Recently I saw an ad for a man’s necktie and thought how attractive it was. Then I realized that men hardly wear neckties anymore, except for special occasions (or like being on TV). Business casual has become the norm for many in the workplace and actually the rest of the world is also quite casual now.
That led me to think about other things that have nearly or literally disappeared from our world. Do you remember the eight-track tape and player? It was our first way (along with cassettes) to play music without a record, but you can’t find them anywhere. Also, the boom box is gone. That was about two feet wide and played cassettes and had a radio. In the 1980s, every self-respecting teenager had this portable device.
Then there was the video cassette. You could rent them at stores, which I guess you can still do now, but need a special player to play it through your TV. We still have a lot of those along with wrestling tapes that we videoed during our children’s high school days. Some of those I have actually put on a CD disc because the player for those cassettes doesn’t work anymore, so we can’t use any of them.
I mentioned records. Go back even a few more years to those staples of the ‘30s, ‘40s ‘50s and ‘60s. When I was growing up, the 45 record was what we collected. As soon as it came out, everyone went to the store to buy their favorite new song and play it on the small record player. We also took our collections to parties to share for the evening – no DJs then. Even before that, my parents enjoyed the 33 1/3 and 78 rpm records, which were three times the size of the 45.
When we were married in 1967 our wedding was recorded and pressed into a record. (Of course, there was no video.) I guess we still have it somewhere, but I’m not able to play it now because record players are mostly gone from this world.
Another mainstay when I was growing up was the drive-in burger joint. Frisch’s was one of the places we went at the end of a date or on a Sunday afternoon. Frost Top in Marysville was also a drive-in located where Benny’s is now. The carhop would come out, take our order and bring it to the car on a metal tray attached to the window. My family’s tradition was always go out to eat in the car right after purchasing it. That seems almost crazy now. One chocolate milkshake spilled on the fabric seats would be such a mess. I don’t recall that happening, though.
I love to take pictures of our family and friends and do it frequently now with my iPhone. Before that I had a digital camera with the removable disk from which we had pictures printed. Even before that was a camera with film. I haven’t seen film in a long time. The Journal-Tribune quit using film more than 15 years ago and is all digital now with much better quality.
Then there’s the home telephone or landline. I heard the story recently of a young child who saw a dial phone with a cord pictured in an old movie. He asked his grandparents what that was. When I grew up there was a dial phone and when I was a teenager the pushbuttons came in. We thought that was wonderful. Following that, cordless phones allowed you to walk all over the house making everything more mobile. Now many don’t even have a home phone line. I chose to have it just in case, but I’m not sure for what.
More than 20 years ago computers came into our lives in a big way for home use. They had been used in industry for many years. That was pretty much the end of the typewriter, but the typing skill is still important, apparently so important that our schools now think teaching cursive writing is not important. Along with the typewriter, carbon paper is a thing of the past. Now we just make as many copies as we want with our printer connected to the computer!
While some items are disappearing, others that have been around for eons are enduring, like bicycles, which have been around for more than 150 years (with some modifications). Fireworks existed 2,000 years ago in China and not only are they still here, but also are bigger and better. What about the hot-air balloon, still is so popular here in Union County? It was flown 150 years ago.
Now you will probably think of 20 more things no longer used in your life. It seems that with technology the world has changed more in the last 50 years than ever before in our history. So we’ve had to adapt quickly. All is good!
(Melanie Behrens – firstname.lastname@example.org)
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