Changing Times

Milk deliveries 1959 Edinburgh Comely Bank photo credit©  Al Lorentzen, Inverness, Illinois, USA (formerly based at RAF Kirknewton, near Edinburgh)

One of the words that has changed dramatically, even since my parents’ generation, is ‘high’.

They would have referred to a high mountain or described a kite as flying high.

Now we have abbreviations such as hi-tech, hi-vis, hi-fi and wi-fi. Where is it all going in such a rush?

We were the last generation to be taught by rote, to chant tables and learn rhymes to memorise names and dates and even the colours of the rainbow.

We may have gone ‘googly eyed’ over a film star but we didn’t rely on ‘googling’ facts and figures.

We still had newsreels in cinemas and bought a newspaper. We posted letters and waited for a reply.

We cooked on a stove, washed up in a bowl and washed clothes in a dolly tub. What would Mother have made of the modern kitchen where the ping of the microwave is heard over the gushing dishwasher competing with the swirling, whirling washing machine. Can we even hear the children laughing any more?

Tablets were swallowed. A mouse was not made welcome. A keyboard played music.

As children, we had mishaps, and Mother often said ‘perhaps’. Now we have WhatsApp and can download an App whenever we feel the need for something new.

Yet, for all my nostalgia, I don’t doubt that I would miss a lot of the technology that we rely on today.

I speak to my family and can even see them on the screen although they are many miles away across the flat landscape of East Anglia. I can see photos and videos that were taken just a minute ago.

I see my grandson enjoying the paddling pool, even before his hair is dry. I see images of my granddaughters dancing in the rain, even as the rainbow still arcs above them.

I speak to my friend in the Midlands as she watches a storm from her window. She turns the screen and I can watch it too.

Do you remember the anxious wait after a reel of film was taken to the chemist? Would the photos develop safely? Was that precious moment recorded for posterity or lost forever?

Now I might receive a hundred images of a special occasion and keep the five best ones. The rest will disappear with a press of the delete key. Where do they go, all those excited faces, all those walks on a foreign beach, all those memories discarded like dust? Perhaps they are with the scissor grinder and the rag and bone man.

And where was I looking when postman parked up his bicycles and got a van, and milk floats went the way of the baker’s horse?

Yet here I sit, guilty as the next person, betraying my roots, writing this on my laptop to send to hundreds of readers at the press of one key, and no plan again today to go out and buy a new quill.

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1 Comment

  1. Many’s the time I took a fil to be developed and paid for photographs of my thumb or my feet. I still haven’t got into the habit of photographing everything as my children do. (By the time I’ve found my mobile and opened the camera the moment has usually passed anyway.)

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