When I was a kid, we had to entertain ourselves with limited sources. We didn’t have electronics or the internet. Heck, we didn’t even have computers. Well, I guess there were a couple of them in Phoenix, but they took up a whole floor and were mainly for figuring electric bills or payroll. I remember seeing one on a field trip when I was eight or so. It was as interesting as the huge vats of milk at the dairy. Big, metallic, and of no use to me (ever, or so I thought).
if I wanted to know something, I asked Mom. I guess I was overly curious
or maybe she was just tired of my perpetual ‘but why?’ replies to her
answers. When a door-to-door salesman came to our house offering
encyclopedias (Encyclopedia Americana, I think), she and my dad signed
up for a set. I remember the red binding with gold lettering...and that
it was outrageously expensive.
When it was too hot to go outside or I
was tired of picking on my little brothers, I’d pick out one of the 20
or so volumes. I'd go through it page by page, ‘surfing’ the mostly
black and white pictures, stopping to read whatever struck my fancy.
Countries were boring, but animals and some of the plants were pretty
cool. Not enough color, though.
We had never heard of karaoke, but
we did have a record player. We made up our own dances to the sounds of
Oklahoma, West Side Story, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake or (oh, so cool) we
sang Harry Belafonte songs. Day-O at the top of our lungs was always a
We did have a television, one of the few on the block. It
was a little black and white ‘portable’ which meant it was on a rolling
cart so it could be moved from room to room. I didn’t know anyone who
had…gasp…two TVs! And color television was little more than a rumor.
According to the encyclopedia (I looked) color was available, but the
only stations that broadcast in color were on the east coast. Good old
Scottsdale, Arizona had four TV stations at the time. They only
broadcast from early morning to midnight or so, sometimes later on
Fridays and Saturdays. And always in black and white.
Yes, we had
‘the classics’: Legos, TinkerToys, Lincoln Logs, yoyos, toy trucks, baby
dolls, and even the latest: Barbie! Everything was static, though. If
it moved, it was because of me. I had to pull the doll’s string or turn
the key on the wind-up car to make it move. Battery-operated toys: I
can’t remember any.
Fifty years plus later, so much has changed.
What will it be like in 2065 for my granddaughters? Maybe SegWays and
hoverboards will replace bicycles and skateboards. I’m (pretty) sure
that electronic games will still be around. Maybe new homes will come
with holo-decks like on Star Trek? What do you think?
Want to see the future through another’s eyes? Check out The Great Big Fairy. See the 21st century through an 18th century female slave’s eyes. Is she overwhelmed? Wouldn’t you be?