I know it sounds cliché, but I’ve got to get it off my chest. I miss the good old days.
Were people really kinder when times were slower, or is my aging memory fading the harsh colors of reality into softer, gentler images?
Here’s my point, which I think may be undeniable; people had more time for and with each other before the barrage of 24-hour newscasts, sportscasts, movie channels and reality television. People had more silence and fewer disruptions before the cell phones became the most necessary item to carry with you at all times with their jingling or sometimes jarring tunes announcing an undoubtedly urgent call, or a beep or buzz announcing a new text message of vital importance.
My grandmother’s family and a few friends seeking diversions, used to gather around the piano in the parlor. Grandma played the ivory keys while her father and brother coaxed lively tunes from their fiddles. They weren’t professional musicians, just farmers. Camaraderie, laugher, and shared endeavor could all be regularly found in that small parlor of an evening.
My parents used to gather with their respective families around the family radio for the broadcast of Only the Shadow Knows, or another favorite radio show. Intent listening, respectful silence and vivid imagination were all required in that living room of an afternoon.
We always had a television as far as I can remember. It was a big bulky thing that made an awful buzzing noise when my parents turned it on. The screen lit up with random horizontal lines struggling to form themselves into a coherent image. It turned off in the same fashion—static noise and lines ending with a final pop. We received three major networks all of which signed off sometime in the evening. When something monumental was happening in the world, you waited until the evening newscast with Walter Cronkite to hear about it.
There was no popping in a DVD of Jungle Book to entertain a sick and sleepless child in the wee hours of the morning. What did our grandmothers do with their sick children in the middle of the night? Did you ever wonder about that?
Human interaction, I suppose.
I do believe people were different when things were different. But not always and only for the best. I don’t have to attempt to list for you all the things that are better now because of modern technology.
I just think we make a mistake if we assume that nothing was lost.
Even so, I for one am not now, and likely never will be, willing to part with my laptop and I-pad.
We march on.
Copyright © 2011 by Christine M. Grote