7 Things We Did Growing Up that Our Children Would Never Understand

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Remember those conversations you had with your grandparents, back when you were a child, where they told these fantastical tales about things my generation would never experience or see a need for. Like, walking 20 miles to school … in the snow … uphill … shoeless. Or running into gypsy bandits that lived in the woods near their houses or even sitting around the radio to listen to your favorite shows?

As crazy as all of that sounded (exaggeration aside), I’m pretty sure the things I grew up doing as a Gen Xer would sound equally ridiculous to my own children. Yes, I imagine these are the yarns I will spin as my kids grow up and they have kids of their own.

“Well, youngin’s, you think you’ve got it tough with your Facebook and your Google and your iParaphernalia? Why, in my day, we had to …”

1. Work a car with our own two hands. Sure, people in the old old days didn’t have automatic transitions, or steering for that matter, but do you know what my generation had to do? We had to pull up the locks with our fingers!!! And that’s not all, if you wanted a breeze or to let out an odor or some cigarette smoke (oh, everyone smoked in my day, even the kids), you had to turn a crank around and around and around to simply open the window a crack. And don’t get me started on positioning the seat!

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Also, there was no guarantee you would make it out alive as seat belts were merely suggested and you were allowed to sleep along the ledge of the back windsheild or sit in the front middle seat, by the time you were talking. Not that you had a proper car seat leading up to that point anyway. No, the only thing between you and a windshield was your mom’s outstretched arm.Thanks mom.

2. Turn the channel. Oh, kids … you think rolling down the window seems exhausting? Try lumbering over to the television. EVERY TIME you want to change the channel. I kid you not, the channels were located on the set … and there were only 13 of them! And only like four of them had anything worth watching!

And sometimes you had to walk to the TV across a shag carpet that shocked you as you shuffled! That’s right, an actual electric shock!

And you HAD to watch all the commercials!

And if the show you were watching didn’t get good reception, you may have to adjust the bunny ears or just stand there and hold them for the duration of the show, because the TV inevitably worked better when you were touching (or near) the antenna, to ensure you never got to sit back down.

And if you did eventually get cable and a remote, it probably had a wire connected to the TV that everyone tripped on as they entered the room. And it only had like 2 buttons (up and down) so you had to go through each channel to get to the one you wanted orrrrr, your remote had a turn dial that rotated, kind of like a rotary phone except it didn’t rotate back at you. What do you mean, what’s a rotary phone? Sheesh, forget it. Why don’t you just go watch the Disney XD on your iPhone or something?

3. Put a needle on the record. Sooooo, they used to have these big round disc-like things called records. Maybe you’ve seen one in a YouTube video where someone is DJ’ing. They were like super-sized CDs. I’m sorry, you don’t know what that is? Umm DVDs? Sure, we can say Blu-rays if it makes you happy. Anyhoo, you had an arm with a needle that had to be placed on the record to play a song, but you had to be super careful when you put it on because the slightest pressure could scratch the whole thing. You know, like the way you have to use your Sonicare toothbrush — gently and let it do all the work?

Now, if you were really adept at record playing, you could find the right groove for any song you wanted to hear. Oh, and you know how your speakers are the size of a Q-tip? Mine were the size of furniture. In fact, they took up most of my room. Actually, one speaker doubled as my bedside table and the other speaker doubled … as my bed.

4. Answer the phone.  We had to actually answer the phone because we had no idea who the heck was calling us, there were no special rings or caller IDs or screens that pop up on your TV or announce the caller. It was horrible. Imagine always having to pick up the phone and never knowing who would be lurking on the other line. Maybe it was someone for your mom or a video store reminding you that your movies were overdue. You were always hoping it was one of your BFFs or better yet, your crush, who could’ve looked up your number in the Yellow Pages (we’ll get to that).

Plus, when you did answer you were stuck within a 6ft radius of the phone’s location. No, it wasn’t because you got bad reception … the phone was stuck to the wall and you were stuck to the phone by a coiled cord that no matter how far you stretched it, you couldn’t seem to reach the place you wanted to be. I know, it’s the stuff of nightmares. Wait until I tell you about the advent of the answering machine and those tiny cassette tapes!

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5. Handle a 35 mm camera. Listen up kiddos, we didn’t have the luxury of just picking up our phone and snapping a shot to then post to Instagram or Facebook when we wanted to capture a moment and share it with the world. No, it took time and thought … and precision. First, we had to load our cameras by pulling negative film from a roll and getting the teeth to take hold.

No, they weren’t real teeth, Einstein.  Of course that’s assuming we had the right speed of film.

No, the film didn’t actually move, sheesh.

Can I go on?

We were very specific about the pictures we would take because frankly, we had a finite amount, usually like 18 or 24.  Well, 36 if you were really rich. Plus, you had to simply cross your fingers that you looked good because you may not get to see your pic for a month … or ever!

Why?

Because they had to be developed by creepy people who worked in little free standing booths in parking lots and played Dungeons and Dragons. Of course sometimes they got exposed and basically you could then kiss your memories of your Disney vacation or your birthday goodbye.

6. Use a map. Maps were how we pretty much got anywhere far or got lost trying to get there. You see, we didn’t have those fancy shmancy GPS systems that log traffic, offer alternate routes, and have a lovely chipper voice command. No, we had massive papers that seemed to keep unfolding and unfolding and unfolding with tons of tiny lines on them, that remind me of the backs of my once sexy legs. We had to use our fingers to plot a course that would get us to our destination and you could lose your place in the blink of an eye, which is why the voice of the person giving directions wasn’t lovely or chipper at all. It was the snappy, yelly, frustrated voice of one of your parents, who would have no problem turning around and slapping you half way through the trip if you interrupted them, gave your opinion, or sang along with your Sony Walkman with too much fervor.

Oh, and there was no alert you when you went off-course. That’s what one toothed gas attendants in the middle of nowhere were for!

7. Look things up manually. See my adorable little imps, we didn’t have a massive database like the Internet at our fingertips. No, we read things that were made from trees. They called those things books and there was a whole section of them that were considered references. They included books like dictionaries, encyclopedias and thesauruses … thesauri? Damn it, I’ll have to Google the plural of thesaurus later, but you get the point.

We found these reference sections in places called libraries where a man named Dewey Decimal was king.

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There we didn’t buy books, we simply shared them with other people and got their book cooties. We even got information for reports and school papers from those reference books I mentioned earlier and none of them started with Wiki. In fact, I once got an encyclopedia set for a birthday present (yeah, we didn’t get fun things back then like X-Boxes because knowledge was expensive).

Anyhoo, Nana (my mom) bought it in two installments – the first half and second half of the alphabet. But we couldn’t afford the second half, because like I said, encyclopedias were like a million dollars and do you know what happened? In sixth grade, I had to do a report on Switzerland and I failed because I only had A through M. And no one wanted to drive me to the library because it was so annoying to put the key in the door or manually open the locks.

Damn you Jane Lewis for getting Madagascar!

So, children: Don’t come crying to me when you forget to charge your iPad or a lightning storm affects the satellite TV because, now you see how tough my generation had it growing up.

Related post: 10 Ways Our Parents Had It Way Easier Than We Do

About the writer

@SuburbanJungle

Jenny Isenman AKA Jenny From the Blog is the humorist behind The Suburban Jungle. A card carrying Gen Xer and columnist at Huff Po and The Stir, her goal is to you keep herself sane and to teach dolphins to read. She is failing at both. Join the insanity on Facebook and Twitter.

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Brenna 10 hours ago

Ah man im 29 and this makes me feel old…..i remeber busting off the dial to the tv in our family room. It went up to 35, but there were only 7 channels. Only 4 came through. We would use anything to change it….chopstick, pencil, fork…that last one gave a shock once in a while but we were dead set on saturday morning cartoons, lol! Technology has come a long way in my lifetime!

angel phelps 6 months ago

i knew when i had a little black and white tv that was really small

Eliza 7 months ago

My dad had his set of encyclopedias that were given to him as a high school graduation present (such a fun gift for an 18 year old boy, right?!) and they were from 1964…that is what I had to use in the mid-80s if I didn’t make it to the library to do my research. Because, you know, it would be the night before the assignment was due, and I’d have “forgotten” to do the assignment. I always fudged the dates in the bibliography because I was too embarrassed to put the actual date!

Jennifer 7 months ago

How about full service gas stations! Driving over “dinger” to kept them know you’re there. Oh, and when EVERYTHING was closed on Sundays and holidays! It is sad that I’m 43 and now I am saying “the good ol days “!!

Emily Reynolds 8 months ago

What about those early gigantic computers with the orange and black or green and black screens? Our first computer was a “Texas Instruments” where you could write your own code to make a Pong-type game. The external hard drive was actually a machine that played specially sized cassette tapes. My kids have tablets with vast amounts of space for everything from music to apps to what have you…

August 8 months ago

Maps are way better than GPS. My husband solely uses his GPS and gets lost ALL THE TIME. I never use it, I rely on good old-fashioned maps which I study before hand and then I know where I am going.

Carolyn 8 months ago

even after 50 years, I still remember the channel numbers, 3,6,10. Eventually 69 which was public tv. I don’t even live near that town, but you never forget those things.

Also, if the tv was on, most of the family came to the living room to watch it.

Sheila 8 months ago

There use to be trucks that came through in the summer to spray for mosquitoes. They were spraying DDT. We rode our bikes in the foggy spray inhaling that good smelling poison.

JS 8 months ago

(automatic transmissions) 😉 :)

Gene in L.A. 8 months ago

There weren’t “only 13 channels.” There were only 7 channels, because they started at 2 and then skipped, 2-4-5-7-9-11-13, and that was it, no public television, only networks and local channels.

Adrienne 8 months ago

And don’t forget all the fancy ways to fold those”text messages”!!! Ha!

Beth 8 months ago

Haha! Encyclopedias! My grandparents bought us a set in the 80’s as a gift. Sucked for us that were younger and had to do book reports with encyclopedias that were outdated by the early 90’s. We used those things so much! My dad even wanted us to take them when we all had moved out. Since no one would he still has them in the living room and offers them to the grandkids. Sorry, but my 9yr old has no use for that outdated info in large heavy books.

Jerry Meade 8 months ago

8-Track tapes.
Tokens for the NY Subway ($0.35).
Coin operated pay phones, in phone booths, with doors and a light, and separate coin slots for nickel, dime, and quarter.
Real Erector Sets.
Plugs and points = Tuneup.
“In Living Color” was not a band or a TV show. It was TV.
UHF
Screw in electrical fuses
Leaded gasoline
AFX slot car tracks

That’s just off the top of my head…

Shannon Christopher Watson 8 months ago

When I tell my girls about these things, they look at me in utter disbelief!

Kelly Langreck Moore 8 months ago

I’m only 35, and reading this makes me think I grew up while dinosaurs still roamed the Earth! LOL!!

Megan Antara Scheuermann 8 months ago

Ima be a mom and I’m 19 so this doesn’t really apply for me

Rachel Heck 8 months ago

We had a black & white TV til I was almost a teen, and yes, it was my job to get up and change the channel. :) After that, I remember renting not just movies, but the VCR as well… it was enclosed in some sort of giant hard plastic briefcase, so that you could plug it in and put the tapes in, but that was about it. I saw SO many movies that way…

Greg Nicolson 8 months ago

I remember all of those except having 13 TV channels. What part of the world do you come from? We used to have 3 TV channels, or 4 if the UHF channel(SBS) reception was watchable, and that was it. Sure now I have over 30 free to air channels but not in the times you’re talking about. Also in those days there was no VHS or DVD so if you wanted to watch a TV show you had to be in front of the TV when it was being screened……..and don’t even think about anything even close to a computer being in a school classroom.

Anne Harris 8 months ago

This other device is a radio. You can still listen to people talking and playing music from the other side of our planet, witbout the intent. And surprise, your cell phone is also a radio receiver and transmitter. Maybe the most magical electric device still in use after 80 years might be the toaster.

Helen Russo 8 months ago

ROFL, she must be about my age, or nearly…BUT she forgot a few: typing on a, gasp, typewriter! ANDY to add insult to injury, if you made a mistake on said typewriter, you had to use shit like White-Out before kids found out they could huff it and get high, THEN you had to meticulously attempt to get the paper EXACTLY where it was before you made that mistake so your lines wouldn’t come out crooked and f up your entire paper.

Yes, yes my children, you think you have it rough now? You ain’t seen nothin’!!!

P.S. I love my 35mm film camera still…keeps the art in photography 😉

Kylena Clevenger 8 months ago

Is it sad that I’m 18 have no kids. but I’ve done at least half the things on that list? Also I know what a floppy disk is and how a type writer works and how to use a walkman?

Mandy 8 months ago

Not to be super picky but your friend looked you up in the white pages. The yellow pages was how you found where you wanted to eat, get your car serviced, or find a church in an unfamiliar town.

Veronica Byrd Porter 8 months ago

#4

Patricia Kay Morgan 8 months ago

Card catalogs in the library.

Patricia Kay Morgan 8 months ago

Party line telephones. Dialing the operator and asking for an ambulance or police. As recently as 1986. Eight track tapes. 45 rpm records.

Summer 8 months ago

Haha..
Well I knew before I even had kids that I would most definitely put them through the pain and agony of having to sit and wait for a vhs tape to rewind, or fast forward, instead of being able to hit- next chapter, main menu or play from beginning.. and also how to look at the vhs tape and know if it needed to be rewinded or not..
And I’m proud to say that both my 8 1/2 yo son & 6yo daughter know how to fully operate a vcr and handle their 100+ collection of vhs tapes :)

I find it hilarious (and yet a little saddening) when their friends come over and see the vcr and vhs tapes and look at them like theyre a foreign object and ask what is that? lol

Tonya Storm Mercer 8 months ago

In 92 I did work study for Technical Information Services at Purdue. Companies like Lilly would fax article requests. I would walk or run to whatever library the article was in find it, copy it then run back to the office to fax it. We thought we were cutting edge lol!

Jenn 8 months ago

LOL, forget getting up to change channels, my kids would be surprised to know that you had to watch whatever was on. They are so used to Netflix they wouldn’t know what to think of not having a choice/

Rezaie Afi 8 months ago

I need stop before i give away my age

Rezaie Afi 8 months ago

central heat? what a laugh…little heaters that had flames that were dangerous if something got too close…like my little pink robe that caught on fire.

Rezaie Afi 8 months ago

forget the microwave….you had to either heat it up by stove top or the oven itself

Rezaie Afi 8 months ago

tip of the ice berg…like boiling water yourself to pour in the top of the coffee pot…then waited for it to drip the coffee through

Sara Freund 8 months ago

Typing a research paper on a typewriter-with freaking footnotes!! Aaargh!!

Amy Paschal Keister 8 months ago

My fifth grade teacher made us write up a whole presentation on a state (whichever one we drew out of a hat). I remember my mom sitting down to help me write a letter to the chamber of commerce in Columbia, SC asking them to send me all the information they could on SC. I was SO excited when that packet came. Kids today would never understand.

Pam Faulkner Brown 8 months ago

This is awesome!!!

Rosemary Faber 8 months ago

Most of this was too advanced for me…

genie 8 months ago

how about a world where stores were not open 24 \7

Bill Reynolds 8 months ago

4. Answer the phone.

sheila 8 months ago

And microwaves we didn’t have them until I was a teenager it would take 45min for a frozen dinner aka microwaves dinner these days 45min just blows my mind and pagers how ever did we survive

Anna Wilson 8 months ago

I actually remember my Dad carrying in the first COLOR TV into our living room and turning it on. And my best Christmas present in college was s Sony Walkman casette player.

Adrianne Ward Burney 8 months ago

Who remembers having to BE the remote control? Oh–and don’t forget, when the picture went fuzzy, you had to move the antenna!

Patrick Reinhard 8 months ago

I STILL love a stick shift! Better control and better mileage. (Carol)

Joanne Wiggins de Puentes 8 months ago

Indeed!

Christy Wu 8 months ago

So glad for progress

Tracy Deming 8 months ago

You forgot about heating up food- the old fashioned way, via the stove. And let’s not forget recording TV shows-we couldn’t. No such thing as DVR or VHS.

Silmara X Henrikson 8 months ago

That’s why they won big time in November. Yeah libs, deal with that’!!! Haha!!!

Jo Skidmore 8 months ago

Every time I try to read this article….which I find interesting….a commercial pops up for diabetes and I have to keep jumping black and starting all over again and just when I get to the paragraph I left off on….poof….right back to the ad….looks like I’m never going to get to finish it because my patience is at an end

Bonnee Tipton 8 months ago

I remember walking house-to-house to trick-or-treat and my parents were not following behind in their SUV because it was cold out.

Kristen Ridley-Shelton 8 months ago

I just don’t know how we survived it all.

Marge Hetz 8 months ago

So sad that children don’t experience these things. There are little to no attempts to call someone on the phone (esp for children and teens). They are connected but are they really????

Deborah Hanley 8 months ago

I miss all this stuff but ya know what I think will be hilarious? ? When our kids grow up and write similar articles. .. God only knows what they will be complaining about. ..how traumatic their lives were with the stuff we have today :)

Rebecca Wright Hover 8 months ago

Haha

C Lynn Oldham 8 months ago

Oh this made me laugh out loud!!

Brian Schwerdt 8 months ago

I never did 2 or 3, now I don’t feel so old. Thanks!

Jennifer Carrier 8 months ago

“The only thing saving you from going through the windshield was your mothers outstretched arm!”
So true! I was saved many times this way!
Also, my Uncle had a station wagon and my cousins and I would lay in the back with our feet hanging out the back window! Or we were hanging half our bodies out of it and getting yelled at! How did we survive!?!

Kim Gamm 8 months ago

I actually miss it :( This technology thing is way out of control…as I type this using technology..yes, I understand the irony.

Megan Crick Posey 8 months ago

We didn’t have a phone for a long time, so when something important came up, my mom would go to the gas station and use the pay phone. When we did get one, I remember the #69 and three way calling. I remember playing outside all the time, and the library was a awesome place where i did my research and read paper books!!

Teresa Howick Wilson 8 months ago

Haha I read this to my 10 year old. It’s so true lol

Rachel Post 8 months ago

We had encyclopedias in my house from the early 70’s I used for school in the 80’s. My research was NOT accurate.

Mandy Barrett Gabbard 8 months ago

My 15 year old sister asked for a record player for Christmas! Sooo retro lol!

CindyO 8 months ago

IF you were a Gen X’er, as you like to say, you did NOT have a TV with 13 channels and no remote. You’d have to be at least 50 years old. Remotes came with your sets just like at least 23 channels, lol. I think your memory is confusing what your parents had, mingled with your own. I know, cos I’m an end boomer baby so…

Russell Ash 8 months ago

Love it. Did it all!

Jeff Bohy 8 months ago

Funny!

Benjamin 8 months ago

Tapes? Phah… I remember a time you had to watch movies in a big central building called a theater. You have to drive there on weekends only, park the car, and sit with hundreds of other people. If you missed something, you couldn’t rewind, you would have to go back and buy another ticket and watch the film again.

And the same with TV, but worse. If you missed something on TV, you had to wait several months and, if you were lucky, you could see that episode a second time. Otherwise, you missed seeing the show forever.

Kimmie Kajok Totten 8 months ago

I remember having a pager in college… Another thing kids will never use a pay phone. My mom always made sure I had extra quarters.

Heather Garcia 8 months ago

I remember when the VHS came out the same time as the Beta, we had a Beta.

Heather Garcia 8 months ago

My camera was a 110 and you had to roll your thumb over part of the camera to get to the next picture.

Adrienne Sutter 8 months ago

Making chocolate chip cookies, from scratch and rice crispies to. Beans and cornbread a lot.

Adrienne Sutter 8 months ago

No cell phones or I Pads, or cable…atari and the old school Nintendo.

Adrienne Sutter 8 months ago

Play outside..lol! Nothing but grass and dirt. No fancy toy. Maybe u had regular bile, when u got older.

Mary O’Neill 8 months ago

when i was a kid, not only did we have the rotary phone, but we were on a party line! AND my parents had a phone plan that only allowed 40 phone calls (in OR out!) a month, or they got charged extra! all this, for a family of 7.

Amy Overbey-cable 8 months ago

I did all this. Wow. I feel old. Lol

Hollie Lanier 8 months ago

Best thing about number four? Making prank phone calls. Hours of entertainment and enjoyment.

Tracy Sweat 8 months ago

Wow I did all of these things

Lynda Griego 8 months ago

Jacks that were made of metal. Puts stepping on Legos to shame.

Lynda Griego 8 months ago

Don’t get me started on microfiche

Alyssa 8 months ago

Even worse, you had to sit and wait for the movie to rewind before you could put it away or watch it again! No magic button to make it start over…

Ivana Šimunović 8 months ago

Ou man! Makes me feel old

Chad Ali Melinda McBride 8 months ago

How about the old window cranks in cars..lol my daughter saw these in a friends car and asked what they.were for..I had to explain that is how Windows were rolled up and.down in cars when I was a kid.

Marina Robbins 8 months ago

I am hopeful my son (now 3) will do all this.

Rachel Harris Gomez 8 months ago

Yes!!!!

Brandi Kassem 8 months ago

How about drink from the water hose!

Victoria Goldstein 8 months ago

Don’t forget party lines

Rebeca Rojo 8 months ago

Don’t forget…parachute day, recording songs from the radio onto a cassette tape and making sure you started and stopped it at the right time while waiting anxiously by the radio. Having the experience and pleasure of slamming a phone down when you got in an argument with someone….not being able to screen incoming calls….you never knew who was on the other line. Could be your crush, your friend, your mom lol. Oh and Walkmans. Reading Rainbow. Dewey decimal system at libraries. Actually using an encyclopedia to do reports. Sigh I really miss my childhood

Kathi Barfield-Brewer 8 months ago

Actually going to the library to do research for a report.

Karen Rusnak 8 months ago

Party lines???

Karen Rusnak 8 months ago

Loved this article!!!! Laughed like a fool!!

Wendy Stevens Giompaolo 8 months ago

Did all of these. Lol

Cindy Harris Shubert 8 months ago

Spot on! Lol

Sandra Melendrez Saenz 8 months ago

I once mistakenly called my son’s Mp3 player a Walkman. … “What’s a ‘Walkman’?”, which then resulted in, “What’s a cassette tape?”. Sigh.

Sarah Carroll 8 months ago

Several of these things *I* never had to do…

Susan Campton 8 months ago

Our grandchildren love our records and record player . .our daughter remembers helping her dad adjust the antenna , how about rinsing cloth diapers , riding in the back of the pick up , and I remember Megan looking up at me when she was 4 and asking what video games I played when I was little . Lol

Linda Payne 8 months ago

Using a typewriter to do research pages. WITHOUT having correction tape!

EricandRachel Jones 8 months ago

Dial popcorn

Megan Magnus 8 months ago

Me and dh were just talking the other day, how one day their children will be saying ‘What’s a tablet?! THAT’S what you had to do in school?!’ I can’t imagine how things will change again in 20 years. It actually scares me a little!!

Amanda Lynn Justice McIntosh 8 months ago

I remember doing reports using encyclopedias!

Jennifer Hudson-Gensler 8 months ago

I had to explain typewriter tape to my 11 year old twins. That was funny. I also had to dig out the corded *gasp* phone and plug the damn thing into the wall because the goobers lost ALL FOUR of the cordless house phones. :/ The look on their faces at the curly cord was PRICELESS!!!

Athena Montelongo 8 months ago

Book cooties. Lol

Jessica Bennett 8 months ago

Great article! I wouldn’t trade those days for anything!

Cristina Adragna 8 months ago

Seriously !!!

Rosemary Coates 8 months ago

Love it!

Ron Skelton 8 months ago

Who remembers putting a penny on the needle of the record player cuz u didn’t wanna go buy a new needle yet? Haha

Steph Box 8 months ago

Who the hell doesn’t know how to play an LP? I’m only 32 and know this. (Dad was a DJ though, so I suppose that is unfair.)

Karen Remme Mikus 8 months ago

Microwaves! We used to use an air popper for popcorn and it took forever if you forgot to defrost something for dinner.
Also, at 44, my hubby has a ’79 el camino for fun. The kids love it!

Violet Sawyer 8 months ago

My latch key siblings & I loved making prank phone calls after school…that poor, unexpected soul on the receiving end…after we uttered the punch line, we’d slam down the phone & giggle before dialing the next random number! 😉

Angus Crystal McKee 8 months ago

The Dewey decimal system! How to look up a books location is the library.

Lorrie Warfield 8 months ago

My parents still to this day have an 8 track player

Violet Sawyer 8 months ago

I remember so many of us college bound got typewriters for high school graduation gifts. In the summer of ’92, I saved up for a word processor & I felt like I was on top of my game! :-) And when I was on call for my first job in the mid 90’s, we used pagers/beepers. I remember it going off in my car once & I was still too far away from home to return the page so I pulled into a gas station & used an actual pay phone! Good times!

Erin Kelly 8 months ago

My 8 year old, watching Home Alone: “Why didn’t he just call his parents on their cell phones?”

Melanie Kollmar Hughes 8 months ago

Can’t forget tape cassettes and listening to the radio to hopefully be able to record your new favorite song.

Amy Diachun DiGennaro 8 months ago

I miss the days when we actually had to put effort into what we did. Kids today have it way too easy.

Summer Remlinger 8 months ago

Worst thing about shag carpeting? Light brite pegs :0(

Karleen Smith 8 months ago

Hey! My first job was in one of those free-standing booths in the parking lot. It was great! No one watching over your shoulder, you could call the radio station all day and request songs…

Patsy Currier Diederich 8 months ago

I’m 56 and did all these things!

Samantha 8 months ago

My 9 year old son just asked me today if I had pens growing up. Geez kid I am only 36…

Kathryn Mink Gutierrez 8 months ago

I am 34, and I think it is kinda cool how I grew up with a lot of these things and then was still in my teens when they started transitioning out. Crazy how fast things change!

Sabrina Reddick 8 months ago

oh how I miss the Dewey decimal system in libraries and the satisfaction of slamming a phone down lol

Polly Bertolino Gauwitz 8 months ago

Omg. So glad to see this. Children these days haven’t a clue. I used to delve into our encyclopedias. All we had.

Britanie Myers 8 months ago

Yeah… I don’t remember the internet not being a thing and I’m 25. I also have no clue how to play a record.

Nicole Klein Stubbs 8 months ago

I’m 36 and have a 13 year old daughter and she looks at me like I have 2 heads when I mention some of these things…

Ashley Ann Wensch 8 months ago

My kids are learning how to read a map. Phone might go dead, lose service, whatever the reason. Hubby and I went into Canada and our GPS on phone didn’t work there. Lost in Toronto at midnight, I bought a map and made it just fine. The store clerk was maybe 19 and had no clue how to read one. Looked at me bewildered. Really?

Fräulein Frühauf 8 months ago

This article makes me feel pretty young… I do have 3 kids but we had remotes/cable, cds, plenty of other “upgrades” to all the stuff on this list when I was a kid

Kathy Moore 8 months ago

Omg so funny and true. Except here in australia we only had 4 tv channels with 3 that were watching.

Monica Jo Ptacek 8 months ago

Oh, the pictures and the records-I loved getting to use the record player as a kid, and I hate that my kids don’t understand that it’s ridiculous to me when they demand to see every picture as soon as it’s taken!

Brittany Conkling 8 months ago

The author of this is a bit older than me lol… 26 and didnt have to do a lot of these things… Maybe my grandparents had a record player and had to get up to change the channel lol

Erin Walsh Caron 8 months ago

How old is this author? I’m almost 39 and in my childhood I had TV remotes, auto car windows and CD players. Hmm. My dad was an early adopter 😉

Mary Schneider 8 months ago

My mom used a car bed… yet miraculously raised all 8 of her babies to adulthood. lol

Michele Strelka Weir 8 months ago

Automatic transmissions not transitions. Lol

Diane Burke Ptacin 8 months ago

You looked people up in the WHITE pages and businesses in the YELLOW pages.

Meghan 8 months ago

Library card catalogs are another one! My students have no idea what I am talking about when I try to tell them we didn’t have computers and had to use tiny drawers filled with note cards. That and microfilm, although I don’t really miss that one at all haha.

Tracy 1 year ago

Don’t forget the original text message – actually writing down what you wanted to say on a piece of paper and physically passing it from person to person until it got to the intended recipient – and hoping it wasn’t intercepted beforehand!

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Ruth 2 years ago

I was born in 1952. We didn’t get our first tv until I was 5. And we only had 4 channels. And an antenna we constantly had to fiddle with to get a picture. On a good day.
btw, based on what I’ve been observing, #3 may not be as long gone as was thought. Vinyl is making a comeback!

Suzy 2 years ago

My daughter asked me the other day what a “busy signal” was & it kind of hit me that she wouldn’t know what that is because she’s always lived in a world with call waiting. HA! These darn kids & their fancy technology 😀

Deva 2 years ago

This is so beyond perfectly right on! Love it! (Even if it did make me feel old.)

Phyllis Berdusco 2 years ago

I remember, Sharon, I remember!!

Nell Rogers 2 years ago

shoot we had to do most of that too and I'm only 28!. no running water inside until i was 10 and we didn't have a tub outside to take a bath in just a hose.

Brandon Cruz 2 years ago

Floppy disks. My middle school taught us how to use these in computer class (around the late 90s), but some of my friends from other schools didn't even get this experience. They were amazed when I was able to transfer a simple powerpoint from one computer to another; it was like magic (this was before flash drives were easily accessible for low prices).

Sharon Fraser 2 years ago

What a real shame, to never have to use an outdoor toilet when it's frigging freezing out, and the have to use the Sears catalogue for toilet tissue! Having to go out when it's freezing out to fill up the coal pails from the coal shed!

Alicia 2 years ago

These days we can’t get away with answers like that! My 6yodd told me to “just GOOGLE it mooom!” with inserted eye roll when her father and I were debating something. So I did, I was right lol.

Alicia 2 years ago

I grew up as a kid in the 90s and I can relate to some of these things bc my folks were old fashioned and from another country. I remember 1800 COLLECT, blockbuster (my kid got to see it before it’s ruin and we would rent kids movies), Lisa frank and trapper keepers, skip it (which my kid has the new version that lights up), no remote, AOL and the horrible sound of dial up, wall phones and huge cellphones were only for the rich, I was a latch key kid, and waking up early on a Saturday to watch cartoons, POGs & Tamagotchis, etc. anyone wanna add anything else they remember?

Terry Miller 2 years ago

They had better lean to look things up "manually". Just a warning.

Michele Dicola 2 years ago

I still use my 35 mm camera for certain pics ! it makes a difference in the depth of field . when the pics are developed ( if you can get them developed ) you can see the difference immediately !

Michele Dicola 2 years ago

I still use my 35 mm camera ! For certain pics ! It really makes a difference with some pics I want to take of the outside , the ocean, the pool , or my grandchildren !

Nolie 2 years ago

We mentioned the dewey decimal system the other day and our kids asked us what it was.

George Klingler 2 years ago

And now we have hundreds of channels and still nothing worth watching!

Liz 2 years ago

Yeah, because everyone who plays Dungeons and Dragons is creepy. Don’t be a bully. I hope my children never hear me classify people negatively because of the games that they enjoy.

Steven Wang 2 years ago

The T volume was also at the same end of the alphabet as Switzerland, … I think you will find mechanics know a lot more about working on automobile transmissions, rather than transitions. I've a 5 year old who knows how to do most of these things, … how outdated we must be.

Rhonda 2 years ago

Oh, the memories this brings back! The car one should have included having a bed set up in the back of a station wagon so that we could lay down and maybe sleep during long car rides, but other than that….PERFECT!

Jack 2 years ago

Our first television was Black and white and it had tubes. Class of ’69 checking in.

Tanja Walker 2 years ago

Ha! I went to college with a popcorn popper! No stove for me! (Or microwave.) Of course, there was a bit of a problem with the time I spilled vegetable oil on my comforter where I set the bottle after putting some oil in my popcorn popper, but oh, well…

monioa 2 years ago

hilarious. and so true.

Tony West 2 years ago

We didn't have running water in our house until I was 14. Had an "outhouse" for a bathroom, had to take a bath in a galvanized tub that we heated in the sun during the summer and on the stove in the winter, had a well with an old metal hand pump for a water source… no air conditioning of ANY kind and I could go on and on. LOL So kids… believe me… you have it made.

Tiffany Thelin Lowe 2 years ago

If my kids ask me a question and I say "I dont know" They say "Just ask your phone"

jenny from the blog 2 years ago

I wish I still had my 45 player… it had a picture of Donny and Marie on the front. Because nothing said, I have awesome taste in music like Donny and Marie!

jenny from the blog 2 years ago

Yes, the good ol days when we had imaginations and didn’t use helmets. I recall some kids using helmets and we thought they were geeky. Look that them now, all smart and un-harmed by concussions… :) Thx for reading xo

jenny from the blog 2 years ago

How fun was Jiffy Pop??? I think in my day, it’s invention may have rivaled the iPod.

jenny from the blog 2 years ago

Hard to say. If one could die from carpet shocks, none of us would’ve made it out!

jenny from the blog 2 years ago

Yes, one minute watching a movie, the next — no more movie. My dad owned video stores when I was growing up. I may have some of that film running through my veins.
THX for reading!

Chelley Martinka 2 years ago

We still do many of these things in our house. Although it is hard to work on modern cars, changing a tire and oil should be things everyone knows how to do! That and you NEVER get rid of our record player or receiver from the 70's!

Debbie 2 years ago

And when we rode our bikes, we just got on them and rode. if we fell, just hope you don’t hit your head on a rock and someone had to help you get home while dripping with blood.
And by the way we could play games like baseball and stuff at the park without our parents having to pay for it. Just get some friends togehter, ball and bat and we were good to go. Sometimes we even made up our own games and rules. (It is called using your imagination.)

Jessica 2 years ago

“Imagine always having to pick up the phone and never knowing who would be lurking on the other line” – you had me at this. Touche.

Debbie Hardy Moehr 2 years ago

Don't forget microwaves! We actually had to cook our food! And prepare ahead, there was no "thaw" button to use. We actually had to pop our popcorn on the stovetop!

Jamie H 2 years ago

Don’t forget that we used to have to warm up things in the oven instead of the microwave. I remember when we got our first microwave–don’t stand too close those waves are scary!

I remember life BEFORE VCRs too! If you missed your show, you were out of luck!

Priscilla 2 years ago

I grew up in the transitional period where technology was coming out so fast it was mind blowing.

I didn’t have a great cellphone. I had that little digital phone with snake on it and I never took my cellphone out in class like kids do today.

I did have DVDs but they were the new thing so most of our stuff was still on VHS.

The video game systems went through so many phases during my childhood I couldn’t afford to have any of the expensive ones. I didn’t get an XBOX until I was an adult.

So I tend to appreciate things a bit more because of the transitional period. It seems kids now a days just expect the technology. I think technology beyond a computer for doing homework is a luxury.

Ashlee 2 years ago

I can still vaguely remember my parents using a map when I was younger. But I was so young that I myself never learned how to use a map. Pretty crazy, huh?

Randy Wischmann 2 years ago

God, I'm getting old.

Frankie Laursen 2 years ago

Man, I thought the “This is 39” post made me feel old. I had videos on Betamax for crying out loud!

We also had to use pay phones to call people when we were out of the house.

Thank you, it was fun and a little disturbing to go down this memory lane.

Shoshana Kronfeld 2 years ago

My son actually got (had) to use one of those TV’s with the turn dial for channel selection and volumn just last week when we were visiting my FIL. The part he really had trouble with was the volumn. Everytime a loud commercial came on and then the much quieter show, he had to get up and fix the volumn. He is constantly playing with volumn control at home. He could not believe that was how I grew up. ANd then I told him we did not even get a color TV until I was a teen. Blew his little mind :)

Pam 2 years ago

So true! How ever did we survive?!?

Audrey 2 years ago

We also had to watch movies on video TAPES that could spontaneously be eaten by the VCR, and then have Mom drive us all the way back to to video store to select different ones.
Awesome post. Those were the days :)