arrive at a quarter to 7. They said what time? She said a quarter to 7. They still didn’t understand. Finally she said in an hour. They said, oh you mean 6:45.

      Delete
  21. Lisa in Long BeachJuly 10, 2024 at 11:52 AM

    So many ghost malls out there. Glad yours is being redeveloped into something useful. We’ve had a lot of redevelopment here and the flats are 80-90% occupied, but the ground-level spaces are still empty because no one is going out to shop or eat.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Rhys, I thought exactly the same as Jane when I read The Rose Arbor! I felt as if I was living in 1968. And although I first came to live in the UK a decade later, so many things were still the same. The standard of living seemed shocking by my American life; the number of houses that still had outhouses at the bottom of the garden, my mother-in-law's two tub washing machine that had to be hooked up to the kitchen sink, the once a week baths, the shabby B&Bs... We couldn'a have imagined how much it would change in fifty years!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debs, when I was growing up in the 1950's my mom washed our clothes in a wringer washer hooked up to the kitchen sink. We spent all day around the kitchen table, keeping her company while the room steamed up, and we all danced to the pop music on the radio.

      Delete
    2. Karen, you had much more fun than I did with my m-in-l!! She was German, had survived the war as a refugee, and thought I was a spoiled American brat. Which I certainly was, by her standards.

      Delete
  23. As others have mentioned, in the field of medicine: access to vaccines to prevent most childhood diseases and other illnesses. Antibiotics to treat infections.
    Diagnostic techniques such as MRIs and CAT scans. Surgical options and drugs to cure or improve the lives of patients with chronic diseases.
    Genetic research allowing for the diagnosing and treating or preventing
    inherited conditions.
    Microwave ovens have made food preparation easier for those ‘“non-climate change” heat days.
    Some of the negatives have to include the proliferation of guns and the need for children to deal with the potential of their use.
    Although there is the internet with the access to any type of information, it has made it easier for students to look things up, but not always learning from what they find,
    You have more available opportunities to travel to other countries, but there seems to be less taught about these places and history in general.
    Other than Shakespeare, who is probably more well know because of the movie versions of his plays, the authors and books that were considered classics are seldom taught in public schools.
    Exposure to a wide variety of music is more limited. How many of you listen to a radio and what type of programming is available now (think podcast, talk radio little in the way of music)?
    In general, our lives have been enriched by access to most of the above.
    But there are also ‘the good old days’ when life moved at a slower pace and you could sit and appreciate life without feeling the need to look at your phone or emails or take advantage of all the
    new technology that is waiting for your response.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'm not quite historical (next year). In my lifetime, we've gone from typewriters to computers to laptops. And now smartphones. Things have really changed just in that front.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Well, shoot! My life span is historical now. I recently read a book which begins in 1967 and portrays how the Vietnam war affected small towns, the country, and the soldiers who fought. That was one reminder I did not need since I lived through it. The movie Forrest Gump pretty much paralleled our lives with its dateline. So much has changed I can't even fathom it!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I agree with the technological changes we’ve seen in our lifetimes. As noted above by many of you, the things we have seen are amazing and, hopefully, much of it for the good. (Though, as a person who never liked clothes shopping, I am really missing brick-and-mortar stores. You’d try something on and liked it, but maybe needed a different size. No problem, just get redressed - or maybe your mom or a friend was with you - and pop out for another size. Now you have to send it back and order a different size.)

    What I have been thinking about are the social changes that have taken place in just the last decade or so. It “only” took how many deaths before George Floyd’s murder really brought the Black Lives Matter movement to the forefront. And while I am very happy that LGBTQ people are no longer having to hide their identities and are being accepted for who they are, I am frequently using the wrong pronouns. I am having to learn but that’s a good thing.

    Rhys, I am very much looking forward to reading The Rose Arbor, set in my historic childhood years! — Pat S

    ReplyDelete
  27. Rhys, your post at the beginning of today’s blog is one of the most enjoyable things I’ve read recently. It certainly makes me want to read The Rose Arbor.

    I think the most significant change in my lifetime (born in 1951) has been the increased options for women. I remember looking for summer jobs while in high school and there being separate help wanted ads for my men and women. Fortunately by the time I graduated college and was looking for a professional job, this had changed.

    I was talking to a friend and we had noticed that women in the next generation have all kinds of jobs. As a chemist turned computer programmer, I was the anomaly. Most women my age were teachers, nurses, or librarians. Not that there’s anything wrong with those professions, but it’s nice that today’s women have more options.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Post covid, it seems to me that local change has accelerated to warp speed. Stores and restaurants closing. Malls getting repurposed.Looking at my town's tiny downtown all I see are ghosts--the stores ad restaurants that were once there.It's unsettling. (Rhys thanks for sharing your memories - as always your writing is transporting)

    ReplyDelete
  29. I'm so looking forward to Rose Arbor, Rhys. I love reading books set in the 50s and 60s, since that's when I grew up. Born in 1954, I was a kid and went into my teens, with just the first two years of the 70s finishing off my high school years. So much has changed. The black telephone with the round dial sitting on the telephone stand (which I now use as my end table in my bedroom). The stand came with a little bench you could pull out and sit on. No fast food places, but a hamburger joint and diner-like restaurants. Kindergarten in our basement, as my mother was the teacher, and there were only private kindergartens when I went, none in the public school. Going to our friends' houses and them coming to ours in the neighborhood on Christmas to see what each other had received, no texting pictures of putting what you got on FB or Instagram. Riding in the back of the station wagon in the seat that faced toward the rear, with no seatbelts. Playing outside most of the day in the summers. Black and white television, with only a handful of stations. Doctors would actually come to your house on a house call when you were sick. And, the all-important integration of schools. I was in the third grade when all white schools came to and end. The playgrounds with equipment that wouldn't halfway meet safety standards today.





    II




    ReplyDelete
  30. From Diana: My grandfather was born in 1899 and in the 1950s, he had to get these clunky hearing aids. Now someone losing their hearing can get these tiny hearing aids. Significant historical changes in my life ? Many things. Rhys..

    Started with Hearing Aid Box that I wore on my chest then Behind the ear hearing aids and now Cochlear Implants.

    Big heavy Teletypewriter Machine for the Deaf, then a portable Teletypewriter device for the Deaf then a pager and now cell phone / smart 📱 phones with a camera. Now I can send and receive texts on my smartphone instead of having to go through the relay service where an operator would voice for me and type for the other speaker. Unfortunately the operator did not always speak English, since these jobs were not well paid.

    Manual cameras to digital cameras to camera phones

    Audio phones to Video phones with FaceTime and Zoom.

    I remember train travel when I was a child. Flew on the Smile Plane ✈️ (PSA ?) from Oakland to Southern California to go to Disneyland. Flew on Pan Am for my first two travels abroad.

    New cars now have computers in the cars. When I tried to get my 1988 Volvo repaired, the new mechanics did not know how to fix it because they were more familiar with newer cars that have computers.

    When I was a baby, there were several grocery shops called the Co-op. By the time I started University, they went out of business and were replaced by Andronico’s. To my surprise, when I was in Thatcher England, they still had a Co-op in Oxford. No idea if it is still there.

    We are more aware about climate change now. Though there was some awareness when I was a child because I had a teacher who was passionate about the environment.

    ReplyDelete
  31. And I look forward to reading Rose Arbor, Rhys. Your stories transport us back in time. Diana

    ReplyDelete
  32. Rhys, you look wonderful in that photo--the epitome of 1968 and Swinging London! I remember desperately wanting a pair of white boots like that, but in 1968, I wasn't old enough to buy them for myself, and my mother thought they were silly and impractical (well, of course they were!) You've all come up with so many changes we've seen. I wanted to add something I don't think anyone has mentioned: remember mimeograph machines with their purple ink and how good the papers smelled when you passed the handouts around the class?

    ReplyDelete
  33. Pretty much the same as yours. I graduated from college in 1969. I left for the Peace Corps a few weeks later. I look at the countries I traveled to and the plans I had to travel home and everything is different. There were still remote areas with little Western influence. Even well traveled aeas in the Philippines where I was assigned maintained their culture. Today it is all pretty westernized and the culture being diluted. The same is true in much of the world. In 1971 when I was traveling home, I could not go to Cambodia to visit Angkor Watt due to the Vietnam war. Of course Laos and Vietnam were also off limits. Today, all are prime places to visit. The Middle East was a wonderful place to visit with most countries open, welcoming, and relatively safe. Today, not so much. These are only some of the changes. There are so many more, many not for the better.

    ReplyDelete