Things that have changed in my lifetime (a lot, if you consider how ancient I am)

A new post on Rainy Saturday this week brought back a lot of memories of the olden days. You know, back when we walked uphill to school both ways IN PYJAMAS.

If you’re my age (by which I mean POSITIVELY ANCIENT) then you remember mix tapes. If you’re under the age of dinosaur, then you’re probably going, WTF? (You know, back in my day, we didn’t have the saying WTF. I don’t even remember what we said. Maybe Ye Gods or Gadzooks.)

I post this just to embarrass my brother. Because I’m not the one wearing grey socks with sneakers. Muwhahahaha. (Also, note the style of the sneakers: high tops. Very chic back in the day.)

Back when I was knee high to a grasshopper we didn’t have MP3s. Or even CDs. We had cassette tapes. When you went into a music store, you bought a cassette tape, not a CD. Or, if you were super-thrifty, you bought blank cassettes and listened to the radio. When an awesome song was on, you hit record. Not too early, or you had the announcer’s voice. Not too late, or you missed the first notes of the song. And you couldn’t go ANYWHERE because you had to press stop before you got the announcer’s annoying voice again.

As a result, the music of my youth involved lots of clicks and glitches. But it was next to free, so it was all good. I really cleaned up during the year end countdowns; New Year’s involved sitting in front of my tape player, waiting for Number 1.

So what other things have changed in my lifetime?

My Waist – Back when I was 7, I had a model’s waist. True story! Now… not so much.

Pre-Debit Banking – When I was an early teen, I opened my very first account and actually got a BANK BOOK. You went to the bank and got it updated instead of logging online to see how many pennies were in your account (or if your direct deposit went in at midnight). We used cheques. Not debit cards. Cheques. And when you went shopping, you always double-checked to make sure they had Interac because it was so rare, only a few places had it.

No Helmet Biking – My parents were pretty careful with us. You know, turning in the pot handles, not letting us play with matches, etc. But when I was young, we biked without helmets. I was still in mid-elementary school, I think, when health people started promoting helmets as a way to keep your noggin from getting hurt. Now you do NOTHING without helmets. (Oh, the influences of the Nanny state… )

Babies on Laps – Nowadays, you’d get hung if you let a baby go in a car without the proper seat but there were a few times I drove in the car on someone’s lap. True story. It ended when a motorcycle hit my parents’ car. I was a’ight though. My tongue was not. Lesson learned. From then on, ol’ Julie went in a baby seat. (This is one way in which the Nanny state was spot on. Come to think of it, helmets are pretty groovy too.)

Catch Phrases – Catch phrases can’t stay the same. Fair enough. After all, they wouldn’t be cool any more. But I can still remember saying the following:

  • “That was mint.”
  • “Psych!”
  • “Like, whatever!”
  • “You’re cool. Not.”
  • “Did I do that?” <—– needs to be said in geeky Urkel voice
  • “I’ll be back.” <—— needs to be said in cool Austrian accent
  • “Shawiiiing!” (Just creepy that I said it when I was young.)

Neon – I don’t look good in neon yellow, neon pink, neon orange, or neon green, but you can bet that when I was in elementary school, I wore EVERYTHING in neon. Remember those black sunglasses with neon arms? Had those. Neon shirts, neon sneakers. I think I know where my high school love of black came from…

Little Girls Dressed Like Little Girls – When I was a little girl, I dressed like a little girl. I didn’t wear make up until I hit the big school. Nowadays, with the hypersexualization of our young folk, little girls are more apt to be wearing miniatures of adult clothes. As a child, I wore pigtails and frills and Mary Janes. I still wear the Mary Janes. (Frills just make me look fat.)

Clothes – Okay, so these change too. But some of the trends I’ve worn are unusual to say the least. The following trends I have, um, followed:

  • fanny packs
  • stretch stirrup pants
  • army boots with beaded safety pins
  • overalls with one strap undone
  • silk button up shirts
  • duckies (not shoes, not boots but something in between)

Soap – You’re thinking, soap is soap, right? Well, back when I was in high school, someone thought we needed more liquid soap, so they started marketing body wash and bath poufs. And now there’s as many body washes as there are soaps. If you ask me, “body wash” is really the same thing as “foam bath” except for the marketing. (In other words, I buy it.)

McDonalds pizza – There was a time when McDonalds made pizza. And it was pretty darn good. As a kid, I loved having the option of something other than a Big Mac or McNuggets. Even now, I wish they still had the pizza to go along with their awesome Caesar salad. Kids, you missed out. I can’t even describe McDonalds pizza and do it justice.

Pay Phones – I don’t think you could find a pay phone in the country to save your life. Literally. When I was little, and you needed to be picked up, you didn’t call someone on your cell phone. You found a quarter and called someone who cared. I mean, even Springfield and New Germany each had a payphone. (Though if you were really lucky, someone might come along with a bag phone!)

Word Processing – I didn’t have my first word processing computer until I was in high school. It had an orange and black screen, and I printed everything off on a dot matrix printer. Before then, I used a typewriter. I thought I was a millionaire when I finally got my own Smith Corona with self-correcting ribbon (though the imprint of the letters was always there, no matter how many times you corrected it). I still have it. Do I use it? No. Will I ever throw it away? NEVER.

Well, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this meander down memory lane. Now to get my Minard’s Liniment.


16 Comments Add yours

  1. gregbeau says:

    Ha! I was thinking about this subject last night for some reason. I remembered buying something and paying for it with Visa or Mastercard in the days when they didn’t have online transaction processing. The store would take your card, stick it in an imprint machine, cover it with a carbon multipart slip, and slide an imprint of the card name and number onto the slip, which you then signed. Also, you might remember they had booklets that they checked before the transaction looking for bad or deadbeat card holder accounts! Unreal.

  2. Dan says:

    I remember the days a time my cousin and I shared the front (and only) seat in my uncle’s Corvette. And let’s not forget “snap bracelets”. Last night at work we were discussing Bridgewater’s booming past: 2 malls (both with arcades). Then there we POG. I actually caught myself one night a few months ago watching old 80s and 90s commercials on YouTube.

    1. Julie says:

      Bridgewater has definitely changed… even New Germany used to support a couple of grocery stores, a general store, and a Stedmans. Two hardware stores. And of course, two drive in theatres. Where does time go?

  3. Amanda W says:

    I didn’t feel that old until now. 😉 There was one time that made me feel really old and I try to forget it. I had asked my 9 or 10 yr old niece (at the time) where her ghetto blaster was. She looked at me like I had 2 heads and said “huh?”.

    1. Julie says:

      Oh, man, ghetto blasters! And Walkmans! (Do kids even know what a Walkman is?) I thought I was really living high on the hog when I got a DISCMAN! Darn thing skipped though every time you bumped it. Lol.

  4. Julie says:

    I recall those old contraptions! They were pretty much phased out, though, by the time I started “using” though the occasional one was broken out if the system was down.

    I also remember when going to the grocery store took a long time because the cashiers keyed in every price. Of course, there were less price checks because everything had a price tag… lol.

  5. gregbeau says:

    Yes, grocery stores back then had to put a price on every single item. You would see the clerks stocking the shelves with the cases of cans or whatever in the aisle and before they shelved them they would price each one individually with a sticker gun. Here’s a real tester though: before they began using the little paper price stickers on each item they used to use an inked stamping machine! You’re really old if you remember those. The paper stickers were an improvement except that the devious would replace them with cheaper ones from an adjacent item. 🙂

    Here’s another one that boggles the mind. I remember up until the mid-70s that people could smoke while shopping in grocery stores. Can you believe it? I remember that the Dominion Store on Quinpool Road (where McDonalds is now) allowed it. I recall chatting with a classmate of mine in high school who was waiting in the checkout line with her mom and they were both smoking cigarettes. Different times.

    1. Julie says:

      Yuck, I remember going to the mall, buying clothes, and having to come home and wash them ASAP because they reeked of cigarette smoke. Going to the Swiss Chalet on Kempt Road meant sitting in the non-smoking section but still choking over the fumes from the smoking section. Some things change for the better.

    2. Lol..I grew up in just outside “Bridgewatah” in the sixties and seventies, and everyone smoked wherever they wanted too. People smoked in stores, in cars, in cars with seven kids, in parks, maybe even at the doctors office or while chaperoning a school dance. I can’t remember noticing that but it would not surprise me if it happened. No one thought anything of it. Seeing some one smoke was as natural as seeing someone drink a can of pop.There were even candy cigarettes for kids. Despite loving candy cigarettes , I grew up to be a non-smoker.

  6. Mark Dykeman says:

    I had almost totally forgotten about McDonalds Pizza.

    I remember only having black and white TV (and country cable) until I was in my late teens.

    I remember the great “VHS vs. Betamax” debate.

    I remember ancient dial-up modems.

    I remember my first summer job, working off a PC that had two 5 1/4 floppy drives… and no hard drive.

    Oh, and I remember when people used to smoke in the office… a year or two before it was banned.

    1. Julie says:

      I still have country cable… lol. But at least now I can pick a few things off the internet! 🙂

      It wasn’t that long ago that renting a video was a real treat.

      Those dial up modems were so darn noisy. Everyone in the neighbourhood knew you were trying to get online.

      And the big floppies? I thought they were cool compared to the tape deck I used on my brother’s old VIC 20. Oh man, we’ve come a long ways from that to the iPad!

  7. Mark Dykeman says:

    I had the VIC 20 and the Commodore 64 with the tape drive… I remember typing in programs by hand… while I was walking uphill (both ways, to school and home) five miles daily. 😉

    But the real low point: I remember making audio tapes of both TV and songs on the radio by setting a portable tape recorder beside them and recording that way. Hiss, hum and background noise FTW!

    1. Julie says:

      Hmm, never tried taping the TV that way… I’m sure the quality wasn’t very good. I guess that’s why the music industry didn’t get antsy until MP3s with almost flawless sound started being passed around on Napster and Limewire and whatever the kids are using nowadays.

      My Vic 20 days came to an end when the E on my keyboard broke and I couldn’t type in commands any longer. Something required the E, so I was up the creek; I had to resort to those big discs you shoved in the back of the machine. You know, the ones you had to blow the dust off of. Haha.

      1. Mark Dykeman says:

        I used to tape and save audio recordings of original Star Trek episodes that way… but yeah, horrible.

        I have a vague recollection of the need to blow dust off discs…

  8. Hey Julie,

    Great post!

    Making casette tapes was the best! Even though it took soooo long and you had to time it perfectly, in the end, you strutted to school, casette in hand, bragging about your latest ‘mix.’ Especially the themed ones; breaking up songs, dance songs, only girl bands, only Canadian bands…yeah. Good times. Good times.

    I’m proud to say I have a casette player in my car and a rotary phone in my house. *shakes cane* That new fangled technology ain’t gonna get me.


    1. Julie says:

      I would LOVE a rotary phone! I haven’t found one yet because they seem to price them quite high at places like Value Village.

      My favourite tapes were singing tapes, loaded with all the ballads I could find. Oh baby!

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