While cruising along a highway on Google Earth’s street view, I was overcome with how easy it is to do pretty much anything these days. I am going on a road trip and I wanted to see what the side road looked like, so I went online and looked at it. In the same sitting I could find out how long the trip would take and even look at the amenities along the way. Thanks to technology I can let my GPS guide me and if it fails, I can turn to my smartphone. Gone are the days of pulling over to read a map! There are so many things in life that are different now than they were when I was a kid. Here are some things that were once normal for my generation that my children will never understand.

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  1. Sitting in one place to have a phone conversation, because it was the only option.
  2. Busy signals. Call waiting meant you kept calling and waiting until they got off the phone and got your call.
  3. Looking up phone numbers in the phone book.
  4. Answering machines with mini tapes.
  5. Black and white televisions.
  6. Changing the channel by turning a dial.
  7. Watching television shows at a specific time only, on the only television in the house.
  8. Mixed tapes.
  9. The art of folding a road map.
  10. Microfiche.*
  11. Using card catalogues to find a book in the library.
  12. Having to go to the library to do research.
  13. Cranking the car windows up and down.
  14. Renting a VCR so we could rent a movie.
  15. Writing letters on pretty stationary and mailing them to people.
  16. Reading the newspaper and watching the 6pm news to find out what’s happening in the world.
  17. Filling out deposit and withdrawal slips at the bank.
  18. Paying for in store purchases with cheques.
  19. Knocking on a friend’s door when you wanted to talk to them.
  20. One memory I have from grocery shopping as a young child, I know we will never see again. Our local grocery store handed out red pencils/crayons to customers. We used them to write the price of the product on each item as you took it off the shelf. The cashier entered each amount into her cash register when we were checking out, so it was basically on the honour system that the price you wrote was correct. I loved writing the prices down! This is probably something that only happened in small towns, but it’s a fun memory.

What would you add to the list?

*Since more than one person commented about not knowing what microfiche is, I will try to explain. Newspaper articles, research documents, magazine articles, etc. were recorded on film, kind of like slides, that you then put into a reader (looked like a computer) and read. We used microfiche for research when I was in college in the early 90’s.



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Sheri McDonald is a family lifestyle blogger who has been sharing her parenting and travel adventures online for the past eight years. You can find her discovering the world with her children when she's not at home enjoying a good book.


Lifestyle Blogger. Traveler. Writer. Social Media Marketer. @SunwingVacay #Kidcations Expert Panel. Member of ITWA @PTBAssoc IG: familyenroute
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